deal bw india and us for trade in nuclear fuel
THE JULY 18 nuclear agreement between India and the United States represented a dramatic reversal of Washington's proliferation policies towards New Delhi. Dropping its insistence on India capping or reversing its nuclear weapons programme, the Bush administration declared itself willing to engage in nuclear commerce with a nation whose growing strategic significance it was keen to harness. In the neocon worldview, India's nuclear weapons are not a problem for American power but an asset in the larger game of tethering China and preventing the emergence of an Asian security architecture that might exclude the U.S. Central to this project is the prevention of pan-Asian energy arrangements built around pipelines linking Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, and China. Allowing India access to international civil nuclear technology and supplies flows directly from these imperatives.
In exchange, India committed itself to a number of "voluntary" steps aimed at bringing its nuclear industry under some measure of international scrutiny. Its nuclear weapons programme was excluded from the purview of the July 18 agreement. At the same time, the U.S. was confident that the separation of military and civil nuclear facilities and the placing of the latter under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards would help keep the Indian arsenal within the limits needed to `balance' China and ensure it did not develop into a more open-ended enterprise with global implications. Ideally, the U.S. would also like to influence India's choice of civilian nuclear technology, moving it away from its indigenous plutonium-thorium based three-stage programme towards light water reactors running on "proliferation-risk free" low enriched uranium.
Though the Government insists no hidden conditions were attached to the agreement, India was left in no doubt that its strategic instincts and plans must henceforth be curbed or, at the...