E debbasi considerare come non è cosa più difficile a trattare, né più dubia a riuscire, né più pericolosa a maneggiare, che farsi capo ad introdurre nuovi ordini – Niccolò Machiavelli1

…when these matters are discussed by practical people, the standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel… – Thucydides2

For a typically warm and muggy July day in Washington, DC, what President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were about to announce was very atypical of relations between their two countries. Observers of Indo-U.S. relations who had become accustomed to a cordial and proper modus vivendi over the past six decades were stunned by the bombshell that was dropped on them that July 18, 2005. After receiving the visiting Indian Prime Minister with full pomp and fanfare, the U.S. President announced that the United States and India would begin negotiating a nuclear deal that would allow India full access to the international nuclear market without comment on India’s nuclear weapons programme. This new vision of a strategic partnership between the United States and India was ground-breaking in that, for the first time, a non-signatory to the NPT was being offered nuclear technology and fuel without preconditions.

The July 18 statement was unthinkable barely seven years earlier. When India tested five nuclear devices in May 1998, international condemnation was strong. The United States, then under President Clinton, slapped sanctions on India in an effort to “cap, roll back, and eliminate” the Indian nuclear arsenal.3 The Clinton Administration’s commitment to traditional US non-proliferation objectives meant that the United States pursued an agenda of persuading, coaxing, and cajoling India towards accepting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), exercising a ‘strategic restraint regime’ that would limit India’s missile programme, and synchronising Indian export controls with international norms.4 From an environment that was antithetical to India’s nuclear ontology to negotiating a set of international protocols that would virtually make India a “nuclear have” was nothing short of a fundamental and radical shift in international politics and the beginning of a new era of closer Indo-U.S. strategic relationships.

Given the proximity of the events in question, it is not surprising that there is limited scholarship on the topic. Most accounts of the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal are either technical analyses of legal and scientific aspects or are journalistic accounts which do not present the deal in the broader contexts of Indo-U.S. relations or non-proliferation history. Among the few analyses of note are are C. Raja Mohan’s Impossible Allies, which puts the Indo-US nuclear deal in the broader context of Indo-U.S. relations, underlying the similarities between “a unilateral America and a revisionist India” and explaining their mutual interest in a world order that recognizes the new realities of power distribution.5 Raja Mohan shares Ashley Tellis’ assessment of a set of objectives that India and the U.S. share, such as, defeating terrorism, countering the spread of WMD, promoting democracy and economic development, ensuring a stable balance of power in Asia, preserving global commons, especially the sea lanes of communication, promoting energy security and safeguarding the global environment.6 Charles D. Ferguson and Michael Levi have underlined the democratic nature of both countries as further reason for India and the U.S. to cooperate, also considering the common threat posed by terrorism.7

In “India As a New Global Power: An Action Agenda for the United States” Tellis proposes a detailed plan for the transformation of Indo-U.S. relations based on the assumption that it is in the U.S. interest to assist India to become a future major world power, with an implicit recognition of the implications for the balance of power in Asia.8 Regarding the deal itself, Tellis doesn’t share the non proliferation community’s concerns that the deal might free India’s indigenous reserve of uranium to build new bombs. He states that India was able to create a small nuclear arsenal without U.S. uranium and it is unlikely that safeguarded uranium from the international market will have that big an impact on India’s nuclear weapons program. What is critical is immediate supply of fresh fuel for India’s civilian nuclear reactors until India is in a position to use its indigenous supply of thorium to fuel its reactors.9

George Perkovich, most notably the author of India’s Nuclear Bomb, is more cautious about the deal. Perkovich is unsure about the ability of the deal to put India in the U.S. camp in any attempts to contain China and warns that U.S. strategists should not prioritise that as the foundational premise of the nuclear deal with India. India’s history of non-alignment and its prickliness to being a junior partner will most certainly vex Indo-U.S. relations. Perkovich sees as the deal’s greatest flaw that India eventually received far more than what India had asked for without obtaining any concessions on nuclear testing from India in return.10

Stephen Cohen shares Perkovich’s assessment that India will not accept to subordinate her interests to American ones: “India will not be a dependent state, nor will it become a close ally like Britain; it is more likely to emerge as an Asian France, a state with which we have many shared interests, and even an alliance relationship, but one that sees the world through its own prism, not ours.”11

The deal has been widely criticized by both sides. Not surprisingly, former members of the Clinton Administration that had to negotiate with the Indians after the nuclear tests of 1998 expressed their concerns for the impact of the deal on the non-proliferation regime: Strobe Talbott points out that India didn’t assume the same responsibilities and practices as the nuclear “haves” since those countries have halted the production of fissile material while India has committed herself to join a universal ban only if Pakistan does the same.12

In a similar vein, Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of Arms Control Association, warns against the potential damage to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) posed by the deal. According to Kimball, the deal “would not oblige New Delhi to undertake the same practices as the five original nuclear-weapon states, including signature of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Nor would it commit India to an “early cessation of the arms race” and disarmament, as Article VI of the NPT requires.”13

Others observers worry for the consequences of the deal on the non proliferation regime. According to Potter, the deal undermines U.S. efforts to persuade other countries to strengthen their export controls; also, is it realistic to expect negative reactions by NPT members who previously had built or pursued nuclear weapons but abandoned their nuclear programs (South Africa, Ukraine- Argentina, Brazil, Egypt) in order to join the NPT.14

This post examines the reasons for and causes of India’s nuclear metamorphosis. It will explore what occurred through the mechanisms of an Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and a special Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). A range of opinions have been voiced over the motivations behind the dramatic departure from nearly 40 years of U.S. non-proliferation policy for the sake of India – economic, environmental, and perhaps most poignantly, strategic. Critics of the deal have been equally forceful in opposing what they perceive to be unrealistic expectations from India on the part of U.S. policy makers in exchange for irremediably damaging the non-proliferation regime that has been painstakingly developed since 1968. Further, the deal would, Western critics argued, create a perception that India was somehow being rewarded for gate-crashing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and this would encourage a nuclear domino effect among threshold nuclear states like Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. In addition, the agreement would free India’s limited domestic supplies of uranium for military use while filling her civilian coffers with fresh uranium. On the Indian side, critics worried that the deal was only a newly-worded version of the NPT and would somehow curtail India’s right to test nuclear weapons in the future if she decided to do so. The Communist Party of India, CPI(M), also worried that the deal would bring India closer into the American orbit and was a Machiavellian manoeuvre by the United States to contain China’s rise.

Relying heavily on interviews with the architects of the deal and other key participants in India, the United States, and among the members of the NSG, we argue that the deal was conceived primarily out of strategic considerations and resulted in, rather than emanated from, the de-hyphenation of India and Pakistan in the minds of U.S. South Asia policy mandarins. We study the predicament posed to the non-proliferation regime by India’s new and sudden elevation above the ranks of states that do not possess nuclear weapons and yet not all the way to a recognised nuclear weapons state. On one hand, the international community must come to terms with the fact of engaging in nuclear commerce with a state that is neither a member of the NPT nor a de jure nuclear power. On the other hand, India must also now resolve its quasi-membership in the non-proliferation regime it had until very recently accused of nuclear apartheid. Our project also assesses whether this deal undermines the basic tenets of the NPT, namely, the commitment of non-nuclear weapon states not to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for the promise of peaceful nuclear cooperation and the commitment of nuclear weapon states under the treaty to eventual disarmament. Ultimately, this paper raises a most pertinent question for both, the United States and India. For India, will she forever remain a part of the G-77, the postcolonial have-nots, out of ideological habit, or will she recognise her own rise and step up to join the G-8? And for the United States, how are they to reconcile an ideological commitment to a policy that has produced at best tepid results for forty years with the new realities of the 21st century?

The Buddha Laughs

On May 11, 1998, India conducted three simultaneous subterranean nuclear explosions at Pokhran. Despite international condemnation, the three tests were followed by two more on May 13, after which Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee declared India to be a nuclear weapons state and announced a unilateral moratorium on further testing. In a private letter to President Clinton, Vajpayee clearly enunciated India’s reasons for the tests: “We have an overt nuclear-weapon state on our borders, a state which committed armed aggression against India in 1962…To add to the distrust that country has materially helped another neighbour of ours to become a covert nuclear weapons state.”15 The Clinton Administration, however, paid scant attention to India’s justifications for the tests, the President remarking, “We are going to come down on those guys like a ton of bricks.”16

Clinton’s “ton of bricks” constituted of an array of sanctions that halted defence sales and military financing to India, a denial of credit or loan guarantees from the U.S. Government, American opposition to loans or technical assistance from other international sources like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), prohibition of loans and credits from U.S. private organisations, a hold on Export-Import Bank loan guarantees and credits for U.S. exports to India, and termination or suspension of most assistance programmes. In addition, the State Department also undertook a review of scientific exchange programmes, the result of which was the “denial, delay or withdrawal of visas for Indian scientists visiting the United States.”17 On June 6, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1172, deploring India’s actions and calling on the Indian Government to refrain from further tests, stop her “nuclear weapon development programme…to cease development of ballistic missiles” and “any further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.” The resolution also urged India to sign the NPT (as a non-nuclear weapons state) and CTBT unconditionally and without delay.18 However, after an initial period of deep concern, the Indian Government remained intransigent on the nuclear issue, claiming that sanctions would hurt U.S. firms more than they did India and that any privations caused by U.S. sanctions would be “character-building.”19

To resolve the impasse created by India’s nuclear tests, the United States and India engaged in what would become the Talbott-Singh dialogue. In essence, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State met with the Indian Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission (soon to be Minister for External Affairs) over two and a half years, discussing and negotiating each other’s concerns on matters of nuclear proliferation. Talbott’s goals were to primarily get India to sign the CTBT, convince India to move towards the gradual acceptance and ratification of the FMCT, make India understand the benefits of a “strategic restraint” in its missile development and deployment, have India “adopt stringent, ‘world-class’ controls on the export of dangerous material [and] technology,” and finally to coax India into resuming talks with Pakistan over Kashmir and other causes of friction between them.20 For his part, Jaswant Singh tried to make the United States understand that India’s nuclear weapons were now an established fact, that India would not be party to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state, and that these issues were not merely ones of security but also sovereignty. Furthermore, he urged his counterpart to lift sanctions on India and then negotiate as equals on matters of non-proliferation. Although the dialogue failed to achieve its stated purpose, Talbott was to later reminisce, “Sometimes a negotiation that fails to resolve a specific dispute can have general and lasting benefits, especially if it is a dialogue in fact as well as name…It can make it possible for governments to cooperate in areas that had previously been out of bounds,” and called it the “turning point in U.S.-Indian relations.”21

In May 1999, Indian forces encountered Pakistani-backed mujaheddin and elements of the Pakistani regular Army in Kargil on the Indian side of the Line-of-Control that divides Pakistani-occupied Kashmir from Indian-held Kashmir. Kargil was an extremely strategic point on the de facto border in that it sat astride the only road that connects Srinagar to Leh. Over the next two months, the Indian Army repelled the intruders as the world watched two nuclear rivals teeter on the brink of catastrophe. As the tide turned against the mujaheddin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rushed to Washington to seek U.S. support. However, Clinton rebuked Sharif for his brinkmanship and laid down complete withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the region as a precondition for U.S. mediation in the crisis. More than anything else, Kargil demonstrated to Foggy Bottom that India and Pakistan were not equally responsible states in the South Asian order. In conjunction with suspicions that Pakistani intelligence was helping Osama bin Laden evade the U.S. after the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, Kargil perhaps sowed the seeds of de-hyphenation between India and Pakistan in U.S. minds.22

In March 2000, President Clinton visited India, the first presidential visit to South Asia since Jimmy Carter in 1978. Despite intense exchanges with India over the past two years, Clinton’s thinking about India had somewhat changed. When Senator Jesse Helms, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticised the Clinton Administration for “six years of cozying up to India, a foolhardy and perilous substitute for common sense,” Clinton responded to his staff, “Ol’ Jesse’s got that exactly wrong. My mistake was not cozying up to India a lot earlier so that we might have had some leverage over those guys before they hit the button on that bomb.”23 The visit won Clinton much popularity among Indians. Besides spending five days in India and barely five hours in Pakistan, Clinton declared in his speech to the Lok Sabha (India’s Lower House of Parliament), “Only India can determine its own interests. Only India can know if it truly is safer today than before the tests.” Even before the visit, the Administration had made it clear that differences over non-proliferation would not prevent progress in other aspects of the bilateral relationship and that the President sought a “huge and varied relationship” with India.24

A New World Order?

