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Bush administration blundered in selling N-deal: US lawmaker
Aziz Haniffa in Washington | October 23, 2007 09:10 IST
Congressman Frank Pallone, the founder and former co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, believes the Bush Administration and Congress blundered by selling the US-India civilian nuclear agreement as a nuclear and not as an energy deal.
Pallone also argues that the deal was projected as a sign of the burgeoning strategic partnership between India and the US, which raised the hackles of the Leftists in the government.
The New Jersey Democrat, speaking at the silver jubilee celebration of the Indian American Forum for Political Education, said, "Obviously, we in the Congress, on a bipartisan basis are very saddened by the reports that this (the nuclear deal) is having serious trouble in India."
"I am not surprised, because I knew from the very beginning that even though it was primarily an energy issue�and probably should have been perceived that way in order to get is passed�that we continued to herald it as an important milestone in terms of US-Indian relations," he said.
"Sometimes, I think, we did too good a job. The more we talked about it�of bringing the United States and India together�the more it was perceived that this is some kind of Indian American alliance and that made it too American in the minds of some of the Left wing members of the coalition and even maybe on the Right," he observed.
Pallone suggested that "Maybe one of the ways that we can bring this back together is to stress that this really is an energy agreement. That it's not primarily there to bring an alliance between the United States and India, but it's important practically speaking because both countries need to work together for energy resources."
He admitted, "Maybe, we were partially to blame for that because we always wanted to play it up as being something that brings the countries closer together."
Pallone acknowledged that "I know it's nice for me to state in theory that this is a good way to approach�but I've heard that the government is also going to resell it down the road. They will say, 'Look, this is practically speaking important from an energy perspective and don't look at it primarily as some kind of defence alliance or something of that nature.'"