India Insight

Jury still out on Indo-U.S. “unclear” deal

US President Bush raises his glass for a toast with Indian Prime Minister Singh at an official dinner …US President Bush raises his glass for a toast with Indian Prime Minister Singh at an official dinner …You could be forgiven for thinking that the civilian nuclear deal with the United States is all about whether India holds early elections or not.

Every newspaper is speculating if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has staked his personal reputation on the deal, will resign to disassociate himself from an administration that failed to save a pact keenly watched by the world.

But are these the arguments India should be debating in the short-term or should we be discussing the real benefits and drawbacks of the deal?

The communists oppose the deal, in large part because they see it as a front for Washington’s strategic bulwark against a rising China and increasingly unstable Pakistan.

Besides, they say there are many holes in the deal that Washington will use to manipulate India’s foreign and strategic programmes, and that nuclear energy is not a solution to the shortage of electricity in the country or rising oil prices.

Where there is smoke in Congress — is there fire?

Sonia Gandhi at Bangalore rallyMurmurs of discontent have risen in some ranks of the ruling Congress about the influence of the Gandhi dynasty in the party.

Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh criticised last week how decision-making within Congress was made in a “narrow context” — meaning the Gandhis. He quickly backtracked by swearing loyalty to the family, but only after being publicly snubbed by Sonia Gandhi.

This came amid a controversy over Rahul Gandhi’s very public trips around India — leading to him being called “Crown Prince”. Some said he was overshadowing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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