International Information Programs
July 22, 2005

July 22, 2005





**  Indian papers see a "transformation" in Indo-U.S. relations, yet remain apprehensive.

**  Virtually all media see U.S. as intent on gaining an ally to "balance the power" of China.

**  Leftist Indian dailies see reactor deal as first sign of India being "sold' to U.S.




'A test of the new strategic partnership'--  The Bush-Singh meeting, which writers described as "momentous," surprised Indian analysts who had expected Bush to give "fewer concessions."  Indian outlets applauded Bush's "willingness to take India out of the nuclear doghouse" by recognizing it as a "responsible state with advanced nuclear technology."  Some commentators warned however, not to "pop the champagne corks yet," or let "the present euphoria" cloud India's judgment.  The centrist Asian Age warned that Bush "does not have control over either the U.S. Congress or the Nuclear Suppliers Group" or NPT signatories who will put up "stiff resistance to the American decision to support India."  Meanwhile, Pakistan's nationalist Nawa-e-Waqt saw the agreement as "dangerous" because India "now has a free hand to further develop its nuclear program."


'The Asian balance of power'--  Almost universally, Indian editorialists saw the impetus for U.S. support of India's civilian nuclear program as an effort to gain "a large and economically thriving Asian nation" as an ally, one that "possesses sufficient gravitational force to keep the balance of power stable in the face of a rising China."  According to the centrist Indian Express, "The prospect that India is emerging as the 'swing state' in the global balance of power" shaped Singh's visit.  The leftist News Today agreed, saying Washington "foresaw the rise of China" and sought to shift the "political and economic balance of power in Asia" by allying itself with India.  Noting Bush's prior "strength" on preventing nuclear proliferation, Russia's business-oriented Kommersant found he "forsook his principles" to gain an ally "in the struggle with China for global domination."


'Is the Indian PM out to sell the country?'--  Indian journals observed that domestic leftists were "crying hoarse" over Singh's visit, arguing that by "entering into a strategic dialogue with a superpower," India's "strategic influence in South Asia" is being "sold."  However, most Indian media responded that bilateral relations should not be "miscontrued"; the left-of-center Maharashtra Times opined that a U.S.-India "strategic partnership" will "bolster India's energy requirements, including civil, nuclear and military needs."  The nationalist Hindustan Times saw Indian foreign policy as a "search for status."  Pursuing "mutually beneficial" policies such as developing energy strategies with the U.S. will help "underpin [India's] long-term interests."   On the down side, the centrist Hindu argued, "The more New Delhi is drawn to Washington's embrace, the less respect and room for maneuver it will have on the Asian and world stage."  The right-of-center Pioneer recognized that while following IAEA safegaurds is "a small price to pay for larger gains," it is possible the agreement could force India "to forego the advantages of a flexible credible minimum deterrent."


Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888,


EDITOR:  Louis S. Dennig IV


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 88 reports from 9 countries July 18-21, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Indian Summer"


The conservative Times opined (7/20):  "American gossip columnists were abuzz yesterday over the rare White House state dinner for the visiting Indian Prime Minister, only the fifth such occasion in George W. Bush's presidency. Political analysts, meanwhile, were equally struck by the President's effusive reception for Manmohan Singh, seeing this as evidence of a growing strategic relationship that will have repercussions throughout Asia and beyond.


Mr Bush went out of his way to underline the new ties. Only seven years ago, after India's first declared test of nuclear weapons, Washington led the world in condemning Delhi's nuclear ambitions and banning all co-operation in high technology. Yesterday Mr Bush promised Dr Singh substantial US help for India's civilian nuclear power programme in return for a commitment to adhere to international regimes intended to curb nuclear proliferation. Only a few years ago, America saw the burgeoning Indian call centres and high technology campuses as a threat to US jobs; now most major US corporations rely on the backroom expertise of Indian specialists to hold down costs and remain competitive.


For the US, India is a natural ally. The country's long self-imposed isolation and post-independence autarky have disappeared, together with the stultifying former alliance with Moscow. Instead, there has emerged a confident, well-educated generation, eager to grasp global opportunities, and with an expanding middle class that looks with admiration to America. Not only is India the world's largest democracy, whose vibrancy endorses the US commitment to spreading democratic values around the world; it is also a fast-growing economy offering a tantalising prospect to international investors of a still developing market.


Dr Singh, the architect of India's first modest economic reforms a decade ago, is limited by the old-fashioned leftists who form part of his fissiparous coalition; and although progress on reform has been somewhat disappointing since he took office last year, he has made it clear that he is determined to seize the opportunities that globalisation offers. A growing self-confidence has not only persuaded India to make an overdue effort to settle the long, destructive quarrel with Pakistan; it has led to Delhi playing a more assertive role on the world stage -- in peacekeeping, regional stability and in international organisations.


The contrast with China could not be more marked. India, despite its ramshackle infrastructure, is now attracting Western investors who have been burnt by sharp practice, the opaque legal framework and narrow-minded nationalism in China. India's political system is more multilayered, its society more open and economy more transparent. And whereas the Chinese leadership now seems swayed by a dangerously inward perspective, India's body politic is more predictable, mature and global. Little wonder, therefore, that Washington sees India as a counterweight to China. Little wonder that the toasts at Monday's dinner were unusually and genuinely warm."


GERMANY: "India And America"


Jochen Bushsteiner judged in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/21):  "Manhoman Singh is not the first Indian president who was received in the White House, but, unlike his predecessors, the government leader from Delhi did not act as representative of the 'Third world' but, according to Secretary Rice, as 'global partner.'…  Nothing emphasizes the overwhelming significance, which the United States attributes to India, more than Bush's announcement to establish nuclear cooperation....  This change is all the more remarkable, since the fight against nuclear proliferation dominates the U.S. foreign policy agenda....  India's calculations have become true.  The advocates of the country's nuclear tests in 1998 triumphed, since they argued that the risk of a short-term isolation in favor of a long-term increase in prestige must be accepted....  In addition, in domestic and international developments turned India into a factor of power, which can no longer be ignored....


The Indian government is fully aware of its comfortable position and is not even thinking of selling itself under value.  The insight of the need for U.S. assistance on its way to an Asian major power corresponds with the certainty that Washington, too, is dependent on India.  That is why India self-confidently insists on positions that America does not like: It rejects the mission in Iraq, and does not send forces despite requests.  It resists the U.S. policy towards Iran and prepares deals with Tehran that will cost billions of dollars.  Towards China, it does not seek rivalry, but, on the contrary, is striving for a 'strategic partnership. There is much, India can use to get from America what it has not received yet: support for their application for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council."


"Asian Tightrope Act"


Oliver Müller editorialized in business daily Handelsblatt (7/21):  "George W. Bush's courting of India resembles Richard Nixon's China policy at the beginning of the 70s, which aimed at creating a counterweight to the Soviet Union.  With India, the United States is now trying to guarantee a new power balance, which has been set in motion through China….  During President Manhoman Singh's visit to Washington, President Bush promised 'full cooperation in the civilian use of nuclear energy.'  Bush will also try to prompt other countries to follow suit.  With this move, Washington is now breaking with its 40-year old anti-proliferation policy.  Traditional schemes of international order are reviewed to find out whether they are still useful and [the United States is now] daring bold changes....


"But the main thing is that India will be upgraded on the international stage.  Even though India continues to reject to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the United States is now accepting India as a 'responsible state with a modern nuclear technology.'  With this formula, the United States de facto recognizes India as a legitimate nuclear power….  If Congress also approves the necessary amendments to the laws, Bush's pact with Singh creates the first exception from the ban of nuclear shipments to countries that do not allow international controls of their nuclear facilities.  With this decision the president makes a risky difference between nuclear weapons in 'good' and 'bad' hands like the ones of North Korea and Iran….  America has obviously realized that the center of gravity of global policy and global economy is shifting to Asia. That is why the United States is determined to shape this process in such a way that it does not undermine the U.S. claim for leadership.  And on the grounds of a convergence of values and interests, India should help as a 'natural partner.'"


ITALY: "Bush Welcomes Sing; Many 'Yes's, One 'No'"


Mario Platero opined in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (7/19):  “Yesterday in Washington, the Indian Prime Minister Mammohan Singh received a welcome worthy of a great power: a ceremonial visit, with a parade of troops on the southern lawn, even a formal dinner offered by President George W. Bush at the White House, rare events for this American presidency typically resistant to social events.  On a simple level therefore, everything worked out for the best, but Singh did not obtain that which he wanted most: American acquiescence on Indian entrance into the U.N. Security Council as a permanent member….  In effect, relations between the U.S. and India are currently very solid, also from an economic standpoint….  On a symbolic level, America needs the Indian democracy that hosts an enormous Muslim population.  India has been the target of terrorist attacks and after its compliance to the document issued by the G8 against the attacks in London, Delhi also has joined in the fight against global terrorism.”


RUSSIA:  "India Passes Nuclear Test"


Sergey Strokan said in business-oriented Kommersant (7/21): “Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ended his official visit to the United States yesterday.   Its results are sensational in many respects.   George Bush, who is very tough on nuclear proliferation, made an exception, his first ever, for India.   Even though New Delhi has not acceded to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Washington has signed an agreement with it on nuclear cooperation.   Mr. Bush forsook his principles in the hopes to win a strategic ally in Asia, so America can rely on it in the struggle with China for global domination.”


AUSTRIA: "New Game In A New Triangle"


Senior editor Helmut L. Mueller editorialized in independent Salzburger Nachrichten (7/21):  "The eye is no longer on the rise of China, America's future antipode. After a long period of neglect, Washington is now seeking to form closer ties with Delhi.... However, the distribution of carrots (civilian nuclear technology) to a country that builds its own nuclear weapons is a tricky business. What if US ally Pakistan soon demands similar favors, despite the fact that it passed on nuclear know-how to risky states? And if this demand were denied, would that encourage radical Islamists there? The new power constellation in the Pacific triangle demands clever management from Washington. India and China are striving to counterbalance US power through a multipolar system. The Asian aspirants are also getting in America's way on the global energy markets. The nuclear problem and the energy issue are linked:  The US wants to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons by way of UN sanctions if necessary - China would perceive this as an embargo against Iranian oil and veto it accordingly."




CHINA: "The Strategic Considerations Of Bush's High-Level Rection Of Sing"


Ni Xiayun, Li Meng and Zhong Qiu commented in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (7/20):  "Bush’s high-level reception of the Indian President Singh reflects the fact that the U.S. prizes its relationship with India.  The U.S. has adopted a new policy toward India.  It has clearly expressed a will to help India to become a major nation.  This fits into Washington’s larger strategy in South Asia.  India’s geographical position and its strategic influence in South Asia have convinced the U.S. to improve relations with India.  Media commented that U.S. moves to improve relations with India aim to defend against China.  In March, Secretary Rice said on her visit to Asia that one of the measures to deal with China’s rising is to set up new alliances and improve old ones.  Secretary Rice has expressed President Bush’s desire for the U.S. to set up ‘a decisive and broad strategic partnership’ with India.  The U.S.-India strategic partnership has manifested itself in the military field.  However, on the issue of India pursuing permanent membership of Security Council, the U.S. attitude is firm and clear.  It doesn’t want to see India fulfill this ambition.  This demonstrates that U.S. diplomacy is very practical and the limitation of the U.S.-India relations.”


"Indian PM's U.S. Visit A Qualified Success"


Official communist party People's Daily opined (7/20):  "Visiting Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh on July 18 held a bilateral meeting, which lasted more than two hours, with US President George W. Bush at the White House. The two sides conducted broad and in-depth discussions on topics such as defense, economy and trade, energy, anti-terrorism, high-tech transfer and the United Nations reform etc.


Singh said after the meeting that his meeting with president Bush was fruitful and constructive. Indian media also generally believed the summit "brought the two countries closer to each other", which is most obviously seen in the US' agreement to enhance cooperation with India in civilian nuclear technology.


Singh is the first Indian government leader to visit the United States in the past five years and both sides expect the summit can bring the bilateral relations onto the right track. The United States showed rare enthusiasm for the visit with high-profile receptions "rarely seen except for traditional allies". The two leaders emphasized the positive aspects in the bilateral relations at the joint press conference following the meeting, agreeing to enhance cooperation in security, economy and energy. They said that following decades of distrust, the bilateral relations now step on the right track. Regarding the war on terrorism and a strategic partnership, President Bush said that a cooperative partnership to be established will help the two countries further enhance their cooperation in nuclear and space technologies for civilian use and high-technology commerce


Public opinions in India generally believe that the success of Singh's visit depends not on how well the meeting goes, but on the final results. One of the criteria is whether he can win the US' consent and support for India's development of civilian nuclear technology, of which India has been dreaming for years. Singh stressed it at the meeting with President Bush. Though in a dilemma, president Bush nevertheless promised India to have comprehensive cooperation in nuclear power for civilian use.


The reason for Bush's hesitation is India's refusal to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the US legal ban of nuclear technology transfer to countries that do not sign it. In a joint statement issued after the meeting, president Bush acknowledged India as a rising country and said he would ask the US Congress to make amendment so that the two countries could conduct cooperation in the nuclear area. The joint statement says, as a responsible power which has commanded advanced nuclear technology, India needs to enjoy the benefits and advantages as other countries. Singh told the press after the publication of the joint statement that India develops civilian nuclear energy projects only for enough electricity for itself. However, international analysts believe the US' agreement to supply India with civilian nuclear technology is a victory of power politics against the NPT.


Most Indian media on July 19 gave detailed coverage on the summit headlines like "India and the United States start nuclear cooperation", regarding it as a major transition of the US' policy toward India, which signifies that the two countries have turned from foes to allies. India believes the agreement reached by the two sides in the nuclear energy area is a major breakthrough in the bilateral relations. It not only means the United States has officially acknowledged India's nuclear status, but at the same time will effectively help ease up energy gap in India. Some analysts believe the fact that the United States could make an exception to consider amending relevant laws for India reflects the US' special preference accorded to developing relations with India.


Singh's visit could be called a full success if he had been able to gain the US' explicit support for India's bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. At the meeting, Singh sought support from the US for India's bid. president Bush, however, "deliberately" kept silent and did not make clear his stance on the question. Later on, the US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said the United States would not show support for any country's bid for UNSC permanent seat except for Japan. Public opinion in India believes the US did not spare India' feelings on this issue, which made the Indian prime minister's visit fall short of promise.


INDONESIA: "U.S.-India Nuclear Sensation"


Leading independent Kompas commented (7/21):  “The desire to forge cooperation in a nuclear program area has given a new sensation in the dynamic relations between the U.S. and India. When receiving Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington early this week, U.S. President George W. Bush stated that he would ask Congress’s approval to lift the nuclear technology sanction on India… With or without the sanction, India is capable of developing its nuclear program. However, the lifting of sanction on India will undeniably make the U.S. to lose its moral right to prohibit other countries to supply nuclear technology to certain countries. The U.S. cannot ban Russia, for example, to supply nuclear material and technology to other countries such as Iran… In the case of India, the U.S. seems to disregard the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the risk of nuclear program competition in Asia due to pragmatic consideration for a tempting economic cooperation with India. The U.S. views India’s potential as a giant market with 1.1 billion population and the enthusiasm of high economic growth such as China.”




INDIA: "Born In The Future"


Centrist The Indian Express opined (7/21):  “When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met President George W. Bush in September 2004, the two leaders had declared that Indo-US relations had never been as good, but that the best was yet to come ... The nuclear and Kashmir issues were about the past, which the two sides are determined must look very different from the future. Bush and Singh have identified three broad areas for future joint initiatives. These include bilateral economic cooperation, which brings together the full range of new complementarities, including those of demographics and knowledge industries. Second was on spreading the virtues of democracy. In the past, India and the US were unwilling to make their own shared democratic values a basis for their foreign policy - the US supported pro-Western dictators and India, the anti-imperialist ones who mouthed third world slogans. Now Singh and Bush recognize the importance of promoting the values of pluralism and tolerance which they identify as the key to winning the war on terrorism. Finally, India and the US have also figured out they need each other to structure a new balance of power in Asia and beyond. Together the three new areas of engagement should constitute the long awaited transformation of Indo-US relations.”


"Needed, Consensus"


Pro-BJP right-of-center The Pioneer editorialized (7/21):  “It is reassuring that even the world's sole superpower can be compelled to accept awkward realities. When India conducted its May 1998 nuclear tests, the US reacted by furiously denouncing and denying the truth that had emerged from Pokhran.  Eight years later, that truth stands vindicated. Never mind semantics, the joint statement issued after Prime Minister Singh's meeting with President George Bush constitutes an implicit acknowledgement by the US of the reality of India's nuclear program.  Purists, of course, will point out that the acknowledgement falls short of according India the formal status of a nuclear weapons power and welcoming it to the nuclear club. That is indeed true, but it is no less important to note that the Americans have formally accepted that India is a responsible nuclear state. Equally important is the US assertion that India deserves the privileges and accesses to which similar states are entitled in the crucial areas of civilian nuclear technology and fuel.  That does mark an important departure from stated American policy. It would be in order to recall that the US Congress had adopted the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act in 1978 to punish India after Pokhran I in 1974 ... Two concerns, however, cannot be wished away. The first pertains to the nature of the deal that has been struck. India is seen as having committed itself to taking steps that could result in drastically refashioning its nuclear policy. Designating nuclear facilities as military or civilian and opening the latter to the UN watchdog body International Atomic Energy Agency's scrutiny may appear logical and a small price to pay for larger gains ...

