Assessing the Indo-US Deal on Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Forging a New Partnership
Authors: Sonika Gupta, Arvind Kumar, S. Chandrashekar
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The Indo-US nuclear deal has generated a heated debate in India. The debate so far has been characterized more by ideological posturing rather than by an objective assessment of the pros and cons of the deal. Many in India have commented that the Act passed by the House of Representatives has altered the goal posts agreed to in the Joint Statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W. Bush.
How valid are these concerns? Do the promises implicit in the Joint Statement truly reflect US intentions and will they be translated into actions? Can the US be trusted on matters that are crucial for India’s security such as nuclear weapons and energy? How valid are the fears that the deal would erode India’s independence of action in world affairs? These are all genuine worries and need to be addressed. This paper will evaluate the progress on the deal using the July 18, 2005 Joint Statement between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George Bush as the baseline. As the bill introduced in the Senate remains to be passed, this study will only analyse the Act passed on July 26, 2006 by the US House of Representatives.
The paper shall trace the related developments to assess whether both countries have adhered to the underlying parameters agreed upon in the Joint Statement. In so doing the authors shall also address the various concerns raised by critics of the deal and try to see how these could affect the approaches of the two sides towards the deal. While it is still too early to comment on the outcome with any certainty, the study will try to prioritise the various issues and concerns in terms of their impact on the ongoing negotiations between India and the US. Can India and the US indeed finalise a suitable arrangement that is satisfactory to both sides?