Monday, January 5, 2009

The Nuclear Deal: Implications for India and Global Nuclear Regime

This essay on India-US Nuclear Deal appeared first on the IPCS website.

It should be abundantly clear that the Indo-US nuclear deal is more than just about nuclear energy for India. The agreement has several strategic connotations, including with regard to China.

The Deal Itself
US President George W. Bush signed the legislation on the Indo-US nuclear deal into law on October 8, 2008. The law, now titled, “United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act,” is a product of the March 2006 agreement between India and the US on civil nuclear cooperation based on the joint statement between President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18, 2005. The agreement was a direct consequence of the US’ recognition of India as a major pole of power in the coming century, as “an anchor of stability in Asia and an engine of global economic growth.”[1] More importantly, the agreement is a result of India’s strong non-proliferation record despite not being a party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).[2] The deal also undoubtedly recognises India’s “de-facto” status as a nuclear weapon state.[3]

The Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement was a broad framework agreement, and not one dealing with specifics. The current agreement is rather a facilitating agreement to engage in nuclear commerce, and therefore, after the operationalisation of the deal, both India and the US will have to sign more specific agreements. However, if the two countries have to engage in nuclear commerce, a few conditions had to met, including change in US domestic laws, an NSG waiver and an India-specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA. While the US-India nuclear agreement was not designed to put restrictions on India’s strategic programme, the US wanted to ensure that no technology or fuel transferred for India’s civilian programme could be used for its military programme. These elements had also to be inserted into an India-specific IAEA Safeguards Agreement. Only after these conditions were met would India be allowed to do business with the US or any other country in the nuclear arena. India also had to put in place a new export control mechanism before the two countries could proceed with the agreement. Accordingly, India harmonised its export control laws with that of the NSG and the MTCR Guidelines, although India is not a member of either of them. Similarly, India’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005,” entered into force in June 2005 and brought about more stringent non-proliferations regulations and tighter export control measures and it also showed India’s commitment to non-proliferation.[4]

The path to the final agreement included many steps, each of which was controversial in India and/or the US, though usually for different reasons. Following the July 2005 statement to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation, President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in March 2006, during Bush’s visit to New Delhi. Accordingly, in May 2006, a separation plan was announced by the Indian government, separating its military and civilian facilities.[5] The plan was immediately opposed: as per this separation plan, eight plants would be left outside international safeguards. In addition, the Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) located at Kalpakkam were not offered for safeguards, as the Fast Breeder Programme is at the R&D stage and the technology will take time before it matures. This came under sharp criticism from the non-proliferation activists in the US who argued that large number of facilities outside the safeguards will make available for India “significant additional nuclear weapons production capacity.”[6] Upon finalization of this separation plan, the US agreed to build into the bilateral 123 agreement fuel supply assurances, help negotiate with the IAEA an India-specific Safeguards Agreement, help develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to “guard against any disruption of supply,” and in case disruption occurs, the US and India would put in place alternatives, countries like France, Russia and UK who might be able to restore fuel supply to India.

After the separation plan was agreed upon, the Hyde Act was signed into law by President Bush in December 2006. The Hyde Act, considered the parent act of the 123 agreement, provides the legal basis for nuclear commerce between India and the US, since India is not party to the NPT. The Hyde Act came under sharp criticism because of certain clauses that said that India will work with the US in containing Iran’s nuclear programme and that India and the US will work together on a Fissile Materials Control Treaty. However, these are more by way of advisories than binding commitments. Nuclear testing has been another issue debated during the passage of the Hyde Act. The BJP, the main opposition party in the Indian parliament, focused on the right to test as a serious issue, arguing that the deal would prevent India from conducting future tests. This is a false claim: nothing in the deal says that India cannot test. There may be consequences if India tests, but even this has been minimised because under the conditions of the deal, the US will have to take into consideration whether India was forced to test because of circumstances such as nuclear tests by India’s neighbours. Moreover, if India conducts a test, it will have to face some international opposition irrespective of the signing the deal or not.

