Dr. Manmohan Singh is the present Prime Minister of India. Loved and adored by almost every Indian before the Commonwealth scam broke out, then 2G scandal claims by various media became true, and then came barrages of revelation, one after another. India found out the he is incapable of decision making, can’t control the allies in his coalition or his cabinet ministers or the spokesperson.
Myths in Media:
Media had created a huge amount of myths around him. Such as He is
- Accidental politician (as if that is a virtue),
- Eminent economics professor (he didn't even retire as one, last semester was way back in 1971, age was 39 then, yes younger than present day Rahul Gandhi).
- Manmohan Singh is also said to be “Man of few (or No) words”, though back in ’66 to ‘70, he was the Chief, Financing for Trade Section, UNCTAD, United Nations Secretariat at Manhattan, New York, a very apt position man who talks less?
During Manmohan Singh's Tenure at Delhi School of Economics as the professor , he was as willing to talk to press as the proverbial “Rahul Gandhi’s bee” which landed him a bureaucratic position in Economic Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Trade, India; Offered by none other than Lalit Narayan Mishra, a close Indira aide, then Minister of Foreign Trade, later Railways Minister who was murdered in an unsolved bomb mystery. Mishra was mentioned in Mitrokhen Archives (A KGB equivalent cablegate of wikileaks) for being many a things, including double agent working for both CIA and KGB . Unfortunately we can’t verify any of them as of yet, as No direct mention of him in any of the Kissinger Cables.
Enter Kissinger Cables:
Manmohan Singh is transferred to Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, India in 1972 and in this post we find a very talkative Manmohan Singh appear in Kissinger files; First Cable (1973NEWDE04707_b) says US Under Secretary of Treasury, Paul A Volcker is visiting India and Meeting with Finance Minister Y. B. Chavan is scheduled on 30th April at 10:15 AM on a Monday. Manmohan Singh & Mr. M. R. Shroff (officer in charge of Bank/Fund Transfer) will be present. Imagine that, Manmohan Singh talking on a Monday at 10: 15 AM. Volcker actually met 6-8 persons, but rest of them don’t get a mention in the cable.
IMF/IBRD Meeting of 1973:
Next cable (1973NEWDE09146_b) on Manmohan Singh, is when he was Deputy of Indian delegation of C-20 (at a time when The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1973 was on in Ottawa, Canada). Now we find Manmohan Singh on his return to talking about Ministerial meeting held on 30-31 July. But why would he give such detail to US? Like
SINGH EXPRESSED DISAPPOINTMENT THAT WHILE THERE HAD BEEN PROGRESS ON ISSUES OF PRIMARY INTEREST TO THE DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, THERE WAS NO SIMILAR PROGRESS ON THE SDR-AID LINK. HE FELT THAT BOTH GERMANY AND JAPAN WOULD ACCEPT AN SDR-AID LINK AND THAT IT IS ONLY THE US THAT STILL ACTIVELY OPPOSES THIS CONCEPT. HE SAID THAT INDIA WILL NOT SIGN A DOCUMENT REFORMING THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR AN SDR-AID LINK, SAYING, "WE ARE NOT GOING TO GO ALONG WITH A PACKAGE THAT DEALS WITH SOME PROBLEMS BUT NOT OTHERS."
Mr. Manmohan Singh, which treaty India would sign or not, The Chief Financial Advisor of Finance Ministry, can’t disclose? Especially to USA, when India’s official stance was “Non-aligned” and rhetoric to countrymen was “Socialism & Pro-soviet”. Didn’t you sign any NDA for this job? NDA of course is Non-Disclosure Agreement. But He was concerned about Non-disclosure to Elected Indian Parliament. As the next paragraph of the cable suggests:
SINGH INDICATED THAT HE SHARES THE US VIEW ON THE ROLES OF SDRS AND GOLD IN A NEW SYSTEM. HE INDICATED THAT INDIA HAD MORE OR LESS BOWED TO THE INEVITABLE ON THE ISSUE OF FIXED BUT FLEXIBLE EXCHANGE RATES, ALTHOUGH HE CONTINUES TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF PRESENTING TO PARLIAMENT A REVISED IMF CHARTER THAT CONTAINS ANY HINT THAT THE EXCHANGE RATE OF THE RUPEE COULD BE AFFECTED BY INCREASES OR DECREASES OF INDIA'S RESERVES, OR ANY BROAD COMBINATION OF OTHER OBJECTIVE INDICATORS.
No wonder USA loves Manmohan, for him briefing the US government seems first priority (A practice he continues till date). I am no enemy of USA, but for me India comes first.
Understanding the detail and importance of India’s stand on IMF reform and government’s vulnerability, Moynihan hurriedly writes another cable (1973NEWDE09158_b) in next 30 minutes, this time detailing the Press reaction to same Ministerial meeting as briefed by then Finance Minister Y. B. Chavan & Manmohan Singh to the press on 3rd of August. In the press conference Manmohan had said Indian foreign exchange was “quite comfortable” and
CHAVAN NOTED THAT INDIA'S IMF POSITION CONSTITUTED A SECOND LINE OF RESERVES AND THAT "IF IT IS NECESSARY WE WILL MAKE USE OF IT."
Had the information shared by Manmohan and Y.B. Chavan’s press conference detail been exactly same, I could have asked you to overlook his conversation, but it is not the same. While US embassy was doing great work for their team, Manmohan Singh was letting India down.
By now, US is treating Manmohan as an “Asset” or a “Dear Friend” and he appears quickly in cable 1973NEWDE09583_b on Aug 17. The cable states Indian Delegation to IMF/IBRD meeting (IBRD = World Bank, International Bank for reconstruction and Development) in Nairobi on 24-30 September, is now decided, led by Finance Minister Y.B. Chavan. The delegation also contains Reserve Bank Governor, Jagannathan; Economic Affairs Secretary, M. G. Kaul; and of course Manmohan Singh and M. R. Shroff. USA is already briefed about Indian Position by Manmohan Singh, may be some in the delegation does not even know that. But important part in why this cable was done: In the reference section you will find a cable (1973STATE159015_b) from Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, US Govt. asking embassies to report on IMF/IBRD meeting delegations across the globe citing :
ADDRESSEES REQUESTED CABLE BY SEPTEMBER 7 AT LATEST INFORMATION ON (A) ANY IMPORTANT PROPOSALS COUNTRY INTENDS TO AISE IN PLENARY OR TAKE UP WITH IMF/IBRD OFFICIALS, (B) ANY MAJOR ISSUES WHICH COUNTRY DELEGATION INTENDS TO RAISE WITH U.S. DELEGATION, (C) ANY MAJOR ISSUES U.S. SHOULD RAISE WITH COUNTRY DELEGATION. RE 2(C), IN VIEW OF LARGE NUMBER OF COUNTRY DELEGATIONS, FORWARD ONLY ISSUES OF MAJOR IMPORTANCE RELATING TO ACTIVITIES OF FUND AND BANK.
Of course New Delhi Embassy of USA had done that already, as early as August 7. Those who read about IMF meetings of 21st century, has very little idea about what transpired in 1973, even in morning of 24 September, cables were sent from Lisbon about who has boarded the plane for Nairobi or Chinese protest on some countries or even African countries threatening to walkout if the Apartheid regime of South Africa attends . If you want to read about them, please go to wikileaks website, search Kissinger cable, put “IMF/IBRD Annual meeting” in search string, select date range from August 1973 to October 1973 and search.
Thanks to Manmohan Singh, USA had very little to worry from India. In next volume of Cables on Manmohan Singh, we will delve deep into business of IMF, Rupee Crisis and Debt crisis of many countries including India in 1973-74.