…then India owes those ‘vindictive’ Americans a debt of gratitude
Prem Shankar Jha advances a theory that Natwar Singh and the Congress party were targets of an elaborate conspiracy to punish them for blocking Vajpayee’s decision to send Indian troops to Iraq in July 2003.
If the Congress was framed, then Chalabi was the means. But what about motive and opportunity? The first is easy to trace. In July 2003, India was on the point of agreeing to send troops to Iraq. An entire divisionâ€”some 20,000 menâ€”had already been told to make preparations for the move. Had India sent troops, Pakistan would have matched it. Bangladesh might have also been cajoled into joining the ‘peace-keeping mission’, and others might have followed.
But days before the crucial meeting of the cabinet committee on security where the decision was to be taken, Natwar Singh wrote to Vajpayee on behalf of the Congress party warning the government against sending troops, and the Congress made the letter public. Vajpayee pulled back and the US’s plans to bring up to half of its soldiers back collapsed. It would have been surprising indeed if the Congress and Natwar had not attracted some concentrated venom in Washington.
The Bush administration contains at least one senior person who has set an unenviable record for vindictiveness. This is vice-president Dick Cheney…[Outlook India emphasis added]
Jha’s conspiracy theory relies on the dubiousness of Chalabi, the vindictiveness of Cheney, the cleverness in America’s use of information, and the ubiquitous link to Israeli intelligence agencies to cast doubts on the integrity of the Volcker report. None of this is actually substantiated beyond pointing out ‘strange coincidences’ and ‘it would be no surprise if’s’. It requires fewer leaps of logic to believe that the dubious people and circumstances surrounding Natwar’s trip to Baghdad create sufficient doubt with regard to Natwar Singh’s (and the Congress party’s) innocence. Anil Matherani’s statements alone justify Natwar’s sacking. And we still don’t know what exactly the Congress party told Saddam Hussein in the letter Natwar delivered?
And if the Bush White House, while going great lengths to exact revenge on all individuals and organisations that spoilt its party in Iraq, ended up getting rid of a bad foreign minister, then it deserves a thank you card from a grateful nation.