India, Rice says, wanted nuclear energy and wanted to break out of the constraints imposed on it by restrictions on the US export of relevant technology, on account of its nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998.
The proposed civil nuclear deal would make it possible for the United States and American companies to help India develop its potentially-rich market for this environment-friendly energy source.
The US has faced disappointments on both counts. Its companies found themselves thrown out of the race for multi-billion dollars deal for the Indian Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft earlier this year.
And its two premium nuclear technology companies Westinghouse and GE (both Japanese in one way or another) have had no success in getting nuclear deals in India despite sites already earmarked for them. Lockheed and Boeing, the two aircraft giants, lost out on technical grounds. And the nuclear technology firms find the lack of competent accident liability laws the reason for staying out, and losing to Russian and French companies.
The US authorities and its non-government adjuncts in the think-tanks had reacted with surprising horror to the loss of the aircraft deal saying the US might have been over-generous and that India didnt deserve the nuclear deal.
Or the promise of support for Indias claim to a permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC), committed by President Barack Obama on his visit to India in November 2010. (India is serving a temporary two-year term on the council).
Tempers have calmed down since, after India bought Boeings C-17 military transport planes worth over $4 bn.