India's usually reasonable prime minister is getting paranoid, it seems. Or at least when it comes to anti-nuclear protests.
Manmohan Singh has become the latest of a string of Indians to blame "the foreign hand" for troubles at home, The Wall Street Journal points out in an analysis of Singh's recent interview with Science magazine.
But if he's trying to quiet opposition to his bold vision for nuclear energy, he didn't exactly hit the sweet spot.
“The atomic energy program has got into difficulties because these NGOs, mostly I think based in the United States, don’t appreciate the need for our country to increase the energy supply,” Singh told Science with respect to protests against the Kudankulam nuclear plant, in Tamil Nadu.
Huh? I suppose anything is possible. And maybe there are even some foreign NGOs that contribute funds to the local outfits participating in the protests -- that kind of money goes through a lot of different coffers. But implying that it's some grand conspiracy to undermine India's nuclear energy program without any evidence is, frankly, absurd.
When I visited the site of vigorous anti-nuclear protests in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, last year, I didn't run into any fellow Americans. Or even any French people. The locals were up in arms for their own reasons, of course. But if there was any sideline to the issue, it was that opposition political parties like the Shiv Sena and so forth -- a bitter enemy of the Congress -- were taking advantage of the post-Fukushima worries of the locals.