Whatever be the controversy surrounding the Hyde Act, the 123 agreement that was signed in August 2007 makes it abundantly clear that the Indo-US nuclear deal will not impact in any manner India’s strategic weapons programme. The agreement also makes no mention of India’s nuclear testing. The agreement also states clearly that the US will work with other countries in helping alter the NSG rules to facilitate nuclear trade with India. However, the agreement, for a period of 40 years and extendable by another 10 years, can be terminated by either party after giving a one-year notice. Upon termination of the agreement, the US retains the right to take back “any nuclear material, equipment, non-nuclear material or components transferred.” The understanding is that the “right of return” will impact on the bilateral relations significantly, and therefore a consultative mechanism has been put in place that will “give special consideration to the importance of uninterrupted operation of nuclear reactors of the party (country) concerned with respect to the availability of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as a means of achieving energy security.”[7]

Once the 123 Agreement was finalised, the next processes involved an India-specific IAEA Safeguards Agreement, which was secured in July 2008 and a waiver of NSG rules that came about in September 2008. Thereafter, the agreement was sent to the US Congress for approval, where despite enjoying bipartisan support to strengthening US relations with India, the agreement faced a lot of opposition from the strong non-proliferation lobby. While supporters of the deal like Senators Richard Lugar and Christopher Dodd have stated that the deal is in the long-term interests of the United States, those opposing it cited the deal as seriously undermining the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Senator Dodd highlighted some of the “compelling geopolitical reasons” like India’s geographic proximity to China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as reasons to strengthen this relationship, while Senator Lugar emphasised the importance of strengthening US partnership with an India that shares democratic values and which could “exert increasing influence on the world stage.”[8]

However, even people like Strobe Talbott, former Deputy Secretary of State under President Clinton, who have worked hard for a closer partnership between India and the US maintained that the Bush Administration has given away too much and made “an India exception” to the NPT.[9] He worried that the “India exception” will be taken as a precedent by several other countries who may want to work out a similar deal for their allies/friends. A case in point is China wanting to do a similar deal for Pakistan. Robert Einhorn, former Assistant Secretary of State for Non-proliferation, and another critic of the deal also maintained that the Bush Administration gave away too much and that India has managed to get it all – “acquiring the ability to import uranium and nuclear reactor technology, obtaining recognition for India’s status as a nuclear power, and preserving all of India’s strategic options, particularly the ability to increase substantially its production of plutonium for nuclear weapons.”[10] Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association called the deal a “non-proliferation disaster.” As for the US administration’s claims about the utility of the deal, Kimball said that the deal does not bring India into the non-proliferation framework, as it has made a “country-specific exemption from core nonproliferation standards that the United States has spent decades to establish.”[11] Congressman Howard Berman, another vehement critic of the deal, wanted to introduce amendments to the deal stating in unambiguous terms that the US will terminate nuclear trade with India if India resumes nuclear testing; and that the President is required to review and implement applicable export control authorities for US nuclear exports to other nuclear supplier nations that continue nuclear trade with India.[12] However, this was withdrawn after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave an assurance that it is the “highest priority” for the US to get an assurance to ban the export of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology to countries like India that are not party to the NPT at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in November 2008. Several Senators also criticised the fact that there was hardly any debate on such an important issue as this and the hasty manner in which the deal was passed in the Congress. Another vehement critic, Senator Byron Dorgan stated that India was being rewarded for wrong behaviour.[13]

President Bush, however, using his overriding powers, killed thorny conditionalities and stated clearly that “The legislation does not change the terms of the 123 Agreement as I submitted it to the Congress.”[14] He went on to clarify that India’s right to reprocessing and fuel assurance commitments remain the same, as recorded in the 123 Agreement.[15] In the final steps towards operationalisation of the agreement, President Bush had to make two sets of certifications that (1) that conclusion and implementation of the agreement is consistent with US obligations under the NPT; and (2) that it is the policy of the US to work with members of the NSG to restrict transfers of enrichment and reprocessing technology. These certifications have now been made through a Memorandum to the Secretary of State (October 21) and the two countries will shortly exchange diplomatic notes as per Article 16 (1) of the 123 Agreement that brings the agreement into force.