The second concern is linked to the future of India's nuclear weapons program.  An initial analysis of the joint statement's text suggests that India may have to forego the advantages of a flexible credible minimum deterrent. In other words, the new arrangement may force a cap on India's nuclear arsenal and thus deprive New Delhi of the independence it has had till now of determining what constitutes a credible minimum deterrent. If that were to happen, India's national security interests would be severely compromised. On the other hand, the US has not made any commitments.  Whether or not Bush will be able to convince the US Congress to change its laws that prohibit Indo-American nuclear cooperation and member countries of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to do business with India is anybody's guess. Meanwhile, the UPA Government must take the nation into confidence and seek a national consensus before it takes any irreversible step. India's nuclear policy cannot be made subservient to exigencies of partisan politics or relations with the world's sole superpower.”


"Momentous Visit"


Centrist The Indian Express opined (7/21):  “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the United States was, by all means, a momentous one. His description of India and the US as “natural partners” while addressing the US Congress, which in itself was a rare honor, exemplified the bonhomie witnessed throughout his visit. The joint statement issued at the end of the summit meeting between Dr Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush is one of the most elaborate ones and it covers a whole gamut of bilateral issues. Primarily, it underscores a metamorphosis in India-US relations, which touched a nadir following Pokharan II. The US now recognizes India as a nuclear state with all the attendant advantages. This implies that India can look forward to receiving full cooperation from the US in all its civilian nuclear programs, particularly in power generation.  Rights come with responsibilities and it’s only in the fairness of things that India has mandated itself to honor all the commitments expected of a nuclear state. It is significant that India has attained the new status without compromising its known positions, the high-water mark of which is its own strategic interest. It’s not the result of a dramatic event that there is now a turnaround in India-US relations.

“The US recognizes the growing economic clout of India, which is expected to become one of the biggest economies of the world in less than two decades.  Aside from this, the two countries have many things in common like their unflinching adherence to democratic values and unwavering determination to fight terrorism. Once the steps outlined in the joint statement get a concrete shape, bilateral relations will reach a stage of apogee ... In short, Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit marks a watershed in India-US relations.”


"The Financial Express"


Right-of-center pro-economic-reforms The Financial Express noted (7/21):  “Going by initial reports, the outcome of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US has far exceeded expectations. Initiatives such as the setting up of an India-US forum of CEOs, enhanced trade, investment and technology collaboration and a dialogue to beef up energy security may be along expected lines. But in the area of nuclear energy, the visit has achieved a significant breakthrough.  President Bush’s offer of ‘full civil nuclear energy co-operation with India’ will go a long way to ease worries about both fuel supplies for our nuclear power plants and transfer of technology ... It is in line with our stated position, one the PM has reiterated, of ‘adhering scrupulously to every rule and canon in this area.’ ...  However, it would be premature to pop the champagne. The proposal will have to be approved by the US Congress before it can be operationalized. And here, given Congressional opposition to anything that even remotely suggests tacit recognition of India’s status as a nuclear power, it is likely to run into rough weather.


On the economic and trade front, however, the road ahead is likely to be far smoother. The US is India’s second largest trading partner, next only to the EU, in merchandise trade ... The Indian economy may be less than half China’s, but our young and growing population makes us a story that cannot be ignored.

Today, the balance of bilateral trade is in India’s favor, thanks to the overwhelming dominance of the US in our software exports. That may change if the services FTA that the US has been lobbying for sees the light of day. The government has already indicated it will not be rushed into any such agreement. And that is good news. The present euphoria about Indo-US relations must not be allowed to cloud our judgment.”


"A Grand Bargain"


Pro-economic-reforms The Economic Times commented (7/21):  “It looks a major breakthrough, but cool the euphoria.  The U.S. agreement to give India ‘full-civil nuclear cooperation’ in return for Indian commitments on nuclear safeguards represents a historic change in strategic thinking.  Yet there remain several hurdles in translating this grand bargain into action.  Opposition could come from three quarters: US Congress, other members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and NPT signatories ... Finally, there are the countries that once had nuclear weapon ambitions but gave them up in order to qualify for civilian supplies.  Countries like Brazil, Argentina and South Africa have signed the NPT and forsworn nuclear weapons.  They will not be happy that India has broken proliferation rules and yet been forgiven, indeed, offered a seat a the nuclear high table ... So, the grand bargain is not quite a done deal. India must wait for the US to implement its commitments before acting on its own commitments.”


"Will Partisan Politics Nuke A Good Deal?"


K. Subrahmanyam judged in centrist The Times of India judged (7/21):  “Unsurprisingly, the Indo-US joint statement on their future nuclear relationship has attracted flak from certain quarters.  Many ask why India, a recognized nuclear-weapon state, should declare which facilities are military and which civilian, and implement IAEA safeguards on the latter? But the fact that we’re asked to do that is a recognition of India as a military nuclear power ... The new arrangement doesn’t prevent India from having not just two but more reactors declared as military facilities are exempt from IAEA safeguards.  But to do that, India must first fix its overall nuclear strategy within the consensus of minimum credible deterrence. Strategists are debating if the deterrents should number in the low hundreds or a medium three-figure number, roughly on a par with British and French arsenals. No one in India wants huge arsenals of the size that US, Russia and China have built.”


"A Paradigm Shift In Indo-U.S. Ties?"


C. Uday Bashkar opined in pro-economic reforms The Economic Times (7/21):  “The joint statement signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Bush has the potential to effect a paradigm shift in Indo-US relations if it is implemented in totality ... The paradigm shift is predicated on the manner in which the US, under Bush’s personal direction, has sought to square the circle apropos the nettlesome nuclear issue that has bedeviled bilateral relations since India’s PNE (peaceful nuclear explosion) of 1974 - when the Buddha first smiled ... In this context Bush assured his Indian counterpart that the US would seek Congressional approval to bring about the necessary changes in the US law to facilitate meaningful nuclear commerce with India in the civilian program, as also encourage the global nuclear suppliers’ cartel to engage with India as it seeks to redress its energy deficiency through a greater contribution from the nuclear strand ... It is the symbolism of the US engaging with India in the nuclear domain that will have a greater cascading effect on India’s overall profile in the global comity ... Paradoxically India’s improving relations with the US will enable Delhi to manage its own relations better with China.  It is nobody’s case that the India-US relationship has an anti-China orientation but India’s credibility as a swing state that can strengthen the emerging balance of power and relevance will be derived from the strategic equipoise that Delhi can bring to bear in its relations with both Washington and Beijing ... It is clearly in the larger national interest of both countries to husband the relationship in a prudent manner with the appropriate candor and sensitivity to each other’s democratic prickliness.  It is too early to pop the champagne corks but the vintage of the grape that will be savored in the near future can be reviewed.”


"Gains Now and Distant"


Mumbai edition of left-of-center Free Press Journal editorialized (7/21):  “The atmospherics and the peripherals are ideal.  A red carpet, 19-gun salute welcome and address to the US Congress.  Oval office discussions.  All befitting India’s growing status.  But is the outcome, when it comes to counting India’s gains from this adequate performance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the winsome response from President Bush and the US Congress, commensurate with the show?  One can only hope that the promises made by Bush in return for the major concessions made by India on civilian nuclear issue will be fulfilled.  The understanding, the work-out or the agreement may be interpreted in more than one way.  President Bush’s words that India, “a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology should acquire” the same benefits and advantages as other such states are soothing.  Towards that India, Bush would persuade the U.S. Congress to adjust its laws to enable India to acquire such benefits.  He would also persuade the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to see the reality of India’s nuclear capability and allow India to benefit.  Well said. However, there is a lot of difference between persuading and actual action….  France and Russia are willing to do the needful in the matter even without U.S. persuasion, provided U.S. does not insist on India signing the Non-proliferation Treaty.  But Indian commitments on the civilian nuclear fronts are too many, which, in the eyes of some experts, indicate a policy shift.  India has agreed to bring all Indian civilian nuclear plants under International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) safeguards regime.  Which means IAEA inspectors get across to the Indian nuclear establishments which India has been resisting for decades….  Coming to an overall view, India is depending on Bush’s promise of “seeking agreement” and consult the U.S. Congress to help India to secure higher technology.  Even if Bush can persuade the Congress, it is long-term enterprise.  He may stand a reasonable chance, if he makes up his mind to help.  But no word on immediate supply of urgently needed fuel for Tarapur.  Nor any mention of the recognition of India as nuclear status state.  The latter least expected.  For the rest, Bush has stood by the Clinton line that the LoC in Kashmir is sacrosanct.  But as long as the Pakistan lobby in the U.S. state department is strong.  Bush will not raise a small finger to mount a united fight against Pakistan terrorism in India which forms an integral part of the Prime Minister’s address to the Congress.  And lastly, no word about improving trade and commerce.”  


"America's Plan To Checkmate China By Empowering India Is Just Like Pitting Fire Against The Devil"


Gujarat Samachar noted in Mumbai edition of right-of-center Gujarati Gujarat Samachar (7/21):  “Indians are rejoicing at America’s decision to recognize India as a nuclear power.  President Bush’s generosity and Prime Minister Singh’s skills are earning kudos from all quarters.  However, we need to understand that America will never act where it does not see its domestic self interest.  There is a pertinent concern over America’s sudden change of outlook -- which had till recently resulted in step-motherly treatment -- towards India.  The U.S. has realized that it is time to control China’s growing military might, especially now that China has threatened to use nuclear weapons if America comes to Taiwan’s rescue.  It is America’s policy to create fissures among nations and keep its position safe and secure.  The Arab-Israel conflict, the frictions between South Korea and North Korea, India versus Pakistan, and the Iran-Iraq conflicts are all the creations of Uncle Sam….  Hence there is no need for India to be euphoric over America’s gesture.  India is a nuclear weapons state and it has not lost anything in the last 25 years despite U.S. sanctions.  The only difference now is that it will receive nuclear fuel and some other benefits as a result of the lifting of sanctions.  As compared to India, America has gained a lot by this move….”


"A New Direction"


Mumbai edition of left-of-center Marathi daily Maharashtra Times opined (7/21):  “It is commendable that America will now provide fuel to the Tarapore atomic power project.  It is certainly a remarkable achievement. But that is only one aspect of the Indo-US bilateral relationship. India will now have to see what it has to promise in return for the nuclear fuel given by America. It will also have to reason out America’s change of mind, especially since the U.S. was not very keen on any such transfer of technology....  Global equations have changed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and also due to China’s growing rise in Asia.  America knows that it cannot rely on the European nations, which have themselves lost their international clout. In such circumstances, India, which is making a mark on the global map, needs to be wooed. Similarly, India also needs a strong ally. It once relied heavily on the erstwhile Soviet Union. It seeks similar support from the U.S.”


"How Nuke Freedom Was Won"


K.P. Nayar commented in centrist The Telegraph (7/21):  “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will return home… having unleashed a worldwide storm that threatens to bury a discriminatory global nuclear non-proliferation regime his predecessors have unsuccessfully tried to change for at least four decades. The full force of the nuclear storm, which the Prime Minister has set in motion, is not yet being felt: its early gusts are between the lines of a joint statement issued after Singh and President George W. Bush ended their talks. Singh is taking home an endorsement of India’s unfettered right to not only continue the nuclear weapons program, but also expand it. India will not stop producing fissile material needed for nuclear weapons. Nor is it required to initial any Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, which discriminates between countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and those, like India, that have refused to do so. Singh secured an unexpected prize when Bush agreed with him that in New Delhi’s quest for nuclear energy, it would be India’s prerogative to separate its ‘civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs’. The implications of such an agreement, spelt out in black and white in the joint statement, are two-fold: India, not another country, not any international agency, will determine which of its nuclear facilities will be used for military purposes. Such military facilities will not be opened up for any inspection. Second, such voluntary separation means India retains the right to build more reactors for its nuclear weapons program and expand its nuclear armory at its discretion. Behind such gains, which Singh is taking home, is the story of dogged negotiations, arguments, even verbal duels which bordered on acrimony: ironically, not between the Indian and the US delegations but among the star-studded team of negotiators who accompanied the Prime Minister. On one side were representatives of the scientific community who would not agree to open nuclear facilities to international agencies. On the other were diplomats who could not permit the Prime Minister to return without something to show for the visit ... It was only when the Prime Minister and the President sat down for their formal talks…that the Indians got the answer they wanted.”


"Trust In Us"


Centrist The Telegraph noted (7/21):  “Singh’s recognition that India and the U.S. are ‘natural partners in many respects’ is a reversal of India’s political and economic attitude towards the U.S. … Singh’s successful visit to Washington, and the applause and the plaudits that he has earned, is a culmination of this process of change and mutual recognition of reciprocal interests.  A new mood of optimism has come in the train of the Prime Minister’s visit.  There can be no denial of the fact that India stands to gain significantly from a close friendship with the U.S.  Only the ideologically blind will find in this friendship a threat to India’s independence.  Such prophets of doom are irrelevant and incorrigible.  A different kind of caution is in order.  India’s policymakers have a tendency to be swayed too much in one direction.  Instead of becoming too cozy with Washington, South Block should keep in place a dose of skepticism.  Foreign policy can only be dictated by the furthering of national interests and not to protestations of friendship.  The U.S. should not be allowed to set the terms of friendship.  There are no natural partners in diplomacy, only the assiduous cultivation of self-interest … The success of Singh’s visit and Washington’s bonhomie should not be allowed to cloud judgment.  To be invited to the high table has its own demands on responsibility and protocol.”


"This Very Courage Is Needed"


Independent Calcutta Bengali-language Anandabazar Patrika opined (7/21):  “President Bush's assurance to supply Uranium and advanced technology to help India generate nuclear power in the civilian sector should be considered a milestone in the U.S.-India relations. Manmohan was not afraid of clinching a deal with America though Leftist leaders had viewed India's hobnobbing with America with suspicion. This courage being rare is especially precious … It was only due to Manmohan’s guts that India’s economic liberalization and globalization were set into motion. Let him prove himself once again. He must ensure necessary steps for taking India’s economy to desired global standards. The process has been kick-started with the signing of the present agreements with the U.S. It will be Manmohan Singh’s responsibility to firmly proceed along the reform path without having any fear of Leftist antagonism.”


"Manmohan And Bush Face Domestic Critics"


L.K. Sharma editorialized in Bangalore-based left-of-center English-language Deccan Herald (7/21):  "Having taken a bold step together, Manmohan Singh and George Bush are in the same boat. Both are facing domestic critics. They may have done something right since both are being attacked for finalizing a blueprint for transforming the relations between their two countries. The critics of Bush are saying that he has been too generous to India. The critics of Manmohan Singh are saying that he has given too much to the United States. The negotiating teams of the two sides must be feeling that their relentless efforts to strike a fair and balanced deal are not being appreciated. Dr Manmohan Singh is being blamed in India by some who fear that the nuclear deal may cap India’s development in this field. The Indian prime minister may find that he will have to conduct his America policy in the face of attacks both from the Right and the Left. Of course, that may only strengthen the Congress Party’s claim to be a centrist party. The BJP has a peculiar problem because it has to change its tune towards America and Pakistan, now that it is in the Opposition. The Communists are happy to invite the US businessmen to provide jobs to their cadres in West Bengal, but hate the idea of Dr Manmohan Sing ringing a bell in the New York Stock Exchange. In the US, the non-proliferation lobby has become active against Bush. Some Congressmen are bound to make token efforts to bar the Bush administration’s move to ease export control restrictions related to India ... Before Bush approaches Congress to make legal amendments to implement his new India policy, a Democratic Representative warned that the US was playing with fire in making exceptions to the implementation of the non-proliferation treaties ... The State Department had to do some explaining. A senior official emphasized India’s strict adherence to non-proliferation procedures and protection of sensitive technology as a basis for the US decision. He said Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice telephoned the International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei to brief him on the US decisions and that he seemed “supportive of what we have done”. The Secretary of State rang up Pakistani President General Musharraf to brief him on the agreements with India. She reaffirmed the central importance of Pakistan as a strategic partner in the war on terrorism. He did not comment on Pakistan’s non-proliferation record, though he praised India’s record. US officials have already taken France, Germany and Britain into confidence about the US move to share civilian nuclear technology with India."


