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US Feting India To Balance Power In China-Dominated Asia: Analysts

checks among superpowers

New Delhi (AFP) Jul 19, 2005
Washington's decision to reopen access for India to civil nuclear technology is another example of the Bush administration's engagement of the South Asian nation as a counterweight to China, Indian analysts said Tuesday.

"People have it in their minds that in Asia it should not be a wholly China-dominated scene," Indian former foreign secretary Salman Haider told AFP.

"Japan has become more assertive and we are seen as a potential counter balance. Whether it should take the form of rivalry with China, that's a separate question. I think the United States would like to bring us into play (vis-a-vis China)."

China and India are the world's fastest growing economies. While China is an established Asian giant, India, with its seven percent growth rate in 2004, is seen as an emerging power.

But for India the issue of energy is becoming more and more important as it attempts to power the needs of its billion-plus population and fuel its booming economy.

President George W. Bush said after a summit with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Washington on Monday he would ask Congress and allied nations to lift sanctions preventing Indian access to civil nuclear technology.

Washington had imposed sanctions on India after its second round of nuclear tests in May 1998, but agreed after the September 11, 2001 attacks to waive those and other sanctions in return for support in the "war on terrorism".

However, because India is not party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, it is precluded under a US law from receiving technology that could aid its nuclear program.

But Bush said he would "seek agreement from Congress to adjust US laws and policies" and work with "friends and allies to adjust international regimes" for such cooperation and trade with India.

"I think this agreement to reopen civil nuclear technology is perhaps the most significant aspect of what transpired in Washington," said India's former ambassador to Pakistan G. Parthasarthy.

"The United States was claiming that it wanted India to be a partner and yet had imposed sanctions on India on nuclear space and hi-technology transfers that were far more stringent than on China.

"So any kind of partnership was meaningless unless these were removed. It's the first step in that direction... Full credit to President Bush. He is the friendliest president India has had in the White House."

Parthasarthy said the developments should be viewed in the context of "the emerging Asian balance of power (in which) the United States sees India as a partner".

Last month the countries signed a 10-year defence agreement paving the way for joint weapons production, cooperation on missile defense and a possible lifting of US export controls for sensitive military technologies.

Earlier this year, Washington offered sophisticated F-16 fighter jets to India following up on its declaration that it would like to help India become a major power in the 21st century.

US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, while briefing reporters on the Bush-Singh talks, described the Indian prime minister's trip as "one of the most important visits of this year".

"We consider India to be one of our most important partners worldwide... We've never had a relationship in nearly 60 years with India like the one we have now established," he added, according to a release by the US embassy in New Delhi.

Traditionally close to the erstwhile Soviet Union, India adopted a non-aligned position during the Cold War. It has long-established firm ties with Russia which feeds 70 percent of its defence needs.

However, with the opening up of the Indian economy in the early 1990s, ties with the United States also started warming up, getting a major fillip when former president Bill Clinton visited India in 2000.

President Bush is slated to visit India within the next year.

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US Warned Not To Ignore Chinese Military Advances
Washington, Dec 14, 2005 (AFP)
The United States must prepare an effective strategy to face China's rising military power and not freeze at the Asian giant "like a deer in the proverbial headlights," a new study warned Wednesday.

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