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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. India Nuclear Deal’

Blog-On-Blog– The Ties that Bind, And the Ties That Don’t: US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by K.E. White on December 2, 2008

Nima Maleki argues that the nuclear deal between the United States and India “explicitly binds India into several foreign relations policies demanded of it by the US in exchange for cooperation on limited access civilian nuclear technology and fuel.

That would make the US-India nuclear deal quite the twilight accomplishment for the Bush administration. Unfortunately, such a superficial reading on the deal misses both the letter of the agreement and it’s practical impact.

First, let’s inspect the agreement itself. While Maleki is correct in noting that American presidents now have the right to suspend the nuclear cooperation if India is found to be proliferating weapons technology, performing nuclear tests or using this cooperation to enlarge their arsenal, such restrictions have proven toothless in the past.

continue reading article

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Senate Approves US-India Deal: Two Wrap-Ups of the New Nuclear Nonproliferation Wrinkle

Posted by proliferationpresswm on October 4, 2008

Time Magazine teases out the practical and symbolic effects of the nuclear deal to India. Yes, they get can now receive more sensitive technologies—but the real impact is breaking the India-Pakistan ‘hyphen’.

But—as Mother Jones notes—will the deal risk a break-down of global non-proliferation efforts? And Asia-One News tacks the deal’s winners and losers.

But one thing is clear: US President George W. Bush just profoundly shifted the international system, and with little fanfare or even notice from Americans. (Though a teetering economy, riveting presidential campaign and two on-going wars would push almost any other story before the fold)


Source Material

From Time.Com:

But one thing India does not doubt is that the 123 Agreement will transform the way the country is viewed in the eyes of world. According to strategic affairs analyst Manoj Joshi, without access to international nuclear trade, India “could boast of our bomb, our BPO prowess, economic growth, invites to the G-8 meetings and candidacy for the UN Security Council seat. But we were firmly at a different level from, say, China. They could import powerful computers, uranium, sensitive machine tools, software and components for satellites that were denied to us.” Today, that changed, as did the international community’s policy of equating India and Pakistan as nuclear weapons states. As Indian and U.S. officials have repeatedly pointed out, the deal has “de-hyphenated” India from Pakistan. “For decades India has chafed at the world’s tendency to lock India into a bipolar South Asian framework with Pakistan,” says Joshi. “Now, decisively, the rules have been changed for India, and pointedly not for Pakistan.” The deal also has a bearing on the regional balance of power, making clear the U.S.’s proclivity to India and sending a signal to Beijing that it has other options in the Asian region.

On a slower news day, the deal might have gotten more fanfare. But in Washington, immediately after voting, the Senate went back to deliberating the financial bailout package. The Bush administration had achieved one of its most important foreign affairs successes, but there was more pressing business to be sorted out at home. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected in India later this week to ink the agreement with Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. In India, news channels interspersed images from the deal being passed with footage of Oct. 2 bomb blasts in the northeastern state of Tripura. Neither of the governments that led these historic efforts will benefit from it today. But for both, the deal will be a significant and unprecedented legacy.

From Mother Jones

The consequences of the U.S.-India nuclear deal will show themselves slowly, and perhaps in part for that reason, not much has been made of it in the press or in Congress. Immediately after casting their votes last night, Senators returned to debating the financial industry bailout package, the India deal just another piece of business checked off the list. For a measure so important to the future of the spread of nuclear weapons, said Dorgan, “never has something of such moment and such significance and so much importance been debated in such a short period of time and given such short shrift.” 

Posted in Bush administration, India, Nuclear, WMD | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

An Interesting–if Slanted–Look at the NSG Deliberations over the US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 16, 2008

An interesting—if bombastic—pro-Indian article into the deliberations of the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) the US-India nuclear deal. 

Chief points: China mucked up passage by insisting Pakistan also receive a nuclear waiver. Also, the article highlights an interesting wrinkle of the US-India nuclear deal: Indian energy independence from Iran. 

The article also expresses the visceral Indian support for the nuclear deal; a sharp constrast from the American public’s ignorance and indifference towards the soon-to-be approved agreement. 

From Hari Sud’s article in the UPI Asia Online:

NSG works by consensus, which agrees to opinions reached by the group as a whole. Even one holdout with idealism in mind can put a spanner in the works. This is what a group lead by Austria, including New Zealand, Ireland, Netherlands and Norway did to India’s recent application for waiver. They held out for two consecutive NSG meetings and five rounds of negotiations. Idealism was the motive behind their moves. Under pressure from India and the U.S., they finally withdrew all objections and consented to the waiver of the U.S. prepared revised draft.

