Reversal on nuke deal will hurt US: Blackwill
Any failure to implement the civil nuclear pact could hurt the US's vital interests and set the clock back on its strategic relations with India, former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill has warned.india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 03:25 IST
Any failure to implement the civil nuclear pact could hurt the US's vital interests and set the clock back on its strategic relations with India, former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill has warned.
Blackwill's remarks, made during a talk at the US India Business Council in Washington, were clearly directed at Washington's non-proliferation lobby that is continuing it s all-out efforts to thwart the deal.
"We are at a historic intersection in our relationship. Indians see this (the nuke deal) as a litmus test of American seriousness about developing a strategic partnership," he said adding that the Indians have "a long history of suspicion" on this score.
Blackwill, currently the president of Barbour Griffith and Rogers International, one of the top lobbying firms, went on to say that non-implementation of the pact could prove to be "very damaging" for US's vital interests in the decades ahead.
He, however, expressed the hope that the US Congress will agree with the Bush administration's position on the importance of this crucial initiative and approve the deal. He also spoke of the "stamp of approval" from IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
As for the critics who have come out with their own radical suggestions to "improve" the agreement, Blackwill cited Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran's recent arguments that the proposed changes would only prove to be "deal breakers".
The former envoy also disagreed with the contention that approving the pact would undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Transfer of civilian nuclear technology to India will fortify the NPT's objectives, and not dilute them.
Brushing aside the argument that the deal with India will embolden Pakistan to seek a similar arrangement, he commented that not a single member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) would countenance anything of the kind, especially after the AQ Khan saga.
The NPT lobby is continuing its offensive with Leonard Weiss, the US's chief architect of the NPT Act of 1978, terming the Bush initiative "a high-stake nuclear gamble".
Writing in the Dallas Morning News, Weiss comments: "Now, Bush has put forward a proposal that caves in utterly to India. It would not only allow India to keep its bombs, it would permit it to use all its own nuclear material for bomb making, while using nuclear fuel the United States would supply for its civilian power program. If India receives this favour, can Israel and Pakistan be far behind?"
First Published: Jan 14, 2006 03:25 IST