Indian communists to protest US naval war games

India's communist party, embroiled in a row with the government over a US nuclear deal, has announced plans to protest next week's naval exercises with the United States and Asian nations.

Indian communists to protest US naval war games

India's communist party, embroiled in a row with the government over a US nuclear deal, has announced plans to protest next week's naval exercises with the United States and Asian nations.

Twenty five warships from Australia, India, Japan, Singapore and the United States will take part in the exercises over five days starting on Tuesday in the Bay of Bengal.

Two US nuclear-powered aircraft carriers will be among ships involved.



"These exercises are seen as a major step towards India joining a strategic security cooperation between India and the United States, Australia and Japan," the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said in a statement Saturday.

"There will be countrywide protests from September 4 to 8 against these exercises."

India's ruling Congress party receives crucial support from left allies but the relationship has been shaky in past weeks, with the communists protesting a recently concluded civilian nuclear agreement with the United States.

Protesters will march along the east coast to the port of Visakhapatnam, headquarters of India's eastern naval command, for a rally next Saturday.



The exercises will be held between Visakhapatnam and India's Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, a chain of more than 500 islands over 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from the mainland.

The communists, who oppose strategic ties with Washington, say the nuclear deal threatens India's sovereignty, notably the continued development of its nuclear weapons programme.

AFP

Last Mod: 02 Eylül 2007, 16:45
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