Posted by: John Elliott | October 29, 2007

A breakthrough in the India-US nuclear deal

India’s nuclear deal with the US might be saved. After weeks of bad news, with the Indian government failing to get its Communist-led parliamentary allies on side, the ground is at last shifting and it looks as if the Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s main opposition which has been objecting to the deal, might save the day.

It is of course too early to be sure, but I’d put money on a parliamentary debate quite soon where the Left gets isolated and there is a consensus – or maybe even a vote – in favor of going ahead. That would enable the deal to proceed via the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and meet the January deadline that the US is aiming for.

So what’s happened to lift the pall of gloom that was falling last week over the deal and over India-US relations? Basically, US diplomats in Delhi – plus former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who is visiting the city – have been calling in favors from old contacts in the BJP who they have been nurturing for years. The US has always felt more comfortable with the right-wing Hindu-nationalist BJP than with the Congress Party, which leads the current government. The BJP, which started defense and nuclear talks with the US when it was in power from 1998-2004, has traditionally been seen as more pro-business than Congress, which comes from a Socialist background and built India’s Cold War alliance with the former Soviet Union.

The US has also seen the BJP, with its base among India’s majority Hindu population, as a bulwark against Islam. So for years American diplomats have been courting young aspiring BJP politicians, as well as their leaders. Now, as I said, is the time to call in favors – and the calls are beginning to yield results.

BJP leaders have begun to say that they are prepared to back the deal if they receive certain assurances about the security of India’s nuclear weapons. There is no way, for example, that they would give support if the deal might upset progress made since the former BJP-led government staged India’s historic nuclear tests in 1998.  The BJP also wants to be assured that India’s sovereignty and autonomy in foreign and defense policy will not be compromised – though that might be difficult because the US is trying to persuade India to abandon a possible gas pipeline project with its old ally, Iran.

Rajnath Singh, BJP president, set the line yesterday when he said the BJP is ready to have talks with the government, and a parliamentary debate, on the deal. David Mulford, the US ambassador to India, who saw L.K. Advani, the BJP’s veteran leader a few days ago, meets Singh this afternoon. Another senior BJP leader who I spoke to this morning took the same line. And a senior Communist Party official, speaking on television last night, almost invited defeat when he said parliament should have a debate and “let’s take a consensus of the House”.

Hank Paulson, US Treasury secretary, who is visiting India and speaks at the Fortune Global Forum tomorrow, yesterday urged India to “move forward as quickly as possible, though, he acknowledged, “you all have to work through your internal political decision – that is up to India.” 

So the deal, which would lift a 30-year ban on India’s access to nuclear power and other sensitive technologies, could be saved – and, with it, the current Indian government and prime ministership of Manmohan Singh – ironically not by the government and its allies but by the BJP.


