Monday, September 08, 2008

Admitting Error on NSG and India

So the Nuclear Suppliers' Group did go ahead and give India the waivers after all, that will permit the U.S.-India nuclear deal to go forward. So earlier predictions about a holdup were wrong.

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?

The Indian press is relaying the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry that says "Russia was among those who initiated this decision" and how Russia stands to benefit from the waiver so it can expand its own business opportunities in the nuclear field.
Why did China change its position? I wonder whether in part they wanted to stop being a scapegoat for the deal not passing, becuase now it is in America's court.
India will wait for the agreement to pass Congress. Apparently Bush and Manmohan Singh have a gentleman's agreement which Singh fully intends to honour.

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.
This agreement binds India into a de facto NPT regime. She can get out only by paying a very very high cost. Why should China oppose this?

Moreover, China can now argue for selling nuclear technology to other states.
This agreement doesn't bind India into a de facto NPT regime any more than India's self-imposed moratorium on nuclear weapons testing did.

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.
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