"It Is Good, But"


Independent Telugu daily Vaartha opined (7/20):  "Prime Minister Singh’s U. S. tour has achieved tremendous success.  The U. S. has not only recognized India as a reliable nuclear power but also agreed to extend its support for India’s nuclear energy programs.  Any way, India has to be very vigilant about America’s intentions in extending a friendly hand to it.” 


"Strategic Relationship With America Is Beneficial To India"


Mass-circulated independent Telugu Eenadu wrote (7/20):  "The joint statement of President Bush and Prime Minister Singh has clearly indicated that the bilateral ties between both the countries has now been transformed into a strategic relationship.  It is a welcome sign that the statement of the U. S. President has reflected a positive change in the superpower’s attitude towards India.  In the changed circumstances, the U. S. has recognized India as a trustworthy nuclear power.  President Bush’s assurance that the U. S. would extend support to India in developing nuclear energy has itself marked a wonderful phase in bilateral ties.  Prime Minister Singh’s three-day tour in the U. S. has achieved more results than expected.  It is beneficial for India to continue the momentum generated in bilateral relations and forge a strategic partnership with the superpower.”


"Nuclear Cooperation"


Bangalore-based, left-of-center English-language Deccan Herald noted (7/20):  "The United States, in a dramatic policy shift on Monday, has expressed its intent to co-operate with India in the sphere of civilian nuclear energy, which is the high point of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington. This move should help India increase its power generation capacity and can supplement the country’s efforts to meet its burgeoning energy needs. The US may take steps to remove certain restrictions that exist in forging nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes, as Washington is willing to concede that India is a responsible nuclear power. The US offer has to be seen in the context of Washington’s eagerness to improve ties with India, which has a high level of technological expertise, a growing commercial market and strategic importance as a counterweight to China. Dr Singh had occasion to meet President Bush at the recent G-8 summit in Scotland, when he reminded the US President of India’s need to pursue nuclear co-operation for energy security in order to sustain a 7-8 per cent growth particularly in the face of surging global oil prices. To sustain such a high growth rate, India will have to develop massive power generating capacities. It will have to pursue hydel and nuclear power programs, which are the two main sources of clean energy. The US offer of nuclear cooperation with India, specially for power production, is therefore welcome, but India should be vigilant against Washington using it as an excuse to scuttle the gas pipeline projects which it is negotiating with Iran, Pakistan and Myanmar. The Indian interest is to procure fuel for its Tarapur nuclear plant, where it needs crucial US support. Until recently, Russia was providing it with fuel. Although Tarapur is a safeguarded facility under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s bilateral safeguards standards, the US put pressure on all nuclear fuel suppliers to stop supply to India, in order to get India to the table for talks on its civilian nuclear program. India has 15 nuclear reactors with 11 of them being developed indigenously. These are outside the scope of safeguards. The US wants to get all the indigenous reactors under the purview of safeguards but India has all along been resisting this. India has also to be on guard in its dealings with the US because Washington has often proved unreliable in the past in meeting its obligations on crucial matters like supply of spare parts."


"Unwelcome Shift"


Secunderabad-based left-of-center English-language Deccan Chronicle commented (7/20):  "India is extremely possessive of her nuclear program and resistant to external influences and pressure. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in seeking US President George W. Bush’s intervention to help India meet her burgeoning energy demands through civilian nuclear energy, has actually agreed to bring about a major shift in Indian nuclear policy that might not be acceptable to the rest of the country. The joint statement issued by the two leaders after their meeting at Washington has not comforted the nuclear establishment at home. Instead it has sent out signals that are being deciphered with considerable apprehension as experts detect in the joint statement a compromising of Indian nuclear interests. In return India has got an assurance from President Bush that he would try and soften the US Congress to adjust its laws and work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enable civil nuclear energy cooperation with India. This is little more than assurance at this stage, as President Bush does not have control over either the US Congress or the Nuclear Suppliers Group, both of which are expected to put up stiff resistance to the American decision to support India on this front. Besides, no time frame has been indicated. Prime Minister Singh, on the other hand, has been more specific and agreed to identify and separate military nuclear facilities from civilian nuclear facilities and place the latter under IAEA control. Not just this, India has also agreed to sign and adhere to the Additional Protocol that will allow IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear facilities at any time. It has also agreed to harmonize its policies to the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Nuclear Suppliers Group without of course getting nuclear power status in return. In short, India has agreed to controls over its control program in return for the “ifs” and “buts” of the US assurance to work with others to facilitate India’s nuclear civilian program. India has also agreed to work along with the US to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It will be interesting to see what New Delhi’s position will be on Iran that is being accused by the US of proliferation. Prime Minister Singh does not have the mandate to negotiate India’s nuclear policies at the White House altar and will now have to convince Parliament of the soundness of his approach."


"American Idol"


Ashok Malik editorialized in centrist The Indian Express (7/21):  “It must be a good month for ironies. George W. Bush and Manmohan Singh both came into office dismissed as lightweights who paled before their predecessors. Bush succeeded Bill Clinton, among the most cerebral men to live in the White House. On his part, Singh had none of the charisma, aura and political authority of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Yet the two men reached agreements over the past week that could, potentially, shape the 21st century. It was both poignant and paradoxical that they did so building on the framework Clinton and Vajpayee left them. This is the way of great nations. Prime ministers come and presidents go, but the broader interest moves ahead - thanks to everybody and yet nobody in particular.  Nevertheless, being more or less recognized as a nuclear power notwithstanding, there are cautionary tales for New Delhi. The battle has not ended, in many ways it has just begun ... Further, if India is to become a genuine leader nation, it cannot pursue economic reforms without mass employment. A ‘‘knowledge-based economy’’ and a services boom is very well, but a genuine thrust towards making India a meaningful manufacturing base cannot be forgotten forever.  When this happens - and perhaps the idea of a defense industrial complex is only one of many starts - India will begin to encroach upon China’s turf. It will become China’s competitor, even if it doesn’t want to. Nations don’t become powers by investing in risk-free bonds; they need to place bets on destiny’s stock market. For decades, Indian foreign policy was a tearjerker starring institutionalized victimhood. After Singh’s visit, America has left India with very few excuses to hang on to. Depending on how one sees it, this could be either an opportunity or a problem. The option is India’s.”


"Selling The United States of America In India"


Harish Khare editorialized in centrist The Hindu (7/21):  “On his way to the United States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made bold to say India was not for sale ... The crux of the matter is that if indeed the deal is as dramatic as is being made out by the official storytellers on both sides, domestic opinion has not been prepared for it. The nuclear aspect may be a crucial element in the new relationship but much would hinge on a perception whether India has committed itself to a political relationship closer than warranted by domestic public opinion. And, let there be no mistake, notwithstanding the preferences in the so-called strategic community in this country, the national sentiment remains strangely reluctant to trust the U.S. to wish this country well in the long run ... It is all very well for the bureaucratic elites to argue that the Cold War is over and that we must move on and exorcise ourselves of the "non-alignment" mindset. Yet the national sentiment refuses to give the U.S. the benefit of the doubt and no political leader with roots in democratic India can afford to overlook this simple fact. Mr. Vajpayee understood this, even when his closest ministerial colleagues were keen on obliging the U.S. in the matter of sending troops to Iraq. The larger issue is: can a government - however sincere or nationalist or patriotic the Prime Minister may be - re-do its foreign policy without a debate or dialogue at home? The Vajpayee regime's most dramatic initiative - the January 6, 2004, Islamabad breakthrough - floundered at home because it sought to reverse overnight the prevailing domestic mood. Having abetted for five years an anti-Pakistan sentiment, the Vajpayee establishment suddenly asked the country to trust President Musharraf's word of honor.


The long and short of it is that there is an entrenched reluctance to bring foreign policy issues out into the democratic domain; behind this reluctance is a cultivated disdain for the popular sentiment or democratic voices as incapable of understanding the intricacies of global diplomacy. This means that the Government deprives itself of the creative uses of democratic structures to finesse its foreign policy ... Secondly, the Manmohan Singh establishment will need to address itself to the middle class sentimentality. The middle classes in India remain wedded to the Nehruvian idea of total autonomy in the pursuit of science and technology. Credible and honest assurances would need to be given - and believed - that nothing has been said or done in Washington that would put a cap on India's autonomous quest ... Thirdly, there will be reservations in the political arena, especially from the Left parties, though not necessarily confined to them. The opposition from this source can again be used to ensure that the American side is not able to ramrod through its agenda and timetable for an overactive inspection raj by the International Atomic Energy Agency ... The Manmohan Singh establishment is entitled to claim credit for having cut a path-breaking deal with the U.S. But the polity too is entitled to demand an explanation and to insist on a periodic audit. Having committed the country to a new and qualitatively different relationship with the U.S., the best that the Government can do is to discover the joy and usefulness of democratic noises in the conduct of external relations.”


"Making History"


Nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (7/20):  “There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the United States decision to recognize India as a "responsible State with advanced nuclear technology" is part of a historic bargain which could transform the global balance of power in as significant a manner as Richard Nixon's opening to China did in the Seventies.  The formulation is a euphemism for the US accepting India as a `nuclear weapons State', a technical definition from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that has important implications for India's ability to acquire civil nuclear technology and materials denied to us till now ... The US intention, spelt out in the joint agreement signed by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Washington on Monday to work to achieve `full' civil nuclear cooperation is fraught with enormous portents, all favorable for us ... Nuclear energy is that obvious source that will be vital for India's economic growth in the coming decades ... The US may not have much nuclear technology to give, but it holds the key to unlock the tightly closed doors of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, many of whom are ready to meet India's needs. What does the US get in exchange? An Indian commitment to place its civilian reactors under safeguards is important, but not that much because of our impeccable record of keeping our technology at home.  The US is looking for something that is not easily tangible -- a large and economically thriving Asian nation that possesses sufficient gravitational force to keep the balance of power stable in the face of a rising China. This nation should have an in-born tendency to promote democracy, non-proliferation and fight terrorism. India is obviously that nation, but past policies hang heavy over the American overtures. The nuclear deal, part of a complex of agreements the two countries are working on, is a giant friendship band, as well as a practical step to clear the detritus of the past and construct the foundations of a new relationship.”


"Stepy By Step"


Centrist The Tribune opined (7/20):  "The new Indo-US joint statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W. Bush reflects the breadth and depth of the transformation that has taken place in the relationship between the two countries ... So, while cooperation in the civil nuclear realm is yet to materialize, progress in other sectors has been visible over the last couple of years, auguring well for the future. A couple of billion dollars worth of high-tech goods have already come in, indicating a steady dismantling of the earlier `presumption of denial’ regime. The US has now offered to help modernize India’s infrastructure, and to remove the remaining Indian organizations from the notorious `entities list’ proscribing high-tech exports to them. On the issue of a permanent membership of the UN Security Council, the statement is guarded, with the leaders only agreeing that international institutions must reflect changes in the global scenario.  The `global partnership’ being envisaged reiterates co-operation in a range of sectors covering international terrorism, the economy, agriculture, science and technology and AIDS. Indian officials have clarified that the reciprocal measures indicated in the statement will not be exceptional to those being followed by other nuclear weapon states ... The calibrated, measured approach being followed is better for the long-term viability of the relationship. In any case, Singh has tellingly noted that the results of this major summit will be fully visible when Bush visits India, sometime this year or early next. The world will be watching.”


"Unwelcome Shift"


Centrist The Asian Age commented (7/20):  “India is extremely possessive of her nuclear program and resistant to external influences and pressure. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in seeking US President George W. Bush’s intervention to help India meet her burgeoning energy demands through civilian nuclear energy, has actually agreed to bring about a major shift in Indian nuclear policy that might not be acceptable to the rest of the country.  The joint statement issued by the two leaders after their meeting in Washington has not comforted the nuclear establishment at home. Instead it has sent out signals that are being deciphered with considerable apprehension as experts detect in the joint statement a compromising of Indian nuclear interests. In return India has got an assurance from President Bush that he would try and soften the US Congress to adjust its laws and work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enable civil nuclear energy cooperation with India. This is little more than assurance at this stage, as President Bush does not have control over either the US Congress or the Nuclear Suppliers Group, both of which are expected to put up stiff resistance to the American decision to support India on this front ... Not just this, India has also agreed to sign and adhere to the Additional Protocol that will allow IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear facilities at any time. It has also agreed to harmonize its policies to the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Nuclear Suppliers Group without of course getting nuclear power status in return. In short, India has agreed to controls over its control program in return for the "ifs" and "buts" of the US assurance to work with others to facilitate India’s nuclear civilian program. India has also agreed to work along with the US to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It will be interesting to see what New Delhi’s position will be on Iran that is being accused by the US of proliferation. Prime Minister Singh does not have the mandate to negotiate India’s nuclear policies at the White House altar and will now have to convince Parliament of the soundness of his approach.”


'Crossing The Milestone"


Centrist The Indian Express noted (7/20):  “The new arrangement worked out between President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the nuclear issue is a major landmark in several respects. The agreement promises to end India’s nuclear isolation. The United States has committed itself to adjusting its domestic laws and international treaties to facilitate nuclear fuel supply to India. India will, as it always has, behave like a responsible power and put in all possible safeguards against proliferation. If the Bush Administration follows through on its commitments, this agreement could pave the way for a massive expansion of India’s civilian nuclear energy program.  In the short run, this agreement will pave the way for expeditious consideration of fuel supplies to Tarapur, which is facing a critical shortage of fuel enriched uranium.  This agreement is also a tribute to India. India is slowly being acknowledged as a full-fledged nuclear power, and an important player in the shaping of a new proliferation order ... It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that our political parties work together to leverage India’s new power towards creating a sustainable nuclear program.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deserves credit for his perseverance and his ability to carry along all the branches of government with him in this endeavor.  While the agreement is a major breakthrough, it is also a work in progress. The Bush Administration will have to put in considerable effort to change US domestic laws. But the very fact that it is willing to do so, is a measure of how important India has become in US eyes. It is also a measure of its sincerity that it is willing to expend political capital on India. On the other side, India will have to carefully deliberate on the terms under which its nuclear program will come under international safeguards. But these residual uncertainties should not detract from the fact that India and the US have just crossed a major milestone.”


"Washington Summer"


Centrist Times of India editorialized (7/20):  “Since India's 1974 nuclear tests, it had been seen by the US principally through the grid of nuclear non-proliferation concerns. That had begun to change recently, and the seal was set on the process by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's current agreement with president Bush, which allows New Delhi to take some giant strides out of the nuclear doghouse. Washington's formally welcoming New Delhi as the sixth member of the nuclear club would wreck the current non-proliferation order, and ought not to be expected. But the next best has happened, with Washington recognizing India "as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology", who should get the same advantages as other such states. Bush has committed to working with the US Congress and with other countries to ease supply of nuclear fuel to Tarapur and other power plants ... New Delhi's committing in return to place its civilian nuclear plants under international safeguards does not damage our interests, since military facilities are out of their scope. It may, in fact, be a plus, as India's nuclear plants are ageing and doubts have been raised about their safety. International safeguards will stimulate them to upgrade their standards. Among other encouraging signs, Bush reiterated that the sanctity of the LoC should be maintained. New Delhi did not get support for the G-4 resolution on expanding the UN Security Council, but this was a foregone conclusion. Washington has its own agenda of management reform in the UN, and it will not allow other agendas to get ahead before its own concerns are met. Besides, there is the tricky question of Germany, a G-4 member, who Washington doesn't want to see in the Security Council. There don't seem to be any breakthroughs comparable to the nuclear deal in the sphere of trade and economic ties, but the onus for that may be on New Delhi. If it were to remove sectoral restrictions on FDI that would give it a better hand in negotiating with the Americans. Neither would that be against Indian interests, as easing FDI flows to India would be good for its economy.”


"New Clear Policy"


Nationalist Hindustan Times commented (7/20):  “The changes US position on nuclear issues means that India's nuclear power program can pick up some badly needed steam. Besides fuel for Tarapur, New Delhi now also has an opportunity to shop for reactors in the international market, and participate in frontier research like the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and the G IV advanced reactor program ... These changed circumstances will help India to put behind it the crippling sanctions that its nuclear program has faced and take a closer look at its atomic ambitions ...  India's nuclear program comprises three stages for the optimized use of a very limited uranium base, and extensive thorium reserves. The first stage of pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) is established, while the second stage with fast breeder reactors (FBRs) is yet to take off. The crucial third stage using thorium is even more distant. As of now, despite achieving self-sufficiency in the nuclear fuel cycle from exploration and mining through fuel fabrication, heavy water production, reactor design and construction, to reprocessing India's weak uranium resource base is still its Achilles' Heel. The breakthrough in Washington -- along with the access to global technological developments it will provide -- has come as a saving grace for India's ambitious atomic program.


