Bush signs Nuclear deal

“It is a Big Deal”. When the whole of India slept on Thursday morning, George Bush signed the legislation to implement the Indo-US Nuclear deal in the White House.  The legislation marks a historic deal that took more then three years in the making.
George Bush was all smiles as he signed the legislation confirming that there will be no change in fuel supply. The Vice President of America Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and the Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen were present as the American president signed the historic deal.
Bush went on to say, that it was a “Big Day” for strengthening the relationship between the two nations. He also acknowledged the hard work put in the by the entire team on both the sides as the nuclear deal went through a lot of ups and downs in the past three years. He further added that India is a natural partner of the united States of America as the two countries had similar interests and values.
The deal also means that India will now be able to get nuclear energy from the Nuclear Suppliers group which will end India’s Nuclear isolation for the past thirty years. India will now have a reliable fuel supply and thus will be able to meet the energy needs of a billion plus population and also will no longer have to be dependent on fossil fuels.
Contrary to reports doing the rounds in the media, the legislation has not modified the 123 agreement submitted to the congress. Thus Bush clarified the doubts that people would have had over fuel supply issues. Indian Foreign affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee is likely to visit Washington in the next two days to sign the 123 agreement.
Bush was also positive about the strong relationship between the two countries and was sure that the relationship between the two countries would only grow further in the upcoming years. “Even though the United States and India are separated by half the globe, we are natural partners as we head into the 21st century,” Bush said.
Bush also wished people in India and around the world celebrating the festival of Delhi which is due this month. Incidentally it was George bush who had started Diwali celebrations in the White House a couple of years back, a gesture that was highly appreciated by the Indian community staying in the US.
The Indo US Nuclear deal had created a furor in India with the Left parties withdrawing support over the implementation of the deal. Several old political ties were severed and new alliances came forth with the Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh offering support to the Manmohan Singh government when they were falling short of a majority in Parliament. Meanwhile the Left parties and the BJP had criticized the Indo US nuclear deal severely by saying that it was a deal between two people and not between two countries. But the congress government was able maintain a majority in the house of parliament and the Indo US nuclear deal went as forward. Despite some doubts being raised by the Atomic Energy association, the Indo US Nuclear deal was giving a thumbs up and a deal which took more than three years in the making finally attained fruition.

Indo-US Nuclear Deal is DEAD?

HOW OFTEN we have seen the Indian cricket team being beaten in the game after getting on top of the opposition. The same thing is happening with the Indo-US nuclear deal, which was cleared by Senate in the United States and then Indian Prime Minister went on to risk his government to move forward with the deal. But then some behind-the-stage drama led to curtains on the deal. Where is the nuke deal heading now? The issue, which dominated foreign policy in 2007, has lost its way somewhere after Left parties threatened to withdraw support from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if the deal was finalised.

Nuke DealUS ambassador David Mulford has said, “If this is not processed in the present Congress, it is unlikely that this deal will be offered again to India. It certainly would not be revived and offered by any administration, Democratic or Republican, before the year 2010, which is after the life of this administration.”

Flash back to 1950, when India was offered the permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council but the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru refused to accept the offer because he believed it was aimed at “creating trouble between India and China.” Ever since, India has been trying very hard to get the place in Security Council. That seat eventually went to China. China grabbed it with both hands and now is the staunchest opponent on the expansion of Security Council. It seems that time has rolled on and we are back at the same stage as before. The government might have bought time to convince the dissatisfied colleagues of UPA on the deal. But till date no positive step has been taken towards the finalisation of the deal.

The top nuke scientists believe that India has got a fair deal. A major component of any clean energy strategy must be nuclear power and I strongly believe that the civil nuclear agreement that was negotiated was good for India. India is already facing crisis on the energy front and the deal could have solved the problem for India. There are several other advantages, which have been highlighted time and again.

The US is continuously warning India that it is “now or never” for India as non-proliferation groups may force additional conditions on it, considering that they are too unhappy with the deal in its present form. The political atmosphere in India and US is changing and we might not get another deal in near future if it fails this time. The backing down from the deal has also caused an international embarrassment to the Prime Minister and he will have to personally face a two-sided attack for this foreign policy failure that he himself had nurtured and gone against the tide.

The times have changed but it seems that the Left are still living in the past. The Left, which has its presence only in the three Indian states and with only 60 MPs in Parliament, has caused the government to change its stance on such an important issue.

The lack of will on the part of Congress is also surprising because it was Congress’s government that refused the Security Council seat in United Nations in 1950 and now this deal in 2007. The inability to operationalise the deal would hurt the government’s image. The prime reason for silence over the deal is that every step taken in Indian politics is backed by political mileage and economy and international business has never been on that list. I don’t think political parties think about India’s benefit while they take a stand.