China played a negative role. They unenthusiastically supported the waiver, knowing fully well that the U.S. was hundred percent behind the move. They walked out of the meeting once in support of Austria, Ireland and New Zealand. In a bid to scuttle the deal, they demanded an airtight commitment from India to ban testing of any nuclear bombs, although they would not give any such commitment from their side. In addition they made a fresh case for Pakistan to be awarded the same special waiver, given to India. They knew that Pakistan is a nuclear proliferator, yet pleaded their case to endorse the Pakistani government’s support of their strategic plans in Asia. This last minute treachery from China, who earlier supported India, will never be forgotten.

If the NSG had not given the waiver, India still has adequate resources to power its growing economy with local coal and natural gas from Iran. However, this would have quadrupled India’s greenhouse gases emission from the current 1.1 billion tons a year to about 4 billion tons in 20 years and its impact on earth’s fragile environment would have been catastrophic. Nuclear energy will, however, cut India’s emissions by half.

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The US-India Nuclear Deal: What Is Gained

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 16, 2008

Two articles detail the financial gains resulting from the soon-to-be approved nuclear deal between the United States and India. The precedent-breaking agreement makes India the first and only non-member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to legally engage in nuclear commerce.

The NPT, crafted in 1968, sought to limit nuclear proliferation and foster eventual nuclear disarmament by recognizing only five nuclear powers—United States, Russia, Britain, France and China. In return, other members were promised the technology-sharing and a commitment to nuclear disarmament. India considered the agreement discriminatory, and eventually detonated nuclear weapons in 1998 in response to Pakistan’s displayed its own nuclear-weapons capability.

The nuclear deal allows the US to provide fuel to India. But lifting the former nuclear moratorium on India also allows other nations—such as France, Russia and China to soon follow America’s lead.

The Irish Times brings focus to the rewards awaiting American weapons producers:

“Other than obvious commercial interests, which are important, the US is keen to invest militarily in India which it believes with Washington’s help and hardware can emerge as a counterweight to China’s growing might,” said retired Indian army lieutenant general VK Kapoor.

Washington is seeking a credible ally in a region where its hold is becoming tenuous. It is anxious for closer ties with India and equipment sales is a vital link in that chain, he added.

Over the next few months India is expected to acquire eight maritime reconnaissance aircraft from Boeing for more than $2 billion (€1.4 billion), varied equipment for its special forces and is considering the purchase of six additional Lockheed-Martin-built C 130J Hercules transport aircraft expected to cost about $1 billion.

Washington is also backing the $10 billion contract for 126 multi-role combat fighters for which Boeing and Lockheed Martin are competing alongside Russian and European manufacturers.

US companies are also bidding to supply India with more than 220 military helicopters to replace ageing platforms in contracts estimated at about $2 billion.

And the prospect of Delhi acquiring Patriot and Harpoon missiles was discussed during Indian defence minister AK Antony’s visit to Washington that ended at the weekend.

India is also expected to finalise negotiations with the US on the long-pending logistics support agreement that permits the two militaries reciprocal use of facilities for maintenance, servicing, communications, refuelling and medical care, bringing the two defence establishments closer.

Asia Times Online sheds light on the commercial impact of the deal:

Two years of heated, divisive debate on the nuclear deal also gave way to a buzz across the country on how much India stands to gain. The stock markets gained 3% as plans by India’s largest engineering firms such as Larsen & Toubro took a huge jump towards becoming reality. 

Over 400 Indian and foreign firms are expected to gain from the NSG waiver, according to leading industry bodies such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The 2020 goal for the country’s nuclear power generation industry requires a minimum investment of $45 billion, estimates the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. 

While most of the new nuclear power plant deals are in the near future category, Larsen & Toubro has already struck a $750 million joint-venture deal this past July with the government-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to manufacture forgings for nuclear power plants. 

Another engineering major, government-owned Bharat Heavy Electronics Ltd, and L&T are together expected to garner contracts worth $10 billion of the estimated $100 billion worth of deals over the next two decades. 

Mumbai-based NPCIL, which spearheads India’s nuclear power program, says it has 17 nuclear reactors in operation and five reactors under construction. 

The $1.2 billion GVK group, another leading infrastructure-developing Indian company, has plans to buy reactors and equipment from American companies such as General Electric and Westinghouse Electric. 

Such benifits may bring about tight and reinforcing bounds between the world’s largest democractic nations. But such gains will be weighed against future trends in nuclear weapon and energy proliferation. not to mention the response from Pakistan’s newly minted regime.

