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Rice defends N-deal with India
March 13, 2006 17:51 IST
'As the nations of Asia continue their dramatic rise in a rapidly changing region, a thriving, democratic India will be a pillar of Asia's progress, shaping its development for decades. This is a future that America wants to share with India, and there is not a moment to lose.'
So argues US Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in an opinion piece in The Washington Post March 13.
Headlined 'Our opportunity with India', the column argues that 'this agreement is a strategic achievement: It will strengthen international security. It will enhance energy security and environmental protection. It will foster economic and technological development. And it will help transform the partnership between the world's oldest and the world's largest democracy.'
According to Rice, 'Our agreement with India is unique because India is unique.'
While 'Aspiring proliferators such as North Korea or Iran may seek to draw connections between themselves and India, but their rhetoric rings hollow. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism that has violated its own commitments and is defying the international community's efforts to contain its nuclear ambitions. North Korea, the least transparent country in the world, threatens its neighbors and proliferates weapons. There is simply no comparison between the Iranian or North Korean regimes and India,' she says.
The article comes as the non-proliferation lobby opposed to the nuclear deal gears up to try and scuttle the deal in Congress.
Countering the argument that the agreement would actually allow India to augment its weapons capacity, she said: 'The world has known for some time that India has nuclear weapons, but our agreement will not enhance its capacity to make more. Under the agreement, India will separate its civilian and military nuclear programs for the first time. It will place two-thirds of its existing reactors, and about 65 percent of its generating power, under permanent safeguards, with international verification -- again, for the first time ever. This same transparent oversight will also apply to all of India's future civilian reactors, both thermal and breeder. Our sale of nuclear material or technology would benefit only India's civilian reactors, which would also be eligible for international cooperation from the Nuclear Suppliers Group.'
She then goes on to contend that by helping India step up its civilian nuclear power capability would augment American energy security, which in turn, 'is good for American jobs, because it opens the door to civilian nuclear trade and cooperation between our nations."
'Finally,' she concludes in the Post column, 'our civilian nuclear agreement is an essential step toward our goal of transforming America's partnership with India. For too long during the past century, differences over domestic policies and international purposes kept India and the United States estranged. But with the end of the Cold War, the rise of the global economy and changing demographics in both of our countries, new opportunities have arisen for a partnership between our two great democracies. As President Bush said in New Delhi this month, "India in the 21st century is a natural partner of the United States because we are brothers in the cause of human liberty."'