Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Standing by your friends:India, U.S. push ahead with nuclear deal

March 31, 2010


For all the hand-wringing in India over getting sidelined by the United States in its regional strategy,  the two countries have gone ahead and just completed an important deal on the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from reactors to be built in India.

The agreement is a key step in the implementation of the India-U.S.  civil nuclear pact which grants India access to nuclear fuel and technology, even though it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Under the agreement India can reprocess U.S.-originated nuclear material under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards which in itself is a symbolic concession, according to the Washington Post. It said that the Indians were a bit concerned about the idea of American officials running around their  nuclear reactors , a sort of  “a symbolic, sovereignty issue” as  a source in the U.S. nuclear industry said. They would rather submit to oversight by the IAEA, which thus far is a model the United States has only followed for nuclear collaboration with  Europe and Japan.

Considering that America has gone to war in Iraq on the grounds that it was building weapons of mass destruction and is at this time pushing for tougher sanctions against Iran for its nuclear programme, it is indeed a big deal. It can  also potentially reshape the strategic landscape in South Asia with the world virtually granting legitimacy to India as a nuclear weapons state while denying that to Pakistan.

Pushing the accord through in the U.S. has  been a “wrenching affair” as the Indian Express put it,  riding against the current of proliferation concerns worldwide. Why should the world be making an exception for India just as it is breathing down hard on Iran and North Korea to roll back their nuclear programmes ? Where, after all, is the iron-clad guarantee that India won’t divert some of the  plutonium extracted from the imported spent fuel to its strategic weapons programme, the experts ask.  Blatant double standards, the Union of Concerned Scientists said.

No wonder Pakistan asked for a similar deal at high-level talks in Washington last week aimed at putting their tempestuous ties on a more even keel.

And so in that sense, the India-US nuclear deal, really the crown jewel of a strategic partnership, will be the elephant in the room as Washington, Islamabad, and New Delhi tackle a complicated three-way relationship in one of the world’s most unstable regions.


India is a peaceful country. As a major world power India deserves a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. It’s culture is ancient and non-violence is widely respected in India.

Posted by Desert Eagle | Report as abusive

How can you compare India’s nuclear ambitions with that of Iran or N.Korea. For goodness’s sake, India is the largest democracy in the world and has as much justification to use nuclear power as the US or Europe. The biggest rogue nation – China – has been accorded “gentleman” status in most matters. There is your double standards.

Posted by Gautam | Report as abusive

I think it’s a very ridiculous idea for anyone to compare India and Pakistan when it comes to nuclear technology. Yes they both have it but India unlike Pakistan did not go and sell it off in the black market to the highest bidder and thus creating serious security concerns world over.
This is the very reason why Pakistan will never be granted the same nuclear deal as India. It will be seen as rewarding Pakistan for its wrongful actions. No one can trust Pakistan given its shady history and the fact that so many terrorist are trained on its soil.

Posted by Jay | Report as abusive

We need to beef up India’s nuclear ambition as fast as possible.


India is in possession of nuclear technology for last several decades , but India never indulged in proliferation of nuclear technology unlike Pakistan or North Korea . This Indo-US nuclear deal is a right step in the right direction honoring India’s status in the world politics.

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive

Perhaps as an observer one should be allowed to ask a number of questions relating to the US love with India;
.How many civilian nuclear reactors are in the US?

.Are the indian leaders not aware of the potential risks from the nuclear reactors which provide energy. Do they really want to go this route, although the US is going to adopt the new safer technologies for acquiring energy.
. France unfortunately is the only country in the world to obtain almost most of its domestic and industrial energy from the nuclear reactors. Germany which has the largest insdustial economy in Europe is to gradually close its nuclear reactors purely on safety grounds.
. For US the entire Asian subcontinent has geo strategic importance simply to sorrund the new Super Power China.
Mr Obama has slightly changed the US strategy for setting up bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan instead of George W plan who was aiming for Indian bases.
. Do people really believe that India is a peaceful country and a democracy? Should we ignore Indian Army ruthless suppression of its own citizens and unfriendly relations with its neighbours?

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

This is not to say that the current Pakistan leaders are of a saner quality.Like children they would ask for any thing India acquires. They do not have to pay the US so they would accept even poison as long as it is free.

Both nations were colonised by the Brits and they have not yet come out of the habits of a slave.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

It is a step in right direction to accept the reality that India unlike any other countries around, is much stronger contributor to world peace.
In short time after independence, it has achieved much on its own. US- India few steps towards each other will make the world more peaceful….

Posted by peace | Report as abusive

India and Pakistan are now tow different countries with different decmocratic, human and economic trajectories.

Pakistan is a rogue nation full of currupt slaves of China and the US.

Pakistan is a terrorist nation which has been playing havoc with itself, Afghanistan, India and the world at large.

Nuclear deal or no, Pakistan and China need to be kept in check to save the region and the world..

Posted by RK_France | Report as abusive

What is the reson that India does not sign the NPT?

Posted by vegasscorpio1 | Report as abusive

>>What is the reson that India does not sign the NPT?

First read up on NPT – then come here and demonstrate ignorance.

NPT is basically a cluster f*ck amongst China, France, Russia, US and UK. NPT dictates that these five countries get to decide which country keeps nuclear arms and who should be disarmed. It is like a international version of high school bullies who carry knives – but prohibit rest of the students to carry knives as it is not safe and not peaceful.

@vegasscorpio1 – I think you are an American ‘coz only Americans can be as simple minded as you are.

With or without US help, Indians will get where they want to go to solve their energy crisis.

Moreover, the nuclear technology assistance from US is NOT a charity – it will be paid for.

Posted by ap | Report as abusive

I think the US is willing to accord a ‘special’status for the simple reason that the India needs all the energy it can get its hands on and so,India will turn out to be a very lucrative market for nuclear reactors.

India does not have a proliferation issue that Pakistan has.It scruplously avoids proliferation-does not transfer sensitive technology.

I hope Americans manage to sell a lot of reactors to India

Posted by Shyam | Report as abusive

how can you compare India with china, Korea, Pakistan & even UNITED STATES.
Its disgrace that there is no one keeping watch on US & China.
china is considered to be a noble country but it is one of the biggest threat to mankind.
china is responsible for degradation in quality of goods
it has started annexing India’s territories
and India’s people are threat to themselves all corrupt admins are also few citizens between them

Posted by parth | Report as abusive

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