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The Indo-Us Nuclear Deal.

This is a discussion on The Indo-Us Nuclear Deal. within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; THE Nuclear deal entered into by India and the US as part of the Indo-US Agreement signed by president Bush ...


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Old September 5th, 2007   #1
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The Indo-Us Nuclear Deal.

THE Nuclear deal entered into by India and the US as part of the Indo-US Agreement signed by president Bush and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh during the latter's recent visit to the US has been received differently by diverse quarters in India and abroad.

Under the deal, India has undertaken to separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities, place the former under full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, take various measures to prevent export of nuclear-weapons technology, contribute to other international non-proliferation regimes, as well as to continue with its declared moratorium on nuclear tests. In other words, India would comply with all obligations of Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) which are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that India has consistently held to be discriminatory and has thus never joined.

On its part, the US Administration has agreed steer appropriate provisions through the US legislature enabling supply of fuel to Tarapur (built with US assistance in the '60s and already under IAEA safeguards, but with fuel supplies and other technological assistance cut off due to US sanctions imposed in the wake of India's first nuclear test Pokhran-I in 1974) and other nuclear power plants and transfer of other nuclear energy technology by the US to India, as well as to push for similar measures in the 44-country Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and related actions by the IAEA. In the Agreement, the US has agreed to recognise India as a "leading country with advanced nuclear technology", thus granting it a de facto NWS status.

Some sections in both India and the US have hailed it as a major breakthrough in Indo-US relations, perhaps even the biggest ever shift in bilateral ties with the US virtually admitting India into the nuclear-weapons club and opening the doors to the lifting of all restrictions on India acquiring civilian nuclear technology and fuel apart from other dual-use technologies. In India, several media commentators, former nuclear-establishment scientists and "strategic experts", and leading lights of the BJP, have attacked the deal as a betrayal of Indian security interests, a surrender of its sovereignty in nuclear matters and a blow to its independent nuclear capability. Both these extreme assessments are not merely exaggerations but also fundamentally erroneous.

On the other hand, a few divergent voices, including and especially that of the CPI(M) have, while being been sharply critical of the overall Indo-US Agreement, the threats to India's independent foreign policy and the implicit acceptance by India of US hegemony in world affairs, have viewed the nuclear deal itself in a different light. There are indeed many important issues that the general discourse has not brought out with regard to India’s strategic vision, its nuclear policy both civilian and military, its energy security as well as the near-term geo-political scenario and the role of the US in it.

INDIAN SECURITY

M/S Vajpayee, Brajesh Mishra and Jaswant Singh, and many strategic experts and commentators, have sharply criticised the nuclear deal for seriously compromising Indian security and its sovereign decision-making regarding the size of its nuclear "deterrent" (read arsenal). They argue that separating India’s military nuclear facilities from its civilian power plants and placing the latter under IAEA safeguards will limit the quantity of fissile material made available to the former, effectively capping India’s nuclear arsenal and making its more costly since dedicated military-nuclear facilities would have to be set up.

Let us first dispose of the issue of costs. If a limited number of nuclear warheads are envisaged, then the costs should not go up substantially since existing "research" reactors and some additional facilities can readily be separated and placed in the military category. And if costs do go up somewhat, so be it: if you want nukes, pay for them, rather than having the civilian power sector subsidising them! The Indian people would benefit by at last knowing what the military nuclear option really costs, no longer being concealed under civilian cover, and can then participate in more informed decision-making regarding it. Despite this, total defence outlays may actually come down since a more limited number of warheads would also obviate the extravagant and hugely expansive "triad" of air, sea and land-based nuclear delivery systems the BJP-led government had envisaged.

The underlying assumption of this critique is clearly that Indian security lies foremost in nuclear weaponisation and its unfettered expansion. This militarist strategic perception has consistently been opposed by the Left and the broader Peace and Disarmament Movement, a position vindicated by Pakistan’s tit-for-tat overt nuclear weaponisation and its Kargil adventure despite the mutual "deterrence". Peace-loving forces in India have long held that Indian security is not dependent on nuclear weapons, and have demanded first a cap and then a roll-back of the nuclearisation of India and the South Asian region.

