Friday, 7 April 2006

India's Nuclear Sell Out (UPI)

M.D. Nalapat

MANIPAL, India, April 7 (UPI) -- If his July 18, 2005 deal with U.S. President George W. Bush is implemented, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will ensure that India would never, at least in the next half-century, rival China as a technological or military superpower.
The act of scientific strangulation in the Singh-Bush nuclear agreement would rapidly push India downwards to the level of Lesotho and Botswana in nuclear and missile science. After half a century of protecting its nuclear technology, the country would slide into the category of "recipient countries" explicitly marked out for it by Bush. As such, India would no longer be permitted to even reprocess uranium on its own, but would have to depend on "advanced countries" such as Japan and Germany for this essential process. Ironically, at present India is far ahead of both in nuclear science.
Just as others did before him, Manmohan Singh has made the mistake of believing the temporary backing of the U.S. bureaucracy to be sufficient protection from the angry reaction of his own people, once the consequences of his actions become clear. However, in this case, the price for such misdeeds is likely to be paid not by Singh personally but by the Congress Party, which will henceforward be seen as having betrayed its nationalist past.

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Emasculating Nuclear India (UPI)

M.D. Nalapat

NEW DELHI, March 13 (UPI) -- There is zero doubt that India and the U.S. are natural partners. Steady migration to the U.S., the ever-denser interlinking of the hi-tech industry in both countries, and common threats from religious fundamentalism and political authoritarianism mandate that Washington and New Delhi forge an alliance that is as close as that between the U.S. and the UK.
However, the caveat to this is that such a partnership can only be on terms that are the same as what the U.S. accords to the U.K. In brief, the U.S. has first to accept India as a nuclear weapons state that deserves permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council. Unfortunately, almost all the formulae trotted out by the "South Asia" brigade in U.S. think tanks and other centers of influence such as the State Department implicitly or otherwise seek to "engage" India on terms that would, if accepted, result in an emasculation of the world's most populous democracy.
The proposed Nuclear Deal falls squarely in this category, and will, if sought to be implemented, push official U.S.-India relations back to the frost of the Cold War period.
Indians love flattery, and often surrender substance in exchange for a verbal pat on the head. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, by education as well as by his experience in international institutions, is predisposed to uncritical acceptance of the standard Western worldview, which implicitly sees India as a juvenile power needing mother-henning, and definitely not mature enough to be trusted with grown-up implements such as nuclear weapons and their associated delivery systems. This mistrust of the country's maturity -- despite New Delhi's impeccable non-proliferation record to date -- infuses the terms of the deal that has been agreed to by the Sonia Gandhi-led coalition government, hungry as always for formal acknowledgment of its improving status. Were the agreement to be implemented, India would almost immediately lose its chance to switch to the thorium cycle, and within 12 years would find its tiny arsenal of nuclear weapons depleted to irrelevance.