Cablegate: The Bjp Attacks Upa Foreign Policy
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 009761
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV IN
SUBJECT: THE BJP ATTACKS UPA FOREIGN POLICY
Classified By: A/DCM Geoff Pyatt, for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
1. (C) Summary: The BJP leadership, meeting in Mumbai on December 26-27, continued its twisting foreign policy trajectory, issuing a public statement on ""The UPA's Mismanagement of our Foreign Policy,"" that was so shrilly critical of Congress initiatives that it drew a public rebuke from former Prime Minister Vajpayee. The BJP asserted that the ruling coalition lacks ""an integrated foreign policy vision,"" and accused Prime Minister Singh of subordinating India's foreign policy to the US. Although billed as an overall foreign policy statement, it dealt only with regional policy (Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and the US/India relationship. The regional policy statements are standard BJP boilerplate, but the party adopted a peculiarly harsh view towards US/India relations. BJP insiders assured us privately that the statements were only political rhetoric meant to score points against the UPA. It is not unusual for domestic political considerations to take precedence over foreign policy in India, and the BJP decided there was little risk of negative fallout with the USG. Other reporting on the BJP national convention follows septel. End Summary.
Poor Performance in the Region
2. (U) The BJP accused the GOI of converting the districts of West Bengal bordering Bangladesh into ""extremely sensitive regions with potentially disastrous security implications"" by encouraging illegal immigration, and noted that India has ""no identifiable policy"" to deal with the GOB. The statement claimed that the UPA's Pakistan policy has ""abandoned the issue of cross border terrorism,"" and by ""reiterating endlessly that 'the peace process is irreversible,"" has done nothing to discourage ""jehadi terrorists"" supported by Pakistan. The BJP called on the GOI to return to the Nepal policy of the former NDA government based on ""the twin pillars of a stable democracy and a constitutional monarchy."" The statement accused the UPA of entertaining proposals advocated by ""certain American think tanks"" calling for the establishment of a ""United States of Kashmir,"" and called on the GOI to reaffirm that ""the entire states of Jammu and Kashmir are integral parts of India.""
Pulling out the Anti-US Card
3. (U) Pointing out that the ""Clinton Administration first recognized India as a 'natural ally,"" the BJP statement claimed that the important issues, (increased cooperation in civil-nuclear activities, civilian space programs, high technology trade, and missile defense) were initiated by the previous NDA government, which stressed a ""gradual improvement in Indo-US relations."" Accusing the UPA of engaging in ""obsequious policies"" that have locked India into an ""asymmetrical relationship,"" the BJP emphasized that a ""strategic partnership must be between equals.""
4. (U) In comments to reporters former Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha elaborated further on the BJP statement, berating the UPA for ""capitulation"" to the US (implicitly referring to the IAEA-Iran vote), and drawing a parallel with the US/Pakistan relationship. Sinha argued that ""the interests of India and the US need not converge all the time,"" and claimed that it was ""unwise for India to get
NEW DELHI 00009761 002 OF 002 locked into the strategic interests of the US, like for example Pakistan is locked in Afghanistan.""
Nothing to Worry About
5. (C) In a private conversation on December 28, BJP National Executive Member Seshadiri Chari urged us ""not to read to much into the foreign policy resolution, especially the parts relating to the US."" Chari dismissed the statement as ""standard practice"" aimed at scoring easy political points against the UPA. BJP spokesman Prakash Javdekar echoed these statements, saying that the BJP was not really upset about the US/India relationship, but merely wanted the GOI and USG to be more forthcoming about any deal on nuclear policy.
Comment - Domestic Politics to the Fore
6. (C) The BJP out of power is more interested in UPA bashing than in nurturing the US/India relationship. There is lingering sensitivity among portions of the Indian electorate regarding possible ""subservience"" to the US, and a nationalist party like the BJP can energize its core membership by asserting Indian independence. BJP leaders do not seem overly concerned about the repercussions of their anti-US rhetoric, convinced that a few well-placed private assurances will mollify the USG. A notable exception is Former Prime Minister Vajpayee, who publicly criticized the BJP statement, stating that foreign policy ""is complex"" and ""it would have been better if more time had been devoted to discussing the subject."" ""The foreign policy resolution is tough. I can't understand it. The language is also unique,"" he concluded.
7. (U) Visit New Delhi's Classified Website: (http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/sa/newdelhi/)