US Must Include Option Of Testing In Nuclear Deal With India
Recently the leader of opposition in India, Mr. Lal Krishan Advani, said that his party was ready to support the nuclear deal provided that India is exempted from the obligations of the Hyde Act which presently requires India to shun all kinds of nuclear testing in order to be eligible for nuclear fuel. Although the US officials, including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have stated that the deal will not be renegotiated under any circumstances it is in America’s best interests that it allows India to flex its nuclear muscle.
US needs to counter the rising Chinese military might and for that it needs loyal allies like India. CIA often reports about massive increments in China’s defense budget and recently a secret nuclear submarine base was detected through high resolution satellite images. The rumors that such a naval base was under construction were down the rounds as early as 2001 when the Americans sent an EP-3 electronic reconnaissance aircraft to verify those rumors. Subsequently when it was found that the Chinese indeed had an underground submarine facility the US Navy started strengthening its own submarine fleet.
These developments in addition to the frequent border violations by the Chinese soldiers worry India too. Although the Indian government claims that relations with China are improving rapidly the friction between the two emerging superpowers cannot be ignored. That is the reason the Indian government has given political approval for the development of long-range nuclear capable Agni missiles. With the development of new Agni missiles, which would be able hit targets 5,500km away, cities as far as Beijing and Shanghai would come in the target range. Even though on the outside both India and US claim that they only have minor differences with Beijing it is clear that both the nations want to show the Communist state they are well prepared for any future eventuality.
To counter China and preventing it from acquiring the super power status, both economically and militarily, US would have to choose an ally which could compete with it face-to-face. The US economy has plunge into recession while the Chinese economy as boomed remarkably in the last decade or so. Add to that the staggering forex reserves China holds, it is interesting to note that US has one of the largest foreign debts while China is one of the biggest lenders – thus giving the Communist nation an extra edge.
America at this time is not only economically weak but militarily decrepit as well. Economically India is seems more well-equipped to counter China since it seems largely insulated from the economic turmoil the US is going through. India and US are natural allies – one is the largest democracy and the other is the oldest. A marriage of thoughts and foreign policies could prove beneficial to both.
By renegotiating and modifying the nuclear deal US can show that it values its ties with India and is ready to help India become a superpower. By modifying the clauses of the deal a clear message would be sent to the word and China, in particular that India could expand its nuclear capabilities as it likes (even if it never decides to do the same).
China has grown at such a tremendous rate that no single country can successfully attempt to counter it but an alignment of Indian and American thoughts can very well create an alliance powerful enough to see off any dangers that the ambitious Chinese might pose in the future, especially strategic threats.