"A Peck On The Cheek"


Pro-economic-reforms The Business Standard opined (7/20):  “For the last several years India and the US, like two uncertain suitors, have been slowly “discovering” each other.  Since the Bush administration came to power five years ago, the wooing has been at an accelerated pace.  For reasons of its own, the US has found India worth courting more assiduously now than earlier.  India, on its part, has been in a swooning mode, as any long- shelved maiden would be on being paid some attention.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit has resulted in a quick peck on the cheek by the US, which has indicated its willingness to take India out of the nuclear doghouse to which it had been consigned after the first set of tests in 1974.  India has agreed to place its reactors under IAEA safeguards. It is not known yet if India has secretly agreed not to go ahead with the Iran gas pipeline as a quid pro quo.  It is unlikely that the US would not have extracted its pound of flesh, especially now that the new Iranian president is a virulently anti-US leader.


The outcome of the visit shows that the fundamental requirements of the two countries have not changed. India wants several things but the three most important are a freer flow of new technologies, to be treated as a major player rather than as a country with a walk-on part, and, of course, assurances about Pakistan and terrorism.  It had wanted the second of these to be instrumentalized via a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. But the US was never willing to consider India ahead of Japan.  Nor was it willing to annoy China, which has clearly expressed its opposition to India becoming a permanent member. The choice of Shirin Tahir-Kheli, an American of Pakistani origin, to handle UN reforms was a clear indication of US intentions.  So India, deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, took the issue off the agenda for this visit ... The U.S., in turn, as befits an imperial power, has wanted explicit guarantees from India that it will cooperate fully by falling in line over its nuclear non-proliferation agenda.


This has been a foregone conclusion for some time and is no longer a matter of high policy. But the speed with which the outcomes are achieved is critical.  This is where Dr Singh’s domestic constraints become important because the future course does not depend on personal equations between the leaderships. Instead, it is the speed with which US firms can come in and make money here that will decide it. India is still seen as sclerotic and confused.  Given the company he keeps at home, it is unlikely that Dr Singh would have been able to dispel this view.”


"America Discovers India"


Manoj Joshi commented in nationalist Hindustan Times (7/20):  “Historic is a kind of word that tends to be overused. But only a word like that would be able to do justice to the joint statement signed on Monday in Washington by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Bush.  Despite being the representative of the much weaker interlocutor, one with historical grouses against the United States, the prime minister made it clear that he would be driven by a rational calculus of India's needs and interests, rather than the sum of all the fears of his colleagues, officials and truculent allies.  The achievement is `historic' because it marks the end of a US policy that began in the late Sixties to contain India, and the beginning of one that seeks to help it to become a great world power.  When in April, an aide to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told journalists that the US was committed to making India a great power in the 21st century and understood the implications of the same, there were some sniggers and a lot of scepticism.  In three short months, the US has lent substance to its declaration by the announcement that it accepts India as a "responsible State with advanced nuclear technology (read: nuclear weapons)".  The US signal that it is willing to accommodate India as a de facto nuclear weapons State has ramifications beyond that of providing us access to civil nuclear or other high technology. It is a gesture to assuage India's bruised sensitivities over the way the US has shortchanged us through much of the Cold War. It is also a recognition that India's size, economic growth, technological prowess, as much as its open culture and democratic traditions, have made it the preferred partner for the world's sole superpower. Coming back to the nuclear agreement: the main point is not just the changed nomenclature, but the American belief, contained in the sentence that India "should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such States".

The Washington joint statement clearly indicates that there is still work to be done on this -- the US has to persuade Congress and its NSG allies to `adjust' their rules and India has to fulfill its part of the bargain by putting its existing civilian reactors under safeguards. But it also under scores the administration's commitment to work achieving " full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India" ... The American decision to change the way it deals with India in nuclear technology will have a cascading impact on the other regimes that block India's access to US hi tech in a range of areas, including bio- and nano-technology and robotics. This could have its most beneficial impact in promoting closer Indo-US ties in space exploration, satellite navigation and enable us to offer commercial launch services on Indian rockets.  There have been two previous occasions when India sought closer strategic ties with the US. In 1947, when fledgling India, just independent, became embroiled in a conflict with Pakistan, and then in 1962 after being defeated by the Chinese in a border war. But the difference between now and those periods cannot be more striking. When today, nuclear-armed India, with one of the more powerful armed forces in the world, with a thriving economy and a measure of self-confidence induced by its IT prowess seeks strategic ties with the US, it does not do so because it is defeated or weak, but because it is strong and getting stronger. And because it is so, the resulting relationship will be more equal than it would have been in the past, and will also present a clutch of opportunities that to boost India's economy and enhance its security and its regional footprint. Yet the self-doubt and scepticism over the outcome of the Washington visit were more than manifest in its run up. They seem to be a product of, first, an inability to decide just what India wants from its relations with the US beyond the usual checklist of removing the nuclear embargo, getting hi-tech, support for a seat in the United Nations. And, second, a lingering lingering fear that India will be somehow trapped by the US into doing things it does not want to ... The rule of the game remains: take what you can, and don't give, unless you have to. There is no reason why India cannot engage the US on those ground rules and construct a mutually beneficial relationship. It's not that difficult. Ask the Pakistanis, for the past 50 years they have done well, and are managing even now, when they have very few cards in their hands.”


"An Embrace Too Ardent"


Pratap Bhanu Mehta opined in centrist The Indian Express (7/20):  “Winston Churchill once called on the British-American relationship to “roll on full flood, inexorable, irresistible and benignant.” Whatever the wisdom of Churchill’s advice, our admirable strategists are falling head over heels to give similar advice to India ... The sheer momentum of economic and social links will ensure a substantial measure of cooperation. But it will be fatal if the allure of aligning to US political and military objectives becomes irresistible. It will certainly not be benign. There is some truth to the claim that nothing in our current commitments seriously jeopardizes our independence. But equally, it has to be admitted that the discourse on Indo-US relations, as a signal of our political intent and identity, is taking an alarmingly Panglossian view of how American and Indian interests align.  Notwithstanding the current bonhomie, at least ten questions need to be asked more pointedly. India and the US allegedly converge on combating terrorism and promoting democracy ... The same applies to terrorism. A genuine partnership is possible only if India is given a significant role in shaping the long-term global political strategy to deal with terrorism. But what is the US’s version of partnership? “We have decided on a strategy for dealing with terrorism: that strategy is on display in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan ... India needs to be tough on terrorism. But our political strategies will be different from those of the US. Much of our terrorism problem is rooted in the histories and geo-politics of our region ... We can criticize our anti-terrorism strategy on many counts. But it will be an illusion to think that we can afford to combat it by American methods. Three, India wants to help shape a new nuclear non-proliferation order but isn’t it astonishing that we want to sign on to cooperation in this area without clearly ascertaining what kind of non-proliferation regime the US wants? How onerous will be the restrictions on us? The US not only watched, but abetted, the subversion of the last non-proliferation regime. Its own objectives, from Iran to Pakistan, are thoroughly confused. Let us clarify our own objectives rather than partner the US in its confusion. Four, the US has committed to facilitate civilian nuclear cooperation ... Five, there is something myopic about India trying to position itself in American plans for containing China.


Six, in one profound sense, the India-Pakistan hyphen has been broken. The US has acknowledged India as a qualitatively different kind of power. But two core elements of the hyphenation persist. The US will encourage Pakistan to tailgate India on everything from technology transfers to weapons systems. The illusion that the hyphen has been broken is sustained because at the moment Indo-Pak relations are improving, ... Seven, the interests of the US and India do not converge on the shape of international institutions ranging from the UN to an Asian Monetary Union. Eight, they do not converge in the approach we have to our region. There is talk in Washington of imposing sanctions on companies doing business with Iran. One does not have to condone the Iranians to recognize that US tactics will only make things worse. The US consistently wants to subvert the natural geography of Asia and deny us the power of creating the links we need. Does this fit in with our strategic objectives? Nine, every single power that the US has helped to build up, from Germany to Japan, lost its capacity for independent political and military action. China engaged with the US, but entirely on its own terms.  Finally, the scepticism about the US does not come from, as critics allege, an old mindset, paranoiac about the US. It comes, instead, from confidence in our strength, and a sense that we overestimate US power. By embracing the US as ardently as we are, we are giving up our bargaining chips too soon. We are letting the US set the terms of this relationship more than is warranted. India should become a different kind of great power, not one that orients itself to endorsement by the United States.”


"From Non-Proliferation To Civilian Energy Cooperation"


K. Ramanathan and Veena Agarwal noted in centrist The Indian Express (7/20):  “This is the right time for India to look again at nuclear power as an important source of energy in the future. Energy security is a hot topic today, and so is sustainable development. Environmental concerns relating to carbon emissions are also increasingly centre-stage. The role of nuclear power has to be appraised in this context.  The US has already begun promoting nuclear power as a clean fuel ... On July 18, Manmohan Singh and George Bush made an agreement on civilian nuclear energy cooperation ... Would US support be in the form of transfer of technology, or would it be simply an export of certain equipments? Is it that the US is merely trying to create a market for its equipment companies? It is for India to understand its specific needs and assess whether the offer for cooperation serves its purpose.  Some other aspects will also have to be kept in mind. For one, this cooperation should not have a hidden cost. Concerns are already being expressed in some quarters that Indo-US energy cooperation would mean India forgoing the option of the Iranian piped gas. If it were so, this would be unfortunate ... Secondly, cooperation with US should not lead to a slowing down of indigenous R&D on nuclear power generation. India should continue to focus strongly on indigenous technology as per the three-stage program ... Another important aspect with respect to the indigenous development program is the issue of safety. There have been apprehensions about the levels of radiation at some of the NPCIL plants such as the Kakrapara Plant ... This definitely is a matter of concern. There have also been reports about temporary workers being brought from backward states for repair work at nuclear power plants, who in a very short time are exposed to permissible lifetime limits of radiation ... Perhaps it is time to look at international cooperation in nuclear power as an instrument for progress and energy security.


"A Good Beginning For Indo-U.S. Strategic Partnership"


Mumbai edition of right-of-center Gujarati daily Mumbai Samachar editorialized (7/20):  “Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the U.S. has created a conducive atmosphere for increasing Indo-U.S. cooperation in areas such as space technology, civilian use of nuclear technology and other hi-tech fields.  In the present international political setup, America has realized the importance of India.  The formulators of U.S. foreign policy at the topmost level have understood the fact that it inevitably must make India stronger vis-à-vis China.  America is concerned about the Chinese yen becoming stronger and thus increasing the costs of U.S. imports of Chinese goods and raw material.  On the other hand, Pakistan-sponsored terrorism is the biggest hurdle for India in its economic progress and development.  In this light, the Indo-U.S. defense agreement and America’s plain speaking [order] to Pakistan to shut down the terror camps on its soil is a welcome development for India.  Strong economic cooperation and political relations between India and the U.S., the world’s two great democracies, will benefit all nations….  There is ample scope for both the nations to extend their bilateral cooperation in the service sector, the financial sector, capital markets, insurance, and the development of ports.  Nevertheless, this is a good beginning.  President Bush has scotched a feeling [in India] that Indo-U.S. relations have not been at their best during the Republican’s rule at the White House.  As two mature democracies, it is necessary for India and the U.S. to work towards world peace and at the same time to ensure regular dialogue and mutual cooperation between them.”


"Transaction With America"


Mumbai edition of left-of-center Marathi daily Loksatta commented (7/20):  “America’s keenness to improve bilateral relations with India is not a swift phenomenon. The American mindset has not changed overnight.  The U.S. fears China’s domineering status in Asia. If the U.S. has to check China’s rising power, no other country but India, and certainly not Pakistan, will come in handy in this context…. Moreover, India’s indigenous marketplace is another attraction for the U.S. In fact, Chinese goods currently flood the U.S. In order to counter this growing Chinese menace, the U.S. feels that a budding superpower like India should be recognized.  The U.S. is keen on transferring nuclear technology to India, mainly because it has been admittedly deceived by Pakistan on this count.  America has also realized that Pakistan has not allowed the U.S. to hold an inquiry into A Q Khan’s clandestine sale of nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea.  Therefore, there are enough reasons to woo India, especially in the context of Pakistan’s deceitful ways.”


"Prime Minister's Historic Visit"


Nationalist Rashtriya Sahara opined (7/20):  “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US assumes historic significance in more than one respect. First of all, it is first time that the US has recognized India as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology. However, the recognition is in no way a special favor accorded to India as it has already proved both capable of making technological progress and responsible enough to keep its words on non-proliferation. India has already committed itself against to the principle of no-first-use of its nuclear weapons against any country, which is not the case with China. Secondly, the US has reiterated its position on Kashmir as a problem to be resolved only by India and Pakistan bilaterally and without any interference from Washington. Third, the US has not only agreed to supply fuel to the Tarapur atomic power plant that was stopped since the first nuclear experiment in 1974 at Pokharan, but it is very likely to lift other remaining sanctions as well, imposed after the 1998 tests….  It is true that the US is a super power, it could no longer ignore India as an emerging democratic power and deny what it needed to accelerate its pace of economic and technological development….  However, India must remain watchful of US policies in the region. Especially, New Delhi will have to be careful that it is not made to serve American designs against China. On the issue of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council too, the US has attitude is not encouraging.”


"Singhbad Calls For A Joint Voyage"


Bharat Bhushan editorialized in centrist The Telegraph (7/20):  “After scoring a major achievement in getting America’s stamp on India’s nuclear weapons status and President George W. Bush’s commitment on civilian nuclear co-operation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ... sought the help of the US Congress to underwrite the agreement. Congressional support is needed to change nuclear non-proliferation laws to ensure that such co-operation becomes functional. In his address to the joint session of Congress…Singh was making India’s case for a role in global governance as the world’s largest functioning democracy. His message was that America should work together with institutionalized democracies and open societies to guarantee global stability and prosperity … The Prime Minister spent considerable time impressing upon Congress members the deeply institutionalized nature of Indian democracy and its relevance within the country and outside. His two-fold attempt seemed to be to show how deep-rooted Indian democracy was and how this offered an opportunity to the US and India to forge close economic ties - 400 of the Fortune 500 US companies are already in India - and promote democratic institutions in other countries….”


"Uncle Sam's Nod"


Centrist The Telegraph editorialized (7/20):  “By virtually recognizing India as a nuclear weapons state, Washington is finally changing a policy that it has stridently sustained … There can be no doubt, therefore, that Mr. Manmohan Singh’s visit to the U.S. has yielded unprecedented dividends … Some of these commitments might generate controversy at home, but there is no doubt that these are in tune with the national interest on which there is a near-consensus across political parties.  The U.S. too is driven by its national interest.  It sees India as a strategic partner in a potentially unstable Asia.  Clearly, the most fruitful relationships in international politics are those that are rooted in common interests and common values.  On present evidence, India and the U.S. share these in considerable measure.”


"Nuke Pledge To Come Dear"


Science correspondent G.S. Mudur editorialized in centrist The Telegraph (7/20):  “India’s pledge to separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities envisaged in the Indo-US joint statement…will be a difficult and expensive exercise … India’s assurance that it would identify and separate civilian and military nuclear facilities and open civilian facilities for international inspection, in reciprocity to US assistance in the civilian nuclear program, has evoked mixed reactions from nuclear scientists … Some experts said such an exercise was overdue, but a top scientist said it would be ‘impractical and hugely expensive’ because India does not have a large nuclear weapons program ... A top nuclear engineer said demarcation of India’s civil and weapons program will be difficult because the activities are near-seamlessly integrated … However, a nuclear technology expert involved in India’s nuclear weapons development effort…said India has nothing to lose by agreeing to the IAEA safeguards at some of its indigenously produced commercial nuclear power reactors … India could designate specific facilities, such as the Dhruva reactor at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Trombay complex and fuel reprocessing plants that extract plutonium, as non-civilian facilities and thus out-of-bounds for international inspections … Such a division of facilities may help India procure foreign nuclear technology that…India will need to meet its nuclear energy targets … Scientists say India’s nuclear power program, dogged by delays and cost overruns, could do with infusion of western technology. Imported light water reactors from the West may help India reach its target of generating 20,000 mw of atomic power by 2020….”


"New Era"


Independent Calcutta Bengali Anandabazar Patrika editorialized (7/20):  “India had pursued the policy of anti-Americanism for a long time under the veil of nonalignment. The Congress party led by (Jawaharlal) Nehru-Indira (Gandhi) was the exponent of that policy. So, the significance of this newly achieved Indo-U.S. friendship under the prime minister ship of Manmohan Singh of that very Congress party is easily felt … This cycle of events has another significance. The U.S. stand about India’s nuclear capability and its recognition of her (India’s) role in curbing terrorism may become especially helpful for India because the historical ‘hyphen’ between India and Pakistan in American policy will further fade out … Chances are bright that in the defense sector too, India will be prioritized to receive U.S. weapons and advanced technology. No matter what the so-called ‘nationalist’ Leftists say, this will further strengthen Indian defense. In fact, Washington’s apprehensions about Delhi have disappeared to a large extent … The more this multi-dimensional cooperation becomes fruitful the better will it be for India to get a permanent membership in the UNSC.”      


