As the US Senate reconvenes after the summer recess and prepares to vote on a bill enabling the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made a strong pitch on Tuesday for the deal.
Praising India's track record as a non-proliferator of nuclear technology, Albright said the deal provided an opportunity for India and the US to work together on "one of the great challenges of our time, nuclear proliferation." She was speaking on America, India and Democracy in the 21st century at an interactive meeting organised by the Aspen Institute's India chapter and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). While she remained concerned about the non-proliferation regime, which had "broken," she said it could be fixed "if India can be a part of the solution rather than being outside."
The first woman US Secretary of State said she understood that the civil nuclear deal was driven by India's enhanced energy requirements.
"(But) what I am troubled by, it doesn't matter what country it is, is that having a nuclear weapons capability is now seen as a sign of having arrived,” Albright said.
Albright praised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for making efforts to improve relations with Islamabad. Conceding that India faced a threat from terrorism similar to the one faced by the US, Albright said Delhi would have to deal with Musharraf.
"Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh will meet President (Pervez) Musharraf in Havana," she said. "I would like to see Pakistan moving in a direction towards democracy. Pakistan is important because of its geographic location and we have to deal with it."