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Indo-US N-deal: Support swells, critics carp

A galaxy of American policy wonks have come out in full-throated support of the pact, reports S Rajagopalan.

india Updated: Mar 12, 2006 01:00 IST
S. Rajagopalan
S. Rajagopalan

As the US Congress prepares to consider the draft of the Indo-US nuke deal, a galaxy of American policy wonks have come out in full-throated support of the pact. Twenty-five influential members of the US foreign policy establishment have written a joint letter to members of the Congress, making a persuasive case for endorsing the pact by approving the proposed amendments.

"Failure to implement it would be a body blow to the development of the strong relationship with India so important to achieving US goals in Asia and beyond," they warned.

The 25 signatories include former assistant secretary of state Karl Inderfurth, former US ambassadors to India William Clark and Frank Wisner, and a host of South Asia specialists including Selig Harrison, Stephen Cohen, Walter Andersen, Teresita Schaffer, Dennis Kux and Robert Hathaway. At an event sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce to drum up support for the deal, former defence secretary William Cohen commended the initiative and said he, too, would sign the letter.

Undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns, speaking at the event, disclosed that the legislation to give effect to the deal will be formally introduced over the next week or two. The administration believes that by then, the Senate and House panels will have vetted its draft proposal presented this week.

President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be "personally involved" in the efforts to ensure passage of the deal, Burns indicated.

In their letter, experts have asserted that arguments made against the deal have been outweighed by arguments in its favour. They have appealed for "urgent action" by the Congress.

They countered the NPT lobby's arguments by stressing that the deal will open the door to India's participation in the non-proliferation regime. They also argued that "a strong, stable India will advance the US objective of an Asian balance of power.”

First Published: Mar 12, 2006 00:46 IST