'Meeting Between Bush and Manmohan"


Calcutta Urdu-language centrist Azad Hind opined (7/20):  “The US is under compulsion to improve the relation…because India’s position as a formidable global economic power has turned out to be so strong that the US can no longer afford to ignore it… Among the developed countries it is only China that still maintains its distance from the US, but at present it also does not want to go into any conflict with Washington. Under such circumstances if the US can bring India under its fold then Washington, for the time being, will have no concern in South Asia. On the other hand, the relation between India and China has not been so good… Under this condition strong relation between India and the US will certainly worry China, a situation that the US also wants to see. Actually the US is trying hard to make India stand in confrontation with China… Manmohan’s success would be considered great if he can make Bush endorse India’s claim for a permanent seat in the Security Council. So far there is nothing on this in the agreement between the two leaders except for the de facto US recognition of India as a nuclear weapon power.”


"Nuclear Bargain May Prove Costly In Long Run"


Siddharth Varadarajan noted in centrist The Hindu (7/19):  “The joint statement released in Washington after Monday's meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W. Bush is `historic' in many different ways but none more so than on the nuclear front ... While both sides have shown considerable flexibility, it is India that has leapt a greater distance in conceding a key demand of the Bush administration that the IAEA be allowed to monitor the `non-military' side of the Indian nuclear energy program. Apprehending such a decision, former and serving scientists at the Department of Atomic Energy had told The Hindu on Sunday that allowing international inspectors access to all civilian nuclear plants would seriously hamper ongoing research work on the fast breeder reactor (FBR) program and compromise India's long-term energy security. On Tuesday, when news came from Washington confirming that this was precisely the bargain struck, the scientists reacted with anger and disbelief.  "I shudder to think how we could have conceded such a thing," A.N. Prasad, former director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), told this writer. "It is totally against the national interest." India, he said, would now face the prospect of its FBR program being undermined and the cost of its nuclear weapons program dramatically escalating.  According to Dr. Prasad, segregation of civilian and military facilities in the nuclear field in India is "impossible." "Our military activities are not aimed at stockpiling nuclear weapons," he said. "Rather, the aim is deterrence, which in turn is based on a given level of threat perception." Since the United States and the other big nuclear weapons state have doctrines based on stockpiling, they can perhaps afford to maintain dedicated military facilities for the production and maintenance of nuclear munitions. "But even they are finding that stockpiling imposes further costs. The weapons become old, their materials degrade, they have to be dismantled and replaced."


“Ever since Mitchell Reiss, head of the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning Division in the first Bush administration, started advocating IAEA safeguards for Indian civilian nuclear facilities, the DAE had been bracing itself for the day when this would be pushed through. At stake, says Dr. Prasad, is the fast breeder program and its eventual third stage when India's huge reserves of thorium will allow it to enjoy energy security "for the next 300 years." "Allowing IAEA inspectors and signing the Additional Protocol means throwing open not just your reactors but the entire chain, the whole fuel cycle. This is the crux of the whole issue." Only those who have worked on advanced nuclear research know the harmful effect intrusive inspections can have, he added ... Calling India a "state with advanced nuclear technology" has helped the U.S. bridge a semantic gap but it is not clear whether it will help the wider world of NPT signatories and Nuclear Suppliers Group members bridge what they perceive to be a legal gap.  There is one final issue that needs to be highlighted. What was the need for India to reiterate its commitment - in a bilateral statement - to a moratorium on nuclear tests? At the very least, India should have insisted that the U.S. too reiterate its own moratorium and not pursue research on new nuclear munitions like "bunker busters" and space-based weapons. Not to speak of its disarmament obligations as a state with "advanced nuclear technology." Presumably, silence on these issues is also part of the grand nuclear bargain.”


"Democracy Talk"


Kuldip Nayar editorialized in centrist The Indian Express (7/19):  “It will be naive to weigh Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington purely on the scales of what he actually brings back from this summit. Whether it is support for UN Security Council membership, or cooperation in civil nuclear energy to make up the power shortage or the ‘‘end of the illusory idea of military balance between India and Pakistan,’’ as suggested by the Carnegie Endowment, these are all pertinent gains that are demanded by New Delhi’s self-interest. But even if all of them were to come about, India still would not be able to offer the kind of equation that America desires.   There are reasons for this. The main one is the different perceptions of the two countries on China. America’s long-term interests demand an ally in this part of the world whose ports, aerodromes and other infrastructure are available to it if and when it wants to lay low the Chinese dragon. Washington feels, as the Carnegie report of July says, that an unbridled China is not in US interest and that by bolstering India, the US can arrest the ‘‘growth of Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean rimlands and Chinese penetration of Myanmar.’’   New Delhi, on the other hand, has come a long way from 1962. It is cultivating friendship with Beijing and firming up boundaries. India does not think that it needs to align itself with Washington to thwart Beijing. India believes that the clash with China is not inevitable - a different thinking from that of Jawaharlal Nehru - and that the region is big enough to accommodate both. If India can have a peace process with its inveterate foe Pakistan, why not bury the hatchet with China?


The world is not interested in the alliances or agreements America is striking with India.  People want to know what the two countries, which loudly proclaim that they are the biggest democracies, propose to do to bolster faith in liberal thoughts and free society, shrinking the world over. That America and India have renewed their determination to fight against terrorism strengthens the global resolve that the fundamentalists, jehadis or others, will not be allowed to hold entire societies to ransom. Yet both countries are missing the larger question: why are terrorists proliferating? The grievances that their guns or brutal killings highlight have not evoked a debate, much less any signs of redress.  Democracy does not mean justice for a few. It connotes fair play even for its opponents. The system assures that even when provoked, democracies will not destroy the individual’s inalienable right to stay free.  When democratic America imposed an unnecessary war on Iraq, Washington laid down new rules of morality which do not fit into the values free societies cherish. No doubt, terrorism has blinded normal judgment ... Governments are obliged to strike a balance between that which seems to be demanded by the rush of anger and outrage and that which is adequate to deal with the situation. The democratic temperament of a country is tested only when it is challenged by deliberate, indiscriminate violence. How much force is to be used and when, is what differentiates authoritarian functioning from the democratic. Terrorists, with no morals at stake, indulge in blatant and banal killings.  They want to brutalize the society. It is for the state not to descend to their level to counter them. It has to sustain faith in justice and fairness. This is where democracies are beginning to fail.


New laws are giving the state sweeping powers without accountability. They are creating an atmosphere of helplessness as well as of acceptance. Legitimate rights of people are being superseded. This process may prove to be dangerous for a democratic structure in the long run. What America did after 9/11 was an expression of anger and vindictiveness. There was little indication of the distilled experience of a mature democratic state ... Coming to democratic India, New Delhi is proposing another detention law to fight terrorism. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which has created havoc in the northeastern states, particularly Manipur, is sought to be extended all over the country. What it means is that the armed forces will continue to use force and to kill when they are convinced that ‘‘the individual is acting in contravention of the law in a disturbed area.’’ ... It is no more a secret that the Taliban is America’s creation. Today the cult of Taliban has spawned the Al-Qaeda. Stories emanating from Pakistan say that the training camps are back and fundamentalists are queuing up again. If the democratic legacy is to be protected, all countries should restore and enshrine the principles of truth and liberty in their social, economic and political order. As Robert Frost said, ‘‘most of the change we think we see in life is due to truth being in or out of favor.’’


"Is the Indian PM Out To Sell The Country?"


Diwakar Deshpande noted in left-of-center Marathi Maharashtra Times (7/19):  “The Left parties have started crying hoarse over the possible sale of India by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is on a three-day visit to the U.S. It is only after the end of the three days that we will know if Singh actually sold the country.  As has happened in the past, the Left and the extreme Right-wing parties will realize that the PM has not sold the country by entering into a strategic dialogue with a superpower….   In fact, it should have been clear by now that India’s non-alignment with any superpower does not stop it from holding friendly talks with other countries.  In other words, strengthening of bilateral relations with the U.S. should not be misconstrued.  The Indian Prime Minister has entered into the U.S.-India strategic partnership for bolstering India's energy requirements, including civil, nuclear and military needs. Obviously, the U.S. also expects India’s support on many counts in return….  It is certainly necessary for our defense experts to keep a watch on India’s promises and America’s intended gains. However, there is no need to associate such pacts with India’s surrender….”


"Nuclear Dialogue A Test Of The New Strategic Partnership"


N. Ravi opined in centrist The Hindu (7/19):  “The India-U.S. dialogue on civil nuclear energy is emerging as a vital area of focus for India's energy security and will test how far the United States is willing to go in this sensitive area in the context of the new strategic partnership.  Indian officials have been emphasizing that this would be the start of a new process of engagement in this area that both the Governments would have to get used to, moving away from their old mindsets. Such an engagement through a working group or some such mechanism may not result in the signing of immediate agreements but would open the way for specific steps for the supply of nuclear fuel and nuclear technology.  For India, nuclear energy has become critical in meeting its needs in the medium term. Right now, the country is heavily dependent on oil imported from West Asia and the increased use of coal would run up against the issue of greenhouse gases and global warming. It would need to expand its nuclear energy program from 2400 MW to 40,000 MW in the medium term.


Indian officials recognize that the Bush administration would have to spend considerable political capital if it were to get Congress to amend the law to permit nuclear supplies to India at this stage. Its nuclear non-proliferation goals would also suffer some loss of credibility if it were to persuade the Nuclear Suppliers Group to lift the ban on supplies to India. Yet, they have been at pains to point out to the U.S. administration and to the broader nuclear community that India has remained a responsible nuclear power with a tight control over its nuclear material and facilities, and that the restrictions would not make any sense in the light of its record.  So far there has not been any indication from the American side that it would be willing to consider nuclear fuel supplies or let other countries supply nuclear fuel so long as some of the Indian nuclear facilities remain unsafeguarded. One possible move could be to provide fuel for the U.S.-supplied reactors at Tarapur. That should be possible without an amendment of the law, but for the large scale expansion of the nuclear energy program, much more would be needed.  If neither the U.S. nor the Nuclear Suppliers Group were to change their position, India will be faced with the hard choice of limiting its nuclear energy program to 10,00 MW in the medium term or of taking up the domestically unacceptable issue of subjecting all of its nuclear facilities to international safeguards. It is in this context that the present diplomatic effort at the highest level to work for a change of U.S. attitude and policy assumes importance.”


"Goof-Up, In God's Favored Country"


New Delhi Senior Editor Bharat Bushan commented in centrist The Telegraph (7/19):  “When a 5,000-year-old civilization meets a developing civilization, is there a clash? No. Instead of a clash of civilizations there is a crash of machines. This is what happened at the Andrews Air force Base when the Indian Prime Minister’s delegation landed. At the customs and immigration post, there was a pile up of passports and a crowd of Indians - all duly fingerprinted by the US Embassy in Delhi and with machine-readable visas waiting eagerly to be photographed for US records through a web camera for posterity. And their fingerprints had to match with those given in Delhi. Every visitor to God’s Favorite Country, after all, could be a potential terrorist … There was one snag. The scanner would not read the machine-readable visas … Then there was another snag. The web camera started acting erratically and would not take a picture … Some delegates were let in through immigration with only fingerprints and manual typing of their visa details.


But how does one handle 50 Indians getting impatient after a long flight. Not that they said anything - we are a docile people when it comes to dealing with the sole superpower. Powerful editors, columnists and diplomatic correspondents, whose roar can normally be heard tearing through flimsy newsprint, waited quietly … Then something snapped. The US official started stamping all the passports without bothering to type anything. The fingerprint scanner worked but he had given up on that also. Like a good Indian postman, he went about stamping the immigration forms and passports in a rhythm everyone seemed to enjoy. The essay in mutual comprehension with the world’s greatest superpower, as the Prime Minister is wont to describe our relationship with the outside world, was far from over … Is there something fascist about grandness or is beauty really in the eyes of the beholder? Before this question could be mulled over, a senior member of the delegation found that his room was already occupied - he had been allotted a room that had not yet been vacated. Oh well, put that down to computer error.”


"Nuclear Boom Reaches U.S. Ears"


Bharat Bushan opined in centrist The Telegraph (7/19):  “That there was positive news in the offing on the nuclear front was indicated by Singh when he said in his White House joint press conference with Bush that the civilian nuclear issue had been resolved in a manner that gave him ‘great satisfaction’ … In the joint press conference held in the East Room of the White House, Singh thanked Bush for his ‘leadership and personal role’ in achieving ‘a resolution’ of this issue. Bush reciprocated by describing the Prime Minister as a man whose vision he applauded and who was committed to ‘peace and liberty’ … Bush for his part said the U.S. was committed to completely implementing the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) to strengthen cooperation in ‘civilian nuclear, civilian space and high-technology commerce….”


"Sing The Tune"


Centrist The Telegraph editorialized (7/19):  “Too much goodness in politics often translates into timidity in action. This is what has happened to Manmohan Singh … The Left has thwarted every attempt made by the Prime Minister to push through economic reforms... Moreover, the Left has tried to tell the Prime Minister about how he should conduct himself during his negotiations with the President of the United States of America. Singh, not to put too fine a point on it, has failed to tell the Left who is running the government. This failure has raised the suspicion that maybe he is not running the government. A man of Singh’s stature cannot allow himself to be reduced to a puppet of the Left or of any other person or pressure group. It is better to admit failure as a leader than to be a leader who is not the master of his own mind. The Left has about 60 members in the Lok Sabha, and on the basis of this it is trying to hold Singh’s government at ransom. It is time Singh called its bluff….”


'Anything For A Place At The High Table"


Professor of International Relations and Global Politics at Delhi University Achin Vanaik noted in centrist The Telegraph (7/19):  “Of course, the enthusiasts of this defense arrangement are never upfront about stating what the US’s political purpose is - to tie up as many countries as possible into its hub-and-spokes strategic arrangement. This way, all potential opponents would pay more attention to maintaining the health of their relations with the US, than think about ways to counter it. Indian strategic analysts trot out all the usual rationale about how good the defense deal is, how it is to be valued because of the common need to tackle terrorism. In practice, this refers to how the arrangement might help the US - the state most guilty of international terrorist-like behavior - confront its selectively defined ‘terrorist’ opponents more strongly. The deal will help India get more defense goodies, they say. But this will only make India more dependent on, and grateful for, US military help. And how the deal will lead to regional stability - in other words, help stabilize US dominance over the Indian Ocean up to the Straits of Malacca with India faithfully playing the role of junior naval partner in this geo-political project. But since the US has its own gameplan, signing the deal is not going to help India in its efforts to get a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council….”


"U.S. Stamp On Cow Urine Drug Booster"


G.S. Mudur commented in centrist The Telegraph (7/19):  “The virtues of cow urine, which the director of the Go Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra near Nagpur has claimed for years, now has a seal of approval of the US patents office. The US patents and trademarks office has granted a patent to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on what is claimed to be ‘an absolutely novel use of cow urine distillate’, or ‘go mutra’, in medicine … The patent describes cow urine distillate as a ‘bioenhancer’ - a substance that can increase the efficiency of drugs such as antibiotics or anti-cancer agents in the body. A smaller amount of a drug given along with a bioenhancer can produce the same biological effect in the body as a larger amount given alone … The bio enhancer from cow urine has the potential to ‘drastically’ reduce the dosage of antibiotics and anti-cancer agents, the patent claim said….”


"Symbols Of National Power"


C.P Bhambhri editorialized in pro-economic-reforms The Economic Times (7/19):  “The first official visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to U.S. from July 18-20, 2005, preceded by defense minister Pranab Mukherjee’s signing of a 10-year defense agreement between India and the U.S. on June 29, 2005, deserves to be understood and analyzed in the context of changing perceptions of the ruling classes about the status of India in the 21 century.  The Indian ruling elite seems to feel that India has arrived as a ‘middle power’ in the international arena and now it should not play the role of just a developing country, dependent on concessions given by the super powers ... Americans have a very hospitable climate in India because every influential class, strata, group or lobby is willing to do ‘business with America’.  Anti-Americanism is a thing of the past and prosperous social groups in India identify themselves with a prosperous and powerful America.  Will America respond to the desires of their friends in India?  The pro-American powerful social constituencies are a necessary but not a sufficient reason to motivate the US to patronize India of the 21st century ... In a 2003 report by American Council on Foreign Relations on South Asia it has been clearly stated the US (has) an opportunity to influence major regional developments and India-U.S. should work on ‘genuine partnership’.  In other words, India can depend on US friendship and generosity if India supports American ‘interests’ in Asia and unstated but well known fact is that India versus China is the American national goal in this part of the world.  So India has apparently opted for a pro-American stance since without US support India cannot play its desired role of a middle power.”