Implications for India
It should be abundantly clear that the agreement is more than just about nuclear energy for India. The agreement has several strategic connotations, including with regard to China.

Firstly, the agreement is an outcome of the US’ recognition that India is a major power in the 21st century and its role in the emerging Asian strategic framework. If this century is going to be an Asian century, as is widely predicted, the major powers would be US, China, Russia, Japan and India. Hence, it is strategically important for the US to have a strengthened and comprehensive relationship with India. It should also be noted that both the US and India have concerns with the rising China and more specifically its military modernisation which would have a bearing on the way China conducts business with the rest of the world.

Second, if the US wishes to take this relationship to higher plane, the continuing technology controls placed on India will be a major stumbling block. All said and done, it is the trade in strategic goods and technology and not perceived common interests alone that will make this relationship an enduring one.[16] This is the second imperative on which the nuclear agreement with the US is to be looked at. However, many Indian analysts have contested this saying that the agreement is a way of bringing India into the non-proliferation order.

Third, the Indo-US nuclear agreement is in India’s interest. It gets India out of the nuclear apartheid of the last three decades. The deal recognizes India as a nuclear power, which has been a great concern to the non-proliferation ayatollahs of Washington.

Four, impact of nuclear disarmament on Indo-US nuclear deal. Impact on the nuclear deal and civilian nuclear cooperation if the global community agrees to a time framework to rid the world of nuclear weapons, which remains highly impossible, will be minimal. The nuclear deal, dealing with civilian aspects of nuclear programme will not be hampered by a universal disarmament plan.

Analysts have been concerned of implications for the Iran-India gas pipeline. Firstly, the Iran- India pipeline remains independent of the Indo-US nuclear deal. Given India’s increasing demand for energy, India must look at every option of energy including nuclear energy. The US position vis a vis Iran has become controversial due to Iran’s alleged pursuance of a nuclear weapons programme. India also may not like to see a nuclear Iran in its neighbourhood.

Impact on India’s military programme. India’s opposition party, the BJP, while criticizing the deal on the issue of nuclear testing, also raised concern that the deal puts a cap on India’s strategic nuclear arsenal. The deal was perceived as curtailing on India’s sovereign decision to decide on the size of its nuclear arsenal. The fact is that India already has indigenous uranium reserves (reserves of 78,000 metric tons of uranium (MTU)) to pursue its strategic weapons programme; hence the Indo-US nuclear deal will not in any manner hamper its military programme.[17]

Lastly, the impact is more in terms of the emerging Asian security framework. If India has to rise above the South Asian cocoon and take its rightful place in the world stage, it is the US that can help India get there. Russia too is interested in seeing a stronger India sit at the high-table with other major players, but Russia has little capacity to help India in this regard. But, China has consistently played a less than supportive role, as was seen at the recent NSG meeting.[18] China has little interest in seeing another power emerging in Asia, and it does not want India to build closer ties with the United States or other Asian powers that could be detrimental to Beijing’s own regional and global role.[19] It appears deliberate that Beijing has not categorized India as a challenge or threat, though it does consider India as a “future strategic competitor” that might join any anti-China grouping. As a matter of fact, China had undertaken an internal study in 2005 and the recommendations are revealing. It recommended that China undertake measures to keep the current strategic leverage in terms of territory, P-5 membership, or the Nuclear Club; hold on to diplomatic advantages through its special relationship particularly with India’s neighbouring countries; as also maintain the economic lead over India.[20]

Fears were also raised about possible loss of autonomy in the India’s foreign policy arena. Is it a valid concern? The Left parties in India were of the view that India cannot afford to be subservient to any nation.[21] But India is not a puppet nation which can be dictated to according to the whims and fancies of other countries. India’s vote on Iran at the IAEA in September 2005 triggered much of the controversy surrounding India’s foreign policy autonomy debate.[22] But it must be noted that majority of the opposition to the deal has been political, be it the Left parties or the BJP. If BJP was in power, they are likely to have agreed to a similar deal with the US. As far as the Left parties are concerned, they will have a myopic view and will see any agreement with the US as against India’s interests.

