Monday, September 08, 2008
Admitting Error on NSG and India
It does appear that for some countries, the first vote was meant to "punish Washington"--or at least show India that Washington was not all-powerful. The second vote appears to have passed in large part because many countries, with the waivers in place, expect to play a profitable role in India's nuclear industry, among them Russia, Kazakhstan, France and even Australia. Other countries, like New Zealand, also got New Delhi to commit not to again test nuclear weapons and so were prepared to grant the waivers.
Will the U.S. Congress now move quickly enough to get the deal in place?
I don't see Congress rejecting the deal because opposition to the deal will be painted as being "against creating US jobs." With elections coming up, I doubt too many congressmen will risk being painted with that brush.
As far as China's position goes, one gets the feeling that China, while having agreed to support India's position earlier, felt that it could quietly leverage the opposition by Austria, New Zealand etc. to scuttle the deal. When it tried to, the US and India called it out. I think the biggest driver behind China coming around to support the deal was a concerted effort on multiple levels of government by the US.
Moreover, China can now argue for selling nuclear technology to other states.
The agreement allows India access to much needed energy - something that's necessary for it to grow at its present rate (And limit the gap between its economy and China's).
China sees India as a competitor within its sphere of influence. Perhaps the opposition to the deal was an attempt to constrain India's economic growth by preventing it from access to nuclear energy.