"To The Next Level"


Pro-economic-reforms The Economic Times editorialized (7/18):  “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has a unique opportunity to redefine Indo-U.S. relations.  Distrust between Washington and New Delhi is now well into the past.  Anti-Americanism in India is confined to the Left and American leaders of the 1970s vintage are embarrassed and apologetic about what they thought and said then.  Relations have even moved beyond early post-cold-war daydreams of the US largesse towards the largest democracy.  If Dr. Singh needed a reminder that such unequivocal support was never on the cards, it was provided in the UN last week when the US called for a vote against the G-4 proposal that would have given India a permanent seat in the Security Council.  And yet there are a number of critical areas, from fighting terrorism to developing energy strategies, where India and the US can, and need to, work together.


Closer Indo-U.S. relations will then be just one of several alliances that each nation will pursue.  Prime Minister Singh will have an opportunity to demonstrate in the US that India has the maturity to handle the multiple relationships of a multi-polar world with the responsibility of a country that represents a sixth of humanity.  Dr. Singh’s message that New Delhi intends to rapidly increase its cooperation with Washington without in any way compromising its sovereignty will have an audience at home that could prove more difficult.  As Dr. Singh learnt from the reaction to his speech in Oxford, there are section in India looking for a loss of national pride in every sentence of a speech.  And it will not help that a substantial number of those critics belong to the anti-American Left, on whose support Dr. Singh’s government depends.  The PM will have to show the world that he has not only the vision needed to take Indo-U.S. relations to a higher and mutually beneficial level, but also the political spine to make that vision a reality.”


"Lead Us Not Into Temptation"


Brahma Chellaney noted in nationalist The Hindustan Times (7/18):  “Manmohan Singh’s address to the US Congress on Tuesday will attract more attention in India, where it has been billed as a major event, than in the US. In this interregnum between the Fourth of July holiday recess and Congress's month-long August break, many lawmakers will be absent, and their seats will be filled by congressional staffers and their friends to create an impression of a full audience. Few in the US take such an event seriously. This is not the equivalent of a US president addressing the Indian Parliament, as Bill Clinton did, with appreciative MPs in full attendance and a live telecast captivating the nation's attention. Yet, because the Indians make a big deal of such an event, as when Vajpayee addressed the Congress, the Americans find it useful to pander to Indian pride through such a gesture.   India's craving for international recognition and status is so apparent that other powers play to that weakness through pleasing, if empty gestures or statements. The best way a foreign power can get a good press in India is by mouthing sweet nothings on India or lavishing attention on a visiting Indian dignitary. Each time the US president has `dropped by', his national security advisor's meeting with a visiting Indian minister, India has read the gesture as a sign of its growing importance in US policy.


Much of Indian foreign policy remains a search for status, a recognition from rich foreigners that India is not an assemblage of poor people repeatedly conquered by bands of outside invaders for nearly a thousand years. In seeking to play a greater international role, India unsuspectingly displays signs of its long subjugation, including a psychological dependency on outsiders to assist its rise.  Pakistan also seeks status, as recompense for lacking a national identity, but it has a clear and immediate goal -- undermining India. That aim gives a distinct focus to its foreign policy.   In contrast to India's fuzziness, China, also ravaged by colonialism, has defined a clear objective for itself -- to emerge as `a world power second to none' -- and is expanding its capabilities at the fastest pace possible. India strives more for external recognition than to build up its own economic and military strength, even though status comes with might. Indeed, it began economic reforms, unlike China, not by choice but under external compulsion ... The absence of clear, long-term strategic goals and political resolve only swells the longing for outside approbation and recognition. India is the only known country that overtly moulds its policies to win international goodwill. Even when faced with aggression, like in Kargil, India did not open a new front to relieve pressure and allowed the US to midwife an end to the war because its main concern was international goodwill. The desire for external endorsement and certification is deep-seated ... A nation's influence and prestige are built on capability and what it stands for. Ideas and themes serve as the rationale to the assertive pursuit of national interest, providing the moral veneer to the ruthlessness often involved in such endeavor. The philosophy of non-violence, on which India was founded, was crushed in 1962. Non-alignment has become passé. India is left only with advertising itself as a liberal, secular democracy -- a notable achievement but hardly a galvanizing element.


India has to start thinking the ideas that would enhance its appeal and help aid its rise as a great power ... India's love of flattery makes it particularly vulnerable to seduction by praise. Remember the elation that greeted Washington's offer -- made the day it decided to sell F-16s to Pakistan -- to "help India become a major world power in the 21st century"? India has shown it can exercise power self-protectively to withstand external pressures. But the same India can be sweet-talked into ceding ground ... India should persist with its efforts to build a mutually beneficial strategic partnership with the US to help underpin its long-term interests. But if India allows process to matter more than results, the US will continue to play to its quest for status through syrupy promises while it develops aspects of the relationship beneficial to US interests. The warm ambience of Manmohan Singh's meetings in Washington should not deflect India from insisting that the relationship progress in a balanced way so that it secures clear economic and strategic gains, not status-enhancing inducements.”


"Nuclear Cooperation With U.S.: Experts Urge Caution"


Siddharth Varadarajan commented in centrist The Hindu (7/18):  “When prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets U.S. President George Bush in Washington on July 18, his attempt to push cooperation in the civilian nuclear field will face one big hurdle: Washington's desire to tighten the already restrictive global regime governing the transfer of nuclear-related material for civilian purposes.  No matter how important a position India has come to occupy in U.S. strategic thinking, Washington will be careful not to do anything that will weaken the non-proliferation initiatives announced by President Bush in February 2003. If anything, the ongoing crisis over North Korea and Iran has increased the salience of these initiatives and reduced the Bush administration's appetite for making exceptions.  The American embargo on the supply of civilian nuclear equipment to India is linked to both its domestic laws and its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Part I of whose guidelines prohibit the transfer of nuclear equipment to a country that does not accept comprehensive safeguards by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at all its nuclear facilities ... Among American analysts, Selig Harrison and Ashley Tellis have suggested that the best way for the U.S. to integrate India into the global non-proliferation order as a de facto nuclear weapons state and allow it access to nuclear equipment and fuel is to insist that all existing and future power reactors be safeguarded by the IAEA.  The Indian atomic establishment is, however, wary of safeguards except at any new facility that is created with outside equipment or help.


There is scepticism about the outcome of the Prime Minister's visit on the nuclear front. Joining issue with Ashley Tellis' recommendations that the easiest thing for the Bush administration to do is to invite India to join ongoing research programs for next generation prototype reactors, a senior DAE official said that India needed fuel and equipment today ... A. Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, is not convinced India should be looking at the U.S. for light water reactors even as an "additionality." ... The critical issue for India right now, he says, is the shortage of natural uranium for its pressurized heavy water reactors. If the U.S. wants to help, it should facilitate the purchase of uranium, he says. India should also think of approaching Niger and Namibia, two countries with enormous reserves of uranium, which are not members of the NSG."


"Will India Succeed In Gaining Security Council Membership Without U.S. Support?"


The Mumbai-edition of centrist Gujarati Gujaratmitra editorialized (7/18):  “At a time when the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is all set to discuss a variety of issues with U.S. President George Bush, India has indicated that it will continue its efforts for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.  The U.S. has neither openly favored nor rejected India’s claim for the Security Council seat.  However, it has openly expressed its support for Japan, one of the G-4 countries claming a Security Council seat, on this issue.  Despite this, India has not lost its nerve.  India is trying its best to convince all the member-nations to support its draft resolution on the expansion of United Nations.  Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether India can achieve its goal without the blessings of the U.S. on this.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s political acumen and diplomacy will be put to the test when he presents India’s case in his meetings with the U.S. President on this subject.  Only time will tell how far he succeeds in his efforts to convince the U.S. to support India’s claim.”


"Will The India PM Be Able To Counter U.S. Doublespeak?"


Mumbai edition of Marathi Tarun Bharat commented (7/18):  “Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh needs to take the U.S. to task on one specific count - the U.S. doublespeak on terrorism.  In the entire history of international affairs, no country in the world has so far been able to beat America in the double standards that are inherent in US policies to counter global terrorism….  The U.S. declared a war against terror after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A country like India couldn’t have agreed more with the U.S. on this count.  Much enthused by the U.S. foreign policy shift, India speedily brought the US attention to the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist activities in the Kashmir Valley.  But the U.S. never found it necessary to reprimand Pakistan. Instead it gave a clean chit to General Pervez Musharraf. The U.S. has unfailingly remained non-committal in its stance on India-Pakistan bilateral relations, thereby keeping both the neighbors guessing. American presidents and diplomats, including Bill Clinton and Colin Powell, have made very cautious and neither-here-nor-there observations during their visits to India and Pakistan….  America has now claimed that it has warned Pakistan against the terrorist camps operating from its soil. But, in reality, such a warning has not been given. The U.S. claim is merely a whitewash job in the context of the Indian PM’s U.S. visit….”


"Chalo America"


C. Raja Mohan commented in centrist The Indian Express (7/17):  “While the Indian media is obsessed with specific outcomes from the Singh-Bush meeting, such as agreements on civilian nuclear energy, cooperation in high technology areas, and American support for India’s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council, the talks signify a lot more. The Singh-Bush parleys on Monday, July 18, are about the new dynamism in the triangular relations between New Delhi, Washington and Beijing. The results from these talks will constitute an important step in the long process to establish a new balance of power in Asia and the world. By any measure, Singh’s visit to the United States is a rare one, when considered either in the context of American diplomatic practice or the history of Indo-US relations. Not since the arrival of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to the US in January 1979, has an administration so chosen to hype a foreign dignitary’s visit. While India’s weight in the world system is growing, it is much weaker than either the US or China. But it is the prospect that India is emerging as the ‘‘swing state’’ in the global balance of power that is shaping Singh’s visit to Washington. It is the Bush administration that has taken the initiative on Singh’s visit. Three months ago, President Bush dispatched the new secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, to Delhi to lay out a fresh template for Indo-US relations. External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh was in Washington three weeks later to have it confirmed that the US meant what it was saying. The essence of Bush’s message is that America wants to assist India realize its aspirations to become a global power. Why would one nation want to build up another, sceptics in India ask. After all, they rightly point out, international relations are not based on charity or altruism. The answer is quite simple. As China rises like a colossus, the US would like to see a stronger India that can contribute to peace and stability in Asia. Not very different from what the US did with China in balancing the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.


India is fully conscious that the density of the Sino-US relationship is much thicker today than that between either New Delhi and Washington or New Delhi and Beijing. India’s total commerce with the world is smaller than the Chinese trade surplus - Dols. 160 billion in 2004 - with the United States. Further, India’s relations with China have never been as good as they are today. For the first time in decades, India and China have a rapidly growing economic relationship and are making progress in resolving their political disputes.  India is aware it has begun to matter in world politics in a manner it did not in the past. New Delhi knows the world is big enough to accommodate a rising India and a rising China. Unlike some in India, the government has no reason to be apologetic about its growing capabilities. India’s strategy towards the US and China will not be dissimilar to that followed by Deng towards America and the Soviet Union in the 1980s. While deepening relations with Washington, Deng also began normalizing bilateral ties with Moscow. Deng was playing a balancing game, at the end of which China was much stronger than before. In one line, that’s Manmohan Singh’s agenda in Washington.”


"Will Bush Singh India's Tune?"


Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar editorialized in centrist The Times of India (7/17):  “When Indian Prime Minister visit the US. They make big headlines in India, but very small ones (or none at all) in the US.  That should put Manmohan Singh’s visit in perspective.  India today occupies only tiny corner of the US radar screen.  However, making even a blip is an achievement.  Ten years ago, India was not on the screen at all.  It has now arrived, thanks partly to 9/11 but mainly to Indian success in computer software, BPO and R&D.  These service industries suddenly make India look world-class, threatening millions of white collar jobs in the US and Europe ... For the US, good relations with India are useful but not essential.  For India, good relations are crucial. India may like to pose as partner rather than supplicant, but it will be a very unequal partnership.  Dr. Singh will ask a lot of the US, yet have little to give.  India can present itself as a force for stability in an unstable region breeding Islamic militants ... The fact is, prime ministerial visits aim to improve the climate for decisions.  They rarely yield agreements that have not already been negotiated.  Dr. Singh will be lucky to get many US commitments on the wish list he takes to Washington.  But as Dubya himself would say, we might be ‘misunderestimating’ our Man.”


"Why FCRA Needs A Quick Burial"


N.K. Singh opined in centrist The Indian Express (7/17):  “The much awaited visit of the Prime Minister to the US has begun ... the Indo-US co-operation has entered a new intensive phase. The Prime Minister’s visit will deepen this process notwithstanding the caveats by the Left and disclaimers even before the visit began. There is, however, one area where progress has been zero if not negative ... the scrapping of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) ... Fortunately, one obnoxious regulation making it compulsory for any contribution aimed for educational institutions going to a Bharat Shiksha Kosh, overlooking that such contributions to the alma mater was a way of repaying back, was scrapped by the new government ... The Act is administered by the Ministry of Home Affairs ... The FCRA is an archaic legislation. Even as India has become increasingly globalized, this Act reflects undue diffidence ... There are, however, other means to achieve this unexceptionable goal. Several existing laws like the Money Laundering Act, Foreign Exchange Management Act and other legislations under the control of Ministry of Home Affairs can be strengthened to meet this objective. The FCRA deserves to be scrapped. Democratic institutions and our pride in preserving an ‘‘open society’’ need repeated vindication. Can we arrange a decent but quick burial for this outmoded law?”


"Stung, Singh Returns Sellout Fire"


New Delhi Senior Editor Bharat Bhushan noted in centrist The Telegraph (7/17):  "Chaffing at criticism that his government’s eagerness to forge closer ties with the US amounts to a ‘sellout’ of India’s national interests, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described such allegations as an ‘insult’ ... The Prime Minister has come under attack from the Left parties which have expressed apprehensions about his US visit in their party organs as well as in face-to-face meetings. And he has been at pains to allay such fears. An upset Singh wondered how such allegations could be made against the Congress ‘which has produced the most outstanding leaders of our freedom struggle and who gave their lives to defend the dignity and honor of this country’. How could anyone even imagine that ‘any Prime Minister of the Congress party will ever think consciously or unconsciously to sell India cheap’? ‘India is not for sale,’ Singh said, adding that it was the ‘unquestionable’ obligation of the Prime Minister as the ‘bound servant of the people of India’ to preserve and protect India’s interests and rights in the international arena. At the same time, the Prime Minister made a strong case for finding areas of convergence with the US to create a facilitating environment for India’s economic growth … The US was a superpower whose influence extended to almost every world arena. It was not always necessary or possible that all the interests of the US would coincide with those of India … The purpose of his visit to was to give the US Administration an opportunity to understand India’s domestic and international concerns and ‘to enlist their cooperation in achieving our objectives’. He hoped that his visit would contribute to a better understanding of India’s commitment and concerns ‘as a responsible nuclear power that accepts all the rights and obligations’ which go with such a status. India…had been subjected to several restrictive and discriminatory measures in a number of technology areas - especially nuclear technology to generate power. These were outdated and should go. India is seeking some understanding with the US to facilitate purchase of civilian nuclear reactors in the world market….”


"Bush Waits For Singh, With Tiger"


K.P. Nayar commented in centrist The Telegraph (7/17):  “After scouting for months for a policy gift which would personally please Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his three-day visit to Washington…the White House has settled on an issue that is close to Singh’s heart: protecting the tiger. One of 16 Indo-US joint initiatives to be launched during Singh’s meeting with President George W. Bush…is a project to protect the Bengal Tiger. Final details of the initiative are still under scrutiny … Until now, the US has kept out of the initiative, which groups India, Bangladesh and several other countries, which are the natural habitat of tigers. Canada is the initiative’s most recent member. The Indo-US project to protect the Bengal Tiger from threats of extinction follows Bush’s insistence that he must do for Singh something that is in addition to grand policy visions, such as co-operation in space or nuclear energy: something that the Prime Minister would treasure as a gain not only for his country, but also for an issue to which he is individually committed ... The joint project to be unveiled ... will focus on the tiger population in the Sunderbans and Buxa in West Bengal, in addition to other parts of India where the species are threatened, according to officials giving final touches to the initiative. It will seek to revive co-operation between research and educational institutions in both India and the US, which are engaged in wildlife protection and the environment. In preparing the project, officials here are said to have pored over details of Singh’s visit to the Ranthambore National Park in May, when he ventured up to five feet of Lady of the Lake, one the tigresses in the park.”


