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India-US nuke pact is 'misbegotten': NYT

The NYT says India's desperation to meet its energy needs coincides with the same need in the US.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 03:34 IST
Ela Dutt (IANS)
Ela Dutt (IANS)

As President George W Bush readies for a trip to India in March, The New York Times on Sunday dismissed as "misbegotten" the India-US civil nuclear deal and criticised Washington for a misdirected policy towards New Delhi.

The Times said India's desperation to meet its energy needs coincided with the same need in the US, where Bush recently rallied the country to give up its dependence on Middle Eastern oil or be forever enslaved by the political exigencies of that region.

"India desperately wants Mr Bush to wring approval from Congress for a misbegotten pact in which America would help meet India's energy requirements through civilian nuclear cooperation," the influential newspaper noted in its editorial.

"With its eye on the nuclear deal, India recently bowed to American pressure and cast its vote at the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran's suspected nuclear programme to the United Nations Security Council," it further said.

And while it was good to vote against Iran, the paper said, "...the deal it (India) wants to make with the United States is a bad one".

Rehashing arguments used by nay-sayers and those who say the civil nuclear deal will allow India to circumvent the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), The Times pointed to why the US imposed sanctions on India in the first place - "... because India refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty and it has tested a nuclear device that uses materials and technology diverted from its civilian nuclear programme".

"When President Bush makes his long-planned trip to India next month, he will be visiting a country that, like China, has begun to gear its international strategy to its energy needs. That is one of the biggest diplomatic challenges facing the United States, and right now the American strategy is askew," contended the editorial.

The paper's critique of India's repeated assertions that it would continue with its oil pipeline project with Iran seemed misdirected in light of China's parallel moves to wrap a similar deal with Iran.

Nevertheless, the newspaper castigated the US for not cutting its own energy dependence even as it tried to control the policies of other countries on this issue.

First Published: Feb 20, 2006 00:27 IST