A breakthrough in the India-US nuclear dealThe idea that the US has been consciously meddling in Indian politics this way is troubling. The BJP has an absolutely reprehensible policy toward religious minorities that has stoked the separatist fires in this nuclear armed nation is very counterproductive.
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.
As to India's "alliance with the former Soviet Union", this really was a policy of neutrality, and a willingness of the USSR to supply weapons, because they both had a common foe, China.
As to the nuclear issue, the Indian government already knows how to make nuclear power plants, this deal, for them, is about getting an implied approval of their nuclear weapons program from the US, and Bush and His Evil Minions™ are merely interested in generating business for campaign contributors, in this case the moribund US nuclear power industry.
The deal is corrupt, and dangerous.