In a closely contested and controversial election in November 2000, George W. Bush became the 43rd President of the United States. According to Robert Blackwill, former U.S. Ambassador to India, Bush was determined to transform U.S.-Indian relations even while Governor of Texas. Indeed, in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library during his Presidential campaign, Governor Bush declared, “This coming century will see democratic India’s arrival as a force in the world. We should establish more trade and investment with India as it opens to the world. And we should work with the Indian government, ensuring it is a force for stability and security in Asia.” In the same speech, he also declared, “China’s government can be alarming abroad, and appalling at home. Beijing has been investing its growing wealth in strategic nuclear weapons, new ballistic missiles, a blue-water navy and a long-range air force. It is an espionage threat to our country…China is a competitor, not a strategic partner.” In a hint of things to come, the Presidential candidate also stated, “In the hard work of halting proliferation, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is not the answer.”25

Echoing similar sentiments, a key member of the future Bush Administration, Condoleezza Rice, wrote in a Foreign Affairs article in January 2000,

China’s success in controlling the balance of power depends in large part on America’s reaction to the challenge. The United States must…pay closer attention to India’s role in the regional balance. There is a strong tendency conceptually to connect India with Pakistan…But India is an element in China’s calculation, and it should be in America’s, too. India is not a great power yet, but it has the potential to emerge as one.26

Another senior official, General Colin Powell, also agreed with what seemed to be the consensus view among the top echelons of the Bush team. In his Confirmation Hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Powell acknowledged, “We must deal more wisely with the world’s largest democracy. Soon to be the most populous country in the world, India has the potential to help keep the peace in the vast Indian Ocean area and its periphery. We need to work harder and more consistently to assist India in this endeavor.”27

It was not the first time that American leaders had professed good intentions towards India, but Indian leaders were initially skeptical about a Republican Presidency as the Grand Old Party had a reputation of being hard on India in the tradition of Nixon and Reagan. All that, however, was challenged when External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh visited Washington in April 2001. During his meeting with senior American officials, President Bush “dropped by” unexpectedly, which led to a “cordial forty-minute talk in the Oval Office.” Bush was determined to prove to the Indians that his Administration was focussed on “improving and transforming” ties with India.28 Subsequently, Rice added Jaswant Singh to a shortlist of people who would be informed in advance of President Bush’s controversial decision to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and work on National Missile Defence (NMD), which was to be announced in his May 2001 speech at the National Defense University. Ashley Tellis, Special Advisor to Ambassador Robert Blackwill, has argued that it was this decision, traditionally reserved for one’s most trusted allies, along with the unexpected courtesy extended by Bush that swayed India to be far less critical of NMD than most of America’s traditional partners.29 Indian acquiescence, or at least its non-opposition on the matter, was founded on three strategic principles: first, during Vajpayee’s meetings with Clinton in 2000, the Indian Prime Minister had said that India and the United States were “natural allies.”30 Support of NMD was congruent with these feelings. Secondly, the ABM Treaty was part of an international nuclear order that did not recognise India as a nuclear power. Furthermore, the treaty did not affect India in any way. As Raja Mohan has argued, “There is hardly any reason why India should be shedding tears at the demise of the old nuclear order. President Bush’s plan, which opens the door for a rewriting of the rules of the nuclear game, offers India a chance to be part of the nuclear solution and not the proliferation problem.”31 India therefore moved quickly to find a seat at the table in the new international nuclear order Bush seemed to be drawing up. Third, and most significantly for India, being America’s fellow traveller for the time being meant access to and cooperation in sensitive areas such as high technology. Thus for negligible opportunity costs, India could reap enormous benefits through contacts at all levels.32 Furthermore, as one Indian editorial observed, “India cannot effectively counter a nuclear attack from either Pakistan or China… Since we are, as yet, unsure as to how we might pull the nuclear trigger should the need arise, it is reassuring to know we can be part of [a] plan that will prevent the trigger happy from pulling theirs.”33

The United States’ first move in signalling a new era in Indo-American partnership was to de-emphasize non-proliferation and the CTBT as the benchmarks of their bilateral relationship. While working to resolve their differences over these matters, the U.S. intimated a desire to move forward in other areas of defence cooperation. One milestone in heightened defence links between the two countries was the visit in July 2001 of General Henry Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the first American JCS to ever visit India. Another marker on the road to closer ties was the revival of the Defense Policy Group (DPG), the key institution defining the scope and nature of defence cooperation between India and the United States. This took the form of, among other things, “numerous exchanges of high-level defense officials, as well as meetings on peacekeeping operations, search and rescue, disaster relief, environmental security and even joint exercises.”34

America Awakes to Terrorism

On September 11, 2001, the United States awoke to horrific terrorist attacks of an unprecedented magnitude on its soil which left nearly 3,000 people dead. The World Trade Center in New York collapsed after two passenger aeroplanes were deliberately flown into the Twin Towers. The perpetrators, 19 in number, were members of an until-then relatively unknown terrorist outfit called al Qa’ida which had strong links to the Taliban in Afghanistan. This unforeseen event bore fairly significant consequences for U.S. policy in South Asia. Most visibly, just a week before the attacks, the U.S. Government had been contemplating lifting sanctions on India imposed after the 1998 nuclear tests while leaving most of them intact for Pakistan.35 Although India offered “full and unconditional” support to the United States in their pursuit of the masterminds of September 11, Pakistan was simply logistically invaluable to any action America could contemplate and became overnight the frontline state in America’s War on Terror. Consequently, on September 22, the United States lifted most sanctions on both, India and Pakistan, leaving only those mandated by the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954. Thus, for the fourth time in history, it seemed to India, the United States was choosing Pakistan over India, and for the second time in history, it meant an influx of substantial aid, both military and economic.36

Until the terrorist attack, the Bush Administration had followed closely the suggestions contained in a RAND report that discussed U.S. policy, goals, and interests in South Asia. The report strongly advocated the de-hyphenation between India and Pakistan, maintaining relations with each state based on “an objective assessment of the intrinsic value of each country to U.S. interests rather than by fears about how U.S. relations with one would affect relations with the other.” It also stated the fact of India’s rise and the greater level of engagement due it as a result. Critically, the report reminded its readers that “Pakistan [was] a country in serious crisis” that had to be assisted to avoid the conflagration of disturbing socio-political trends.37 The Bush Administration, especially after May 2001, made India the fulcrum of its South Asia policy. Following from their desire to improve ties with India, the Bush Administration understood that India and Pakistan were radically different and divergent regimes with vastly dissimilar international footprints, so much so that “they could not be discussed in the same breath.”38

After the attacks of September 11, Washington was forced to recognise its dependence on Pakistan when it came to dealing with the Taliban. New Delhi was disappointed by the turn of events, not only for the implications they would have on Indo-U.S. strategic relations, but also because of the high probability that America’s reconciliation with Pakistan would result in double standards in the U.S. prosecution of the War on Terror. As if to confirm their fears, the U.S. asked India for patience as Pakistan worked towards eliminating terrorist cells within its borders when the Indian Parliament came under attack from the Pakistani-backed Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Muhammed in December 2001.39 In the midst of U.S. attempts to de-hyphenate India and Pakistan, the repercussions of the tragic events of September 11 made it seem that all efforts would come to nought – the U.S. leaned on India to keep border tensions with Pakistan low lest Pakistan redeploy its forces from her border with Afghanistan, where they were part of the War on Terror, to her border with India.40

Next Steps in Strategic Partnership

Aware of the pattern that salubrious U.S.-Pakistan relations always corresponded with a downturn in U.S.-India relations and cognisant of the fact that there was little the United States could do to satisfy India on curbing cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, the Bush Administration was still intent on proving to India its good intentions. Consequently, they moved forward to address other issues that were of value to India, primarily high technology trade, space cooperation, and nuclear energy. Continuing from the Bush–Vajpayee talks in November 2001, Condoleezza Rice continued discussions on the so-called trinity with her counterpart, Brajesh Mishra, separately. Although the Parliament attacks and subsequent massive military mobilisation in the subcontinent slowed the Rice-Mishra process, Indo-U.S. dialogue on the trinity resumed in September 2002 when Vajpayee visited New York for the annual session of the United Nations.41

However, before anything could come of the talks, Mishra had to wait for an inter-agency review of India’s nuclear capabilities by the United States. Tellis hints that the review came to three conclusions: first, the United States realised that India would not give up her nuclear arms as long as her nuclear neighbours did not get rid of theirs. This was not hard to fathom for the Bush Administration, which viewed both China and Pakistan with suspicion. Second, India’s nuclear weapons did not pose a threat to the United States or any of its allies. Furthermore, India’s geopolitical interests barely, if at all, conflicted with American interests. There were also many in the Bush Administration who did not take nuclear disarmament seriously, which suited India’s desires well. Finally, India already possessed nuclear know-how of a sufficiently advanced level in both the public and private sectors that the bigger problem for the United States was the inadvertent export of the technology than the Indian nuclear arsenal itself.42 Therefore, in November 2002, in response to repeated Indian requests for access to American technology, Kenneth Juster, the U.S. Under Secretary for Commerce, suggested to Kanwal Sibal, the Indian Foreign Secretary, that the two governments set up a High Technology Cooperation Group that would be comprised of senior representatives of relevant departments in both governments, and with a related forum for participants from the private sector of the two countries. This would quickly see an increase in military-to-military cooperation between the United States and India and the hosting of joint exercises with each other, owing partly to the strong desire in the U.S. Department of Defence to do so. In February 2003, a Statement of Principles was quickly hammered out during Sibal’s visit to Washington, creating an overall set of objectives and mechanisms for High Technology trade including looking at ways to ease existing regulations, addressing U.S. non-proliferation concerns, doing outreach in India on U.S. export controls and U.S. export controls policy, working with end users, exchanging information, and engaging the private sector to ensure progress on economic trade issues.43

In May 2003, Mishra addressed the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Arguing that the main obstacles to Indo-U.S. trade in the trinity were primarily remnants of the Cold War, an impatient Mishra reiterated India’s record on good export controls and firm control over nuclear and missile technology, drawing a stark contrast with India’s neighbours. Novel in Mishra’s message was the suggestion that India and the United States move beyond their diplomatic foreplay and tackle core issues: “We have, of course, undertaken that we would put all nuclear power projects of foreign collaboration under safeguards. I am aware that some U.S. regulations and laws are constraining factors, but rules and legislation can be amended to respond to changed situations.”44 Following up Mishra’s act, the Vajpayee Government handed over to the U.S. Government in June 2003 a list of specific proposals on how the U.S. and India could advance cooperation in space, nuclear energy, and high technology.

Indian overtures did not go unanswered. In September 2003, Stephen Hadley, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor, and Juster visited India to hold secret negotiations with the Indian Government.45 The American representatives built on what had already been discussed, the Rice-Mishra dialogue and the Indian proposals of June 2003, to suggest concrete ways of actualising Indo-U.S. trade in the trinity, to which Hadley added missile defence, making the trinity a quartet. This quartet went on to serve as the foundation of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP). The NSSP was a phased programme that would progressively eliminate U.S. restrictions on sensitive trade with India and increase access to high technology cooperation within the boundaries of U.S. law.