Implications for Global Nuclear Regime
Finally, how does the Indo-US nuclear agreement affect the global nuclear regime? Firstly, it is claimed that the deal would undermine US efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons. Several fierce opponents of the deal, including Edward Markey and Barbara Lee have said that making an India-specific exemption is seen as “creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the NPT.”[23] It was argued that the US is adopting double standards on the issue of non-proliferation. The issue was probably best posed by Robert Einhorn, in an interview, when he stated that the US has obviously double standards in “not treating India the same way we treat NPT cheaters like North Korea and Iran.”[24] He went on to state that in the Bush Administration’s view, it is not the weapons that is necessarily dangerous, but the regime that is in control of those weapons. Einhorn disagrees with such an approach which focuses on the nature of the regime. He argues that while the US does not perceive it as a threat when a “good country” acquires nuclear weapons, it should also be borne in mind that the good country could be surrounded by a “not so good country” that might follow suit, which could be threatening to the US. Hence, he argues that it is not good to make a differentiation between good and bad proliferation. Second, a so-called good country could become bad, threatening or unstable and irresponsible. Lastly, the threat of nuclear materials or technology leakage exists even in a so-called good country and today’s good country can become tomorrow’s bad country.

The second impact relates to the spiral effect that the Indo-US nuclear agreement could have on the global nuclear regime. Pakistan has been making noises about its increasing energy needs and thereby the necessity for a similar deal with the US. Although the US, especially President Bush has been categorical in rejecting these demands as early as in July 2005, Pakistan’s all-weather friend China might want to come to Pakistan’s rescue. China could push for a similar deal with Pakistan, arguing, as Strobe Talbott puts it, for “equal treatment” for Pakistan, negating the special considerations and exceptions made for India.[25] Will that be in the interest of the US and more importantly India?

The third impact relates to the future of the nuclear regime itself and how the Indo-US nuclear deal has strengthened or weakened the regime. Is a dying non-proliferation regime in India’s interest? Obviously not. On the other hand, critics in India argued that the deal was a way of getting India into global nuclear regime through back door. Clearly, both these extreme positions are wrong, and the truth lies somewhere in between these positions. The deal will neither hurt the non-proliferation regime nor was it designed to trick India into the NPT.

Another issue relates to how the deal is viewed in the Islamic world. Pakistan being the only Islamic country that has a bomb, there could be demand from Muslim countries that Pakistan be treated equal and be given such a deal.[26] Though the US might say no, China in its efforts to strengthen its friendship with Pakistan in addition to creating a favourable influence among the Islamic countries could opt for a similar deal for Pakistan.

Several analysts believe that the Indo-US nuclear agreement has also set a precedent for several other countries aspiring to develop nuclear technology. Most recently, Israel was seen citing the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement as a model for developing its nuclear power option. It said that the Indo-US agreement has set the precedent for Israel to seek changes in the NSG rules and help construct its first nuclear power plant in the Negev desert.[27]

Lastly, does Indo-US nuclear deal contribute to arms race in Asia? The argument made by some of the analysts have been that in light of the infusion of foreign fuel and technology into India for its civilian nuclear programme, materials and technology would be available for its military programme thereby leading to the expansion of India’s strategic weapons programme. China and Pakistan will look at this development with some concern. Both these countries could further expand their own weapon programmes in reaction to the Indian programme. If China is seen expanding its weapons programme, Russia and thereafter the US could expand their arsenals too.

The Indo-US nuclear deal has been the logical conclusion of a vision for US-India relations as framed by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is an opportune moment for India to get out of the South Asia cocoon and sit at the high table as a major power shaping the emerging Asian security architecture. The US has helped India reach the high table, but how India makes use of that seat and shapes that architecture is up to New Delhi. India may also consider using this high-chair and influence US actions/ policies vis-a-via Russia. In fact, India and the US need to leverage the mutual suspicion between Russia and China. Although tactical in nature, Sino-Russian relationship does have the potential to emerge as a potent strategic force if the current trend in international politics continues for the foreseeable future. In fact, there are several commonalities between Russia, US and India – terrorism, WMD proliferation and a stable Asian security order. The US has to shed its biases about Russia and exploit the Russian wariness of China to its fullest in order to build a cooperative security framework in Asia. The high-chair may be of no use if India continues to be reactive in its foreign and security policies.

