[Marxism] Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Indian PM Throws Up Hands!

Sukla Sen suklasenp at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Oct 16 10:56:54 MDT 2007


>From Times Online
October 16, 2007
Indian Prime Minister calls off nuclear deal with the
United States
Jeremy Page in Delhi

India has officially informed the United States that
it has frozen a bilateral nuclear deal that was
supposed to herald a new strategic alliance between
the biggest democracy in the world and the richest.

Manmohan Singh, the Indian Prime Minister, phoned
President Bush late last night to tell him that the
deal had run into difficulties because of staunch
opposition from his communist allies.

“The Prime Minister explained to President Bush that
certain difficulties have arisen with respect to
operationalisation of the India-US civil nuclear
co-operation agreement,” Dr Singh’s office said.

The Americans said that they would continue to work on
the deal, but analysts and diplomats said that it
would not be ready for approval by the US Congress
before the end of the Bush Administration. “It’s over.
The Americans are distraught,” one Western diplomat
told The Times. “The Embassy has been working on very
little else for the past two years.”

The deal’s failure is a big embarrassment for Dr
Singh, who made it his personal project, and for Mr
Bush, who was hoping that it would be a sorely needed
foreign policy success.

The “123” agreement, announced with fanfare last year,
would allow India to import US nuclear fuel and
technology for the first time in 30 years, easing its
energy shortage and binding it closer to Washington.

India — which leant towards the Soviet Union during
the Cold War — would have had to open up some of its
nuclear facilities to international inspections and
other safeguards in return.

But the communists who back India’s ruling coalition
in parliament say that it would make India subservient
to US strategic interests and compromise its own
military nuclear programme.

They repeatedly threatened to withdraw their support,
forcing early elections, if the Government
“operationalised” the deal by opening negotiations
with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Dr Singh appeared determined to call the communists’
bluff until Friday, when he suddenly backtracked and
said that his priority was to see out the Government’s
term that ends in 2009.

Sources in his Congress Party, which leads the ruling
coalition, said that party pollsters and smaller
regional parties in the coalition had balked at the
prospect of elections early next year. Dr Singh’s call
to President Bush put the nail in the coffin, the
sources said.

Tom Casey, the US State Department’s deputy spokesman,
told reporters: “I think we’re going to continue to
work on our part and we assume they’re going to
continue to work on theirs and it’ll be done in a time
that is appropriate for both sides.”

An Indian Foreign Ministry official maintained that
the deal’s fate would not be decided until after talks
between the Government and the communists scheduled
for October 22.

But Congress Party sources said that the Government
would not even try to persuade the communists and had
postponed indefinitely official negotiations with the

The Government had aimed to conclude the IAEA pact by
the end of this month so that it could win approval
from the Nuclear Suppliers Group in time for the US
Congress to endorse the deal before the year’s end.

Any later and a lame-duck Bush Administration will
struggle to steer the deal through an already hostile
Congress pre-occupied with next year’s presidential

And if a Democrat wins the White House, analysts say
it is likely to take a tougher stance on nuclear

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