The partnership represented, even in its nascent stage, an enormous leap forward in Indo-U.S. Relations when seen in light of the previous five and a half decades of interaction between the two democracies. Nevertheless, Tellis saw the NSSP as, at best, a “precarious breakthrough” in relations between India and the United States. For starters, not everyone in the Bush Administration was convinced of the benign status of the Indian nuclear arsenal. Secondly, the NSSP did not represent a real departure from traditional U.S. policy – because the changes contemplated were merely at the policy level and not the legal level, the strategic steps smacked more of “strategic hesitancy.” Finally, India’s adamant refusal to be a traditional ally meant that the NSSP never went far enough to answer the pivotal question of whether India’s rise was beneficial to American interests.46 However, it is not easy to overcome five decades of animosity in three years. Although the United States and India were never enemies, each viewed the other’s motives with suspicion. For the U.S., India was just another Soviet client state, while for the Indians, the United States was a neo-imperial power that seemed to support both her enemies, Pakistan and China. As Juster has rightly pointed out, the NSSP was a “necessary step to take before the Bush Administration could actually go with confidence to Congress for changes in laws.” The agreement elicited certain commitments from India on its export controls and internal processes that U.S. officials thought “could enhance the basis for treating India as a unique case outside the traditional non-proliferation framework.”47 The NSSP was, in essence, an acknowledgment that “what unites the United States and India is stronger than what divides [them]. It acknowledged India’s role as a major power while appreciating that it takes time to build a lasting strategic relationship.”48

Hadley’s proposals received a mixed response from India. When initially put forward in September 2003, the Indians declined to move on the proposals, asking for more time to study them. Eventually, in January 2004, India signalled its acceptance of the principles Hadley had laid out four months earlier. Supporters of the deal saw it as Juster did, as a necessary and important confidence-building measure. The deal would move India and the United States closer, and given the fact that the latter was even considering opening its high technology market to India, held promise for better ties in the future. Skeptics, however, pointed to Tarapur as an example of previous American high technology transfers, a symbol of incomplete promises and abandoned hope just outside Mumbai.49 They were also quick to note that the U.S. had not fundamentally modified its behaviour in that the NSSP would only work around constraining laws, not remove them.

In May 2004, India went to the polls. In a shock result, the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost its preeminent place in the Lok Sabha to the Congress-led coalition the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). A key partner in the UPA was the CPI(M), which worried both, the United States and those in India that sought better ties with the United States. The latter was a diverse group comprised of elements such as some members of the BJP, Indian business houses, and some of the security analysts. The election process and the worrying result slowed down the NSSP. However, as soon as Manmohan Singh was declared Prime Minister, he expressed his support for continuing the Indo-U.S. rapprochement. The new Indian team, S. Jaishankar, Joint-Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, Mani Dixit, the National Security Advisor, and Rakesh Sood, the Chargé d’affaires in Washington, worked with Juster to conclude Phase I of the deal by the end of September 2004.

In November 2004, America followed India into the election booth. Bush’s reelection was celebrated more in India than the United States, indicating the positive mood in public diplomacy between the two countries. According to a poll conducted by the BBC soon after the elections, the American President’s popularity stood at 62% in India, higher even than in the United States and second only to the Philippines at 63%.50 The appointments of Rice and Hadley as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor were seen as indications of continued U.S. commitment to the ongoing Indo-U.S. strategic dialogue by the Indian Government.

The reducing momentum of Indo-U.S. strategic relations in this period due to the two elections and change of leadership in India caused many to think that the apogee of this new trend had been reached. However, only a handful of officials on both sides knew of the groundbreaking developments that had been planned – while most saw the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal as emerging out of NSSP guidelines and principles, a natural and logical progression of the NSSP, Tellis reveals that it was in fact the other way around: “it was not as if there was NSSP, it stagnated, and so we said what is the next best thing? Exactly the opposite. You start with the big idea, you discover that the big idea is hard to implement, so you settle for a small idea in the hope that what the small idea does is it buys you time to get to the big idea.”51

India’s Cotillion

In March 2005, the new Secretary of State, Rice, visited India. In her talks with the new Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and the new Minister for External Affairs, Natwar Singh, Rice laid out a sweeping plan for upgrading the Indo-U.S. strategic partnership. She announced that President Bush was now willing to go beyond the NSSP and engage in civilian nuclear cooperation. She also revealed that the United States was willing to liberalise American arms supplies to India in an effort to facilitate India’s rise as a great power. The Indian leadership was stunned – they had expected to move forward in their dealings with the United States but had not expected so much. For a group that had made anti-American diatribes into a fine art form over the past 50 years, India’s politicians did not immediately grasp the full implications of what Rice had proposed. Perhaps, they were partly distracted by Rice’s other announcement – that the United States was planning to sell 18 F-16 C/Ds to Pakistan. Not entirely divested of Cold War mentalities, the Indian Government saw the sale as yet another example of America hyphenation between India and Pakistan.

Perhaps the Indians were not entirely wrong in their thinking. According to Philip Zelikow, the new Counselor of the State Department for Secretary Rice, U.S. officials did anticipate the possibility that the decision to sell F-16s to Pakistan would be a blow to India. Robert Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State, who had been thinking about this problem, asked Zelikow to come up with a solution. As Zelikow conceptualised the problem, the question was, “how are we going to announce the F-16s for Pakistan, and what are we going to do to manage the India problem that’s associated with that? What can we do with India that would help assuage their concerns about the Pakistani situation?” Hence, “the action-forcing event that pushed some kind of issue on the agenda was actually a Pakistan issue.”52 Zelikow’s solution to this unintended dyad was to simply cut the Gordion knot. Tellis concurs that, in essence, contrary to the widely accepted wisdom, the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal precipitated the dehyphenation rather than being a product of it.53 As if to reassure his hosts, Zelikow stated of the Secretary of State’s proposal in a background briefing, “Its goal is to help India become a major world power in the 21st century. We understand fully the implications, including military implications, of that statement.”54 Furthermore, as part of the attempt to assist India to become a great power, Zelikow said the Administration had decided to offer advanced fighters such as the F-16 and F-18 to India, and to help them achieve a defence transformation in key areas such as early warning, command and control, and missile defence. Zelikow was quite convinced that it would require something as grand as the nuclear deal to break away from what he calls the “structural ambivalence of Indo-U.S. relations.” The structural ambivalence Zelikow saw in the Clinton Administration’s relations with India was that although Talbott and others recognised the importance of India, they were unwilling to take significant steps to mitigate the obstacles in Indo-U.S. relations. Zelikow understood that “although it would be nice to turn back the clock and undo India’s nuclear bomb…it was a position of arrogance.” Zelikow stressed, “analytical cold-blooded assessment: that is NOT going to happen in the foreseeable future. No Indian thinks that’s going to happen in the foreseeable future. By the way, its not because of Pakistan, although that’s part of it. It’s partly because…it has a lot to do with the fact that China had nuclear weapons.”55

On July 18, 2005, India and the United States announced to the world their intent to begin civil nuclear cooperation. Bush proclaimed, “as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology, India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states.”56 The negotiations that began on civil nuclear cooperation with this announcement intended to procure for India the right to nuclear fuel, the right to purchase nuclear reactors and other technologies such as enrichment and reprocessing (E&R) and the manufacture of heavy water. India would also become part of the Generation IV International Forum, a group of nations working on proliferation resistant reactor designs such as the Pebble Bed Reactor. Furthermore, India would begin participating at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) at Cadarache. To facilitate these ambitious plans, “the President would seek agreement from Congress to adjust U.S. laws and policies,” and the United States committed itself “to work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India.”57 For its part, India consented to separate her military nuclear facilities from her civilian ones and to put the latter under international safeguards. India would also continue her unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and work with the United States towards the conclusion of an FMCT. Furthermore, India would work with the United States and the member nations of the NSG to synchronise their export controls. India would also work on obtaining a waiver from the NSG since NSG guidelines prohibit trade with any non-signatory of the NPT, and India would negotiate an additional protocol with the IAEA, which differed from the standard additional protocol in that the latter was conceived for non-nuclear weapons states. Besides these two changes to the international regime, India would also seek an amendment to the U.S. AEA, allowing the United States to conduct nuclear trade with India. Furthermore, India sought a special 123 Agreement which recognised its ambiguous position between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states. President Bush pledged to assist India in obtaining these affidavits.

Observers have been intrigued by both the timing and the reasons for the deal. Not only was the deal an enormous concession to India, but it also turned 30 years of U.S. nuclear policy on its head. But as Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, explains, the United States realised that the biggest impediment to a full global strategic relationship was the fact that the U.S. had sanctioned India for over three decades. The Bush Administration realized that the sanctions had not had their intended effect and were simply an impediment to a stronger relationship. The White House further reasoned that it would be better if they could bring India into the non-proliferation system, at least in terms of civil nuclear power for inspections by the IAEA. It was in that context that the decision to open nuclear trade with India was taken. Burns elucidated his and the White House’s thinking, “We felt that we had to face reality, that if we sanctioned India for another three decades into the future, you really were not going to accomplish very much. India wasn’t going to dismantle its nuclear programs, and therefore we ought to begin negotiations on for a Civil Nuclear Agreement.”58 Zelikow’s assessment was similar. The key to a better relationship was to bring India into the non-proliferation establishment rather than reinforce her prickly insularity. Targetting India through the nonproliferation regime would only play to her habitual pathologies: “we’re outsiders and we’re mistreated and okay, we like it that way! We’re fiercely independent and we don’t need you anyway. And indeed we will build up a whole industry without you.”59

The view from the American Embassy in New Delhi was quite different. The site of the intellectual genesis of the nuclear deal, the Embassy had proposed the deal to the White House as early as 2003 and became the champion of the idea. However, the Administration was not ready for such a dramatic change in policy and settled for the tamer NSSP instead. From the Embassy’s perspective, however, the deal was fundamentally strategic. Tellis recounts, “We didn’t care about the Indian nuclear programme. I mean, my view always was, that whatever the Indians do with their weapons programme, its not going to be aimed at us. Its going to be aimed at our enemies, or at best people that we are neutral towards. Why do we have to lose a moment’s sleep over this crap?”60 The Embassy agreed with Burns that India was not about to give up its nuclear programme and so the question became what to do next. Where the Embassy differed from Burns was that the Blackwill and Tellis felt that the U.S. should be helping India

develop a set of strategic relations with [the U.S.] that are going to help [the U.S.] vis-a-vis the Chinese. And so the question became, what do you do to convey to India that they are important enough, that you take them seriously enough as part of this coalition that [the U.S.] would have to build sooner or later vis-a-vis China.61

Blackwill and Tellis argued that the only thing to do was to basically turn them from being targets to partners. Tellis emphasised, “And since by definition we want to make them partners given our interests about China, then we have to find ways of getting them off the target list.”62 Thus, for the two main architects of the nuclear deal, the China motivation was front and centre. Nor was this the voice of two lone crusaders on the periphery, railing against imaginary threats over the horizon: “In the White House, that motivation was also front and centre and in the Defence Department, that motivation was also front and centre…we were really very lucky that Condi had a fine strategic sense of balance.”63 This was no secret either – “most US politicians intuitively knew that this was ultimately about Asia, that this was ultimately about China. But nobody could say it. You don’t make such dramatic choices unless you are trying to really satisfy some core security concern. And that I think people intuitively understood and even Congress at the end, after all the to-ing and fro-ing, I think they understood that.”64

In the Department of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defence), Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy Secretary of Defence), Douglas Feith (Under Secretary of Defense for Policy), and Peter Rodman (Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security) were also completely on board with the initiative from the American Embassy in New Delhi – “there were no two ways about this.”65 Neither Blackwill nor Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, or Rodman would stay with the Administration to see the nuclear deal through, but they gave supported it in its early stages when it was the easiest to quash the idea. Zelikow recounted that the whole initiative was kept secret from everyone but a core group to improve its odds of surviving. “The basic good news is, we keep it secret, this new initiative. And we have some allies and some people who are against us but it comes out the right way.”66 Zelikow rejected what would have been the standard way of proceeding with a new initiative, that is, “announce that [the government] was going to study this idea and [would] later announce whether or not [they would] do it.” Zelikow remembers, “I thought if you don’t do this with a big bang, it will die. You have to do it with a big bang or else people will rally to kill it.”67

Perhaps the only place in the U.S. Government that the strategic imperative was contested was at the State Department. Although the Department of State also wished to bring India into their circle of friends, they did not agree with the driving imperative voiced by the White House, the Defence Department, or the Embassy. But because there was no driving imperative, there was no driving strategic imperative. Therefore, according to the State Department, there was no need for sudden or dramatic gestures. “Their whole vision was much narrower and very focused on process, not outcome,” remembered Tellis.68 However, Blackwill and Tellis had a few allies within the State Department as well, key among them being Richard Haas, the Director of Policy Planning Staff. Their biggest friends, though, “were really in the White House and the Defence Department. The State Department was enemy territory.”69

There is clearly something of the elephant and the blind men quality to the story of why the United States was interested in the deal. One thing that is quite clear, however, is that the economic motive, at least for the United States, was not the primary incentive. According to Tellis, economic considerations played no role – “the economics played a role post facto because it became the rationalisation that we used to sell it in the Congress.”70 To change the nonproliferation regime for India would be unpalatable to most politicians, and to motivate them to accept the risks involved in giving exceptional treatment to India would be easier “if they could tell themselves that, you know, there’s value in this at a more concrete level for business.”71 Burns was also cautious in expressing his enthusiasm for the perceived economic windfall for the United States, seeing the benefits as deriving primarily from a long-term strategic relationship between the two states than from any single issue.72

Another element of the elephant in the deal was energy security and the environment. With the Indian and Chinese economies growing leaps and bounds, there was already fierce competition for the few remaining sources of hydrocarbons. Nuclear energy provided a viable means of reducing demand on oil, natural gas, and coal, which would result in not only a smaller carbon footprint but also more reasonable petrol prices at the pump. Furthermore, less reliance on hydrocarbons would, the U.S. hoped, curb India’s enthusiasm for energy relations with countries like Iran and Myanmar.