The spiral effect that the Indo-US nuclear deal could have on the global proliferation regime is yet to be validated. It should be noted that irrespective of the deal, China and Pakistan continue with the process expanding their military arsenal. The Indo-US nuclear deal will only help them in so far as they use it as justification.

[1] Merle D. Kellerhals Jr., “Congress approves US-India Civil Nuclear Accord,” October 02, 2008, available at
[2] While the Indo-US nuclear deal has been in clear recognition of India’s non-proliferation record, those lawmakers in the US who were against the deal questioned India’s track record. Senator Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, for instance, was quick to cite the September 18 the Washington Post story that highlighted leakage of sensitive nuclear blueprints by the Indian Department of Atomic Energy. A report by Institute of Science and International Security (ISIS) authored by David Albright and Susan Basu questioned India’s illicit procurement activities with regard to its nuclear programmes. See, Aziz Haniffa, “Lawmakers Question India’s Non-proliferation Track Record,” Rediff News, September 19, 2008, available at; and David Albright and Susan Basu, “India’s Gas Centrifuge Program: Stopping Illicit Procurement and the Leakage of Technical Centrifuge Know-How,” Institute of Science and International Security (ISIS), March 10, 2006, available at Other opponents as well as some Indian analysts noted that although India may not have engaged in proliferating any nuclear material or technology, the fact that it conducted nuclear tests in 1974 (although declared as a Peaceful Nuclear Explosion, PNE) and in 1998 is in clear violation of global non-proliferation objectives. See, Kelly Motz and Gary Milhollin, “Seventeen Myths about the Nuclear Deal: An Analysis of Nuclear Cooperation with India,” Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, June 13, 2006, available at This report also talked about India smuggling heavy water from the USSR, China and Norway in the 1980s, allowing India to use its reactors to make plutonium for bombs. India’s largest nuclear capable missile, Agni, was also cited as stolen/ illicitly procured technology (the design of an American space launcher from NASA) for peaceful purposes and diverted to military purposes.
[3] There are critics who stress that the deal does not recognise India as a Nuclear Weapon State.
[4] This piece of legislation was also in recognition of the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 that called upon states to establish stringent export control measures on the transfer, shipment, re-transfer and trans-shipment of materials or technology that may be used in the development, manufacture, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. See, United Nations Security Council, “Resolution 1540,” April 28, 2004, available at Also see, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, “The Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005,” no. 21 of 2005, June 6, 2005, available at
[5] According to the separation plan, India has put 14 of the 22 thermal power reactors in operations under the civilian list. They include: TAPS 1, TAPS 2, RAPS 1, RAPS 2, KK 1, KK 2, RAPS 5, RAPS 6, RAPS 3, RAPS 4, KAPS 1, KAPS 2, NAPS 1 and NAPS 2. The facilities identified under the civilian category will be offered for the IAEA safeguards. However, the decision as to which facilities come under civilian or military category was solely an Indian one and based on Indian determination. In terms of future reactors, it is up to India to determine which category they belong to (except, of course, imported reactors, which will all be under safeguards). See, Ministry of External Affairs, “Implementation of the India-United States Joint Statement of July 18, 2005: India’s Separation Plan,” May 11, 2006, available at
[6] Arms Control Association, “The US-India Nuclear Deal: A Critical Assessment,” Arms Control Association Press Briefing, Prepared Remarks of Daryl G. Kimball, February 15, 2006, available at Also brought into issue was the fact that infusion of foreign fuel will free up India’s current stock for its weapons programme and thereby aid expansion of India’s nuclear weapons programme. This, according to Kimball, was in gross violation of Article I of the NPT, which stipulates that states shall “not in any way” assist the nuclear weapons programs of others.