  1. I read somewhere: China never yields to external pressure in matters of national unity and political stability. Moreover, Chinese people at home and abroad also unanimously stand behind the political leadership of China.” which is almost true. But in our country politicians themselves are so much glued to fight in matters of national security that there is no amity and clear direction in this case. Plus some state level leaders try to become son of the soil and break the country within India in disguise of vote bank. This is more dangerous even then terrorists, these mentality needs to be rooted out of hearts and minds, else it it rottening nationalism and dividing us. The nuclear deal should go through, else it will invite disaster of india in next 10 to 20 years for following reasons 1) This deal will allow counter china from flexing its military or economic muscle against India, because it cannot then leverage the same amount of pressure, it could if without this deal going through. India will also be out of the hyphenated relations that most countries assume vis-a-vi pakistan 2) It will give a boost to India image in world stage and India will have a good level of strategic leverage on many fronts including in containing any threats coming out of 3) It will boost electricity generation 4) It will allow domestic production of major high tech/defense hardware though foreign collaboration from US companies as well as technology transfers. We must also maintain close relations with Russia as russia has been an old time ally, other than few instances like the enormous additional hike in pricing for the Aircraft carrier notwithstanding the delay. One reason for this is India using various options for this defense hardware, of which russia is weary about. Our political establishment must try to shed this weariness and make it clear that russia is has/been a long time all-weather ally and will remain so. India must continue to do defense deals ( now if you are stupid enough, don’t tell me india must concentrate more money on blah blah , india has enough money to invest in all fields, all that requires is proper utilization and check in corruption ) with russia for one primary reason, that russian arm Industry which relies heavily on Indian exports may consider selling lethal/advanced hardware/technologies to china to compensate decreasing investment by India in russian defence exports. India must also try to procure as much technology and advanced defense/military harware possible from Israel/Us/Uk/France/Germany and a few others to keep/contain china from flexhing too many muscles. Meanwhile India should also spend in infrastructure along the borders. It probably has not much of plan A or Plan B or PLan C , in case of any emergency. 1962 can repeat any time along ArunaChal Pradesh. So India must be ready for it. Other than that our lawmakers should refrain from using issues/matters of national security as a vote bank and our people, brothers/sisters worldwide must show nationalism/solidarity in a peaceful manner for advancing Indias economic and military might, I dont understand why the Left is crying foul on an US-INDO nuclear deal. The only reason it seems to me is almost each of their leader is too aged with no vision about future india or they are puppets of the chinese communist party. I was also stunned by BJP showing rejection to the deal for this or that clause and expressing concern over selling sovereignty. This deal itself is loosely tied (intentionally ) enough to allow India and US to make adjustments for each country. And India loose nothing from this when one considers the similar deal US had with China and the strings attached to it India infact will gain more. We also need to allow private majors like TATA/RELIANCE/MAHINDRA to invest in defence collaborations to faster our developments in research/implementation of defense/military needs because it is already clear by now that our public defence research and developments are too slow in developing advanced/high tech hardware for out military. Take the case of arjun tanks/missles, it has taken ages to reach here, still when we consider it with china, see how much we lag. Whats the antidote to this? 1) Invest more in research as well into science at college/university levels and train scients when they are at budding stage 2) India must find ways to crack advanced technologies , see how fast is chinese in reverse engineering. 3) Use agencies like raw etc to gain/steal knowhow and advance technologies to possible extent. Conclusion is that politics must stay out in matters relating to national security , nationalism and equal opportunities for all, if we want to shape India’s future into a great one, to increase its military and economic might. Also we ( or our companies ) must refrain from investing too much into china, such that it does make our companies too dependent on china such that this becomes a political string for china to play with. There is enough countries in this world to invest minus china. If anyone think this is foolish, and think friendly relations will prevent china from flexing its muscles against india, this is a wrong assumption. China will always flex its muscle, anytime it gets a chance to do so. Hence India must be ready in all possible way.

  2. If (this blocking of the nuclear deal) is not a clear cut case of tarmpling of the freedom and progress of honest peaceful people by the EVIL socialist-communist nexus, then I do not know what is.

  3. All those who are surprised to find the US keen on this deal are clearly handicapped! The US has ken interest in limiting the nuclear proliferation at the same time wnats to keep its energy supplies steady. The nuclear deal with India is a Win-Win situation. The paranoids in both countries are only seeing the glass half empty. There are no all or nothing deals that result in a win-win situation. These paranoid morons wnat to fight for all or nothing deals but it is India who will lose in the long run. Anybody who thinks the world should try to achieve peace by another nuclear test or an outright nuclear war is totally ignorant of science. India benfits by getting state of the art tech and the fuel. US and other countries benefit by the trade and the whole word benfits by reducing C emiisions. Wake up you morons and smell the roses.

  4. I am so reassured that the only major fascist party left on earth is being courted by American diplomats.

    Considering the fact that the Nuclearization of the Indian sub-continent, particularly to the degree that it encourages Pakistan, an almost failed state, to manufacture more nuclear weapons is the greatest security threat the world faces, this nuclear deal is insane.

    Simply put, it is the confluence of a corrupt US administration trying to prop up campaign contributors in a moribund industry with a government in India looking for an indirect US stamp of approval of its nuclear weapons program.