From India’s perspective, however, energy considerations played a much larger role. Manmohan Singh realised that for India to keep growing at 8% or even increase her rate of growth to 10%, inefficiencies in the Indian economy would have to be streamlined. And one of the key inefficiencies in India’s dilapidated infrastructure was electricity and energy as a whole. Even in 2010, major Indian cities such as Bangalore, New Delhi, and Mumbai experienced “load shedding,” the Indian term for power cuts ranging from two to even eight hours per day!73 In Parliament, the Ministry of Power has come under increasing fire as it has continually failed to keep up with its expansion plans, their latest shortfall being over 15,000 MW for 2009-2010.74 Therefore, the nuclear deal for India was a lifeline for its economic and infrastructural well-being and development. Notwithstanding American concerns that the nuclear deal would release Indian domestic uranium for use in its nuclear programme, the driving incentive for India appears to be energy. India hopes to secure from the deal a virtually inexhaustible supply of clean energy to power its industries, offices, and homes and seeks to ensure its reliability unhindered by the vagaries of international geopolitics. Central to Indian planners’ thinking was also the knowledge that the three-stage thorium utilisation power project had failed miserably, or at best, was delayed interminably.75 Although Homi Bhabha’s plan could be salvaged theoretically, it would be at horrendous cost and certainly not in any time frame to suit India’s burgeoning economy. There was simply no way that India would be able to build enough second-stage reactors, let alone third-stage, quickly enough to be able to actually increase the nuclear share of electricity. The Indian Government therefore decided to open a parallel line of Light Water Reactors (LWRs) to be imported (and hopefully financed) from abroad to buttress the indigenous programme.

India’s scientific community was, however, divided on the deal. Although all of them were interested in procuring nuclear fuel, many of them were not willing to open up India’s nuclear facilities to international controls. This was partly due to their misunderstanding of the IAEA’s role – the Indians were afraid that foreign entities would gain access to Indian proprietary information – and partly because they were loathe to relinquish what was in effect their personal fiefdom. Engaging in international nuclear commerce would not only eliminate their captive market but would perhaps also reveal their shortcomings. Nevertheless, there were many who supported the deal, and for good reasons: 1.) India would receive fresh fuel from foreign sources, 2.) India could import higher output reactors (1000 MW and above) which were more efficient than the Indian 220 MW or even 540 MW units, 3.) the import of reactors would also give access to foreign lines of credit, reducing the domestic burden of financing India’s gargantuan energy needs, 4.) India could upgrade the safety of all her reactors – the deal would allow India to acquire safety technology, which has come a long way from 1974 when sanctions were first imposed, 5.) new foreign reactors would give Indian engineers exposure to a variety of design innovations which could then be applied to indigenous designs, 6.) the deal would take India into the global nuclear research and development network from which, through various linkages, India could benefit immensely, and 7.) the deal provides a safety mechanism in India’s electricity generation plans in case indigenous research on Bhabha’s three-stage model is not commercially viable.76

The Devil in the Details

When the deal was announced, the “non-proliferation ayatollahs” in the United States vociferously opposed what they saw as the dilution of America’s non-proliferation commitments.77 As they saw it, not only had India remained intransigent on signing the NPT, but she had also tested nuclear weapons not once but twice. Furthermore, she remained a strong voice against the NPT despite what some considered contradictory statements about global nuclear disarmament. That the United States would overlook these transgressions and seek to legally codify an exception to India was simply unacceptable to them. Additionally, the deal would allow India to derive the same benefits as countries that have signed the NPT and renounced any ambitions for weapons, and this was unfathomable.

The Administration was at pains, however, to explain the difference between the NPT and the non-proliferation regime. According to the U.S. Government, the NPT was just one treaty in a variety of international protocols that curtailed nuclear proliferation. The IAEA monitored nuclear safeguards and the NSG regulated nuclear trade, while the MTCR, CTBT, and FMCT, along with countless initiatives of Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) formed the whole of the regime. Since India was not part of the NPT but had conducted itself in the spirit of it nevertheless, the United States thought, made her a worthy candidate for the exception, particularly since it would bring India into the regime. This reasoning was challenged by the non-proliferation community, and albeit controversial, became the accepted interpretation for all those who eventually supported the nuclear deal – even member states of the NSG that initially opposed the deal ultimately agreed with the United States on the difference between the NPT and the broader non-proliferation regime and since India has remained outside the NPT, the deal would technically not be a violation thereof.78

This argument, though technically correct, was nonetheless not the whole truth. Burns revealed that the United States did not try to amend the NPT. “We thought that would be too big a mountain to climb, too big a problem, you know? We decided to do something more direct and that is change the India-US relationship in a more positive direction.”79 Tellis concurs with this, commenting that it would be a politically a hard sell. He further revealed, “people wanted to give India the privileges of the P-5 without the status of the P-5. Because they realised fairly quickly that giving India the status in addition to the privileges would have been virtually nonnegotiable, that it would involve renegotiating the treaty which no one had the appetite for or the votes. It would be a much harder case to sell.”80 Zelikow indicated similarly too.81 It is not clear how much thought the White House gave to amending the NPT, but Burns’ assessment was absolutely correct in that such a drastic step would perhaps be a bridge too far. The line of thinking, however brief, reveals, however, that the United States was beginning to see India in a new light, and perhaps even non-proliferation. The idea that India could be seen as a nuclear weapons state was no more anathema to U.S. officials.

The first step towards rehabilitating India was an amendment to the U.S. AEA. Section 123 of the AEA, titled Co-operation With Other Nations, laid out conditions for American trade with other countries, demanding that 1.) any equipment or material transferred to another country by the United States be under safeguards, 2.) IAEA safeguards be maintained on all facilities, 3.) a guarantee that no nuclear material or equipment or products thereof be used for any sort of nuclear explosive device, 4.) the U.S. would retain the right to demand the return of all equipment and material that had been transferred under the agreement, 5.) no restricted data would be made available to unauthorised persons, 6.) adequate physical security will be maintained at the nuclear facility, 7.) there can be no reprocessing or further enrichment of nuclear material provided by the recipient state without prior U.S. approval, 8.) storage of plutonium and enriched uranium be approved by the United States, and 9.) any material or facility produced or constructed through use of special nuclear technology transferred under the cooperation agreement is subject to all of the above requirements.82 The President was allowed to seek exemption to some of the requirements of the AEA if the executive branch deemed that the requirement in question was “seriously prejudicial to the achievement of U.S. non-proliferation objectives or otherwise jeopardize the common defense and security.”83

On June 26, 2006, the U.S. Congress began the legislative process of enacting a law that would amend the AEA to exempt India from some of the requirements of Section 123. After consideration by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA), the House of Representatives approved resolution HR 5682 by 359 to 68 with six abstentions. Similarly, after examination by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), S. 3709 was passed by the Senate 85-12 with three abstentions. However, each House had made amendments to the original proposal, and the two pieces of legislation had to be reconciled before it could be sent to the President for his signature. This was done by December 9, and on December 18, 2006, the Hyde Act became law.

The Hyde Act, although constitutionally the law of the land, is phrased in a manner that makes many of its provisions non-binding upon the U.S. Government. For example, Section 102 of the Act states, “It is the sense of Congress…” (emphasis added). This wording does not prescribe any action but merely states the understanding of Congress that the United States is committed to preventing non-proliferation, sees the NPT as a successful and valuable tool in pursuit of its said commitment, and any nuclear commerce with India will not violate these assumptions. Similarly, the wording of Section 103 renders it also non-binding, although one of the suggestions it makes is to restrict the transfer of E&R technology (Sec. 103(a)(5)), even to India.84 Overall, the Hyde Act seeks to harmonize Indian interests with U.S. policy. For example, Section 104(g)(2)(E) requires the U.S. President to keep Congress informed whether India is “fully and actively participating in United States and international efforts to dissuade, isolate, and, if necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.”85 Finally, the most noteworthy part of the Hyde Act is Section 106, which states, “A determination and any waiver under Section 104 shall cease to be effective if the President determines that India has detonated a nuclear explosive device after the date of the enactment of this title.”86 However, since the President is allowed to seek a waiver from Congress if terminating the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal seems prejudicial to American interests, this provision in the Hyde Act simply provides another mechanism for the United States to abrogate the treaty but does not make its termination mandatory. Indeed, as Burns noted, under the Hyde Act, India retains its sovereign right to test but under U.S. law, the President would have “the right to end the agreement in the event of an Indian nuclear test.”87

It is important to note that U.S. right to demand technology back is meaningless – once technology has been transferred, even if the particular piece of equipment is returned, the knowledge has been disseminated and it would not be beyond India’s capability to manufacture the device in question on her own. Furthermore, technical manpower is not separated into civilian and military as facilities and material are. This means that Indian scientists can apply any innovations in process or technology they have learned on the civilian side to the military side. This cannot be prevented unless the United States tries to safeguard science itself, which is a tenuous task at best. Furthermore, Bush signed a Presidential Signing Statement soon after signing the Hyde Act into law, declaring that “Section 103 of the Act purports to establish US policy with respect to various international affairs matters. My approval of this Act does not constitute my adoption of the statements of policy as US foreign policy…The executive branch shall construe such policy statements as advisory. Also the executive branch shall construe Section 104(d)(2) of the Act as advisory…(and) shall construe provisions of the Act such as Sections 104 and 109 in a manner consistent with the President’s Constitutional authority to protect and control information that could impair foreign relations.”88 Although Christopher S. Kelley, an expert on presidential signing statements at Miami University, Ohio, does not consider such statements as legal but merely political, the fact is that the United States and India entered into a reprocessing agreement in March 2010. According to the agreement, India does not need to seek U.S. permission to reprocess U.S.-origin fuel each time but has obtained permission for 40 years, the entire duration of the 123 Agreement, on the condition that India establish a new reprocessing facility. In fact, India has planned two such facilities, one at Mithi Virdi in Gujarat and another at Kovada in Andhra Pradesh. The uniqueness of this agreement is that other than the European Union and Japan, no other country has been given such consent.89

With the passage of the Hyde Act, the United States was now allowed to sell nuclear fuel, material, and technologies to India. However, American nuclear cooperation is dictated by what was commonly known as the 123 Agreement. The United States maintains two different versions of the 123 Agreement, one for those states deemed nuclear weapons states by the NPT, and one for those labelled as non-nuclear weapons states. Since the deal treated India differently from non-nuclear weapons states without officially considering it a nuclear weapons state, a new 123 Agreement would have to be written for India. Unlike the Hyde Act, the 123 Agreement contained far less restrictive wording. In fact, it stressed cooperation and partnership more than it did the non-proliferation differences between India and the United States. For example, Article 2.2 states that the purpose of the Agreement is to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation, including but not limited to advanced research and development, safety, exchange of scientists, reactor and fuel cycle technology transfers (contrary to the Hyde Act), fusion research, and the creation of a strategic fuel reserve for India.90 The key difference between other 123 Agreements and the one concluded with India is the fuel guarantees the United States makes, not once but four times. As Article 6 (b) promises,