[7] If the right to return is exercised at some stage, it is necessary under the agreement, to “compensate promptly that Party for the fair market value thereof and for the costs incurred as a consequence of such removal.” See, Text of the 123 Agreement titled, “Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of India and the Government of the United States of America Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy,” August 01, 2007, available at
[8] Foster Klug, “Senate debates US-India Nuclear Deal,” The Associated Press, October 01, 2008, available at
[9] “The Indo-US Nuclear Deal,” interview of Strobe Talbott and Robert Einhorn by Meenakshi Ahmed, Seminar, 2006, available at
[10] “The Indo-US Nuclear Deal,” interview of Strobe Talbott and Robert Einhorn by Meenakshi Ahmed, Seminar, 2006, available at
[11] Glenn Kessler, “Senate backs far-reaching nuclear trade deal with India,” The Washington Post, October 02, 2008, available at In another statement on the same issue, Kimball went on to say that even “India’s so-called separation plan is not credible from a nonproliferation perspective.” See, Arms Control Association, “Statement of Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association Executive Director, on the US-Indian Agreement for Nuclear Cooperation,” October 01, 2008, available at
[12] Arms Control Association, “Statement of Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association Executive Director, on the US-Indian Agreement for Nuclear Cooperation,” October 01, 2008, available at
[13] Foster Klug, “Senate debates US-India Nuclear Deal,” The Associated Press, October 01, 2008, available at Similarly, Ambassador Robert Grey, former Representative at the Conference on Disarmament stated that the US was doing a bad deal with India as far as non-proliferation issue was concerned. He added, “This is a bad deal that we are getting into here in terms of nonproliferation. We created the nonproliferation regime, we got it through the international community. We supported it consistently over successive administrations, both Republican and Democrat. Now we have reversed course. We are opening a hole with this agreement with India that you could drive a truck through.” See, Dan Robinson, “US-India Nuclear Deal Poised for Approval by House of Representatives, Senate,” VOA News, September 27, 2008, available at
[14] The White House, “Statement by the President on the Occasion of Signing H.R. 7081,” October 08, 2008, available at
[15] President Bush clarified these two issues by stating that “The Agreement grants India advance consent to reprocessing which will be brought into effect upon conclusion of arrangements and procedures for a dedicated reprocessing facility under IAEA safeguards. In addition, the legislation does not change the fuel assurance commitments that the US Government has made to the Government of India, as recorded in the 123 Agreement. See, The White House, “Statement by the President on the Occasion of Signing H.R. 7081,” October 08, 2008, available at
[16] Several analysts have brought out this fact that it is the trade in strategic goods that will take the bilateral relations to a higher level. For instance, Varun Sahni, in an essay states, “access to dual-use technology” will be the “litmus test” of this strategic relationship between India and the US. See, Varun Sahni, “Limited Cooperation Between Limited Allies,” in Sumit Ganguly, Brian Shoup and Andrew Scobell (eds.), US-Indian Strategic Cooperation into the 21st Century: More than Words (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), p. 178.
[17] Ashley Tellis, in his report, Atoms for War makes it abundantly clear that India’s quest for a large nuclear arsenal was never hindered due to shortage of uranium, rejecting the arguments of critics who had maintained that through Indo-US nuclear deal, India will be able to get additional uranium from outside that will free up the indigenous material for its military programme. See Ashley Tellis, Atoms for War: US-Indian Civilian Nuclear Cooperation and India’s Nuclear Arsenal, 2006, available at
[18] Some Indian analysts have tended to believe that the Chinese opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal is not so much India-centric. One of the China watchers in Delhi, Jabin Jacob notes that the opposition is rather US-centric, the US position on Taiwan conflict. See, Jabin T. Jacob, “Indo-US Nuclear Deal: The China Factor,” IPCS Special Report 14, March 2006, available at
[19] Mohan Malik, “India-China Competition Revealed in Ongoing Border Disputes,” PINR Report, October 09, 2007, available at