From such a perspective, a self-imposed limiting of India’s nuclear arsenal is welcome and would go at least some way towards meeting the demand of regional and universal nuclear disarmament. The critique of the Indo-US nuclear deal by the BJP and like-minded commentators should therefore be rejected outright and sharply contested for being founded on wrong militarist premises.


In fact, the real regret is that the Agreement contains no mention of universal nuclear disarmament, a goal enshrined in the very NPT by which the NWS club swears but does everything to prevent. None of the various speeches made by the prime minister in the US even mentioned the Rajiv Gandhi Plan, the last major initiative by India towards this goal. In its eagerness to please the US, if the Congress-led UPA could not even remember its own slain leader, it is scarcely surprising that it has totally ignored the commitment made in the Common Minimum Programme to make efforts towards this goal which the Left and the peace movement in India take very seriously indeed.

NUCLEAR ENERGY

In practical terms, the deal is expected to assist India in its quest for nuclear fuel towards its stated goal of 20,000 MWe of nuclear power in the next decade compared to the present about 4,000 MWe, a target India has set keeping in mind its projected energy requirements and the cost and environmental limitations of conventional energy options based on oil, gas, coal and hydro power. India has limited sources of natural uranium and it will take considerable time to develop thorium-based technology. Given the restrictions on supply of nuclear materials by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, sourcing of heavy water from Russia, the mainstay of most nuclear power plants in India, has also become highly problematic. Countries such as Russia and France are also eager to assist in setting up nuclear power plants in India. Reports have suggested that US-based companies such as Westinghouse are also keen to export to India.

Under the Agreement, with India separating its nuclear power facilities from any military linkage, and placing them under IAEA safeguards, all these could become possible. If the US keeps its word and is actually able to persuade the NSG to relax its existing stringent conditionalities vis-ŕ-vis India, the deal would substantially benefit India and contribute to its energy security.

The current military security-obsessed discourse has also ignored other possible gains from the separation of the civilian energy sector from the clandestine military side. The veil of secrecy provided to the nuclear energy sector by its military dimension and its special "holy cow" status has had serious consequences for safety. All international experience shows that the greater the openness, access to information and public involvement in nuclear energy matters, the better the safety record of nuclear power plants and other facilities. An opportunity now opens up to leverage the civilian-military separation to open up Indian nuclear energy to wider public scrutiny, redefine the role and functions of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and expand the monitoring of the nuclear energy industry by Parliament. Besides enhancing public safety and minimizing environmental impact, optimisation of nuclear energy efficiency and costs would also be enhanced due to the removal of subsidies from the strategic side.

For all this, it must be underlined that in terms of India’s overall energy security, fossil fuels especially oil and gas will continue to be the major factor contributing over half of India’s projected energy needs compared to not more than 10 per cent for nuclear power. Compromising the former in the interests of the latter makes no sense and India’s ambivalence about the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline under obvious US pressure is therefore shocking.

With West Asia in some turmoil but with its oil still under dominance of US companies, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US is now determinedly and swiftly seeking domination over oil and gas resources in Central Asia and the Caspian region where the "great game" is now being played out. US and European companies are rapidly putting in place infrastructure to pump oil and gas across Europe by land or by sea via the Mediterranean, thus seeking to monopolise these resources and simultaneously marginalise a weakened Russia which was hitherto Europe’s major supplier. The only possible counterpoise to this imperialist strategy is efforts by China and India which not only have enormous domestic demand but can also further supply these resources to energy-hungry markets in the Asian region and beyond. For India, the Iran pipeline project is crucial in this regard since it can also be cross-linked with Central Asia and China, and with ports in India and Pakistan. It is therefore vital that maximum popular pressure is put on the UPA government to stoutly resist US diktats and vigorously pursue the Iran-Pak-India pipeline project.