“i) The United States is willing to incorporate assurances regarding fuel supply in the bilateral U.S.-India agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy under Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, which would be submitted to the U.S. Congress.

ii) The United States will join India in seeking to negotiate with the IAEA an India-specific fuel supply agreement.

iii) The United States will support an Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime of India’s reactors.

iv) If despite these arrangements, a disruption of fuel supplies to India occurs, the United States and India would jointly convene a group of friendly supplier countries to include countries such as Russia, France and the United Kingdom to pursue such measures as would restore fuel supply to India.”91

India’s negotiations with the NSG, though ultimately successful, were not as smooth as the unanimous vote would suggest. The 1998 adoption of a rule that stated that countries designated as non-nuclear weapon states by the NPT are not eligible for nuclear trade was eventually waived for India. Although the negotiations were difficult, some NSG-member states supported the Indian case, particularly France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, the proposal saw strong opposition from Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland. What tilted the proceedings in India’s favour were, according to Tellis, the good relations the NSG states had with India individually.92 India’s nonproliferation record and democratic traditions also helped the US make the Indian case at the NSG. Furthermore, as Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association (ACA), noted, constant lobbying by Secretary Rice also persuaded the NSG to vote in favour of India.93 After the final day, however, according to a report by Reuters, “one diplomat remarked, ‘NPT RIP?’ Another diplomat told the same reporter that the final decision met with ‘complete silence…no clapping, nothing.’” The quiet reception reflected that “a lot of us felt pressured to some extent into a decision by the Americans, and few [NSG members] were totally satisfied.”94 Tellis agrees with Kimball that the United States “was extremely persuasive” with the NSG member states to accept the India-specific waiver – India-specific because “the biggest asset [the United States] had in selling the deal was India, because the NSG realised that India was a much easier pill to swallow than some other candidates [one could] imagine.”95 The provisions of the NSG waiver, finally, did not restrict technological trade with India in sensitive areas such as E&R or heavy water production. Nor did it mandate an immediate cessation of trade with India in the event of an Indian nuclear test. “It mandates that the group will meet if a member considers that ‘circumstances have arisen which require consultations.’ Because the NSG operates by consensus, a single state could block the group from cutting off trade with India for any alleged transgression.”96

The final pillar India had to erect in the new non-proliferation regime was an Additional Protocol (AP) with the IAEA. Similar to U.S. 123 Agreements, the IAEA has a three APs, one for nuclear weapons states, one for non-nuclear weapons states, and one for the three states that have never been part of the NPT (India, Israel, Pakistan). India sought to write a fourth AP with the IAEA that recognised its status between the nuclear haves and the nuclear have-nots. Thus, the nuclear club seems to have extended from the original P-5 under the 1968 NPT to P-5 + 1 since the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal. The clauses India sought in its agreement with the IAEA involved issues India had inserted into its negotiations with the NSG and the United States Government. In its AP, India only agreed to share information on nuclear-related exports, while the standard AP in place since 1997 also covers information such as nuclear fuel-cycle-related research and development, nuclear-related imports, and uranium mining. The Indian AP also does not include any complementary access provisions, which provide the IAEA with the potential authority to inspect undeclared facilities. Many of the other provisions not included in the Indian AP would have better allowed the IAEA to detect undeclared nuclear activities, but as a quasi-nuclear weapons state, India will continue to maintain undeclared nuclear activities outside of safeguards. However, unlike nuclear weapons states, India will not be allowed to change facilities from civilian to military at will, nor will it be able to bar IAEA inspectors from its civilian facilities in the name of national security.

Most importantly, Indian negotiators have made it abundantly clear that India could terminate IAEA safeguards if fuel supplies are cut off. As the preamble to the AP states, “India will place its civilian nuclear facilities under Agency safeguards so as to facilitate full civil nuclear cooperation…and to provide assurance against the withdrawal of safeguarded nuclear material from civilian use at any time.”97 Indian negotiators also sought to involve the IAEA in the fuel guarantees and access to technology assurances they had sought from the United States and the NSG:

“An essential basis of India’s concurrence to accept Agency safeguards under an India-specific safeguards agreement…is the conclusion of international cooperation arrangements creating the necessary conditions for India to obtain access to the international fuel market, including reliable, uninterrupted and continuous access to fuel supplies from companies in several nations, as well as support for an Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime of India’s reactors.”98

Furthermore, Article 4 of the AP states, “The application of safeguards under this Agreement is intended to facilitate implementation of relevant bilateral or multilateral arrangements to which India is a party, which are essential to the accomplishment of this Agreement.”99 This implies that IAEA safeguards are contingent upon other agreements, and their termination may be cause for India to terminate its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. Particularly, Article 29 states, “The termination of safeguards on items subject to this agreement shall be implemented taking into account the provisions of GOV/1621.”100 While non-proliferation lobbyists wish to interpret the terms of the restricted 1973 IAEA procedural document GOV/1621 to as giving the power ot termination solely to the Agency, Indian officials have cited Paragraph 26(f) of GOV/1621, which states that safeguards on nuclear material shall no longer apply if “The conditions specified in the safeguards agreement, pursuant to which it was subject to Agency safeguards, no longer apply, by expiration of the agreement or otherwise.”101 In a press conference on July 12, 2008, Anil Kakodkar, the Chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission, commented on this issue that the perpetuity of safeguards was intricately linked to the perpetuity of fuel supplies. He noted that in the India-specific agreements, India has “very strongly connected such cooperation agreements with other countries and supply agreements with supplier countries with our going in for safeguards with IAEA. So there is this linking which says we are going in for IAEA safeguards because we are also talking about the supply agreements where continuity is built.”102

These three agreements, the 123 Agreement with the United States, the NSG waiver, and the IAEA Additional Protocol, and the Hyde Act which amended the U.S. AEA, form the new India-specific space in the non-proliferation regime. Each of these agreements is not without controversy, but perhaps deliberately so to give the participating states leeway in their application in the future. Given the political exigencies of the time, the reaction of the world community to India’s nuclear ambitions may vary greatly.

Ruffled Feathers

The nuclear deal was attacked from many sides and at each stage. The non-proliferation community, predictably, led the charge in the United States. In India, the CPI(M) served in that role. However, the scientific community in India was split over the issue. Prominent figures argued on both sides of the nuclear controversy. Most surprisingly, the security clique in India, primarily consisting of the BJP, under whom the 1998 Pokhran II tests were conducted, and analysts like Bharat Karnad and Brahma Chellaney, came out strongly against the deal.

The criticism from the non-proliferation lobby and its supporters is the easiest to understand. According to Kimball, the deal gave India too much without asking for anything in return. What India agreed to in the deal were issues that India had already committed to either through unilateral declarations such as the moratorium or through United Nations resolutions such as Resolution 1540. Furthermore, the United States and India had had nuclear trade between them previously on Tarapur. It was not unfeasible to trade only nuclear fuel under safeguards if the United States wished to assist in keeping the reactors functioning.103 Strobe Talbott noted that in one important respect, the “Indians have received more leniency than the five established nuclear ‘haves’ have asked for themselves: The US, Britain, France, Russia, and China say they have halted the production of the fissile material that goes into nuclear bombs, while India has only promised to join a universal ban that would include Pakistan – if such a thing ever materializes.”104 India’s non-proliferation record held no water for Talbott, as he wrote, “ the world is full of countries – many of them, like India, certifiably ‘good’ ones – that have…stuck with the original NPT… Quite a few did so even though they had the technological capability and what they regarded as the geopolitical pretext for doing otherwise: Brazil, Japan, South Africa, and South Korea, to name just a few.”105 Other former Clinton Administration officials have also pointed out that India was a responsible player in the non-proliferation world before and the deal did not bring them closer. What clinched the deal for the Bush Administration was the hope that there would be strategic benefits outside the nuclear realm to compensate for the concessions made in the non-proliferation regime.

According to Gary Milhollin, Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control (WPNAC), the deal does not bring India into the mainstream of non-proliferation as the Administration claims. In an article coauthored with Kelly Motz, Associate Director of the WPNAC, Milhollin argues, “India continues to oppose the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has pointedly refused to sign it. It has just as pointedly refused to limit its production of nuclear weapons, or to obligate itself not to test such weapons.”106 Milhollin and Motz further observe that safeguarding only 14 of India’s 22 nuclear reactors still leaves eight reactors available for military purposes, and the deal in general encapsulates this method by allowing India to demarcate its reactors as military and civilian. India would therefore be unhindered in its proliferation with its military reactors. However, this all-or-nothing approach has not shown any signs of success over the past four decades – it is critical to remember that other than the U.S.-supplied reactors at Tarapur and the Russian-supplied ones at Kudankulam, India’s entire fleet of reactors is plutonium-producing PHWRs. Therefore, every reactor safeguarded would limit India’s supply of fissile material for weapons production. Burns noted, “We wanted India to be brought into the centre of the non-proliferation system, not kept outside. Now we could only bring them in through the Civil Nuclear Agreement partially, but for us that was enough.”107

The non-proliferation lobby’s apprehension also stemmed from their fear that the India-specific nuclear deal would not remain India-specific. Seeing the example of India, other countries might seek similar deals, thereby weakening the non-proliferation regime. In fact, Pakistan had already asked the United States to be considered for a similar deal and China was making noises about helping Pakistan construct two more reactors. This was exactly the sort of danger non-proliferation lobby had repeatedly warned about: by making an exception for India, the United States was encouraging further nuclear proliferation by an Iran that already stood on the nuclear threshold and by Pakistan, the world’s most dangerous country.108 However, as Burns, Zelikow, and Tellis all repeatedly stated, there was no support for a generic change of practice and the dispensation given to India would not in the near future be given to Pakistan or Iran. Burns reiterated, “We said at the time – I certainly still feel this was the right thing to do, it should not apply to Pakistan because Pakistan had the AQ Khan network. It would be irresponsible to give Pakistan the same treatment we gave a country, India, that had not proliferated its nuclear material on the black market the way Pakistan did.”109 Unless the international community was willing to forget all of Pakistan’s past misdemeanours, exemptions such as the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal could not practically apply to Pakistan.110 “That is what I tell my Pakistani friends when they ask, ‘Can we have this deal too?’” Zelikow declared. “I say, ‘erm…you have AQ Khan. That’s your contribution to the non-proliferation world.’”111

The anticipated strategic windfall has also been severely challenged. George Perkovich, author of India’s Nuclear Bomb, warns that the tendency to jump into a “contain-China” mode by US strategists should not be the foundational premise of the nuclear deal with India. India’s history of non-alignment and its prickliness to being a junior partner will most certainly vex Indo-US relations.112 As Zelikow reminds us, balancing China would not have been interesting to the Indians anyway. “If you tell them that…we are doing this because we want to push you forward and confront China, they will bristle and get very resentful about that. They will work out what it is they need to do about their China problem, so thank you very much. And they may or may not ask you for help with that. But that’s got to be their story and they figure that out.”113

Although there is some merit to this argument, the United States has nevertheless pursued a policy of containment as regards China in recent years. As the New York Times reported on the second U.S. cabinet-level delegation to visit Vietnam within four months in 2010, main concern shared by the two nations is Chinese claims in the South China Sea.114 Diplomatically, it would be unfeasible to declare China as its primary threat and she therefore continues to take great “pains to reassure China…that it would have no alliances, military bases or military coalitions that threaten it.”115 Again, similar to the Indian case, “Hanoi understands that for Washington, relations with Vietnam have always been part of larger international interests…and that they could shift as those interests change.”116 In a similar vein, U.S. defence relations with Japan, despite the recent hiccups, are far from being dissolved. “The shadow…of China is another reason [for close U.S.-Japan relations],” Kazuo Ogoura President of the Japan Foundation, noted.117 The United States shall form the “cornerstone” of Japanese defence, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada stated in March 2010, a position many Japanese, including the then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, tend to agree with. “The main reason behind this confidence,” speculated the Guardian, “that, despite all the stresses and strains, the alliance will endure is not hard to discern: growing mutual fear of China.”118 However, none of these states wish to be used as pawns in an American chess game and that has created an uncomfortable silence about the dragon in the room.