  5. i thot the deal was pro india. but when we were having problems with our lefts, why is US desparate to have a go at this deal.

    is there any hidden agenda, hidden message to all of us ?

  6. I am absolutely baffled by the Indian politics. Communism as practiced by the Indian communitst party is dead even in China. Being the Chiednse puppets as they are, they do not even have the brains to realize that even China is modernizing their nuclear plants and putting in more and more of them and supplying Pakistan with the tecnology. Chaina is jsut using them to to eventually rule Bengal (where most of them reside). Will they be happy? Sure, becuse they will have the power like the senior politicians in China at eh expense of poors who they allegely are trying to serve. Wakr up citizens of India and do nto vote for communitst party. Communism is dead. The communist leaders are jsut interested in despotism!

  7. I am wondering why US is so keen on this deal if it is more beneficial to India than US ?

    can someone comment plz

  8. I think we are all missing the main issue here. The left does not serve the interests of the country but just take orders from Beijing. The Chinese would never like India to become an ally to the US. As long as the left, is part of the Indian govt, there might be no progress in India-US relationships.

  9. This is a good news, BJP sould support the deal taking National interest into account. It will be well served to the great Nation.

  10. The Left has always been hindering the policies meant for the development. Many of the left leaders opposing the Nuclear deal are not even aware of what the deal is all about. Majority of indians support the Nuclear deal and favour it. A handful of MPs are opposing it for no reason. It would be good if the deal goes through and it helps both India and US to build better future instead of depending on Middle east.

  11. This deal is crucial not only for the two countries but also for the global stabilization as far as nuclear energy is concerned. In India, we are unable to provide reliable efficient energy to our massive population and NE will help us solve our ever-increasing energy crises.

    However, with the sensitive nature of our relations with our neighboring countries (note the plural) our leaders have to also ensure our national interests and safety.

    Hope the mature leadership of all the Indian political parties will prevail in making a sound decision of this crucial situation.

  12. The leftists are freaking idiot’s, who is selling the country to china. They stop development by every possible means. They shld be banned in India

  13. Scenario 1: The lef, infuriated by Congress taking support from BJP withdraws support for the Congress government. I am sure, Congress would be extremely uncomfortable leading a minority government with BJP support. It would like to go fo a poll without the taint of BJP’s support but Congress’s allies are not ready for a midterm poll.

    Scenario 2: Manmohan Singh government hs already decided to go ahead with the nuclear deal — they will try to plead with the left parties, actually CPI(M) is the main stumbling block and they themselves ar divided. Failing which, the Congress will wait till as long as it can delay and then present CPI(M) with a fait accompli. I don’t think Manmohan Singh will jettison the deal just because of objections from a fossilized stalinist faction of CPI(M).

    In my opinion, India should not even hesitate to sign a moratorium on the production of nuclear bombs. Who, in the modern world, will be foolish even to think of using a nuclear bomb in any conflict.

  14. The write up is absolutely ridiculous and shows indians in cheep light and also point towards the fact that the leftists are absolutely right in opposing the deal,BJP from the comments made by you looks not like an old allie of us but a subordinate of the “us”,well its for the BJP to answer to the humiliation this article gives to it,well another fantastic example of the “DIVIDE AND RULE POLICY”,WELL PEOPLE HERE IN INDIA ARE VERY RIGHT WHEN THEY SAY THE FII’S ARE IN INDIA WITH THE SAME MOTTO OF THE EAST INDIA COUNTRY ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT,WELL IF THIS GOES UNANSWERED BY THE INDIAN POLITICAL PARTIES,SHAME ON THE POLITICAL PARTIES OF THIS COUNTRY

  15. Dear Sir;
    I pray that what you say happens.
    Concerned Indian

  16. Great news, for India, the USA, and the Free World in General.
    Good on you BJP members:))

  17. If the BJP does support the deal, it will prove that it can think in the larger interests of the nation. The BJP leaders always had a maturity and foresight that few in the Congress and Communists have

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