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY

Fears have been expressed in India that the nuclear deal will actually not bring any benefits in terms of nuclear technology. US nuclear plants are based on boiling water reactors (BWR) whereas almost all India’s plants are based on pressurised heavy water (PHWR). However, US companies can supply enriched uranium besides BWR-based power-plants, plant components and special materials required for them. The real benefits of the deal may also lie not only in US-India nuclear technology transfers but also in obtaining other dual-use technologies and in similar ties with other advanced countries. The deal also opens up the possibility of India joining in the International Thermo-nuclear Energy Project (ITER) which aims at harnessing fusion energy (like in the sun and hydrogen bombs as against fission as in current power plants and Hiroshima-type "atom bombs") with enormous potential for clean and virtual limitless energy production.

Fears about the difficulties, even "impossibility" according to some commentators, of separating civilian from military facilities and about the impact of safeguards on the indigenous Fast Breeder Reactor Technology are exaggerated since, after all, the nuclear establishment in India on both sides of the fence appear to be fully on board and problems would likely to have been factored in.

The question needs to be asked whether India really benefits from keeping herself in possibly permanent isolation from international technological development for the sake of illusory benefits from an unbounded military programme inextricable tangled up with its civilian energy sector. The weight of evidence suggests the answer is no.

POLITICAL WILL

In response to fears expressed in India that whereas India has made "commitments", the US has only made "promises", prime minister Manmohan Singh and other official spokesmen have been at pains to underline that the Agreement stresses that these measures are to be implemented by India only in a "reciprocal" manner. The real question, is there the necessary political will to do so?

One may scrutinise the text of the Agreement and argue about turns of phrase and their implications but in actuality its impact will truly be assessed only by its implementation, by the US and more so by India.

It has not been adequately recognised in the debate so far as to how much of a U-turn has actually been taken by the US. The Administration will have to really exert itself in the US Congress, with NSG allies and with the IAEA to fulfill its side of the bargain. None of this is going to be easy. The powerful lobby of non-proliferation fundamentalists in the US has already attacked the Agreement, as have several commentators in Europe who have accused the Bush Administration of virtually dismantling the international non-proliferation architecture at one stroke by granting de facto NWS status to India and thus opening up a can of worms.

It is important to ask why the US has done so. The answer must lie in the US assessment of its long-term geo-political interests in which it wants India to play an increasing but junior partner role. This is evidenced by the web of strategic agreements the US has been sucking India into: defence partnership, democracy initiative, disaster management tie-ups and so on. The nuclear deal is but part of an overall pattern of entrapment of India within US imperialist designs. Make no mistake, the US will strive to keep India on a short leash and deliver minimum while extracting the maximum.

In is therefore imperative that in the months to come, India should strictly implement the reciprocity stressed in the nuclear deal and carefully calibrate its own actions only in response to measures actually taken by the US, the NSG and the IAEA. The CPI(M), the Left as a whole and the peace movement should demand strict adherence to this principle of reciprocity and ensure that the government does not undertake unilateral measures which may compromise national interests and sovereignty.

It is also important to sharply demarcate this position from that of the BJP and other militarist, right-wing forces who are raising the bogey of "Indian security under threat". Indian security is not limited to its nuclear capability nor should it be left hostage to forces who claim to be its sole guardians.
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Old September 5th, 2007   #2
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1. No Link to the site you have copy pasted from.

2. No credit to the real author.

3. No comments of your own.

4. The deal has nothing to do with military strategy & tactics, so its in the wrong forum.

You need to go through the rules mate.
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Old September 13th, 2007   #3
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The Indo-US Nuclear deal is a landmark in world history because it guareenties indian the peaceful use of nuclear power and also the right to make more neclear bombs.The deal does not end there.Once the deal is signed, India will get acess to not only the nuclear power, but also the latest equipment of military use as well.All this when India has never signed the non-prolifiration treaty!!!
Agreed that India has an Impecable history of safe nuclear power, this move could send the wrong signal to other countries in the world for whome it is manditory to first sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to get anywhere close to a deal like this!!!
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Old September 13th, 2007   #4
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this move could send the wrong signal to other countries in the world for whome it is manditory to first sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to get anywhere close to a deal like this!!!
There are exactly four nations on this planet that are not NPT members: India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea (through withdrawal in 2003).

