New Delhi: There is never a moment when the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, does not contemplate good relations with the United States, including a one-sided one. Hence the FDI in multi-brand retail whose chief beneficiary will be the bloodsucking Wal-Mart. So, too, the defence framework agreement with the American military to advantage its interoperability of weapons’ systems and reckless foreign interventions. Thus the nuclear deal to save struggling US reactor manufacturers at the cost of India’s thorium process. The final slap in the face comes in the form of the 35-year prison sentence to the 2008 Bombay terror attack facilitator, the half-Pakistani, David Headley, who the United States won’t extradite to India, unless he violates the terms of his plea bargain, an unreachable lollipop for Manmohan Singh and his pro-American cabinet.

The ridiculous Indian home secretary, R.K.Singh, says India wants death for David Headley after giving him a life.

Why didn’t Manmohan Singh make a death sentence for Headley a touchstone for friendly relations with the United States, and pull off when it proved beyond his reach? Do you punish an unfriendly act or reward it, such as aligning foreign and military policies, easing entry for Wal-Mart and American reactor firms, following the US line on Iran, Pakistan and so forth? Manmohan Singh has a lot to answer for turning India into a stooge of the United States.

The grossest part is hearing some United States attorney go over the possible ways in which David Headley could violate his plea bargain. Who, in the first place, authorized the United States to enter into a plea bargain with a terrorist wanted in India? If, as a commentator rightly pointed out, the attack had happened in the US mainland, and India had entered into a plea bargain with the terrorist attacker, would America have stood for it? It would have got its man, whether or not it had to storm Tihar or Arthur Road Jail, or bomb North and South Block.

But because the terms of engagement with the United States are unequal, because India cannot pressure America to give up Headley, we have to stand being joked around about the outlandish possibility of the Pakistani terrorist violating his terms to stay alive. It is a joke on India and it is savage humour directed at the victims of the 26 November 2008 terrorism. The US judge who sentenced Headley felt more intensely for the 26/11 victims than the Indian government, especially Manmohan Singh, who cannot wait for an opportunity to cuddle up to the United States.

With each passing day, it becomes clear that Manmohan Singh cannot be expected to or relied upon to protect India’s interests. The UPA-1 government subverted Parliament to win a corrupt confidence vote in favour of the nuclear deal. Although late in doing so, the principled Left parties walked out of the government. The Manmohan Singh government and the Congress party used coercion a second time, weeks ago, to work a parliamentary majority, thin as it turned out, for FDI in multi-brand retail. The Supreme Court has adopted an extraordinarily questioning posture on the impact of such FDI on Indian small retail, leading to predicable complaints of turf encroachment by sections of the government and the lackey media. Indian public opinion, however, cannot be forever steamrollered on Manmohan Singh’s strenuous bid to make India a subordinate partner of the United States, which is in terminal decline, headed by a president who cannot return the country to greatness.

Till Manmohan Singh remains prime minister, India’s interests will be compromised vis-a-vis the United States. Under the rapidly foolish illusion that America would fight a long war in Afghanistan, India made strategic investments which have turned out dud. This writer wrote in vain to follow the previous Northern Alliance route, which would have struck productive new relations with Russia, the Central Asian states and Iran. Because the United States must withdraw peacefully from Afghanistan, India must hold its peace with Pakistan at any cost, including the beheading of its soldiers. This sell-off on the part of the Indian government is called “realism”, and doubtless, the 35-year sentence to David Headley will be hailed by the pro-American big media, with some expert behind-the-scenes tutoring from aides to the prime minister.

Don’t we know all this?

The fact that David Headley has gotten away with his life is a crying shame, and prime minister Manmohan Singh must squarely face blame for this.