Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What's Happening with the US-India Nuclear Deal?

What was supposed to be one of the signature successes of the Bush Administration in foreign policy now appears to be on course for a crash and burn. The nuclear deal that was to cement the new rapprochement between Washington and New Delhi is threatened.

Hopefully some of this might be addressed in an event tomorrow that the magazine is co-sponsoring (Breaking More Naan with Delhi, featuring Ambassador Karl Inderfurth of the Elliott School at George Washington and Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution), but here are some of my lines of speculation as well:

1) Perhaps Prime Minister Singh sent a signal that he is prepared to move on the deal but only when a new U.S. president is in place, if that is how we interpret his comments about keeping his government intact until 2009.

2) This is a ploy meant to simultaneously discredit the leftist parties further (since the conventional wisdom is that India's rising middle class wants the deal to go through) and to put pressure on the U.S.

3) This is a reaction to the May 2007 letter sent by members of Congress that was interpreted by many in India as an attempt to exercise undue influence over Indian foreign policy

Any other suggestions?

Guess the US was not so indispensable to India after all. Singh's comments that keeping his government intact is a higher priority than pushing through the deal is very illuminating indeed.
Siddharth Srivastava over at Asia Times quotes Congress president Sonia Gandhi as saying that the government would last its term and will not push the nation into a political crisis over the nuclear stand-off, given other challenges such as confronting India's enormous poverty problem.

He then speculates whether the left-wingers might now relent in their opposition if there is a negative reaction.
This commies are fools...What about all the Indians who spent all their efforts lobbying to push the deal in US congress. Will the Indian Govt be able to take their support for granted the next time they want their help.
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