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What Is India News Service
Tuesday, December 12, 2006


India Intelligence Report



 

 

 

   Qualitative Jump in Indo-US Relations

  In a major show of good faith, US policy makers worked into the night to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the amendments to US law that would facilitate Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation and will be signed into law by US President George Bush.
 

 

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Qualitative Jump in Indo-US Relations
   

In a major show of good faith, US policy makers worked into the night to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the amendments to US law that would facilitate Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation and will be signed into law by US President George Bush. Most "extraneous" provisions included in the House version were taken out but some did get through prompting some opposed to the deal in India to demand a rejection of the Bill. Bush promised to sign the amendment saying that he was "pleased" that the two "countries will soon have increased opportunities to work together to meet our energy needs in a manner that does not increase air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, promotes clean development, supports nonproliferation, and advances our trade interests."

The amendment allows the US to ship nuclear fuel, trade, and exchange with 14 nuclear reactors in India (while 8 military ones will remain off limits) and allow India to access nuclear civilian power technology even though it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). So far, US laws had disallowed such interaction to India because of its continuous opposition to the NPT because of its discriminatory foundation of recognizing only 5 nuclear weapons states denying others the same right and without a requirement for their disarmament.

There is broad agreement that the deal is reshaping India-U.S. relations and could alter the global power balance. Nuclear Ayatollahs in the US and their Pakistani sponsors were quick to acknowledge that this bill brings a "qualitative change" in relations between New Delhi and Washington but also warned that it "will make Pakistan much more insecure." Pakistan tried to ratchet up its morale by testing nuclear-capable Hatf III (code named Ghaznavi after a barbaric warlord who plundered Hindu temples in North India a thousand years ago). Pakistan claimed that this was a scheduled testing and had nothing to do with the nuclear vote in Washington. But the timing of the test and the arrival of Chinese troops for joint exercise in Islamabad goes to show an increasing movement of Pakistan away from Washington into the "evergreen" arms of Beijing. The warning of a nuclear arms race in South Asia is nonsensical since Pakistan, with an anemic economy steeped in sectarian violence and running civil wars, cannot afford such an arms race unless it is sponsored by China.

However, India is concerned with some "extraneous" provisions that have been included within the bill. While many feel that these changes are not show stoppers, there are some who have not just grown out of decades of mistrust born out of Cold War politics. Indian Foreign Ministry called the deal "historic" but also cautioned about "certain extraneous and prescriptive provisions" that needs careful examination and selling within India. It reinforced Indian thinking that "legislation enacted in a foreign country" cannot be binding on India or "take away from us the sovereign right to conduct foreign policy determined solely by our national interests."

 

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