"PM's Washington Visit"


Chennai-based independent financial The Hindu Business Line editorialized (7/17):  "At this juncture, all indications point to the fact that Dr Manmohan Singh's visit to the US will be of more than usual interest to both New Delhi and Washington. As far as the latter is concerned, there are clear signs that it wants India to play an important part in its world-view of politico-economic alliances in the second and third decades of the 21st century. For New Delhi, in the emerging "global" environment - where erstwhile Cold War calculations are no longer applicable - support of any sort from the US would be welcome because it would help to increase Indian leverage in international negotiations in diverse fields. Seen in this perspective it is probable that the Indo-US defense framework agreement is an integral part of the developing Washington-New Delhi entente. In other words, going by public criticism of the agreement, it would seem that New Delhi has conceded some ground in this particular sphere in the expectation that the US would give way in other areas, which would be of strategic-tactical value to the Indian position on the world stage. It is, of course, not known whether US support for the G-4 UN General Assembly resolution on the changes in the Security Council's membership, etc, formed part of the "arrangement". If it did, events over the past couple of days indicate that this part of the package will not work out now, particularly after Shirin Tahir-Kheli, adviser to the US secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, told members of the General Assembly that Washington would work to "achieve enlargement of the Security Council but only in the right way and at the right time"... Why Washington has chosen to take this step now is not known although it is clear that the decision represents a victory for those Americans who feel that the "Big Five" concept of yesteryear - namely, the US, France, Britain, Russia and China (replacing Taiwan) - is still relevant in the governance of international relations in the present century. Certainly, there is little relevance for the concept today when the catchphrase is global liberalisation and equity in relations among nations. However, seen strictly from the narrow American point of view, there is still a lot of use to which the veto can be put to, and a lot of practical sense in keeping Security Council membership down to the present five, as became apparent during Washington's Iraq misadventure. This is the general world-view of Washington at the altar of which, understandably, the specific Indian consideration of supporting enlargement of the Security Council has been sacrificed. It would of course be mis judgment on the part of New Delhi to see in this development anything more than a temporary setback to its drive to a permanent berth in the Security Council. More importantly, it should in no way disturb the Prime Minister's discussions with the US Administration beyond making the point that New Delhi has been more than a little disappointed with the US stand on the issue ... This apart, convincing US investors that the "India door" is wide open for them (which would also be a signal to investors from other parts of the world) should be an important target for Dr Singh, specially now when the economic-reform waters have been muddied a bit at home by coalition politics. Given the PM's high stock in the West and his gentle way with people generally, there is no reason to believe that he will not succeed in his mission."


"Rising Terrorism: Focal Point For Manmohan-Bush Dialogue"


Mumbai edition of centrist Gejarati Gujaratmitra noted (7/17)  “During his three-day state visit to the U.S., Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be discussing various issues with President George W. Bush.  The two are expected to discuss issues such as the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the strengthening of Indo-U.S. strategic relations, bilateral defense cooperation and the expansion of the UN Security Council.  Despite all this, the focal point in the dialogue between both the leaders will certainly be the rising threat of terrorism that has spread its wings globally.  The past terrorist incidents in Ayodhya and London have once again underscored the urgency with which the world needs to act to crush this global menace.  The Ayodhya and London terrorist attacks point fingers towards Pakistan.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will have to do some plain speaking on this issue during his meeting with President Bush.  America is known for its double standards on this growing concern.  Manmohan Singh’s visit to the U.S. will not be considered a complete success unless he succeeds in getting the U.S. to act on terrorism without any bias.”  End Message.


"Fare Foreward, Dr. Singh"


Nationalist The Hindustan Times opined (7/16):  “In the past ... some have suggested that the recent Indo-U.S. defense agreement has the makings of a principal-surrogate relationship.  The perspective of the detractors, most actually allied to the UPA, is to chastise the government, is to chastise the government rather than offer constructive criticism that could better assist policy-makers.  A glance back at India’s recent history will reveal the appalling record of colonial misrule, or the negative consequences of the US relationship with Pakistan on our security.  But despite every thing, India has prevailed and is today a respected nation, a vibrant democracy with a thriving economy, and a strong nuclear-armed military.  Looked at from any way, we stand to gain a lot from developing close ties with the U.S.  In the Left’s fantasy world, relations with America are not particularly important, but in the real world they are.  In this world the price of oil is $60 a barrel and climbing ... There is a common interest in stabilizing Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.  India’s military can only become stronger by accessing US technology.  Closer ties with the world’s biggest economy will enrich India’s knowledge-based industries, boost commerce and help us overcome our biggest challenge-poverty.  For reasons grounded deep in its own national interests, the US is seeking closer ties with us.  India’s response has to be based on rationale calculus of its interests and needs, rather than the sum of all the fears.  Nations like Vietnam and China, who have actually fought wars with the U.S., have moved along this path.  Self-confident pragmatism has to be our guide, not outdated ideological bogeys.”


"Friends Yes, But Not Allies Please"


Centrist The Hindu asserted (7/16):  “Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee returned from his "exploratory" visit to Washington last month with a "framework" for military cooperation under his belt. The agreement goes way beyond the current state of play in defense matters. It conjures up a world in which India can join the United States in the enforcement of counter-proliferation, "freedom," and other Bush administration foreign policy goals. Further collaboration on missile defense is envisaged. Mukherjee's plea that his Government has only agreed to let Indian troops join their U.S. counterparts in multinational operations "when it is in mutual interest" will hardly reassure people in this country. Washington wants India to put "boots on the ground" for "low-end" duties as and when a crisis situation demands so that its own troops are free to do the "high-end" work of waging war ... As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for Washington, he will be conscious of the popular backlash the defense framework agreement has triggered. Such opposition is not confined to the Left. Dr. Singh must resist any attempt to widen the scope of the "strategic partnership," particularly in the military and political spheres. The Bush administration is keen to recruit India to its cause of promoting "democracy" worldwide. Any new institutions aimed at promoting democracy and good governance must be U.N.-run if they are to succeed. George Bush knows that what Dr. Singh wants more than anything else is forward movement on civilian nuclear cooperation. Washington continues to deny nuclear technology to India; it also works overtime to ensure that others fall in line. Such a stance, Dr. Singh should tell Mr. Bush, is incompatible with the strategic closeness professed towards India. If, however, there is some unexpected softening in the U.S. position, India needs to avoid offering unpalatable concessions as a quid pro quo. For instance, Washington is not pleased with the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project, and may ask New Delhi to review it. Or there might be pressure to bail out Texas-based Lockheed Martin by selecting the F-16 as its new fighter of choice. One of India's major strengths today is the ability to build constructive partnerships with all current and future world powers, including the U.S., China, Russia, the European Union, Japan, and Brazil. The more New Delhi is drawn into Washington's embrace, the less respect and room for maneuver it will have on the Asian and world stage.”


"Emerging As A Global Player"


Retired Army Officer V.R. Raghavan editoriailzed in centrist The Times Of India (7/16):  “Today, Manmohan Singh begins his tour of the US. The visit has raised a flutter about its strategic implications. Some of these opinions spring from Cold War era ideology, others portray India as a vassal state of the super power. Neither reflects today's strategic scene nor one that is likely to prevail in the future. India needs to secure its core interests at present and for the future. The strategic certainties now are of new power centers emerging and a shifting of the global strategic centre of gravity. The prime minister's visit can prepare the ground for both ... India remains one of the few major states that has emerged stronger from the three tectonic events. It has broken away from its ideologically stultified foreign policy. It has successfully demonstrated both its capability in handling international and state-sponsored terrorism and the resilience of its people in standing up to it. It has restructured economic policies and benefited from globalization. It has repositioned itself to engage with and contribute to the emerging international order. On these issues, there is a large middle ground of political consensus and public support.  The immediate strategic requirement for India is to be a constructive member of the group of major states. This group will determine the scheme of things in the decades to come. That there will be new major powers on the scene is accepted by all: Most concede that India will be one of the rising powers. India has attempted to forge strategic alliances with every major state. Where historical animosities and disputes have prevented it, relations have been stabilized through peace processes and dialogue. It is a record many nations regard with envy.


The defense cooperation framework signed recently by defense minister Pranab Mukherjee and his US counterpart Donald Rumsfeld, has raised misplaced fears.  It is one among a range of bilateral mechanisms India and the US are putting into place to meet future challenges. More than its specific clauses and paragraphs, the framework is an acknowledgement by both states of their shared perspectives on security. It neither commits India to supply military labor to serve US interests as perceived by some, nor does it let the US decide where and how India should meet its security requirements.  The security cooperation already in place between India and the US demonstrates their shared concerns. Naval cooperation against high sea piracy, securing sea lanes and terrorist-related contraband movement, is in all countries' interests. That India and the US can do this is evidence of their capabilities and of their willingness to play a regional and international security role. The series of joint military and air exercises was designed to develop competence in small-to-medium scale operations. The joint exercises are meant for likely contingencies where out-of-area operations demand local knowledge, acclimatization and quick response. None of these is against Indian interests and all of them posit our capability favorably.  Nowhere is India under a treaty obligation to participate.  The India-US relationship has gone through many turbulent phases. Those phases were a product of belief systems in both countries that are now gone. The visit by the Indian prime minister needs every Indian's support.”


"The India-America Nuclear Dialogue"


R.Ramachandran noted in centrist The Hindu (7/16):  “If one were to believe recent media reports in general, the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the United States, beginning July 18, is likely to result in a major Indo-U.S. announcement on the nuclear front. Nuclear matters came to focus soon after the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in April when Washington sought to broaden the strategic partnership beyond the ongoing Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) initiative to include nuclear energy as well.  A realistic analysis would, however, suggest that little can be expected out of this India-U.S. nuclear dialogue, unless the latter can prevail on the 44-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to relax its guidelines and also change its own domestic laws. In fact, even under the NSSP, the U.S. has been inflexible in relaxing controls on the export of a class of nuclear-related dual-use goods - the so-called NP2 controlled items - which could have been easily done without violating its domestic laws or NSG Guidelines.


What is it that the Indian nuclear program critically needs today from the global nuclear suppliers? It is not technology or reactors or cooperation in safety-related matters. It is access to nuclear fuel ... So among all the possible areas of nuclear cooperation, U.S. support to India's entry into International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) ITER appears to be the most likely. RTR may be possible if the U.S. decides to treat India on a par with Israel. In all this India-U.S. nuclear talk, curiously enough, both India and the U.S. have been reluctant to raise the contentious issue of the American spent fuel at TAPS, huge quantities of which lies accumulated in the water pool. According to the original 1963 agreement, the U.S. has the first right to take it back failing which any reprocessing can be done only after a joint determination. Under the current more conducive climate of dialogue, the U.S. should be urged to take back the fuel. There are no domestic laws or NSG Guidelines to contend with here and could mark a significant step in building mutual confidence in nuclear matters. If U.S. rejects the proposal, India could seek to reprocess the fuel now and kill two birds with one stone. The separated reactor-grade Pu-239 could be used for introducing as MOX fuel in TAPS. More importantly, the separated uranium - which will still have an enrichment of one per cent - is eminently usable as fuel in PHWRs, subject to some physics considerations, instead of natural uranium. The most suitable candidate for this would be RAPS reactors, which are already under safeguards, and would partially offset the squeeze on natural uranium for PHWRs."


"India Should Be Warry"


The Chennai-based leftist English-language News Today opined (7/16):  "India's foreign policy has maintained its consistency, as rooted in preserving peace at home and avoidance of friction abroad. This did not mean any hidebound approach which could ignore contemporary expediency. During the Cold War period, India was protecting itself through its 20-year treaty with the then Soviet Union. Its best fruits were witnessed during the Bangladesh war of independence when Indira Gandhi cut Nixon to size. Nixon could only be impotently angry heaping abuses on her, while his Secretary of State, Kissinger, called Indians bastards. Then and now Pakistan being a valued ally of Washington, India had been discriminated against. The Americans could never forgive India for conducting nuclear test and was particularly mortified by the inability of its spy satellite in the sky to detect what was being done under its very nose. After the Frankenstein raised by it hit it in its soft belly through downing of New York's twin towers of the World Trade Centre, it launched its global war on terrorism again deepening its alliance with Islamabad. It did not omit to maintain double standard. It turned a blind eye to Pakistan's proxy war with its sponsorship of insurgency in Kashmir. It could not displease Musharraf because he was the safest bet against jehadis in that country. Yet Washington was forced to mend fences with India because US corporates intending to capitalize on the huge market potential of China pressed it to befriend that country. They had already poured into that country huge volumes of investment directly and through joint ventures. Washington foresaw the rise of China as a power to reckon with in Asia and wanted to redress in anticipation the shift in political and economic balance of power in Asia by getting closer to India.. That is the background of the dialogue on defense framework and promise of collaboration in the production of missiles. US' protectionist trade policy has been marginally eased in favor of India. India has to be very alert in these circumstances not to be sucked into the missile shield temptations being extended to it nor should it miss to perceive the reality that the game plan is to keep India in the status of a dwarf as against the giant."


"Poised For The Jump"


Director and C.E. of ICRIER Arvind Vermani commented in centrist The Indian Express (7/15):  “US President Nixon transformed US relations with China with his breakthrough trip to China. This led after a decade or so to a transformation of China’s role in Asia. President Reagan transformed US relations with the USSR, contributing to the disintegration of the Soviet empire. Will President Bush transform US relationship with India leading to a transformation of India’s role in Asia? A change in objective conditions suggests this is likely. There are, however, obstacles on the US side that will have to be overcome.  President Clinton, after his statement about China and the US being strategic partners and jointly deploring India’s 1998 nuclear tests, repaired relations by condemning Pakistani aggression in Kargil and supporting the Strobe Talbot-Jaswant Singh talks. These talks, along with candidate Bush’s advisory group, ‘‘Vulcans’’, that included Condoleezza Rice and Robert Blackwill, laid the foundation for a changed approach of the US towards India. President Bush envisaged a much bigger role to India in global affairs than his predecessors ... The transformation had, therefore, to await President Bush’s second term and the visit of Secretary Rice to India in March 2005 followed by the background briefing recognizing India’s potential power. A major landmark will be PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington this month. A key test will be US support for a permanent UNSC seat. A possible deliverable is the formation of an India-US study group for a CECA ... The global economy is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Over the next 35 years both the Chinese and Indian economies will become larger than the US economy in size.


"Constructive Thinking"


K.P. Nayar opined in centrist The Telegraph (7/14):  "The challenge for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during and after his visit to Washington will be one of form rather than substance, if the opposition by Left parties to the ‘New Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship’ is any indication. By this yardstick, the Prime Minister is already in trouble, even before he has packed his bags for next week’s journey: he may not be aware of it, though, At least, not yet. The trouble that is brewing for the Prime Minister is over a state dinner, which President George W. Bush is planning for Singh at the White House… Indian officials and those in charge of protocol at the White House have spent considerable time making arrangements for this dinner. It will be nowhere on the scale of a banquet, which Bush’s predecessor, Bill Clinton, put together for Singh’s predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The guest list will be much smaller: the dinner, and the reception which precedes it, will all be held inside the White House, not on the lawns unlike in 2000. But that should not obscure the significance of Bush’s gesture in welcoming Singh to Washington. In his entire first four-year term, Bush hosted just four state dinners. His parents hosted the same number of dinners even before they had time to fully settle down in the White House - during the first six months of the 41st presidency. The White House wants to invite to next Monday’s dinner all 10 American members of the Indo-American CEO’s Forum, which has been set up in time to hold its first meeting in Washington during the Prime Minister’s visit. But it does not want to invite to dinner the 10 Indian CEOs who make up the forum. Indian officials in Washington are unhappy with the discrimination, but there is little they can do about it … That will be Singh’s problem, just as the Left parties see nothing good in the new defense framework and want it to be thrown into the dustbin. Singh’s dilemma during and after his visit to Washington will be fundamental … What the Prime Minister needs in his dealings with America is constructive support and constructive opposition, without which his trip…will be like that of several of his predecessors.”


"Karat Tips To PM On U.S. Trip"


Kary Benedict editorialized in centrist The Telegraph (7/14):  “Ahead of Manmohan Singh’s five-day visit to the US, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat has asked the Prime Minister to be cautious while dealing with the Americans … Karat advised against India becoming a ‘junior partner of the US in Asia’ for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council … The CPM General Secretary asked the Prime Minister to find out from President George W. Bush why he could not push through privatization of social security funds in the US … Bush had proposed to privatize the American social security fund, to which US citizens contribute, and put the money in the stock market. But ‘the proposal has met with widespread opposition and the President has been forced to backtrack’. The Prime Minister should find out about the ‘fate of social security reforms that Bush wanted to push through’ … The CPM leader cautioned the Prime Minister on the ‘deleterious impact of US unilateralism on the UN’, saying that enlisting Washington’s support for a UN Security Council seat would ‘detract’ India’s credibility as an independent power … On the US’s reported objection to the India-Iran-Pakistan collaboration on a gas pipeline project, Karat said Singh should ‘convey in clear terms the country’s determination to pursue the project’. ‘The US should be told that it cannot hamper India’s quest for energy security,’ he said … Unfortunately, India has already sent a signal to go along with the US by signing the framework of an Indo-US defense relationship, the CPM general secretary said.”   


"PM Sets Aside Day To Be Seen & Heard In U.S."