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The US-India Nuclear Deal: Believable or Not, On Track For September Passage

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 13, 2008

A deal some pronounced dead months ago is predicted to become law this month. The landmark nuclear cooperation deal allows India—a non-recognized nuclear-weapons country—to engage in nuclear commerce with other nuclear powers. While proliferation concerns have nagged the precedent-shattering for years, another concern now faces Washington: will the deal actually bring India closer to China and Russia. 

The last obstacle for the deal resides in the United States, will the US Congress is expected to take up and pass the bill. 

President George Bush’s landmark foreign policy achievement may not only cripple non-proliferation efforts, but tilt global influence away from America. 

The Bush administration’s aggressive push for a US-Indian nuclear partnership was premised on two large assumptions: 1) international inertia on recognizing India’s nuclear status was hampering non-proliferation efforts, and 2) if America led the nuclear effort, it would be the foundation of a strategic partnership with India. While only time will tell on the deal’s impact of nuclear nonproliferation, the second assumption now seems deeply flawed.   

Even if American-specific constraints are placed on the deal during Congressional review this month in Washington, other countries are now free to provide nuclear fuel to India. 

From The Times of India

But if the US intends to redraw its own lines on agreements, India feels it will only be the US that will be the loser. Moreover, India will balk at buying either fuel or reactors from US sources. It might affect the US which wants a “level playing field” for its companies. “They’re undermining their own playing field,” said sources. 

In any case, India’s best suppliers for fuel will be countries like Russia and France, both traditional sources, and not hampered by such constraints. French envoy to India, Jerome Bonnafont told journalists today that the “NSG exemption was wise and appropriate… It opens a new chapter in which France desires to be a key partner.”  

For some, a nuclear deal with India was unavoidable. A growing presence on the world stage with nuclear arms since 1999, it was only a matter of time before the globe’s major powers had to incorporate India’s nuclear status. 

But the details of the deal trouble some nonproliferation experts. India flouted international law and norms by denoting nuclear weapons in 1998. But India now stands to receive the benefits of a responsible world-power—with no real constraints its future nuclear weapons testing or development. 

From Dr. William Potter of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies

What is especially disheartening about the nuclear agreement — and bodes poorly for future nonproliferation efforts — is the extent to which economic considerations and power politics overrode those involving nuclear arms control — even among states typically regarded as international nonproliferation leaders. Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, South Africa, and Sweden were largely missing in action — or worse — during the prolonged struggle to impose consensus on the deeply divided 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Did these states, and others, simply forget the commitments they undertook at prior Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conferences to foreswear nuclear cooperation with states lacking comprehensive safeguards? What credibility will they have now to hold the feet of the nuclear weapons states to the fire on other NPT commitments such as nuclear disarmament, the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, and the provision of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes? Having rewarded India, a nuclear weapons possessor, with nuclear trade benefits previously reserved to states in compliance with the NPT, what incentives remain for other states to join the Treaty? How can one tighten controls on nuclear exports to NPT members of sensitive uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technology having just created a giant loophole for such exports to a non-NPT state? Which countries retain the moral authority to speak credibly about other states’ nuclear disarmament and arms control shortcomings in light of the collective nonproliferation amnesia on display in Vienna this past week? Certainly, the tiny group of white knights no longer includes Canada, Germany, South Africa, and Sweden — nations who pride themselves as models of nonproliferation propriety.

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US-India Nuclear Deal: Dead Or Not?

Posted by K.E. White on October 17, 2007

US India Nuclear Deal: Dead or not? Here are two conflicting news accounts.

The International Herald Tribune has this post-script on the US India nuclear deal:

His coalition partners don’t want him to force an early election. Polls are due in 2009, and which politician wants to give up political power for the sake of nuclear power?

One important ally, Muthuvel Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu State, went ahead and congratulated the prime minister for “gladdening the hearts of people” by patching up with the leftist parties.

“Frankly, the deal is not important,” he told the NDTV news channel. “The government is important.”

Unless Singh has staged a tactical retreat to take the Marxists by surprise in a later offensive, the so-called 123 agreement with the United States is now dead.

But wait, The Business Standards has this:

Congress spokesperson Shakil Ahmed today denied that the Indo-US nuclear deal was on hold, but stopped short of saying that the deal was on track and gave no time frame for its operationalisation.

When asked repeatedly asked about the deal’s future, Ahmed said: “The deal is not on hold. It has not been put in cold storage. Your (media’s) assessment is wrong.”

He also pointed out that the Prime Minister had never said that the deal was dead or on hold.

