Thursday, February 23, 2006

US-India Relation

I am looking forward to the President visit to India next week. I say it's about time. In fact he should have visited India the first year he was in office. India is the most populous democracy in the world, a future economic and military powerhouse. India is a key player international. Unfortunately the US has ignored India importance; and even in the past hostile toward it. I believes it was to our own detriment that President Nixon side with China against India. Our foreign policy in relation to China and India in the past reveals the hypocrasy and immorality of international realism. It is absolutely absurd that the US sided with China, a tyranical dictatorship, against India, a liberal democracy.
But relationship between the US and India is warming up. According to the Economist ("The great Indian hope trick," subscription required)
According to Promod Haque of Norwest Venture, a venture-capital firm, it is also suffering a “reverse brain-drain” as Indian and Chinese engineers go home. This, he argues, coupled with the retirement of the baby-boomers, is creating a “shortage of intellectual capital” in America which will eventually threaten its superpower status. The solution is to build a “strategic competitive advantage” through an alliance with an offshore base of intellectual capital. India is the obvious choice. Its pool of highly qualified graduates will be twice as large as China's by 2008, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, and they speak English.

Such a de facto alliance is already in the making, and is helping alert American business to India's other attractions: an economy expected to grow by more than 7% in 2006, for the fourth year running; a fast-expanding middle-class; and a government committed to liberalisation, even if implementing it is painfully slow. In the past year, India has allowed foreign firms to enter the construction and property industries, signed an “open skies” agreement with America and passed a patent law that meets WTO standards. As India continues to open up new industries to foreign investment, the opportunities for American firms are proliferating, says Ron Somers, head of the US-India Business Council.
One key huddle during the President visit will be India status as a nuclear power - both its civilian program as well as its military program. When Prime Minister Singh came to Washington DC, the US promised to share our civilian nuclear technology with India. However implementing the promise is easier said than done. The non-proliferation purists in the US object. According to another Economist article ("A passage to India", subscription required):

Under American and international law, such technology can be given only to countries that have renounced nuclear weapons and joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India has never joined the treaty, and it tested nuclear weapons in 1998. Mr Bush, in effect, was driving a coach and horses through the treaty in order to suit his own strategic ends, a move that invites the accusation of hypocrisy from other nuclear states and wannabes not so favoured. The idea was that India, in return, should take steps to satisfy the Americans on a long list of nuclear-security concerns, such as not exporting weapons technology and continuing to observe a moratorium on testing. Most important, India was asked to separate its civilian and military nuclear programmes, with the former subject to a rigorous inspection regime.

The Economist:
So far, however, the proposals offered by the Indians actually to do all this are far from adequate. As Mr Bush packs his bags, desperate attempts are being made to bridge the gap. The obvious danger is that in order to portray his summit as a success Mr Bush will be tempted to accept even fewer safeguards from India. That would be a dangerous mistake: nuclear proliferation matters too much to allow excessive wiggle-room or create bad precedents. Fortunately, whatever deal is agreed between Mr Bush and Mr Singh will also require the approval of America's Congress, which has already taken a dim view of Mr Bush's nuclear generosity to India.
I disagree with the Economist and Congress. I think we are overreacting. India was never a threat, is not a threat, and extremely unlikely to be a threat. If we are comfortable to transfer our nuclear technology to the United Kingdoms, there should be the same level of comfort with India.
Furthermore, India relying on nuclear energy is important to the world security and the US security. The increase price of petroleum is due to increase demand from India and China. And petrodollars are being used by the Saudi regime to fund various madrassas, mosques, and religious institutions across the globe, turning those institutions into Jihadi information center, which in turn produce more terrorists. The President is commendable on his goal of reducing dependency on petroleum. But the the effect will be negligent if the demand for petroleum worldwide is not reduced. If India depends primarily on its nuclear reactor for its energy need, it will ease its demand for crude oil, and in turn lessens the amount of pretrodollars available to the Saudi regime.
The security and prosperity of the US depends on India-US relation. Do not let isolationists and protectionists stand in the way of our most important diplomatic victory in many decades. And isolationists in the US is not the only obstacle.
"This debate... has been hijacked over here [in the United States] by non-proliferation theologians and in India by those rallying under the banner of self-reliance," (India's Ambassador to Washington, Ronen Sen)


Blogger PPM said...

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