The non-proliferation lobby also challenged the perceived economic windfall reported by newspapers in both, India and the United States. Expected to be worth at least $150 billion, American companies hoped for a share of the massive Indian nuclear pie to revitalise an industry that had been in the doldrums for the past 30 years.119 However, France and Russia would stand to gain the most economically from the normalisation of nuclear relations with India as both had closer ties to India and the Indian nuclear industry than did America. This point was not lost on U.S. negotiators – as has been already stated, the Bush Administration sought gains precipitating from the nuclear deal in other areas of Indo-U.S. relations.

The nuclear deal took much flak from, to the surprise of the Bush Administration, the security enclave and a section of the scientific community in India. U.S. ties with India had begun to improve under Vajpayee’s term as Prime Minister, and much of the groundwork for the eventual nuclear deal was laid with the BJP’s help. Although the BJP was castrated in its political activism against the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal by its lack of able leaders and the revelation that the NDA Government had almost accepted more onerous terms than the UPA Government had negotiated with the United States when they were in office, public intellectuals such as Bharat Karnad and Brahma Chellaney, together with eminent scientists like P.K. Iyengar, A.N. Prasad, and A. Gopalakrishnan, led the assault on the deal from the Indian side.

The key issue for the security/scientific group was security, military as well as energy. In a series of articles in various Indian newspapers, Iyengar, Prasad, Gopalakrishnan, Karnad, and Chellaney railed against the deal in a mix of polemics and some cogent thought. The United States has never enjoyed the trust of the Indian people, and that was the first point of contention: scientists argued that even if India obtained the most favorable deal from the United States, it did not amount to much as the United States had shown no hesitation in disrupting its 123 Agreement for the Tarapur LWR after India’s nuclear test in 1974. The security enclave was worried that if the United States were to abruptly withdraw from the deal and exert pressure on the NSG to follow suit after India had made sizeable investments in foreign LWRs, the result would not only be a crippling blow to the Indian treasury but also to its economic growth and power generation. American political opposition to India’s international ambitions was also emphasised: “How seriously should one take Washington’s policy of assisting India to become a ‘major’ power when [the] US…vigorously opposes India’s entry into the Security Council with veto rights?” questioned Karnad poignantly.120 Elsewhere, citing Jawaharlal Nehru, Karnad wrote that India had missed out on the gunpowder revolution leading eventually to its enslavement but India should not miss out on the nuclear revolution.121

Indian security analysts also worried that the nuclear deal would be a backdoor into the NPT. Quoting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Robert Joseph in a written reply to Representative Edward Markey, Karnad warned that the American strategy is to push India into the NPT piece-meal: “Rather than add additional conditions or seek to renegotiate the Joint Statement, we believe it would be better to lock-in this deal and then seek to achieve further results as our strategic partnership advances.”122 Of course, India has recourse to the same strategy. After nearly four decades of being a nuclear pariah, India has been admitted into the international nuclear circuit. Indian officials can also use the partnership to springboard their way to achieving nuclear weapons state status for India some time in the future.

One manifestation of security concerns was the debate over Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs). PHWRs burn natural uranium with heavy water as moderator and in the process generate plutonium. This type of reactor was essential to India’s three-stage nuclear energy programme as well as her military programme, for the plutonium could be used to produce nuclear weapons or as seed material for the second stage in the energy programme. Furthermore, it was also a source of tritium, a key component of thermonuclear devices. Gopalakrishnan urged that the Indian Government retain at least a few PHWRs and the entire FBR programme out of safeguards.123 Gopalakrishnan also opposed the placing of CIRUS, one of India’s oldest reactors, under safeguards until a larger and more modern reactor is commissioned to replace CIRUS.124

Closely related to the issue of plutonium production and stockpiles is nuclear testing. Critics of the nuclear deal in India argue that it would be strategic suicide for India to give up the right to test. Accepting that the treaties India has negotiated do not prohibit testing, they nevertheless have provisions by which nuclear commerce with India may cease in the event of a test. It is useful to note that the moratorium on nuclear testing was voluntarily imposed upon herself by India after the 1998 tests. Vajpayee claimed that Indian scientists had enough data to continue nuclear weapons research through computer modelling. However, as Gopalakrishnan points out, the United States conducted over a thousand tests and the Soviet Union over 700, while India has barely conducted six. Furthermore, the thermonuclear test in 1998 was a fizzle.125 Additionally, the fastest U.S. supercomputers are capable of 100 trillion operations per second while the Anupam-Ajeya at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is capable of merely 3.7 trillion.126 Considering all these factors, Gopalakrishnan questioned India’s self-imposed moratorium and the credibility of her minimum nuclear deterrent, urging caution before India “plunge[d] neck-deep into the Indo-US deal.”127 Of course, the concern for testing comes from India’s primary strategic obsession, China. The hawks in the Indian nuclear establishment would have India maintain a weapons-grade plutonium stockpile of 75% of the mean of Russian, American, and Chinese levels.128 This is in itself an important political question, for until now, India has maintained what is essentially an existential deterrent.129 The Indo-U.S. nuclear deal has brought this question out of the closet again, not only with its clause on not testing but also with its clauses that compel India to work in good faith towards achieving an FMCT, effectively capping the size of India’s nuclear deterrent.

In lieu of massive investments and radical changes in foreign policy to boost nuclear power generation in India, scientists suggest other sources of fuel, such as clean coal, renewable sources, and hydroelectric power. The state of the national electric grid, a crackdown on theft of power, and modernisation of presently existing coal plants would, according to critics of the nuclear deal, suffice to meet India’s growing needs for the time being. Furthermore, the rising price of uranium, reaching $85 in 2007 from $20 in 2004, would make LWRs uneconomical.130 This opinion is not unanimous. An immediate problem with coal in India is the high content of ash in it, making it unsuitable as the primary source of energy. Nataraja Sarma, a reactor specialist at BARC, and Biswarup Banerjee, a theoretical physicist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), have argued that to keep the Indian economy growing at the present rate, India will have to increase its energy output ten-fold by 2052. Such a massive increase in power generation is possible only with significant contribution from nuclear power.131 The rising cost of uranium is no different from the rising cost of oil or coal while producing far more energy per unit cost, and is thus a minor variable in the equation.

Indian scientists were also not enticed by promises of technology. Iyengar pointed out that if technology transfers materialised at all, India would have little need of them. India was one of the leaders in FBR technology as it was the only country in the world with a necessity to develop a three-stage nuclear energy programme (because of her abundant thorium resources and limited uranium supplies) and had made considerable progress – although the French had been interested in FBRs for a while, the closure of Superphénix in 1997 ended Europe’s flirtation with the technology.132 Similarly, the Indian nuclear community had learned how to manufacture heavy water and enrich uranium and were now working on cutting edge technologies such as laser enrichment. The scientific community was also quick to point out options other than a nuclear deal with the United States that were open to India. Questioning the sanity of large 1,000+ MW reactors in India given the abysmal condition of the nation’s electricity grid, Iyengar suggested modified CANDU reactors using MOX fuel that would bring thorium into the fuel cycle earlier than in the three-stage programme that were being developed in Canada.133

Another bone of contention was the American attempt to involve India in Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programmes as part of its non-proliferation strategy. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) was viewed as a clandestine outfit reporting to or at least working closely with other intelligence gathering arms of the United States such as the CIA, NSA, and DIA.134 That CTR began as an American attempt to stop the Soviet arsenal from falling into the wrong hands and has since spread to other countries was completely lost upon Indian critics, who argued that Section 115 of the Hyde Act was unnecessary as India was eligible for assistance from the IAEA under the International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) without being a member of the NPT or signing the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal. Section 115 thus became a symbol of American intrusion into India’s nuclear programme. In a similar vein, Indian scientists were worried that safeguards inspectors would commit espionage on Indian nuclear facilities and report back to their masters in Washington or Beijing or one of the other P-5 capitals. “What [the Indians] were really concerned about,” explained Tellis, “was that…we would have access to their proprietary information because they didn’t understand the safeguarding process. They thought the safeguarding process provides people with technical information on special processes, special materials, which is absolutely untrue. All safeguarding does is guarantee against diversion.”135

Unfortunately, the nuclear conclave in India is shrouded in so much secrecy that not even all its members know the facts entirely. For example, Prasad, former director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, and Iyengar, former chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission, observed that a major weakness faced by India is the shortage of natural uranium required to push its nuclear power programme from its emaciated present self to a more robust programme.136 However, Karnad claims that uranium reserves in Nalgonda in Andhra Pradesh, in Meghalaya, Orissa, and in Rajasthan could make India self-sufficient, and if this is still insufficient, India should engage in dialogue with non-NSG countries such as Uganda and Niger for uranium prospecting and mining rights.137 As Sarma and Banerjee urge, the secrecy enjoyed by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has only helped to make the organisation immune to parliamentary oversight, and should be reduced. Moreover, given the poor state of Indian nuclear R&D, there is little need for such high levels of secrecy.138

Yet another cause for worry for the security clique in India was the costs of separating India’s nuclear facilities and designating them as military or civilian. This would cause disruptions in the short term and create redundancies in the long term. This is very much a legitimate concern, but that is the price of the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal. It was simply impossible for India to remedy this as no one would accept a fully integrated programme which would run afoul of the NPT’s Article 1 provisions. Any such move would require a re-writing of the NPT and designating India as an nuclear weapons state, too high a political price to pay. Initially, some tried to argue that it was not possible to do so, but Gopalakrishnan publicly stated that “this [was] blatantly wrong, based on what was already done during the Vajpayee government’s tenure. The DAE themselves have done it in 2000, when they wanted to avoid any independent safety regulation of the AERB on the weapons activities.”139

The Hyde Act did not satisfy Indian observers completely either. The ambiguity in the wording left more room for the United States to escape its obligations if it chose to than India was comfortable with. However, in a primary lesson of realpolitik, Tellis clarified,

Nothing binds the United States, that’s the first rule you keep in mind, nothing. The only thing that binds the United States is somebody else’s coercive power. No legal documents bind the United States. So you can have the most solemn treaties on the planet, they don’t bind the United States. If those treaties don’t serve our interests, the treaties go, its that simple. And what the Indians wanted was an ironclad commitment that the United States was bound to certain commitments in perpetuity irrespective of circumstances. Sorry guys, that doesn’t exist. You know, when you are the world’s only superpower, these details are not enough to tie you…You are dealing with two partners who are tremendously unequal in capability, so what does the weaker state do? The weaker state looks for every legal protection it can get to tie the hands of the stronger because you don’t want your commitments to become the subject of the other guy’s whimsy.140

In return, the United States also did not get an ironclad commitment from India not to test.

Criticism also came from the Indian Communist Party, the CPI(M). However, although they repeated most of the arguments the Indian security enclave and scientific community did, to the Communists, the key issue was, as ever, formulating a method “to engage with the actual imperialist agenda on the ground, be it in WTO or the India-US Nuclear Deal.”141 Prakash Karat, the General Secretary of the CPI(M), argued in the Party’s journal, The Marxist, “The fight against imperialist globalisation is to be carried on along with the fight against imperialist penetration within our country…A major struggle lies ahead for the Left and democratic forces to fight back the pro-imperialist direction in foreign policy and ensure that foreign policy retains its non-aligned basis and orientation to ward off imperialist pressures.”142 Given the stagnant politics of the CPI(M), still using a vocabulary of class struggle and anti-imperialism, any unique contribution they have made to the debate seems entirely irrelevant to the issues at hand. What little political clout the Party has in India does not appear to have translated into an intellectually rigorous position on the nuclear deal.

Conclusion

It should come as no surprise that negotiations as complex and charged as these have no clear “winner” or “loser.” Both the United States and India won on some points and lost on others. The United States had to relinquish its ideological position of outright opposition to India’s nuclear weapons programme. In return, India had to accept significantly more safeguards on its nuclear activities and is in a state of limbo over nuclear testing – although she retains the right to test as even the United States has admitted, the consequences could be dire. This, however, is no different from 1974 or 1998 except that India would stand to lose much more due to the increasing dependency on imported uranium, at least in the short term.