Perhaps Singh is waiting to bring the deal back during a less heated time. But exactly when that time will be (after 2009 elections?), seems unclear.

And will India find support for the deal with the new American president?

Posted in America, India, U.S. India Nuclear Deal, White House | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Nuclear Deal Not Gone Yet: Singh IBSA Nuclear Buzz in Johannesburg

Posted by K.E. White on October 17, 2007

Manmohan Singh

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh makes nuclear buzz with his meeting with leaders of Brazil and South Africa, for the second India-Brazil-South Africa Summit (IBSA).

From NDTV:

In his bilateral talks with [Thabo] Mbeki [Luis Inacio] Lula, the Prime Minister will try to garner support of South Africa and Brazil for the India-US nuclear deal.

It is a diplomatic exercise that is also aimed at getting across the message back home that India may have put its safeguards negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on hold but plans to keep its NSG diplomacy on track.

What’s the IBSA?


It’s a formal meeting of the leaders of India, Brazil and South Africa—leading nations of Asia, South America and Africa. The summits emerged out of earlier meetings between the nations’ foreign ministers.

Manmohan Singh, Thabo Mbeki and Luis Inacio Lula gives this summit rundown:

The Summit of Heads of State and Government will be preceded by an IBSA Ministerial Working Breakfast hosted by Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma with her counterparts from India and Brazil, Foreign Ministers Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Dr Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

It is expected that a number of trilateral agreements will be signed following the meeting of Heads of State and Government focusing on shipping, ICT and energy India-Brazil-SA have very vibrant democracies, common views on major global issues and are substantial players in their respective sub-regional economies.

Collectively India, Brazil and South Africa have a population of over 1.3 billion people and a combined market of almost U.S. $2 trillion.

For interested readers, here’s the first IBSA summit’s joint communiqué and the 2005 closing statement from a 2005 IBSA Dialogue Forum.

And The Citizen shows the soccer-connection between South Africa (2010 World Cup host) and Brazil:

Ahead of serious political, economic and social discussions between the leaders, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva congratulated President Thabo Mbeki on winning the rights to hold the World Cup in South Africa.

“I (also) want to congratulate you because South Africa has decided to hire a Brazilian coach who has a long track record… winning the world cup in the past,” Lula da Silva said.


Posted in Brazil, IBSA, India, India Brazil South Africa Summit, Luis Inacio Lula, Manmohan Singh, Nuclear, South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, U.S. India Nuclear Deal | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

News Alert: US-India Nuclear Deal Slipping Away?

Posted by K.E. White on October 12, 2007

Manmohan Singh

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has—for the first time—publicly discussed the possible failure of the US-India nuclear deal.

From AFP:

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday ruled out early elections amid a political uproar over a controversial Indo-US nuclear deal, but admitted the accord may never gain approval.

The communists have repeatedly threatened to withdraw their support for the minority Congress-led coalition government if it proceeds with the landmark pact, which would allow energy-hungry India to buy civilian nuclear technology.

Singh said he hoped that “reason and common sense” would ultimately prevail on the Indo-US agreement, which he described as “an honourable deal that is good for India and good for the world.”

But “if the deal does not come through, that is not the end of life,” Singh added.

“It will be a disappointment. In life, one has to live with some disappointments.”

It was the first time that Singh, who had staked his political credibility on the nuclear agreement seen as a cornerstone of warmer Indo-US ties, had publicly evoked the possibility that the deal might not go ahead.

It marked a sharp change in stance from two months ago, when Singh dared the communists to withdraw their support for the coalition if they were unhappy with the deal.

Voice of America explores the roots of Indian opposition to the US India nuclear deal:

London-based journalist Vijay Rana says some of the opposition to the deal in India stems from doubts about the United States dating back to the Cold War period when India was allied with the former Soviet Union.“The Indian opinion can be divided into two broad sections, says Dr. Rana.” One is the young India, the educated India, the high-tech India, rising and shining India. These younger people have no reservations as far as America is concerned, and they increasingly look forward to strengthening this relationship, which is based on economic ties largely. But then there is an older India, India of the cold war years, and these communists, in fact, largely survive on that part of public opinion.”

India’s opposition Bhartiya Janata Party, or B-J-P, also opposes the deal, even though the previous government, which was led by the B-J-P, laid the groundwork for cooperation between India and the United States. Experts say the B-J-P’s opposition is largely due to internal party politics, as well as to shortsightedness on the part of some B-J-P leaders. These politicians aspire to fresh elections that might result if the communists withdraw support from the Congress-led government over the nuclear deal.

Posted in India, U.S. India Nuclear Deal, United States | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

ElBaradei goes to India…But To Talk About What?

