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After The US-India Deal What Comes Next

Indian President Manmohan Singh.
by Ambika Behal
Washington (UPI) Apr 05, 2006
A whole new world order is in the making as a result of the recent U.S.-India nuclear agreement, changing relations with the rest of Asia. "I don't see any option for India giving up nuclear weapons -- which they are not going to do anytime soon," said T.V. Paul, a professor of international relations at McGill University in Canada.

Speaking at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA in Washington, Monday, Paul delivered remarks discussing India's new standing in the world as a result of the nuclear agreement signed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President George W. Bush in early March.

India's "nuclear doctrine is based on a no-first use policy -- this generates the difference between a status quo power and a nuclear state," said Paul. The accord is advantageous for both India and the U.S. because India will not abuse its nuclear powers, unlike Iran or North Korea, he said.

"We (the U.S.) face a fundamental choice between a fundamentally flawed deal and no deal," said Kurt Campbell, senior vice-president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Also speaking at SPFUSA, Campbell said that Congressional critique of the deal thus far has been expected. However, "what the Americans don't appreciate is the deep resistance in India to this deal," despite favoring them in a "dramatic set of circumstances," he said.

Assessing the Bush administration's current "War on Terror" in the Middle East, Campbell said the reality of the situation is that fighting a war in Iraq has detracted from America's ability to devote time and energy to a rising Asia.

"China today might very well be the great power of Asia," Campbell said, adding India is anxious about China and is keen to be an acknowledged nuclear power as a result.

"I believe China has the right kind of tools and incentive to make sure there is no sense of burgeoning hostility between India and China," he said, "I think the idea that Chinese mindset of nuclear developments in India will be dramatically different, is not correct."

The two countries have been making attempts at repairing peace since the 1962 India-China conflict, in which India saw heavy defeat by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Given the nature of an enmity between the two, it is not likely India will ever completely trust China, members of the Indian government have said.

Citing former Indian Defense Minister George Fernandez's remark that India's nuclear arsenal was in fact aimed at deterring China, Martin Walker, editor at UPI, told an audience at SPFUSA that the rise of India and China will have "dramatic implications" for the world, and not just for Asia.

A twelfth hour deal, there had been no guarantee that the U.S.-India nuclear accord would go through -- until Bush overruled his advisers saying the general strategic relevance was more important than the legalities.

Opposition to the deal in India had revolved around negotiations of the fine print, which Washington, initially, had not agreed to. According to Walker, the Indian nuclear scientists wanted to safeguard their fast-breeder reactors, keeping them out of any agreement and they also wanted to safeguard their own thorium technology, a form of technology that replaces use of uranium in nuclear expertise.

"India is also still seething with resentment at the way they were treated after nuclear testing in 1998," he said, "they have been a highly responsible nuclear power state for some time already."

According to Paul, India's position is also a defensive one -- it is bordered on one side by Pakistan, which "pursues territorialism with nuclear revisionism" and on the other, by China.

"These are two rising powers -- each of whom feels some nervousness at the intentions of the other," said Walker, referring to India and China's relationship -- partly as a result of America's more recent involvement with India.

From Beijing's perspective, it feels as if it is being encircled by American wooing, he said. Delhi however, sees the port and naval base being built by Chinese technology and Chinese financial support in Pakistan on the west, and on the east sits China itself.

"One of the most promising aspects of the Bush diplomacy is that it realized Asia needs some U.S. attention," said Walker, "critical to U.S. future and economy." He added that the U.S. Congress itself sees the importance of Asia for America's future, so will likely have to make necessary amendments to laws in order to secure the agreement.

According to Campbell, the deal's finalization -- which may take a long time -- will provide a new insight into how influential a currently uninvolved Indian military becomes in government affairs.

"In the end, peaceful integration of the rising power is for the good of the public order and the international system," said Paul.

Source: United Press International

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