It is difficult to overstate the sea change in U.S. policy towards India in the short span of eight years from 2001 to 2008. In the same time span preceding President Bush, Indo-U.S. relations had stagnated on key issues and there were no signs of progress. As if to emphasise the Cold War experience, in 1993, U.S. pressure caused Russia to renege on its deal with India to provide cryogenic engines for the Indian space programme because the engines could have been used to produce Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). Additionally, the United States Congress passed the Brown Amendment in 1995, which lifted most of the sanctions imposed by the Pressler Amendment and allowed the sale of $658 million of military equipment to Pakistan.143 When news of the Chinese transfer of M-11 missiles and 5,000 ring magnets for Pakistan’s unsafeguarded centrifuges broke, President Clinton chose not impose sanctions on China despite there being provisions in U.S. law for him to do so.144 During the entire Clinton Administration, U.S. policy was to “cap, rollback, and eliminate” nuclear weapons in South Asia, and India was under pressure to sign the NPT and CTBT. This attitude morphed into the era of NSSP and the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal under President Bush. The new order took time to formulate, develop and deploy. In both countries, the United States and India, the respective governments were working against prevailing domestic attitudes and suspicions. To make matters more complicated, that which appeased the Indian public roiled the U.S. public and vice versa. Domestic politics was thus as important, if not more, in inking the new nuclear accord between the United States and India.

The nuclear deal illustrated the Bush Administration’s willingness to treat the NPT and the non-proliferation regime as a whole as living documents rather than as holy writ. In doing so, they were able to bring India further into the non-proliferation regime and raise the costs if India were to violate the regime’s ideals by further tests. Furthermore, the nuclear deal demonstrated incredible flexibility on the part of the Bush Administration to look at proliferation on a case-by-case basis – serious consideration was given to even the idea of making India P-6. Although problematic in the short term, this approach is certainly more promising in the long term, even if not the most conducive to non-proliferation. A case-by-case basis approach implicitly concedes that the success of the NPT has been exaggerated, for no country truly in the pursuit of a nuclear arsenal has been deterred by the treaty. To count Luxembourg or Trinidad as successes of the NPT is fallacious. The cases that do arise are the real challengers to the NPT, and in the case of India, a combination of its good proliferation record and the fact that she did not pose a threat to American interests made her a tolerable proliferation risk.

The United States wished to improve its relations with India for multiple reasons. India was a rising power in South Asia with the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power GDP and was going to become more powerful. Zelikow explained, “the time at which the United States should be a valuable friend is not when India is so strong that everyone wants to be India’s friend. The time is when India actually needs friends and hasn’t arrived there yet. You bring India in by saying ‘we want you in the Club, please join the Club. Please become part of the system instead of standing in a half-way house outside the system, kind of half-resentful and not helpful.’”145 The Indian diaspora in the United States was the wealthiest ethnic community in the country and also growing by number, making them a political trophy. Most importantly, the Bush Administration saw the rise of China as a potential threat and an alliance with India, however informal, hedged America’s bets. After all, India herself had a deep-seated mistrust of Chinese intentions, viewed the Beijing-Islamabad axis with apprehension, and continued to have border skirmishes with China. As for India, uncomfortable with thinking strategically in public, the primary motivation for the deal was to enable it to leapfrog stages in economic growth by making electric power abundant. Thus, both sides came to the deal with similar outcomes in mind but different motivations.

Neither India nor the non-proliferation lobby got everything they wanted. India wanted nuclear weapons state status and the non-proliferation lobby wanted a rollback of India’s nuclear programme. The compromise hammered out gave the non-proliferationists a more stringent system to keep India in check while it gave India more privileges than a typical non-nuclear weapons state. The new nuclear framework is not too far afield from the reality on the ground, recognising both that India has nuclear weapons and that the world can do little about it; and that India is not a nuclear weapons state whether or not India accepts the NPT. Ultimately, the ideology of regimes must coincide with larger realities, for if they stray too much, they will quickly totter and fail.

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This paper was co-written with Giulia Ferrini. Here is a YouTube video of a presentation of this paper at Columbia University, for the Hertog Global Strategic Initiative, on August 10, 2010.
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[1] Niccolò Machiavelli, Il principe (Roma: Stamperia della officina governativa, 1927), 21. “We must bear in mind, then, that there is nothing more difficult and dangerous, or more doubtful of success, than an attempt to introduce a new order of things.”

[2] Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, (New York: Penguin Group, 1972), 402.

[3] Robin Raphel, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 9, 1995.

[4] Strobe Talbott, Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), 96.

[5] C. Raja Mohan, Impossible Allies: The United States, India, and the Global Order (Delhi: India Research Press, 2006), p. 262.

[6] Ashley J. Tellis, ‘The U.S.-India “Global Partnership”: How Significant for American Interests?’, Remarks before the U.S. Congress, House International Relations Committee, Washington D.C., 16 November 2005.

[7] Michael A. Levi and Charles D. Ferguson, “U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation: A Strategy for Moving Forward,” Council On Foreign Relations, June 2006.

[8] Ashley J. Tellis, India as a New Global Power: An Action Agenda for the United States, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC, 14 July 2005.

[9] Ashley Tellis, “Atoms for War? U.S.-Indian Civilian Nuclear Cooperation and India’s Nuclear Arsenal,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC, June 2006, p. 52.

[10] George Perkovich, “Faulty Promises: The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC, September 2005, p. 6.

[11] Stephen P. Cohen, “India and the Middle East”, Remarks before the U.S. Congress, House International Relations Committee, Washington D.C., 16 November 2005.

[12] Strobe Talbott. “Good Day for India Bad Day for Non Proliferation,” International Herald Tribune, 21 July 2005. Posted on The Brookings Institution website.

[13] Daryl G. Kimball, “India’s Choice, Congress’ Responsibility” Arms Control Today, Washington, DC, January/February 2006

[14] William C. Potter, “India and the New Look of US Non Proliferation Policy,” Non Proliferation Review, Vol. 12 n. 2, July 2005.

[15] The New York Times, “Nuclear Anxiety; Indian’s Letter to Clinton On the Nuclear Testing,” May 13, 2005. World Section, U.S. Edition.

[16] Talbott, Engaging India, 52.

[17] Talbott, Engaging India, 53.

[18] http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N98/158/60/PDF/N9815860.pdf?OpenElement (accessed July 12, 2010). The language of the Resolution was quite stern, perhaps because it was authored by China.

[19] Digital National Security Archive (henceforth DNSA), Top Secret Cable from the Department of State to the White House, “Secretary’s Morning Summary of 5/15/98,” Collection: Weapons of Mass Destruction. Item #00499.

[20] Talbott, Engaging India, 96-97.

[21] Ibid., 5-6.

[22] For more details on American efforts to eliminate Osama bin Laden after US embassies were bombed in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, refer to Strobe Tablott, Engaging India. “De-hyphenation” refers to cleaving of the India-Pakistan dyad. Since the beginning of the Cold War and independence in the subcontinent, the United States linked U.S.-India relations with U.S.-Pakistan relations in a zero-sum game. India had always protested such a linkage as it saw itself as economically and socially superior to its misbegotten neighbour.

[23] Ibid., 55. Not all people around the Clinton Administration were opposed to India’s test, or even India’s de facto status as a nuclear power. Pat Moynihan, US Ambassador to India from 1973-1975, told Talbott that the Administration should just “’grow up and face reality.’ The United States should welcome India into the ranks of nuclear weapons states, he said, in exchange for India’s willingness to sign the CTBT—which would be proof of its being a “responsible grown-up in these matters.’” One only wonders what sort of a missed opportunity this was for the non-proliferation agenda. See Aziz Haniffa, “U.S. Adopts a Carrot-and-Stick Policy toward India,” India Abroad, June 12, 1998, p. 8.

[24] Matthew Rice, “Treading Lightly in South Asia, Clinton Reaffirms Non-Proliferation Goals,” Arms Control Today. https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2000_04/sasap00; accessed July 13, 2010.

[25] George W. Bush, “A Distinctly American Internationalism,” Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California, November 19, 1999. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/bush/wspeech.htm; accessed July 11, 2010.

[26] Condoleezza Rice, “Campaign 2000: Promoting the National Interest,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 79, n.1 (January/February 2000): 56.

[27] U.S. Senate on Foreign Relations, Statement of Secretary of State-Designate Colin L. Powell, Prepared for the Confirmation Hearing, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 107th Cong., 1st sess. January 17, 2001.

[28] Zhang Guihong, “U.S. Security Policy Toward South Asia After September 11th and Its Implications for China: A Chinese Perspective,” Strategic Analysis, vol. 27, n.2 (2003): 8.

[29] Ashley Tellis, “The Evolution of U.S.-Indian Ties: Missile Defense in an Emerging Strategic Relationship,” International Security, vol. 30, n. 4 (Spring 2006), 131.

[30] “Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Statement after the Address by the U.S. President William J. Clinton to the Two Houses of Parliament,” New Delhi, March 22, 2000, http://www.indianembassy.org/indusrel/clinton_india/vajpayee_parliament_march_22_2000.htm; accessed February 23, 2003.

[31] C. Raja Mohan, “In Praise of Diplomatic Exuberance,” Hindu, May 7, 2001.

[32] India expected benefits to range from “economic contracts (particularly those relating to software development) and political access to technological know-how from the research, development, test, evaluation, and acquisition activities related to Bush’s initiative. Still, even if such benefits were forthcoming, the operational advantages to Indian defense would remain quite meager for a while, because the most India could hope for at that time was to eventually become part of the global missile launch early-warning network then being discussed in the United States. Such participation could open the door to U.S. transfers of BMD technology to India.” See Ashley Tellis, “The Evolution of U.S.-Indian Ties,” 134.

[33] “Under the Umbrella,” Pioneer, May 4, 2001.

[34] Zhang Guihong, “U.S. Security Policy Toward South Asia After September 11th and Its Implications for China,” 9.

[35] Lee Feinstein, “When Policy Priorities Converge: U.S. Relations with India and Pakistan” in A New Equation: U.S. Policy Toward India and Pakistan After September 11th, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Working Paper No. 27, May 2002, 7.

[36] India felt that the United States chose Pakistan over India first in 1954 when Pakistan joined the Baghdad Pact, or the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) as it came to be known, second when Nixon tilted towards China in 1971 and that translated into a tilt towards China’s ally, Pakistan, as well and the third time when the United States recruited Pakistan in its fight against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in 1982. The enormous influx of arms occurred in the 1980s when the U.S. was involved in Afghanistan, and the fact that the U.S. was going into the Central Asian country once again seemed like an ominous omen to Indian leaders.

[37] Ashley J. Tellis, “South Asia: U.S. Policy Choices,” in Taking Charge: A Bipartisan Report to the President-Elect on Foreign Policy and National Security—Discussion Papers, ed. Frank Carlucci, Robert E. Hunter, and Zalmay Khalilzad (California:RAND, 2001), 88.

[38] Ashley Tellis, “The Merits of Dehyphenation: Explaining U.S. Success in Engaging India and Pakistan,” The Washington Quarterly, vol. 31, n. 4 (2008): 23.

[39] Paul Kapur, “Ten Years of Instability in Nuclear South Asia,” International Security, vol. 33, n. 2 (Fall 2008): 81.

[40] P.R. Chari, Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, and Stephen Cohen, Four Crises and a Peace Process. American Engagement in South Asia (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2007) p. 164.

[41] Brajesh Mishra had brought up the idea of putting a few more reactors under safeguards for a resumption of U.S. nuclear fuel supplies to India with Colin Powell in July 2002, but Powell did not seem receptive then and the issue was temporarily shelved. See C. Raja Mohan, Impossible Allies (New Delhi: India Research Press, 2006), 23.

[42] C. Raja Mohan, Impossible Allies, 26.

[43] Authors’ interview with Kenneth Juster, July 01, 2010.

[44] C. Raja Mohan, Impossible Allies, 24.

[45] Pranab Dhal Samanta, “US Officials Meet Mishra: Talk Nuclear, Space Issues,” Indian Express (New Delhi), September 13, 2004.

[46] Ashley Tellis, “India as a New Global Power: An Action Agenda for the United States,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, July 2005, 13.

[47] Authors’ interview with Kenneth Juster, July 01, 2010.

[48] “Cyber Security: A Key to U.S.-India Trade,” Keynote Address by Kenneth Juster, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce, India-U.S. Information Security Summit, 2004.