Posted by K.E. White on October 9, 2007

ElBaradei is in India on a three day tour. His itinerary: inaugurating new cancer treatment technology (the Bhabhatron-II) and the Bhadha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai. ElBaradei will also be meeting with political leaders, but not in reference to IAEA safeguards for the US India nuclear deal.

The IAEA must approve the US India nuclear deal, and must come to an understanding with India about inspections over nuclear sites. (Note: The current nuclear deal exempts ‘military’ facilities from IAEA inspections. What determines ‘civilian’ vs. ‘military’ nuclear facilities is just one issue that remains to be ironed out.)

The visit may inflame already tense negotiations over the deal within the ruling coalition government. India’s political left, an ally of the majority Congress Party, are not happy over the deal:

“Those who advocate the deal should know that India is capable of developing nuclear energy primarily on a self-reliant basis,” the four communist parties said in a joint release in New Delhi yesterday. “We need not surrender our vital interests to America on this plea.”

Prakash KaratThe New York Times provides an interesting article exploring the leader of the Indian Communist Party Prakash Karat and his party’s spoiler role in Indian politics.

From the Associated Press:

India’s government on Tuesday played down a visit by the chief of the U.N. atomic watchdog, denying he was there to negotiate a landmark nuclear deal between India and the United States that threatens to bring down the government.

Mohamed ElBaradei, whose International Atomic Energy Agency must approve the pact, said he was ready to discuss the agreement whenever Indian officials wished.

Speaking to reporters after a planned meeting with top Indian scientists, he said the “IAEA is ready for talks whenever India approaches me for the talks.”

And from The Hindu News Update:

“IAEA is ready for talks whenever the India approaches me for the talks,” Elbaradei, on a three-day visit to India, said after inaugurating the indigenously developed advanced computerised telecobalt machine `Bhabhatron-II’ for treatment of cancer here.

“The Indian government will have to take a decision,” he said adding, “I will wait for them to come to Vienna to make a formal request (in this regard).”

Posted in ElBaradei, IAEA, India, Prakash Karat, U.S. India Nuclear Deal | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US India Nuclear Deal Hits An Israeli Snag, But Gets a French Boost

Posted by K.E. White on October 2, 2007

The US-India nuclear deal may have hit an Israeli stepback. With the deal already facing fire in New Delhi and still lacking IAEA approval, a new challenge has appeared: Israel is lobbying the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to give India and Israel access to nuclear trade.

Getting the NSG to make an exception for India–a non-NPT recognized nuclear power–already caused turbulence, but had apparently won the support of China and Russia. Will this Israel variable set India back to square one?

Will Turkey really support an exemption only adds emphasis to Pakistan–a non-recognized nuclear power–failure to get the same treatment as Israel and India? And how will this Israeli lobbying be viewed in the Middle East?

But India also got some good news on the NSG front. France, a key member of the group, will actively lobby for an Indian exception to NSG rules that bar nuclear trade with non-NPT member states.

The move was predictable, since France seeks to conclude its own nuclear deal with India.

The Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports on the Israeli complication:

Using the Israeli proposal as an example, the opponents of the Indo-US nuclear deal can argue that any exception to the NPT restriction may open the gate to proliferation as other non-recognised nuclear states may also demand acceptance. Documents outlining Israel’s proposal were distributed among the NSG members in March and have circulated on Capitol Hill in Washington in recent days.

The Israeli plan offers 12 criteria for allowing nuclear trade with non-treaty states, including one that hints at Israel’s status as an undeclared nuclear weapons state: A state should be allowed to engage in nuclear trade if it applies “stringent physical protection, control and accountancy measures to all nuclear weapons, nuclear facilities, source material and special nuclear material in its territory.”

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, said the Israeli document could affect the debate over India. “The dynamics at the NSG are that no country wants to stand in the way of the largest country, India, and the most powerful country, the US,” he said.

And The Hindu reports on French support for India’s nuclear exception:

In this regard, France is awaiting the waiver by NSG, the officials said, adding an Indo-French nuclear agreement would be on a “different scale” than the Indo-US deal.

It would involve transfer of crucial reprocessing technology that has been denied by Washington in the Indo-US deal.

“We feel that there is a necessity to introduce a change in the international system (on nuclear issue) to allow India to play its due role in it,” a senior official of the French Atomic Energy Commission told a group of visiting Indian journalists here.

Posted in America, France, France India nuclear deal, India, Israel, Nuclear Deal, Nuclear Suppliers Group, U.S. India Nuclear Deal | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »