February 28, 2006

Singh Along


From Reuters: India-US nuke deal its all on President Bush says PM Manmohan Singh.

India plans to list nuclear reactors that generate about 65 percent of atomic power as civilian to help clinch a landmark deal with the United States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday.

Singh's comments came days ahead of President George W. Bush's visit to the country during which the two leaders are hoping to close tough negotiations on the controversial deal which aims to help India meet its soaring energy needs. ...

The United States insists a plan to separate India's civilian and military nuclear programs, on which the deal hinges, must be credible and transparent to prevent proliferation.

Singh said India would also not accept international safeguards on its experimental fast-breeder reactor program. Fast breeders use spent fuel from existing reactors to produce plutonium which can be used for both generating power and making bombs.

From Christian Science Monitor: What Bush wants in India.

President Bush and his policymakers like to stress how much 9/11 has changed America's foreign-policy objectives, but one goal the terror attacks did not alter is to build a stronger partnership with the world's largest democracy, India. ...

When Mr. Bush arrives in India Wednesday, he will emphasize that same theme - one he has sounded since he was a governor running for president in 2000. At the top of the agenda are a controversial US-India nuclear-power agreement, proposed last summer when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Washington; security and economic ties; and India's relations with Pakistan, a country Bush will visit briefly on Saturday. ...

[T]he proposed US-India civilian nuclear deal -- under which the US would share nuclear technology and fuel with India in exchange for India opening its civilian nuclear plants to international inspection -- suggests the kind of tension that is likely to roil the relationship in the future. The Bush administration sees the agreement as a way to reward India for "good nuclear behavior." The deal would also steer a booming economy away from fossil fuels, the White House says.

Robert Tracinski at TIA Daily has been providing excellent coverage of the importance of U.S.-India relations. Yesterday he recommeded the article below because it captures the effect of what he calls "America's import-export trade in the ultimate resource -- that is, the benefits brought to both countries by Indian immigration to the US."

From The New York Times: US-India Warmth Follows Indian-American Successes .

These issues are of intense interest to Americans of Indian origin, who are the country's fastest-growing ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, whose data shows they are far better educated and wealthier than the average U.S. citizen. ...

According to figures compiled from census data by the U.S.-India Political Action Committee, Indian-Americans own 15 percent of Silicon Valley start-up firms, constitute 10 percent to 12 percent of U.S. medical doctors and control about 40 percent of the American hotel sector.

One in 10 Americans of Indian origin are millionaires, while the $60,093 median income of Indian-American families in 2000 was far above the U.S. average of $38,885. They post similarly striking educational statistics.

UPDATE I -- March 1: More on the topic from Robert Tracinski in today's TIA Daily (which I would highly recommend reading daily even if TIA wasn't a client of ours):

The intellectual confusion of the Bush administration's policy toward India's nuclear program is rubbing off on commentators in the press, including the Washington Post's David Ignatius [see "Good Nukes, Bad Nukes"], who defends President Bush's approach, while describing it as contradictory and hypocritical -- but in a good way.

The reason is that Ignatius accepts the same contradiction as Bush. He wants to be able to say that there is a fundamental difference between free nations and dictatorship, that free nations with weapons do not pose a threat, while dictatorships have no right to knives and clubs, much less nuclear weapons.

At the same time, like Bush, Ignatius wants to embrace the whole apparatus of international "non-proliferation" agreements and the whole structure of the United Nations -- all of which is based on moral neutrality between free nations and dictatorships. Rather than identifying these two clashing premises and resolving the contradiction, he rationalizes it as an unavoidable "strategic hypocrisy."

UPDATE II: From FoxNews Bush Arrives in India Seeking Agreement on Nuclear Pact.

President Bush arrived in India on Wednesday as talks on a landmark U.S.-Indian nuclear pact were down to the wire and tens of thousands of Indians rallied across the country to protest his visit.

Protesters in New Delhi chanted "Death to Bush," while Muslims in the southern city of Hyderabad held a mock funeral for the American president.

The nuclear pact is touted as the cornerstone of an emerging strategic partnership between the two countries after nearly a half-century of Cold War estrangement. But negotiators have struggled to settle differences over how to separate India's tightly entwined civilian and military atomic programs.

Posted by Forkum at February 28, 2006 04:19 PM