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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 12:56 GMT
US-India nuclear deal gets mixed press
President Bush with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
The deal gives India access to US technology

Newspapers in India agree that the nuclear co-operation deal with the US - although announced "with much fanfare" - is only a first step, with one paper arguing there are "several obstacles" still to overcome.

In Pakistan one daily remarks that President Bush might "have put the cart before the horse" by rushing the deal through, whilst another rejects a similar deal for Pakistan, saying the country must "free itself from US slavery".

Chinese papers accuse the US of double standards on the nuclear issue, and one believes Bush has "disregarded his own anti-proliferation duties" in order to use India as a safeguard against increasing Chinese influence.


President Bush and Prime Minister Singh might have ensured that a level of understanding was reached to prevent this visit from becoming a non-event, but it is very apparent that there are several obstacles for each to cross in the US Congress and Parliament respectively, before they can even claim to be in a position to predict a bright future for the nuclear agreement.


Now that an agreement on separation of nuclear facilities has been announced with much fanfare, plenty still remains to be done. [Bush] has said that the nuclear deal with India would help reduce global oil prices and that it would lead to use of cleaner energy and a better environment... Whether this argument will wash with US Congress remains to be seen.


It was Bush's willingness to accommodate a host of Indian concerns and Singh's skilful articulation of these, to the satisfaction of all sides, that finally saw the deal go through... It is now safe to assume that the Indian establishment clearly sees the huge opportunities for New Delhi to leverage its new relationship with the Bush administration and transform its standing in the world.


It is important that the nuclear deal not be turned into the basis for effecting a broader strategic alliance between the US and India. Washington needs to make the nuclear deal happen as much as New Delhi does and there is no need for the Manmohan Singh government to entertain any American suggestions that India can now do without an energy relationship with Iran.


Mr Bush - in speeding up the process of signing the deal with India - has put the cart before the horse. In doing so, however, he has thrown the ball in India's court. India will now have to decide what it must do to satisfy US lawmakers. And it will have to do so in the teeth of opposition from allies in the ruling coalition, left-liberal lobbies in India and even the scientific enclave.


In a move to dissuade India from pursuing the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, [Bush] stressed the need to end dependence on fossil fuels. With agreement already reached on civil nuclear cooperation, India is likely to abandon the gas pipeline project... It is interesting to note that while Washington is all praise for General Musharraf, it has signed a landmark nuclear cooperation treaty with India ignoring Pakistan's plea for a similar accord.


Pakistan has said that in order to maintain the balance of power in the region, a similar agreement should also be reached with Pakistan. We say the only way to steer out from the difficulty faced by Pakistan is that it should say good-bye to the so-called US friendship and free itself from US slavery.


It has not only been the mainstream US media that has pointed out that the reason why Bush has disregarded the anti-proliferation policy that he himself has advocated, and at the same time disregarded his own anti-proliferation duties, is nothing other than wanting India to serve as a counter-weight to balance China's rise and offset China's influence.


The US must show goodwill to India, and this has been considered from the angle of enabling the US to achieve its overall global strategic goals, namely that the US regards China as a future main rival, and is attempting to contain China by strengthening India... It has obviously exposed the US' 'double standards' on the nuclear issue. At the same time, the open recognition of India as a nuclear state has shown that the US standpoint on nuclear disarmament and anti-proliferation is weakening, and has also covertly put the 'Non-Proliferation Treaty' into a state of 'surviving in name only'.


If it is helping India to develop nuclear power to reduce oil prices, then it should also show understanding towards other countries developing nuclear electricity. But what people see is: the US giving a carrot to some people, but giving a stick to other people.

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