September 6, 2008

The Un-Estranged Democracies

The Nuclear Suppliers Group of 45 nations have unanimously approved the U.S.-sponsored nuclear trade agreement with India, despite the latter not being a signatory to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

As someone, who has spent half of his life in India and the other half in the United States, I couldn't be happier. These two great democracies have finally put aside their differences, and worked together tirelessly to achieve this milestone in the India-US Civilian Nuclear Agreement, also known as the 123 Agreement. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his team deserve to be congratulated for bringing this to fruition, in the teeth of bitter opposition from both across the aisle, and from their erstwhile allies, the Communists, who never seem to be driven by India's long-term and strategic interests.

The Bush Administration, too, deserves to be praised for standing steadfastly by the Government of Prime Minister Singh, through all the hiccups, the delays, and the doubts. I do believe that the final ratification by the Congress — be it the 110th or the 111th — will be little more than an exercise in putting the dots and crossing the t's. With both the Presidential candidates, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, and the Vice-Presidential nominee, Sen. Joe Biden, having voted for the agreement, the deal enjoys wide bi-partisan support.

That the six non-proliferation doves - Austria, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland, held out until the last moment - should come as no surprise. They have a reason, and the legitimacy, to oppose the agreement. China's opposition of course, smacks of hypocrisy. With 50+ mobile launch pads for nuclear missiles targeted at India's heartland, this peace loving champion of non-proliferation must have had nothing but the greater good of humanity at heart, when it objected to nuclear supplies to India.

In the end, however, sorry Karat and Co., no cigar, Cuban or otherwise! Your uncles in Beijing, unlike you, seem to know which side of their bread is buttered, and when to stop pushing their luck.

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