China used India’s Left parties to scuttle Indo-US nuclear deal: Former FS Vijay Gokhale claims
Gokhale has claimed this in his book, 'The Long Game: How the Chinese Negotiate with India'
Known for its anti-India designs, China tried to use the Left parties—the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India-Marxist to scuttle the ambitious Indo-US nuclear deal.
This is what former Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale has claimed in his book, “The Long Game: How the Chinese Negotiate with India.”
The book published by Penguin Random House India, maintains that “China utilized the close connections with the Left parties in India. Top leaders of the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India-Marxist would travel to China for meetings or medical treatment. Both parties were avowedly nationalist when it came to the Boundary Question and other matters of bilateral interest, but the Chinese were aware that they had fundamental concerns about the Indo-US nuclear deal.”
Gokhale who was then the Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs in 2007-09, when the Indo-US Nuclear deal was being negotiated writes “This may have been the first example of China’s foray into domestic politics, but they were careful to remain behind the scenes.”
According to Gokhale who is revered as one of India’s most reputed and well versed Sinologists, China’s interactions with India throughout this period were in contrast to the position taken by them during the 1998 nuclear tests.
He argues that the topic of the 123 Deal and the clean waiver that India was seeking from the NSG was never raised by the Chinese in bilateral meetings, and rarely discussed whenever India raised the issue.
Meanwhile, Prakash Karat, who was CPI-M’s General Secretary at the time of the nuclear deal, refuted the claim by saying, “Our opposition to the nuclear deal was because it cements the Indo-US strategic alliance of which the military collaboration was the key. That is the reason we opposed it.”
“Our understanding was that the nuclear deal will make us completely dependent on the US strategically,” the former General Secretary of the CPI-M added.
On whether he or any of the other Left leaders had any discussion with China on the nuclear deal at any point in time, he said, “We have had no discussions whatsoever.”
Gokhale’s book ‘The Long Game: How the Chinese Negotiate with India’ covers six topics on which India and China negotiated in the last 75 years, starting from India’s recognition of the People’s Republic China to Tibet, nuclear tests in Pokhran, Sikkim, the Indo-US nuclear deal and Masood Azhar’s listing as a ‘global terrorist’ at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Gokhale in his stint as an Indian Foreign Service officer had served in Indian diplomatic missions in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Beijing and New York. He was the Indian Ambassador to China from January 20, 2016 to October 21, 2017.
He is currently a non-resident Senior Fellow at the New Delhi-based think tank, Carnegie India.