deal with USA was an important milestone in the India–US
relationship, which in the words of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan
Singh ‘was the last cobweb that needed removing, and there were no
more barriers’. Luckily he is the Foreign Minister also and can now
craft matters his way with economic under pinning. He saved us in
1991 from bankruptcy. Today despite pathetic basics of electricity,
water and infrastructure the economy is doing well.
On the nuclear deal the PM is playing it cool with
USA, and many may
have missed reading into his speech in Parliament in defence of the
Indo–US nuclear deal. He assured the nation of its benefits, and
made it clear to USA that India was not going to budge on its
strategic nuclear capability and the speech was brilliantly crafted.
He explained how persons like Kakodkar, the Head of DAE,
Chidambaram, Scientific Adviser and also a former DAE head, and the
PMO were all involved in the crafting the deal. The military was not
involved, yet India's strategic nuclear deterrent is safe and can be
expanded. A window for testing is being kept open and this has
confused US senators.
policy is now no more non aligned and so
is free to do what it wants in the world arena and follow
Chanakaya’s principles. On a recent visit to Pakistan we could
discern that USA’s tilt away from Pakistan to India was clearly on
their minds. Last month in Islamabad President Musharraf suggested
to MP and peace activist Nirmala Deshpande, the Chairperson of India
Pakistan Soldier’s Initiative for Peace (IPSI), that both countries
needed to control their agencies and the Foreign Affairs Ministries,
so that the peace process moved ahead. Leaders in both countries
sometimes lose control over activities of the agencies.
The sound bytes that the Prime Minister injects into his
speeches and press conferences are creative. He has Sanjay Baru as a
media adviser and others who now are free to write. On the nuclear
has enough enriched uranium fuel from
supplied legally recently, under the IAEA/NSG rules for the Tarapur
1 and 2 nuclear plants. USA cannot supply the fuel as their laws do
not permit it, and businessmen will understand they are the losers.
We learn that the Army Utility helicopter deal which is
overdue for final orders between
USA’s Bell 407 and
Eurocopter Fennec AS 550, may go to Europe to hurt US business,
though both helicopters have done well in trials. Now it will be a
political decision many feel. That’s when
will wake up some say.
We post a recent article by columnist Jim Hoagland on Dr
Manmohan Singh’s statements and the bytes are worth reading.
By Jim Hoagland
Thursday, April 20,
NEW DELHI –– At a
time when even friendly governments are quick to distance themselves
from the United States and its pugnacious, embattled president,
is a strategic maverick. The former firebrand of the Non-Aligned
Movement has chosen this moment to forge a close partnership with
and to speak up positively about American power in world affairs.
"This lack of nuclear cooperation is the last remaining cobweb from
our old relationship, and we can now sweep it aside," Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh said with an expressive wave of his hand. "There are
no other barriers to a more productive, more durable relationship
with the United States. The potential is enormous for our two
India is the new
China in the eyes of the Bush administration, which has promised to
help this once-slumbering Asian giant develop into one of the
world’s five or six major economic and political powers. That
undertaking has instilled a new sense of security in the Indian
capital and erased long-standing tensions.
Singh praised "the new thinking" in Washington during our
conversation and easily skipped over renewed U.S. arms sales to
Pakistan, American pressure for action on Iran and other topics that
would have sunk most of his predecessors into bitter grumbling about
The Indian leader’s impressively modest and precise manner
sets a moderate tone for his remarks. A visitor quickly understands
why he is trusted and respected by his peers in the rough-and-tumble
world of Indian politics. That does not prevent him from being
candid in his assessments:
"We recognize that the
United States is
the preeminent superpower in the world and that it is in India’s
interest to have good relations with the
as a very important partner in realizing our development ambitions,"
One way of helping with development and environmental
protection, Singh quickly suggested, was for the U.S. Congress to
approve legislative changes that clear the way for the
United States to
provide civilian nuclear technology and supplies to India after a
32-year ban triggered by India’s development and testing of nuclear
Bush and Singh reached agreement last July on reciprocal
steps for the resumption of nuclear energy cooperation outside the
international Non-Proliferation Treaty. Singh has persuaded his
left-wing allies in the coalition government he heads not "to wreck
the boat" by opposing "an agreement that is in
because of their suspicion of
The administration hopes to move the legislative changes
through Congress in May, giving Bush a badly needed foreign policy
success as well as the first direct American influence over
weapons program, which would be partially covered by new safeguards
Singh would not speculate on the consequences of a refusal by
Congress to accept the agreement. But in response to questions, he
did identify two things that he does not expect to happen.
India would ever
put all of its reactors under full-scope safeguards –– as some U.S.
critics say Bush should have demanded –– he replied: "No. We would
like the world to move toward universal nuclear disarmament. But
given the circumstances, we need a strategic nuclear weapons
program. In our neighborhood, China is a nuclear power and on our
western frontier there is Pakistan, which developed its weapons
through clandestine proliferation."
And he said he could not imagine circumstances that would
to resume nuclear testing, an option that his Indian critics assert
is a sovereign right. "Our scientists tell me they need no further
tests. As for the distant future, I cannot predict forever, but our
commitment is to continue our unilateral moratorium."
The conversation underscored for me that flaws in the nuclear draft
agreement are heavily outweighed by the advantages it brings in
cutting global pollution, easing pressure on oil markets and
bringing a substantial part of India’s nuclear program under
Noting that Chinese President Hu Jintao was visiting the
States this week, Singh insisted that "we are not developing our
relationship with the U.S. at the cost of our relationship with
which is our neighbor and with which our trade is growing at a
handsome rate. President Bush told me this is a sensible way to
proceed, and that America will remain engaged with China, too."
On Iran, he urged Washington to allow "the maximum scope for
dialogue and discussions. The Iranian regime may need some time to
settle down." But, he added, "We are very clear that we do not want
another nuclear weapons power in the region."
India is moving
from a past of shaking an angry finger in the American face to
providing a helping hand for U.S. power in the future.
The Senate and
House should move expeditiously to set this transformation in