[20] Mohan Malik, “India-China Competition Revealed in Ongoing Border Disputes,” PINR Report, October 09, 2007, available at The study, undertaken on the behest of Chinese leadership’s “Foreign Affairs Cell,” had incorporated inputs from China’s South Asia specialists like Cheng Ruisheng, Ma Jiali, Sun Shihai, among others.
[21] According to them, the deal will have following major implications: a) it will seriously compromise India’s strategic autonomy; b) it will promote nuclear weaponisation and create a spiralling nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan; c) it will jeopardise India’s energy independence and security; and d) it will push India deeper into an unequal strategic partnership with the US with serious all-round implications for India’s foreign policy as well as internal policies. See, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, Editorial, “Indo-US Nuclear Deal: CPI(M) Joins Congress to Script a Spurious “Sense of the House,” September 2006, available at
[22] Matters became complicated with some of the comments from US Congressmen like Tom Lantos, who stated in the House International Relations Committee, that “India had to choose between the “ayatollahs” of terror and the United States.” See, Ninan Koshy, “India and the Iran Vote in the IAEA,” Foreign Policy in Focus, October 27, 2005, available at
[23] See, Lalit K. Jha, NDTV, “Debate on Indo-US Nuclear Deal in US House: Who Said What,” September 28, 2008, available at and Dan Robinson, “US-India Nuclear Deal Poised for Approval by House of Representatives, Senate,” VOA News, September 27, 2008, available at During the debate in the House, Edward Markey stated, “Flashing a green light to India sends a dangerous signal to all of those countries because these policies are interconnected. The Bush Administration argues that breaking the nuclear rules for India will not lead to broken rules for anyone else, but they are wrong. Like the financial crisis that is now gripping the globe, this disastrous nuclear deal will come back to haunt us because there is no bailout for a nuclear bomb.” See, Markey Decries House Approval of US-India Nuclear Deal,” September 27, 2008, available at
[24] “The Indo-US Nuclear Deal,” interview of Strobe Talbott and Robert Einhorn by Meenakshi Ahmed, Seminar, 2006, available at
[25] China may not push for a similar deal with Pakistan, as the US has done for India. During the visit of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to Beijing in October 2008, some senior Pakistan and Western officials commented that China in effect has agreed privately to follow a “step-by-step” approach in assisting Pakistan’s quest for nuclear energy, rather than a formal civil nuclear agreement on the lines of the Indo-US nuclear deal. China has already installed a 325-MW nuclear power reactor at Chashma, Punjab province, and additionally China plans to install a second power reactor of the same capacity there, expected to be completed by 2011. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that Chashma III and Chashma IV reactors would provide Pakistan with an additional 680 megawatts of generating capacity. Qureshi did not elaborate on the kind of assistance that Chin may provide in this regard, although it is assumed that China will introduce grandfather clause into its earlier agreements with Pakistan. Prior to joining NPT in 1992, China had signed an agreement with Pakistan (December 31, 1991) to build the Chasma nuclear power reactor in the Punjab province. See, Farhan Bokhari, “China Aiding Pakistan’s Nuclear Ambitions,” CBS News, October 16, 2008, available at; “China to Help Pakistan Build Two More Nuclear Power Plants,” CNN, October 18, 2008, available at; “Pakistan Gets Confirmation on Chinese Reactor,” Nuclear Engineering International, March 1992, p. 7; and Robert Shuey and Shirley A. Kan, “Chinese Missile and Nuclear Proliferation: Issues for Congress,” CRS Issue Brief, September 29, 1995, p. 9, cited in “China’s Nuclear Exports and Assistance to Pakistan,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, updated November 14, 2003, available at
[26] This idea was well-articulated by Strobe Talbott in an interview to Seminar. See, “The Indo-US Nuclear Deal,” interview of Strobe Talbott and Robert Einhorn by Meenakshi Ahmed, Seminar, 2006, available at Islamic countries are not one huge monolith, and one should keep in mind the Saudi-Iran rivalry in mind.
[27] Amit Baruah, “Now, Israel Wants NSG Rules Changed,” Hindustan Times, August 28, 2007, available at

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