K.P. Nayar wrote in centrist The Telegraph (7/14):  “For the first time in more than a decade, an Indian Prime Minister will be both seen and heard widely in the US when Manmohan Singh arrives here on Sunday on a three-day visit. In a departure befitting India’s growing profile on the world stage, Singh will make himself available to no-holds barred grilling by the international media for one whole hour at the National Press Club … Manmohan Singh has decided to chart a different course with a vengeance. He has set apart the entire last day of his stay here for the media. At the Indian embassy here, at the Prime Minister’s office and at the External Affairs ministry’s spokesperson’s office in New Delhi, requests have been coming in for interviews with Singh. In the recent past, it has been a refrain in India that the country’s Prime Ministers go to and come from America without creating so much as a ripple in the US or international media. Many Indians have found difficult to comprehend this lack of media interest in their leaders: especially since the domestic media always proclaims every prime ministerial trip abroad as a great success. It has also been galling for Indians to see that compared to the lack of interest in their Prime Ministers, General Zia-ul-Haq, Benazir Bhutto and General Pervez Musharraf have all got prime spots in the US media because of Islamabad’s alliance with Washington … Singh’s engagements in Washington will begin with a joint media appearance with President George W. Bush in the East Room of the White House…after his formal welcome. As of now, Singh will start…with a breakfast meeting with the editorial board of The Washington Post. In a departure from usual practice, the newspaper has invited not only its staff writers, but also its regular columnists for the session at Blair House, the presidential guesthouse adjacent to the White House. From that meeting, Singh will go to the National Press Club, after which he will be interviewed by CNN ... Several other interviews are still in the works, including requests from Fox News and the highly regarded News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS … A talk show host who introduced Singh to the US media…with an interview, is also seeking to repeat his effort. It is that interview which set in motion the unprecedented string of requests here to have the Indian Prime Minister on the screen and in print next week.”


"Three Grand Bargains"


C. Raja Mohan editorialized in centrist The Indian Express (7/12):  “As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heads to Washington this week, domestic opposition to his bold foreign policy initiatives is beginning to crystallize. Not all of it is from the political parties. A lot of it also comes from the permanent establishment, which is struggling to come to terms with the new opportunities before Indian diplomacy.  The Left parties have signaled that their opposition to new elements in the engagement with the US is not pro forma. They want to bring their rare clout on the central government to bear upon foreign and defense policies ... Manmohan Singh inherited an exciting foreign policy agenda from Vajpayee.  At the end of his six year tenure, Vajpayee had handed down a new framework for a sustainable peace process with Pakistan, a new approach to boundary negotiations with China, and positive engagement with the US that involved not just transforming bilateral relations ... It fell upon Manmohan Singh to build a new architecture of foreign policy on the foundations laid by Vajpayee. After some initial confusion, Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh persisted with a purposeful approach on the three big foreign policy accounts of the nation.  On the Pakistan front, Manmohan Singh’s talks with Pervez Musharraf on September 24, 2004 in New York and April 18, 2005 in New Delhi served to intensify the peace process ... The UPA government successfully completed the first phase in the boundary negotiations with China initiated by Vajpayee.


The hardball negotiations that produced this document are only the beginning of a complex endgame on a question that has hobbled Sino-Indian relations ever since Independence. The stage is now set for some serious talks on the specific territorial concessions the two sides have to make on the boundary settlement.  On the US, too, confounding skepticism at home and abroad, the government pressed ahead with the expansion of bilateral relations with the US and an attempt to resolve the long-standing nuclear problems with the American-led global nuclear order.  While the commitment of the government for a purposeful foreign policy has not been in doubt, the initiatives towards Pakistan, China and the US have entered a delicate phase. All three involve a significant departure from long-held national positions on the disputes with the three countries.  The talks with Pakistan necessarily demand out of the box thinking on J&K in New Delhi. The boundary negotiations with China involve giving up dearly held notional territorial claims as well as adjustments on current territorial controls. The much sought after nuclear deal with the US, too, involves difficult political give and take.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is surely aware that the three fronts are deeply interconnected. Without cooperation from China and the US, the negotiation of a final settlement on Kashmir will be near impossible. An expanding engagement with the US and Pakistan will provide important leverages for India in its talks with China. An India that sorts out its long-standing territorial problems with Islamabad and Beijing will have greater weight in Washington and in the Asian balance of power.  India has an unprecedented opportunity to restructure three of its most important bilateral relations.  Movement on one front will open up space on the other. The obverse is also true. Unless India simultaneously moves on all the fronts there will be no breakthrough on any.  As the prime minister demonstrates he has the vision as well as political courage to think and act beyond conventional wisdom, he also needs to more actively mobilize public support to foreign policy, by going beyond the permanent establishment. The Indian middle class today is less burdened by self-doubt and is willing to support deliberate foreign policy experimentation towards Pakistan, China and the US aimed at transforming India’s standing in the world.”


"The Ball Is In America's Court"


Pundit K. Subrahmanyam noted in centrist The Times Of India (7/12):  “In another week, we will know whether Indo-US relations will take a historic turn for the better. On both sides, there are optimistic expectations as well as pessimistic predictions. Given the history of last 60 years, mistrust and suspicion cannot be expected to disappear overnight. It took several years after Henry Kissinger's secret visit to Beijing, which led to a breakthrough in Sino-US relations, for normal diplomatic relations to be established between the two countries.  In spite of China deriving enormous benefits from its alliance with US, after it first abandoned the Soviet Union and then communism, there is tremendous suspicion between the two countries ... As in the case of Sino-US relations, the US initiative to help India build itself as a major world power in the 21st century is the result of a "top-down" strategy worked out between the US president and some of his closest advisors. There is bound to be enormous resistance to change within the US bureaucracy - the non-proliferation Ayatollahs and cold warriors who still dream of unbridled US supremacy. Meanwhile, in India, our political class and bureaucracy have yet to overcome their Cold War and non-alignment mindset.  India expects the US to support it openly for a permanent seat in the expanded Security Council, and for revocation of nuclear sanctions. If India is to be the natural ally of the US, to use natural security advisor Condoleezza Rice's expression, these are perfectly normal expectations. But have Indians thought through US expectations from India?  The proposition that the US wants to use India in military terms against China is absurd.


The US secretary of state has clearly explained the linkage between long-term US economic interests on the one hand and its interaction with India as a rising economic power on the other. The US is focused on India's rapid growth, the latter's role as a factor in Asian balance of power and its contribution to US economic pre-eminence. Manmohan Singh, in his statements, has already declared India to be among liberal democracies, with every intention to tap international resources. There is, therefore, a basic framework for a bargain between the two countries, even as India's bureaucracy has not assessed US's objective.  The only problem - a major one at present - is how far the bureaucracies and cold warriors on both sides would allow the leaderships to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. In proceeding on these lines, the prime minister is handicapped by political dependence on the Left, which lives in a Cold War time warp. Though Bush too has to deal with a bureaucracy and politicians who share the Cold War time warp, he has returned to power with the largest electoral margin in history. To that extent, he can set the ball rolling.  A section of the US administration, in fact, feels that the NSSP (Next Step in Strategic Partnership) is not adequate, and that the US must declare its commitment to help India in its move to become a major power of the 21st century and extend support on nuclear energy ... Indo-US relations could revert to the dark ages of the 70s. The US credibility will be damaged not only in Indian eyes but in the rest of the world. The Left in India and others who have been campaigning against improvement in Indo-US relations will be able to step up pressure on Manmohan Singh government even on economic liberalisation.  The objective international reality is that the world does not have and will not have any more superpowers and will have to reconcile itself to a six-actor balance of power system. In that system, with the rising Chinese economic challenge, the US will need India and not vice-versa. The US and India have the potential to be natural allies. Whether the alliance firms up in the near future or suffers a setback because of Cold War mindsets depends on the US leadership.”


"Singh Curtains On U.S. Lobbies"


K.P. Nayar opined in centrist The Telegraph (7/11):  “One week from now Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will bring to Washington qualities which have landed him India’s most powerful job: probity in public dealings and a reliance on meritocracy. During his three-day visit to the US…Singh will firmly turn his back on a Washington institution, which has been a powerful instrument in transforming Indo-US relations for nearly 15 years -- lobbyists paid to argue India’s case with the American establishment. The government has decided to return to the practice during the times of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi of not dealing with America’s political powerhouse with the aid of paid lobbyists. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who heads the High Level Co-ordinating Group on Indo-US Relations, has, instead, marshaled 10 of America’s most influential chief executives to plead India’s case in the US -- for free. These 10 chief executives will work with 10 captains of India’s corporate world through an institutionalized ‘CEO’s Forum’ in an innovative effort to advance Indo-US relations … On paper, the CEO’s Forum will be an engine to take forward Indo-US economic relations, help Indian and American companies to find their way in each other’s countries and create a high profile joint corporate interaction. But in practice, it will be much more … Beijing has consistently used its corporate influence in Washington through companies doing business in China to overcome formidable obstacles here to most favored nation treatment, entry into the World Trade Organization and even consideration on issues of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. But Beijing has done this through the clout of individual business giants it has relations with. India wants to institutionalize this process so that it is enduring.”


"N-Cooperation: Will Bush Go Ahead?"


Centrist The Indian Express analyzed (7/10):  “As the Left parties chip away at the efforts to improve relations with the United States, they have a powerful ally in Washington - the American bureaucracy committed to old think on non-proliferation and nuclear cooperation with India. With the nuclear question once again becoming the touchstone for measuring the transformation of Indo-US relations on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington this weekend, the resistance to change appears as strong in the American capital as it is here.  The Left in India and the non-proliferation bureaucracy in Washington share a deep aversion to India’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. But unlike the non-proliferation champions in Washington, President George Bush has been putting out a different political message. In his frequent encounters with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in recent months, including at the Gleneagles summit last week, Bush has reportedly conveyed his empathy for India’s attempts to acquire civilian reactors from the international market to boost its nuclear electric power program ... Bush’s enthusiasm for nuclear cooperation with India is not necessarily shared by the powerful interests in Washington that cite chapter and verse the US legal impediments for reviving nuclear cooperation with India. For India, however, these arguments at home and abroad against its nuclear weapon capability have been par for the course since 1998, when it declared itself a nuclear weapon power.  The real question before the Indian leadership, on the eve of Singh’s visit to Washington, is whether Bush has the political will to overrule the bureaucratic opposition to nuclear cooperation with India. The failure to move forward on Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation, at a time when the U.S. sells nuclear reactors to China and finances their construction and Beijing continues nuclear cooperation with Islamabad, will severely diminish the credibility of the Bush regime in Delhi.

 After all, India had little expectation of any progress on nuclear cooperation until Bush signaled a change in the American approach at the beginning of this year as part of a new determination to transform relations with India in his second term. Condoleezza Rice during her first visit to Asia as the new U.S. Secretary of State, in mid-March, outlined suo motu the plans of the Bush Administration to upgrade ties with India across the board, especially in the area of technological cooperation ... But there has been no public indication that the talks on nuclear cooperation have made any significant progress. Suggestions from both sides are that a breakthrough, if any, on nuclear cooperation could only come from the talks between Bush and Singh.  Having raised expectations on Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation, it is now entirely up to President Bush to demonstrate that he means what he says about the future of Indo-U.S. relations. Lack of movement on nuclear energy issues in Washington next week will reinforce the armies of sceptics in both the capitals about the prospects for Indo-U.S. ties.”


PAKISTAN: "N-Deal With India Not Aimed At Pakistan: U.S."


Karachi-based center-left independent English-language Dawn editorialized (7/21):  "U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has assured President Pervez Musharraf that Washington’s nuclear agreement with India was not aimed at Pakistan, a State Department official told "Dawn" on Wednesday.  A senior U.S. official, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, told reporters that General Musharraf’s response to the Indo-U.S. deal was “constructive and not overly problematic.”  Senior U.S. officials, including Ms Rice, began to call world leaders hours after the U.S. and India signed a deal on Monday granting New Delhi “the same benefits and advantages” given to other states “with advanced nuclear technology.”  Besides General Musharraf, Ms Rice also called Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to explain the deal...."


"Musharraf's Reaction To Indo-U.S. Deal Constructive"


Lahore based liberal English-language Daily Times opined (7/21):  "President Musharraf’s reaction to the U.S.-India nuclear deal has been described by a senior State Department official as “constructive” and “not overly problematic.”  The call by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Pakistani President on Tuesday suggests that Pakistan had not been informed of the U.S. decision beforehand.  The Pakistan Embassy had no comment to offer and the Foreign Office has refrained from making a statement so far.  Pakistan’s reticence can only then be interpreted as a sign of acceptance of a decision that is not likely to be popular with the Pakistani public...."


"Pakistan Certain To Demand Similar Concessions: U.S. Media"


Karachi-based center-left independent English-language Dawn commented (7/21):  "Pakistan is certain to demand similar concession as India, which is being recognized as a de facto nuclear power under a new deal, the U.S. media said on Tuesday.  Commenting on the deal the U.S. and Indian leaders signed on Monday, The New York Times observed: “Pakistan ... is considered certain to demand similar concessions and some analysts were concerned that the step would weaken international control on nuclear arms.”...  The fear is that these countries, seeing the deal offered to India, might be tempted to get nuclear arms, especially if the crises over North Korea and Iran spin out of control, the paper said.  “If you open the door for India, a lot of other countries are likely to step through it,” the article quoted Leonard S. Spector of the Monterey Center for Non-proliferation Studies as saying.  “China is already thinking of selling additional reactors to Pakistan.”  The Post said Robert Blackwill, a former ambassador to India and a Deputy National Security Adviser under Condoleezza Rice, conceived the deal with India along with his close confidant Ashley J. Tellis."


"U.S.-India N-Deal May Affect CBM Talks: Diplomats' Apprehension"


Karach-based center-left independent English-language Dawn noted (7/21):  "A controversial nuclear cooperation deal for civilian projects between India and the United States may cast a shadow on the nuclear CBM talks between Islamabad and New Delhi scheduled here on August 5 and 6, diplomats and analysts said on Tuesday.  The additional secretary-level India-Pakistan talks were originally expected to consider the usual agenda of advance notification of missile tests that the two countries have not yet resolved.  Issues such as the corridor of the missile tests and the point of impact as well as differences over the type of nuclear-capable missiles to be brought under the purview of their discussions has so far been the staple fare of these meetings.  Indications are growing though that Pakistan will now “study and react appropriately” to the outcome of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with President George W. Bush, mainly looking at the nuclear content, diplomatic sources said."


"Postponement Of Prime Minister's Visit To America: Heart Searching Needed"


Irshad Ahmad Haqqani opined in leading mass circulation Urdu Jang (7/21):  "It should be absolutely understood that the main reason for the postponement of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz’s visit to the U.S. was the fact that the U.S. was not ready to accord the same importance and status to the visit of Shaukat Aziz as it did to the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  Pakistan did try to secure a visit at par to that of Indian premier but failed to have it.  Since both the visits were only ten days apart from each other, it was not possible to hide the lesser status of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz’s visit.  Pakistan did not want that it should become evident before the entire nation as well as the world at large that the position of Pakistan in the eyes of the U.S., despite its role in war on terror, is no more than a ‘poor relative.’  The U.S. refused to enhance the protocol of this visit on the ground that Shaukat Aziz was the elected leader of the country just in the technical sense while the real powers vested in the President.  Pakistan may not like this reasoning but this American justification is not devoid of sense.  What the U.S. has said is the reality.  As the adage ‘first deserve then desire’ goes, Pakistan should think whether Prim Minister Shaukat Aziz is justified in securing the honor of dinner at the White House and address to the joint session of the U.S. Congress?  The answer is in the negative."


"U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation"


Second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt editorialized (7/21):  "The U.S. act of giving India status of nuclear state is dangerous for Pakistan.  India now has a freehand to further develop its nuclear program to the extent of generating electricity using nuclear energy....  Obviously, this discriminatory U.S. attitude shows that America wants to make India a threat for Pakistan and other countries of the region.  Our rulers should choose a path for themselves and should talk with America in categorical terms in order to determine its status as a frontline ally."


"New American Gift For India"


Sensationalist Urdu Ummat commented (7/21):  "America and Pakistan both claim of each other's friendship.  Pakistan stood by the side of America and fully cooperated with it in the war on terror, which was acknowledged time and again by President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair.  The fact is that India as such played no role in this connection.  On the contrary Indian forces are playing havoc in Kashmir and have so far killed more than a million innocent Kashmiri civilians.  Pakistan was forced to go nuclear by India in 1998 when it simultaneously conducted five atomic blasts.  Earlier in 1974, Pakistan had shown great restraint when India conducted its first nuclear test.  Pakistan's nuclear capability is far too superior and sophisticated than that of India.  But during Indian Prime Minister's recent visit to the U.S., President Bush has given the indication of recognizing India as a nuclear state.  This is something to think for Pakistan, which has lost everything in American friendship while India is reaping the fruits without even sowing the seeds."



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