CPGB-ML » Posts for tag 'india'

Supermarket chains to set up shop in India

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 3 December

India is intending to allow foreign supermarkets to compete in its national markets, eg, Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco. Foreign companies are to be permitted to buy a 51 percent stake in supermarkets and to own single-brand retailers outright.

In this way, the government is hoping to control food price inflation, which has been averaging double-digit rises over the last year. It hopes that introducing foreign competition will help improve the efficiency of the supply chain and bring down consumer prices.

Small shopkeepers are not, however, welcoming this competition with open arms, and the decision is causing considerable political uproar.

Russia and China oppose Security Council resolution on Syria

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 5 November

Russia and China have exercised their veto in the Security Council to a proposed resolution condemning Syria for ‘oppressing anti-government forces’.

Russia enjoys military and commercial deals with Syria worth billions of dollars annually, and would certainly not wish to lose these to US and European predators. Nor would it want to lose its naval base at Tartus, and is sensibly therefore not supporting western imperialism’s attempts to bring about regime change in Syria – a regime change that would not be deemed successful unless the successor was a western puppet.

The New York Times of 5 October quite rightly says: “There is a sense in both capitals that the West in general, and the United States in particular, is feeding the protest movements in the Arab world to further its own interests, experts said. Both the Chinese and the Russians are determined to reassert their long opposition to anything that smacks of domestic meddling by outside powers.

In that effort they have been joined by emerging powers like Brazil, India and South Africa, which have formed their own alliance and as current members of the Security Council all abstained from the Syria vote … Lebanon, where Syria holds sway, also abstained.

The resolution itself was toothless, demanding that the violence in Syria stop. The draft underwent repeated dilutions, which dropped all but the most vague reference to sanctions as a future possibility. But even that drew objections, in part because the cloud of Libya cast a long shadow over the Syria deliberations. The Russians and the Chinese said they felt bamboozled after a resolution they thought was meant to protect Libyan civilians became what they condemned as a license to wage war on the government of Col Muammar el-Qaddafi. They are determined to avoid that in the Middle East and anywhere else.

In actual fact, the resolution would not have been toothless even in its most attenuated form as it was being passed under Chapter 7, which authorises resort to “all necessary measures” (ie, war) to suppress whatever is classed by any belligerent as “a threat to international peace and security”. This was the basis for Nato’s attack on Libya, even though under no stretch of the imagination did the Benghazi rebellion or the Libyan government’s response pose any threat to international peace and security.

Details emerging of US bribes for Indian nuclear deal

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 1 October

Under the Congress government, India reached an agreement with the US that had the effect of lifting all restrictions on her developing her nuclear industry, which, it will be recalled, India had originally developed to the point of producing nuclear weapons, in secret and against the wishes of US imperialism.

Under the agreement, India is left free to develop its military nuclearisation in peace, while its civil uses of nuclear energy are open to regular IAEA inspections – a curious result, the quid pro quo of which is that US construction and engineering companies were to be offered lucrative contracts to ‘help’ India build its civil nuclear industry. In the wake of Chernobyl, this agreement was controversial in India, to say the least.

Now it is being alleged that prominent politicians were heavily bribed to ensure that the proposal for the agreement was accepted in the Indian parliament in July 2008. Amar Singh, former general secretary of the Samajwadi (socialist) party was arrested in this connection on 6 September and refused bail, while Janardhan Reddy, a Karnataka mining baron, was arrested ostensibly on the grounds of illegal mining but in actual fact, it is believed, because of the role he played in bringing about the parliamentary vote in favour of the US-India deal.

Confidential US embassy cables revealed on WikiLeaks are said to have recorded an incident where a Congress party aide told a US embassy staff member that the Rashtriya Lok Dal, a political party, was paid $2.5m for each of the votes of four members of parliament. The aide was apparently shown a war chest containing no less than $25m available to ensure that the ‘right’ result was achieved in the parliamentary vote.