Not exactly much to worry about signals, since there are no applicable nations.
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Old September 13th, 2007   #5
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Why have you started this thread in a Military Strategy and Tactics forum?

As you have clearly stated in your post

The nuclear deal is strictly civil, with a strong focus on allowing foreign firms to corporate in the construction of civilian nuclear reactors that will provide much needed electricity to fuel "industrial development" in India, and curbs on transfer of technology that had a effect on a lot of high tech sectors will disappear.

As for the military nuclear program it will have its own reactors and will use the available natural resources available in India - which will be exclusively used for developing more nuclear devices as foreign suppliers will be available once the deal passes the concerned agencies.

Right now a lot of our nuclear research and development resources (scientists and funds) are engaged in the development of thorium based reactor technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium...a_nuclear_fuel
http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/aug/25nuke.htm

If we are able to successfully do this we will not need foreign suppliers of uranium and plutonium. However still for the preliminary stages of the research we need fissile material like plutonium
http://www.expressindia.com/news/ful...p?newsid=63418

Hence my man I ask you again
How does this thread belong here of all the places
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Old September 14th, 2007   #6
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I am being asked asto how this topic can be debated upon!!
Alright, now my point is that the US considers Pakistan to be a strong ally in its war against terror. Then why is it that the US straight away refuses to give a deal like the above to Pakistan? On one side they say pakistan is a key ally in the war on terror and they give them rather older f-16 and that too with a lot of fuss and without any transfer of technology.On the other hand India gets a nuclear deal, f-18's offered, f-35 'stealth' fighters!!!!
Now, what is the message this is gonna be conveyed to countries like pakistan which the US considers as key allyes?
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Old September 15th, 2007   #7
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Well the US offered us the so called Nuclear deal as we are ready for absolute separation of our nuclear reactors, to operate a civil and a military nuclear program where we will have separate reactors for producing nuclear energy and nuclear devices (bombs),

They will allow/help foreign technological transfer for the construction of nuclear reactors and allow us to import nuclear material (uranium and plutonium which are not available in huge quantities in India and hence are primarily used for military purpose.

If we conduct a nuclear test US will stop the transfer, however that is unlikely unless we wish to construct a fission device, go through the Indian nuclear tests we got all the information we wanted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pokhran-II
http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/India/IndiaShakti.html

We already have enough uranium - plutonium available to us for military purpose, however we do not possess enough for a civilian program and research,

this is where US- India nuclear agreement will help India, and it will give US energy firms a foot hold inside Indian nuclear energy sector which will help in the overall involvement in the energy sector as India opens up.

Even if we fail on getting this deal through, a lot of our scientific resources are engaed in the thorium program.
http://www.americanscientist.org/tem...d/25710/page/2
http://www.larouchepub.com/other/200...ium_india.html
http://www.bellona.org/english_impor...peration/31261
http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/461/4577.html


A deal with Pakistan might not have the similar economical benefits involved, you will have to ask a person involved in Pakistani energy sector about their current energy needs and if they even need a nuclear energy program or not, if they do sometime down the line - if this deal actually comes through into operational phase, US will offer Pakistan a similar agreement too if a stable government is in power.

Further more this deal will open up the Indian nuclear energy market to French and Russian firms too, so they are watching eagerly.

On the topic of military sales to India – the sheer size of Indian defense needs is huge and the market has only recently opened up to USA, India presents a huge opportunity for the world famous US defense equipment firms, an opportunity they will not miss - right now there are very few political road blocks, US has offered Pakistan a lot of sophisticated military equipment including F16 with the latest ASEA radars AMRAAM’s etc. etc. however India is not really worried about that, they do not pose (the military equipment) any risk to India.

As for the F35- it was a proposed replacement of F16
If India actually ends up procuring them, these F16s will be used for 30 years or more so let us for the sake of argument assume that India decides to procure F16’s and the first one arrive at about 2010, they will need a replacement in 2040, by that time the F35 will have 25 years on it which will offer India no significant advantage over anyone.

people who will make the call are far more educated than me on defese matters and will not fall for the F35 carrot - however a carrot it is and the US firms will dangle it none the less.

