India-USA Relationship Enters A New Era

Earlier this month the US government lifted its 30 year moratorium on nuclear trade with India. US President Bush signed a bill that allows US assistance to India's civilian nuclear energy program and in return India will allow its nuclear facilities for inspection by International Atomic Energy Association.

Riding the Elephant thinks that with this deal the US-India relationship has reached a new era, a new watershed. Is it true? Certainly, many in mainstream media think so and there has been a lot of heated debate both in India and US about the deal, but it is very puzzling as to why there is very little debate among Indian bloggers on this important subject.

Jayashree Bajoria of Council on Foreign Relations spells out the pros and cons of the US-India nuclear deal (also known as 123 agreement) which she points out is a watershed in the relationship between US and India.

DeepitA of Desicritics writes, “This (the nuclear agreement) has been among the most heated and debated agreements in recent times.” She highlights the opposition that both countries faced for pushing through the agreement and notes:

“The United States also had to face opposition internally, both within the Administration, and outside in the strategic community; people were reluctant to approve any exemptions to the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty); thought was that this gave India the right to use its uranium resources to push its military weapons program; also that this gave the wrong signal to others such as Iran and Pakistan.”

Here are a couple of observations from an American perspective about the agreement. Interestingly, both the Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain were in favor of the agreement writes Siddharth Varadarajan in his blog post.

Shashi Tharoor, who was formally with the United Nations, has this to say in his post ‘Why India Loves Bush‘:

“The fact is that the Indo-US relationship may well be the Bush administration's most significant (or perhaps only) international achievement of the last eight years. Look around the globe, and all you see are foreign policy shambles: five years of war in Iraq, accompanied by Abu Ghraib, torture, and rendition; a never-ending “global war on terror,” with Guantánamo a symbol of the Bushies’ disregard for international law; rock-bottom opinion polls across Europe; a seething Middle East, a glowering Russia; and hostile powers from Iran to Venezuela. If there is a glimmer of light – one place in the world where the Bush administration leaves a better relationship than the one it inherited—it can only be India.”

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