[49] The Tarapur Atomic Power Plant went critical in 1969. A turnkey project set up by Bechtel and General Electric, the initial two reactors agreed to in the 1963 123 Agreement between India and the United States were 160 MW Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs). After the Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE) at Pokhran in May 1974, the United States halted fuel supplies to the reactors unilaterally when fuel had been promised for a period of 25 years. In 1982, the U.S. agreed for France to provide fuel to the reactors, which it did until 1993. In 1995, India announced that China would supply fuel to the reactors, and in 2001, Russia became the supplier. Given that the U.S. conceded that no American material was used in India’s PNE test, the Indians saw the interruptions in fuel supplies by the U.S. as unwarranted and a show of bad faith.

[50] Program on International Policy Attitudes, “Global Views on Bush’s Reelection,” http://www.globescan.com/news_archives/bbcpoll.html; accessed July 15, 2010.

[51] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[52] Authors’ interview with Philip Zelikow, July 08, 2010.

[53] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[54] Background briefing by Administration officials on U.S.-South Asia Relations, Washington, D.C., March 25, 2005. http://www.fas.org/terrorism/at/docs/2005/StatePressConfer25mar05.htm; accessed June 22, 2010.

[55] Authors’ interview with Philip Zelikow, July 08, 2010.

[56] India – U.S. Joint Statement, White House, Washington DC, July 18, 2005. http://georgewbushwhitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2005/07/20050718-6.html; accessed March 21, 2010.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Authors’ interview with Nicholas Burns, June 30, 2010.

[59] Authors’ interview with Philip Zelikow, July 08, 2010.

[60] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Authors’ interview with Philip Zelikow, July 08, 2010.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Ibid.

[71] Ibid.

[72] Authors’ interview with Nicholas Burns, June 30, 2010.

[73] The Times of India, “Power cuts make summer hotter in Bangalore,” April 08, 2010, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Power-cuts-make-summer-hotter-in-Bangalore/articleshow/5771938.cms; accessed August 02, 2010. See also, India Today, “Delhi reels under heat, power failure,” June 24, 2010, http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/102791/India/delhi-reels-under-heat,-powerfailure.html; accessed August 02, 2010.

[74] Yahoo! India News, “Financial Express Editorial: Power Failure,” June 22, 2010, http://in.news.yahoo.com/241/20100722/1273/top-fe-editorial-power-failure_1.html; accessed August 02, 2010.

[75] Homi Jehangir Bhabha, the father of the Indian nuclear programme, laid out a three-stage plan for electricity generation in India in 1954. Responding to the disappointing results of geological surveys for uranium, Bhabha realised that thorium could prove to be a viable alternative. In the first stage of Bhabha’s plan, natural uranium would be fed into a Heavy Water Reactor (HWR), producing plutonium from the U-238 found in the natural uranium. In the second stage, Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) would utilise the plutonium produced in the first stage along with U-238 to produce even more plutonium. While the surplus plutonium could be used to fire up even more FBRs, in the third and final stage, a mixture of U-233 with thorium as seed would power the specially designed Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR). By using a judicious mix of seed plutonium and fertile zones inside the core, the design can breed not one but two nuclear fuels—U-233 from thorium and plutonium from depleted uranium—within the same reactor. The entire cycle must be completed sequentially because of the clear fuel cycle linkages between stages.

[76] Ashley Tellis, “Atoms for War? U.S.-Indian Civilian Nuclear Cooperation and India’s Nuclear Arsenal”, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC, June 2006.

[77] Although it is not clear with whom the term “nuclear ayatollah” originated, it was first noticed in the Indian reaction to certain non-proliferation lobbyists’ comments. Apparently, a nuclear ayatollah is someone who vociferously denounces the Indian nuclear weapons programme but is quite content to ignore the proliferation threats China and Pakistan represent. A nuclear ideologue is one who condemns all nuclear weapons programmes.

[78] Authors’ conversation with Hans Blix, May 27, 2010. See also, Authors’ interview with Phillipe Delaune, French NSG Negotiator, July 13, 2010. See also, Authors’ correspondence with Andreas Friedrich, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, July 20, 2010. See also, Authors’ conversation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, July 14, 2010.

[79] Authors’ interview with Nicholas Burns, June 30, 2010.

[80] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[81] Authors’ interview with Philip Zelikow, July 08, 2010.

[82] United States Atomic Energy Act of 1954, http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doccollections/nuregs/staff/sr0980/ml022200075-vol1.pdf; accessed May 30, 2010.

[83] Ibid.

[84] “Given the special sensitivity of equipment and technologies related to the enrichment of uranium, the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, and the production of heavy water, work with members of the NSG, individually and collectively, to further restrict the transfers of such equipment and technologies ,including to India.” See Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006, http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:h5682enr.txt.pdf; accessed May 30, 2010.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Nicholas Burns interview with Times Now Television, August 06, 2007. http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_09/USIndia; accessed June 17, 2010.

[88] A. Gopalakrishnan, “Hyde is Reality Behind Bush Smokescreen,” The Asian Age, May 23, 2007.

[89] Daniel Horner, “India, U.S. Agree on Terms for Reprocessing,” Arms Control Today, http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/US-IndiaReprocessing; accessed August 10, 2010.

[90] Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, http://responsiblenucleartrade.com/keydocuments/india_123_agreement_text.pdf; accessed June 01, 2010.

[91] Ibid.

[92] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[93] Authors’ interview with Daryl Kimball, August 05, 2010.

[94] Wade Boese, “NSG, Congress Approve Nuclear Trade with India,” Arms Control Today, http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2008_10/NSGapprove; accessed June 01, 2010.

[95] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[96] Ibid.

[97] Agreement between the Government of India and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards to Civilian Nuclear Facilities, http://www.dae.gov.in/press/IaeaIndiaSGADrft.pdf; accessed July 09, 2010.

[98] Ibid.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Ibid.

[101] “GOV/1621 – The Full Text,” http://svaradarajan.blogspot.com/2008/07/gov1621-full-text.html; accessed July 11, 2010.

[102] Siddharth Varadarajan, “‘Perpetuity of safeguards only with perpetuity of fuel supply’,” The Hindu, July 13, 2008.

[103] Authors’ interview with Daryl Kimball, August 05, 2010.

[104] Strobe Talbott, “Good Day for India, Bad Day for Non-Proliferation,” International Herald Tribune, July 21, 2005.

[105] Ibid.

[106] Gary Milhollin and Kelly Motz, “Seventeen Myths About the Indian Nuclear Deal: An Analysis of Nuclear Cooperation With India,” Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, http://www.wisconsinproject.org/countries/india/Seventeen_Myths.htm; accessed June 17, 2010.

[107] Authors’ interview with Nicholas Burns, June 30, 2010.

[108] David Blair, “Pakistan: The World’s Most Dangerous Country,” in The Telegraph, November 06, 2007.

[109] Authors’ interview with Nicholas Burns, June 30, 2010.

[110] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[111] Authors’ interview with July 08, 2010.

[112] George Perkovich, “Faulty Promises: The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal,” (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC, September 2005), p. 6.

[113] Authors’ interview with Philip Zelikow, July 08, 2010.

[114] The New York Times, “Shared Concern About China Aligns U.S. and Vietnam,” October 10, 2010. Asia Pacific, Global Edition. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/11/world/asia/11vietnam.html?_r=1&emc=eta1; accessed October 10, 2010.

[115] Ibid.

[116] Ibid.

[117] The Japan Times Online, “Japan-U.S. relations cry out for new management, dialogue,” June 13, 2010. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20100613ko.html; accessed October 10, 2010.

[118] Guardian, “China threat can heal US-Japan rift,” March 08, 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/08/china-us-alliance-under-pressure; accessed October 10, 2010.

[119] AFP, “Indian Nuclear Bill Wins Final Approval,” August 30, 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iJ9J6E8csccfjWPdXhC0Fn7KxXow; accessed July 17, 2010.

[120] Bharath Karnad, “India’s Vision Void – And it looks like Washington is set to exploit it,” The Indian Express, July 2, 2005.

[121] Bharath Karnad, “Do as the U.S. would,” The Asian Age, February 4, 2006.

[122] Bharath Karnad, “Why the Nuclear Deal is a Disaster,” The Asian Age, March 18, 2006.

[123] A. Gopalakrishnan, “Don’t Compromise India’s Dignity,” The Asian Age, March 1, 2006.

[124] A. Gopalakrishnan, “Questions for PM on CIRUS Reactor,” The Asian Age, March 6, 2006.

[125] A. Gopalakrishnan, “We Need More N-Tests for Our Defence,” The Asian Age, July 21, 2006.

[126] Bharath Karnad, “Nuclear Test is a Must,” The Asian Age, February 22, 2008.

[127] A. Gopalakrishnan, “We Need More N-Tests for Our Defence,” The Asian Age, July 21, 2006.

[128] Bharath Karnad, “Why the Nuclear Deal is a Disaster,” The Asian Age, March 18, 2006.

[129] Bharath Karnad, “Nuclear Testing is the Crux,” The Asian Age, December 18, 2006. Existential deterrence means that because the physical enormity of the scale of destruction caused by nuclear weapons, asymmetry in quality and quantity is irrelevant and that the possession of even a few nuclear devices is enough to deter an enemy.

[130] As of the writing of this paper, uranium prices stood at $46 per pound. See Dave Brown, “Uranium Prices Continue to Climb,” August 18, 2010. http://www.u3o8.biz/s/MarketCommentary.asp?ReportID=414986&_Type=Market-Commentary&_Title=Uranium-prices-continue-to-climb; accessed August 31, 2010. However, if there is a major increase in demand with the purchase of new LWRs by India, prices may rise to meet demand.

[131] Nataraja Sarma, Biswarup Banerjee, Nuclear Power in India: A Critical History (New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2008), 178.

[132] P.K. Iyengar, “The Civilian Aspects of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal,” in Strategic Sellout, 149.

[133] P.K. Iyengar, “Nuclear Power and the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal,” New Energy Times, November 2007.

[134] A. Gopalakrishnan, “Bill Paves Way for Covert US Operations,” The Asian Age, November 21, 2006.

[135] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[136] A.N. Prasad, “Why Indian Scientists are Upset About the Nuclear Deal,” in Strategic Sellout: Indian-U.S. Nuclear Deal (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2009), 101. See also, P.K. Iyengar, “The Civilian Aspects of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal,” in Strategic Sellout, 149.

[137] Bharath Karnad, “Candy for Gold,” The Asian Age, May 27, 2006. See also, Bharath Karnad, “’India First’ Alternative to Nuclear Deal,” The Asian Age, August 25, 2007.

[138] Sarma and Banerjee, Nuclear Power in India, 78.

[139] A. Gopalakrishnan, “Baseless Criticism of the Prime Minister,” Strategic Sellout, 21.

[140] Authors’ interview with Ashley Tellis, July 14, 2010.

[141] Prabir Purkayastha, “Difficulty of Growing Tails Again,” Pragoti, http://www.pragoti.org/node/433; accessed June 11, 2010.

[142] Prakash Karat, “Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Struggle to Defend National Sovereignty,” The Marxist, Vol. XXIII, No. 3, July to September, 2007. For a thorough study of the CPI(M) position on the deal and its exchange of notes with the Congress Party, see “Left Stand on the Nuclear Deal: Notes Exchanged in the UPA-Left Committee on India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Cooperation,” http://www.cpim.org/upa/2008_nuclear-notes.pdf; accessed June 22, 2010. See also, “No to Nuclear Deal,” http://cpim.org/nuclear/09042007-nuclear-deal.htm; accessed June 22, 2010.

[143] Virginia Foran, “The Case for Indo-U.S. High-technology Cooperation,” Survival 40, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 84.

[144] Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, “China’s Missile Sales to Islamabad Worry Washington,” The Risk Report, Volume 1, Number 4 (May 1995). http://www.wisconsinproject.org/countries/china/china-missilesales.html; accessed August 11, 2010.

[145] Authors’ interview with Philip Zelikow, July 08, 2010.

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Jaideep A. Prabhu is a specialist in foreign and nuclear policy; he also pokes his nose in energy and defence related matters.

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