Vantage point

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Brave Manmohan!

The more I think of the Indian government's decision to put the nuclear deal on the backburner, the more it makes sense. There are several good arguments one can put forth to support the decision.

Firstly, by doing so, the government avoided a confrontation with the communists. That decision was a masterstroke of survival skills that Darwin would be proud of. Remember, no good ever comes out of fighting the communists. USA fought the communists for decades and see where it has landed them. The country is now mired in an unwinnable war in Iraq, is facing a crippling mortgage crisis, has been hit by a devastating hurricane and has had a bridge collapse. If this is what comes out of standing up to the communists, no thanks, but we are better off just complying with the communist wishes.

The government also avoided mid-term polls. Elections in India cost hundreds of crores of rupees. We are a poor country. We need the money to go into productive schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme. Yes, critics like Amit Varma may argue that the NREG is a failure.... but is it really? Yes, most of the money goes into the pockets of middlemen, but remember, those middlemen are consumers too. They take this money, pump it back into the economy, and help sustain the high growth our economy has witnessed. The Manmohan government has thus ensured that the 500 crores or so which would be wasted on snap polls will instead be utilized more effectively, towards spurring economic growth via middlemen.

Another undercurrent of resentment over the deal's failure has to do with China. Several so-called experts insist that the Indian communists are doing China's bidding to scuttle deal. so what if they are? What is wrong with thinking about China's well-being after all? We all love the Chinese. The millions of red Chinese food stalls that dot the Indian roadside are a testimony to this love. Additionally, we owe the Chinese a lot. In 1962, they could have overrun the whole country, taken over Delhi and made us a vassal state. But they did not. They just took the little land they wanted for their constructive purposes, and left us alone. Arguably the first and last time that an aggressor came into India and did not rule for centuries.

Plus think of the good it will do for the environment. Yes, most of Indian homes are without electricity, but then electricity would just mean further compounding of the global warming problem. Think how we are saving the planet by making sure that most of our population does not indulge in wasteful energy consumption like the so-called developed world. Keeping nuclear energy out of the energy sector ensures that this eco-friendly frugality continues.

In sum, if you think about it carefully, nothing good would have come out of the nuclear deal and we should all applaud the Manmohan government for scuttling it.