The Indian market is a huge opportunity to earn dollars in the coming decade 2007-2020, any every one on this planet loves to get some dollars, the us military firms will offer to sell us everything they can persuade there parliament to agree on.

Last edited by funtz; September 15th, 2007 at 11:08 AM.
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Old September 15th, 2007   #8
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I am being asked asto how this topic can be debated upon!!
Alright, now my point is that the US considers Pakistan to be a strong ally in its war against terror. Then why is it that the US straight away refuses to give a deal like the above to Pakistan? On one side they say pakistan is a key ally in the war on terror and they give them rather older f-16 and that too with a lot of fuss and without any transfer of technology.On the other hand India gets a nuclear deal, f-18's offered, f-35 'stealth' fighters!!!!
Now, what is the message this is gonna be conveyed to countries like pakistan which the US considers as key allyes?
It still doesn't make it a military topic. Even if you take it as a "Counter China" or "Balance China" or "Contain China" it still doesn't fit here - it would be more of an economic balance.

The F-35 thing is not part of the nuclear deal so that makes your topic even more irrelevent.
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Old November 14th, 2007   #9
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It still doesn't make it a military topic. Even if you take it as a "Counter China" or "Balance China" or "Contain China" it still doesn't fit here - it would be more of an economic balance.

The F-35 thing is not part of the nuclear deal so that makes your topic even more irrelevent.
This deal has more millitary repercussions than economic one, it will divert more indian uranium for weapons programme, it will give india access to latest nuclear technology, it would increase the capability of india to produce more nuclear submarines and the main purpose is that a strong nuclear india will enhance US interests in the region.
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Old November 19th, 2007   #10
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well guys this deal is the starting of a new era of strategic parternership between India And US. The goal of this parternership is certainly to detter and contain increasing chinese influence in the region. Some interesting points about INDO-US NUCLEAR DEAL:-http://www.asadasif.com/index.php?itemid=73
Secretary Condoleezza Rice is believed to be the force behind the hurriedly concocted and potentially damaging Indo-US Nuclear deal, which will arguably compromise American nuclear secrets vis-ŕ-vis its national security. Reportedly, the deal is a brainchild of Secretary Rice's counselor and longtime colleague Philip Zelikow and (a Bombay-born expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former aide to Blackwill) Ashley Tellis. On April 3, 2006, the Washington Post (p.A01) reported, “Upon Rice's return from Asia, Zelikow began exchanging memos with Tellis, resulting in a 50-page ‘action agenda’ for U.S.-Indian relations completed in mid-May.” While making a case for India, in a memo Tellis argued, US would have to “help New Delhi develop strategic capabilities such that India's nuclear weaponry and associated delivery systems” to deter growing Chinese influence.

Indians were quick to pick on American desperation to conclude a deal. They outfoxed the Americans on negotiation table. The Post quoted a senior American official involved in the negotiation, the “Indians were incredibly greedy that day. They were getting 99 percent of what they asked for and still they pushed for 100." It was as if Bush Administration’s sole goal was to please the Indians at any cost.

The Post also revealed Bush Administration’s maverick strategy of assisting India in developing nuclear weapons. It reported, “the Bush administration originally wanted a pact that would let India continue producing material for six to 10 weapons each year, [but the signed deal] would allow it enough fissile material for as many as 50 annually.”
the US State Department had been helping India get around the laws by arranging for France and later China to continue the Tarapur radioactive fuel supply. Considering Indian proliferation record (see Appendix - B & C), instead of rewarding India by signing the deal, at a minimum, Bush Administration should have insisted that Indian plutonium covered by "peaceful purposes" agreements be unavailable for nuclear weapons, and that the Tarapur fuel is not reprocessed to extract weapon grade plutonium. Under the 1963 agreement, India was bound to get US approval to reprocess the nuclear fuel. However, in a blatant disregard to the signed agreement, India disputed this and insisted it was free to reprocess the used fuel at any time. Regrettably, the US government as usual bowed to Indian demands fearing an irritant in US-India relations and dispatched the disagreement to the wastebasket of oblivion. Currently, there is enough Tarapur plutonium to manufacture hundreds of unaccounted nuclear weapons.
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http://www.fissilematerials.org/southasia.pdf

