Some Perspectives on the Nuclear Deal
The Indo-US Nuclear deal offers Unhindered access to advanced technologies (not just in the Nuclear field). For India this deal is important to end the technology isolation of the last few decades. We need latest technology to sustain ourselves at over 10% economic growth for the next 25 years.
What does the US gets in doing this, as it appears it wants India to grow? Why does it want this? Why Now? An altruistic United States? No way! To answer that, we need to understand what's the pressure the US is going through currently. At the moment, the US is going through very difficult times in the short period of sole super power status(since 1991). Perhaps its international appeal is at its lowest ebb, and one of the biggest reasons for this is its low credibility in the Muslim world.
From that angle it makes sense to get India with its second largest Muslim population into its embrace and the added pressure for US to do so now is that only Congress can do this deal. If the same is done by BJP, it will be seen as an anti-Muslim deal, hence the rush and push by US. Also note US has seen Indian political resilience all the way from 1962 (first real awakening of threat of external aggression),1965 (2nd Indo-Pak war), 1971(a watershed year in Indian diplomacy, the single incident where India played a decisive role at International level), 1974 (Hawkish India wanting to crash land on the International scene, but it miserably backfired, which irked already hurt US pride, and thus set off technological isolation, thus creating perfect reasons for self dependence), 1979 (Opposition to USSR on Afghanistan invasion and occupation)1984 (Operation Blue Star, the first serious non military threat for break up of India), 1987(India's Vietnam), 1993(second major chance for country bread up), 1991(first steps towards some serious economic corrections) , 1998 (really shook the world and India truly arrived at international stage).
This, coupled with growing economic clout, makes sense for anyone to be good friends with India and better still if they can get India's backing for what ever they want to do the world over. In 2004 after the Tsunami, India used its Naval power meaningfully for the first time. This still has a huge impact in this part of the world, imagine Indian warships off Sri Lankan and Indonesian coasts within a day of the incident and that too when India itself was impacted.
After each and every incident, we need to understand how the powers of the day viewed India, it started with pity, then fear, then awe, then respect. The world saw us through the above prism and how we conducted ourselves. They have definitely seen India pulling itself through these crises and putting up a united front. Political democracy is well entrenched within India.
Coupled with the above, India has been consistently contributing to UN forces all over the world all the way from Korean War (1953), thus strengthening the fundamental concept of UN and world bodies. In general, even under adverse conditions India never allowed spreading of Nuclear technology. That is truly something remarkable, given all the hawkish nature of some of the right and left wingers we never allowed this. Why? I mean its not all that difficult to start a clandestine operation and sustain it, and we did have many opportunities to do this, but there is something inherent in the system which prevented this. Definitely the world has taken notice of this. The basic fear of Nuclear fuel suppliers, which is proliferation, is proven beyond doubt not to apply to India(We have had N-Tech for 3+ decades now), but here again there is a breaking point which could see India running something similar to Khan-mart. We can and do independent business (eg. business with Iran, Myanmar, some of the African republics, Cuba, some of the South American countries) and this worries the West.
Having said the above, we need to look at the need for support from world powers. Why should be they be so nice to us? The world also recognizes that India has to feed its 1 billion+ population else there will be serious social repercussions. They do not want to see 27 new countries. They had enough of that with the fall of USSR followed by Yugoslavia. To avoid this fate, India needs to develop fast economically and technology can help do that but cannot entirely solve the problem. We still need people to buy goods and services, i.e markets and the West can provide that. Also, the West want to spread their risk - currently they are exposed to China alone.
To summarize, there are 3 major reasons to help India
- its ability to pursue an independent foreign policy (India has a mind of its own, which is not to easy to understand and that does not give the predictability which the West wants)
- Fear of break up of India, which surprisingly is not much discussed within India, but those who see the diversity are definitely alarmed about it.
- Spreading of business risks
Binding India with treaties and deals will help to firmly keep it in the fold. The world knows India will never rescind any international agreement/treaty once we agree, and it has seen each successive Government from different shades of the political spectrum sticking to the deals, One must credit our politicians at least for this. Imagine each Government coming in and scrapping all the deals from previous Governments, we still would have been struck in the 1960s.
Some Perspectives on the Nuclear Deal
- » Published on September 11, 2007
- » Type: Opinion
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