Historically, India’s foreign policy has been insulated from domestic politics. The last two weeks have changed that, irrevocably. The weekend union of two one-point programmes has led to a precarious situation for the UPA. The Left has been unrelenting in its anti-US agenda; Mayawati’s opposition to the N-deal is her single-minded attempt to demolish Mulayam Singh’s political base in Uttar Pradesh (UP). The salience of Mayawati’s vote bank in UP and outside it is redrawing political alignments.
We support the N-deal as we believe in Indian capabilities. The unshackling of the economy brought rich dividends; the unfettering of our nuclear establishment can do likewise. While perceptions may differ, it will be unfortunate if the deal ends up as collateral damage in a domestic political battle. If the deal is voted down now, the current vehemence of political posturing alone will forestall its revival in the future.
This link between domestic political expediency and foreign policy, especially outside the region, is a new development that future governments will do well to note.