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Political drama in India draws attention in US

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | July 21, 2008 09:31 IST

As the Manmohan Singh [Images] government seeks a trust vote on July 22, the political drama in India is attracting a lot of attention in the US as it will decide the fate of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

An Alliance in Crisis

"We will be watching it very closely. It is an Indian decision," a former senior official very familiar with India and South Asia told PTI.

But Indian American community leaders are anxiously watching the turn of events stressing that the interest is not on the internal politics of India or of who emerges on the top but in the context of what is good for the country and the people.

Learn all about: Trust Vote | Whip | Nuke deal

A senior community leader who played a major role leading up to the passage of the Hyde Act in 2006 said the 'entire world is anxiously awaiting' results of Tuesday's vote in the Lok Sabha.

'True leaders will place national interest above their political ideology and party politics,' Ashok Mago, chairman of the USINDIA Forum said in an e-mail.

'Indian Americans have no interest in the internal politics of India, they care about the country of their birth and want to see it achieve its rightful place in the world,' Mago said, adding that it will be impossible for India to maintain its pace of growth without substantial resources for energy and nuclear energy will play a crucial role.

'History will decide on Dr Manmohan Singh'

It is amazing that Communist Party of India has no problem if China, which does twenty times more business with US than India; but for India to benefit from Indo-US relations causes them concern, he said.

'We hope that Tuesday brings India closer to achieving her dreams of becoming a nation where all Indians have better standard of living.'

Ramesh Kapur, president of the Indian American Security Leadership Council, argued that politicians in India -- and for that matter in the United States -- have started politicising issues of national security and national interest.

The true costs of the nuclear deal

"Politicians of any party should stay away from national security interests. They can politicise internal issues," said Kapur, who is in the National Finance Board of the Democratic National Committee.

'I believe that the Congress party should have put the foot down earlier and looked at national security instead of political security. Politically, they would have been better off at that time than now,' he said in a telephone conversation from Boston, Massachussetts.

Now other things have come up like prices of oil and food, he added.

Another community leader, Dr Bharat Barai, a specialist in internal medicine in Indiana, shared similar sentiments and said based on the merits of the nuclear deal the present government should survive the trust vote.

"The deal is in the best interests of India and Indian people," Barai told PTI over phone.

"We had a very hard time getting the deal approved by the US Congress," Barai, a Trustee of the Federation of Indian American Association of Chicago, said.

"The Indian American community has done a lot of hard work, put in a lot of effort and money to get the deal through the US Congress," he said.

"I am speaking on the merits-- the merit being that this nuclear deal is in India's best interests and I think the government should survive on this issue. If they have other issues to settle such as inflation and corruption, they can settle in a separate way," Barai said.

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