The parliamentary resolution against US, British and French action in Libya should mark the finality of what it really is: anti-Americanism. America-bashing beyond this will hurt India's strategic emerging interests.

"Nations," Lord Palmerston said, "have no permanent friends or allies, they have only permanent interests." The trouble is that the Manmohan Singh government has no clue about India's "permanent interests". And in its cluelessness, it is looking for a "permanent friend/ ally" in the United States, which is the worst philosophical blunder any nation can make in foreign relations.

The more you think about it, the more you are staggered by Jawaharlal Nehru's pragmatic genius in formulating non-alignment. To run contrary to the trend of emerging rival blocs of the Cold War requires great intellectual courage, fortitude and independence, and Nehru combined this with foresight. This writer has no hesitation in saying that, ultimately, non-alignment saved India the fate of Pakistan, which has been used and abused by its Western allies but particularly the United States since its 1947 Independence.

The narrative of Nehru's successors frequently has found mention in these columns, but one former prime minister, A.B.Vajpayee, deserves particular mention. Much is made of Vajpayee calling America India's "natural ally". But those who know him say he did not mean it. He carried the reflexive suspicions of America common to our political class throughout his prime-ministership.

To start with, he brought to successful conclusion P.V.Narasimha Rao's well-advanced plans for a nuclear test that were thwarted by the US. He got Jaswant Singh to engage Strobe Talbott but he never surrendered Indian nuclear-strategic interests to the US. He resisted to the end of his term signing CTBT under American pressure.

And it is well-known that he quietly got the Left and the Congress (outwardly the BJP's political foes) to foment parliamentary uproar over American pressure on India to deploy troops in Iraq, and used that to wriggle out of a looming disastrous situation. On the other hand, the Manmohan Singh government would have gone along with Western military action in Libya after the first UN Security Council vote, but for timely criticism in a section of the media, including in this magazine.

This is not the way to conduct foreign relations.

And it does not advance India's "permanent interests" -- the way Lord Palmerston articulated it -- at all.

But still, for all the terrible damage the Manmohan Singh government has done to the independent conduct of India's foreign policy (the Wikileaks constitute a shocking read), the damage is not irreversible.

As a start, a correct perspective on Wikileaks pertaining to Indo-US relations has to be taken. There is no point blaming America for the pressure it exerted on India on Iran's nuke programme and pipeline, pro-US cabinet changes, or even on the Indo-US nuclear deal. In doing so, America was following its "permanent interests", while India was discarding them, if it had any clue of them.

But it is in India's "permanent interest" now not to undo the past strategic progress with the United States, including on the Indo-US nuclear deal, which this writer was opposed to. India has earned a reputation of never breaching its international treaties, and that reputation must be kept intact. This goes beyond party politics.

And now to gain from the Wikileaks without being further damaged by them requires reasonable action on several fronts. This was written by this writer with the first of the Wikileaks several months ago but it bears repetition. India must make its conduct of foreign policy transparent. Indian diplomats cannot say and do one thing in private and speak untruly of it in public. Lies will be found out. It is happening now and will occur again.

Also, Indian political parties whether on the ruling side or in the opposition must be supremely cautious in dealing with foreign powers. Their ultimate loyalty is owed to the country and to the people. Why should they bare themselves to foreigners with agendas? Would you and I spill family secrets to outsiders with vested interests?

And, finally, the Wikileaks strongly point to a corrupt UPA victory in the 2008 confidence vote. It is immaterial that the voting was about the Indo-US nuclear deal. Even arguing in favour of the nuclear deal, ends cannot justify the means. Manmohan Singh should pay the price for condoning a corrupt vote.

That said, let us not carry anti-Americanism too far. A point has been made with the parliamentary unanimous resolution against foreign attacks in Libya. Manmohan Singh shamelessly is pro-American. He must be checked not to deviate from a focused consolidation of India's "permanent interests". The Wikileaks have shown that India's foreign relations are part and parcel of its internal politics and cannot be divorced from them. Hitherto, the Indian political class, barring exceptions, was perilously detached from foreign-policy issues. This has to change. Only Parliament can contain a runaway pro-US PM.

Once Manmohan Singh and his government suitably are restrained, there is no reason at all not to build a relationship of equality with the United States. Anything is possible in today's world, and anything is possible for India, provided it becomes doughtily independent in thought and action.