UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Analysis: An Uncertain Deal with India

Council on Foreign Relations

July 18, 2008
Author: Jayshree Bajoria

The U.S.-India agreement for civilian nuclear cooperation, touted as a significant step in strategic ties, has so far proved a difficult ride for both governments. Time is running out for both President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seal the deal before their countries go to the polls. Earlier this month, Singh finally submitted India's plan for safeguarding (PDF) its civilian nuclear facilities for review (BBC) by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). But the IAEA's approval, required before the deal can move forward, is only the first of many challenges.

The deal also requires the approval of the forty-five member Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Indian parliament, and the U.S. Congress. All member countries of the suppliers group, which includes China, will have to agree to exempt India from rules prohibiting nuclear sales to countries that do not accept full-scope safeguards agreements on all of their nuclear facilities. (India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty). Experts see irony if such an exemption were to occur, as the suppliers group was created in 1974 following India's first nuclear test to restrict the spread of nuclear technology for weapons programs. Meanwhile, before the Indian parliament can vote on the deal, the Singh government has to win a trust vote (VOA) on July 22 to stay in power. The government's Communist allies, opposed to the nuclear pact, withdrew support (Hindu) on July 8. Singh's party says it has secured support from new allies.

President Bush has his own problems persuading Congress to pass the deal before it adjourns for the year on September 26.

Read the rest of this article on the cfr.org website.

Copyright 2008 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list