Under the terms of the deal, India’s CIRUS reactor will be shut down in 2010, by which time it could yield another 45 kg of weapon grade plutonium, while the Dhruva reactor will continue to operate and to add about 20-25kg/year. There are plans to construct a new unsafeguarded reactor that can produce at least as much plutonium as Dhruva.
India has also kept the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) out of safeguards arguing that “Both from the point of view of maintaining long term energy security and for maintaining the minimum credible deterrent the Fast Breeder Programme just cannot be put on the civilian list.” We have estimated that this reactor, to be completed in 2010, could produce up to 130 kg of weapon grade plutonium each year; this four-fold increase in India’s current production would amount to another 25 nuclear weapons a year.
India has proposed that between now and 2014 it will declare eight of its sixteen power reactors as civilian and open them for IAEA safeguarding. We estimate that these eight reactors could yield another four tons of unsafeguarded plutonium before they are opened for inspection. The remaining eight power reactors are to be unsafeguarded, ‘military’ facilities. They could add 1250 kg per year of reactor-grade plutonium.
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India also could choose to use some of its domestic uranium to make weapon grade plutonium in one of its unsafeguarded PHWRs. This can be done by limiting the time the fuel is irradiated, through more frequent refueling.83 This is beyond the normal design requirement of PHWR refueling machines, but might be possible. Assuming that such high refueling rates are sustainable, then a typical 220 MWe pressurized heavy water reactor could produce between 150-200 kg/year of weapon grade plutonium when operated at 60-80 per cent capacity.84 Even one such reactor, if run on a production mode, could increase India’s current rate of plutonium production by a factor of six to eight.85 The net requirement of extra uranium for running one 220 MWe reactor in production mode is 190 tons of natural uranium.86
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Old November 20th, 2007   #13
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Indian Bull sounds awfuly smug about this deal... I wonder what some of my Aussie associates would have to say about this...

As for Pakistan; with friends like those, who needs ennemas?
Oops... meant to say enemies
Since war between nuclear nations seems impossible in practice, I am not terribly worried about that front.

India is a natural counter-weight to China. I know that a lot of people in India see this as a long-range improbability, but if I were in the Army I would start getting ready right now, and taking a close look at maps of Burma.
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Indian Bull sounds awfuly smug about this deal... I wonder what some of my Aussie associates would have to say about this...

As for Pakistan; with friends like those, who needs ennemas?
Oops... meant to say enemies
Since war between nuclear nations seems impossible in practice, I am not terribly worried about that front.

India is a natural counter-weight to China. I know that a lot of people in India see this as a long-range improbability, but if I were in the Army I would start getting ready right now, and taking a close look at maps of Burma.
Nothing is impossible man, atleast in this region where we fought pakistan in 1999. Insipe both nations having nukes they were at brink of war in 2001-02 again. And when the situation will get more worse nobody knows. South asia is really at risk of a nuclear war(not joking seeing whatz happening in pakistan atleast.)
as far as this deal is concerned the words "civilian nuclear deal" are really misleading. Why suddenly US got worried about indian civilian nuclear programme?
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Old November 20th, 2007   #15
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In all probability India will reach whatever nuclear detterence is required without this Deal, the only real importance of the deal is to make sure that India is able to get the nuclear suppliers group to supply what they have and the neccessary technology for nuclear reactors that produce electricity.

A economically strong India that is cooperative towards US economic and strategic goals is obviously benificial to the USA, and as has been said over and over by the P-M who is himself a brilliant economist (lets not even talk of the F-M), we need power and lots of it, any type will do and we need it now.

if the deal goes through US companies will get good contracts so will French and Russian corp.s the energy needs are huge.
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