N-deal could be a huge thorn in the flesh

September 9, 2008

Published by the New Indian Express on 9th Sept 2008 as an op-ed

Who lost India?

By Rajeev Srinivasan

One of these days, the New York Times will run a story titled “Who lost India?” Pundits will pontificate about what caused India to be irretrievably ‘lost’ – that is, it no longer functions as a viable and friendly ally of the West, particularly of America. Though they will never admit it, the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement currently being shoved down India’s throat would have been the tipping point that did India in.

Given the parlous security situation in the neighborhood, as well as the various separatist movements gaining strength from external sources, this may well be the first step in the unraveling of India. That would be a disaster not only for India and Indians, but also for America, because India is just about the only friend it has in that giant arc from East Africa to Southeast Asia, full of failed and failing states. Adding India to that list is not going to help anyone.

What is not known to most Americans is the extraordinary goodwill that ordinary Indians have towards America. At a time when the US is regularly pilloried as anywhere between monstrous and appalling by large numbers of people, India is demonstrably the country where the average person on the street has the most positive perception of America. A Pew Trust survey on global attitudes in 2006 showed this: Indians were the most pro-American, far more so than Chinese, Saudi Arabians, and Pakistanis, to pick a few American allies.

Perhaps that’s not such a big deal to Americans accustomed to basking in the sunshine of admiration and envy from all quarters, based on both hard and soft power. But consider this: India, with all its problems, is no banana republic. According to the widely followed reports from Goldman Sachs, India may well overtake the US as the world’s second largest economy by 2050.

Besides, odd as it might sound when you hear it for the first time, India is a lot like America. That is my gut feel after having spent half my life in India and the other half in America. There are many similarities, but the most striking one is the openness and friendliness of the people. Whatever you may think of their respective governments, it is a fact that the people of America and of India are warm, friendly and hospitable. This carries over into many things: plurality, tolerance for different ideas, innovativeness.

In fact, I’d be so bold as to claim that India’s core competencies are quite like America’s: fertile land, soft power, innovation. What India has lacked is the financial resources of a vast virgin continent and what’s been termed ‘strategic intent’ by management guru C K Prahalad – the ability to imagine itself as Numero Uno, and to act accordingly.

There are historic reasons to believe that superpowerdom for India is not a wet-dream. India was, throughout most of recorded history, the richest country in the world, astonishing as this may seem. According to economic historian Angus Maddison, India was the world’s largest economy from 0 CE to 1500 CE; China was its closest competitor towards the end of that period. Then the land was ravaged by colonialism, which destroyed many of the wealth-generating systems that had emerged over millennia, notably the innovative small businesses in textiles and light engineering goods.

Indian prowess in intellectual property is not given due credit: some of the greatest inventions in history came from there, including the Indian numeral system, the cornerstone of all mathematics; the context-free grammar of Panini from 500 BCE, which underlies all computing; the infinite series of Madhava from 1300 CE, which provides the underpinnings of the differential calculus and thus of the Industrial Revolution.

But these are in the past, one might say. What has India done lately? That is fair criticism. I am forced to ask you to take it on faith that, just as India appeared out of the blue in high-technology, it has the intellectual capability to be a partner in the knowledge economy of tomorrow. Sociologist Joel Kotkin remarked that “engineering is the oil of the 21st century”; and that is what Indians are strong at.

There are the ingredients, then, of a successful rapprochement between India and the US. Why hasn’t this worked for so long? There are many who share the blame; some of it can be attributed to the knee-jerk anti-Americanism of the Nehru dynasty which lectured the US and propped up the comical non-aligned movement. America’s explicit support of Pakistan has also been an irritant; so has the derision made most explicit in the Nixon Tapes.

Those days are past, though, and there are the glimmerings of a beautiful relationship. But the so-called Nuclear Deal has the potential to be a huge thorn in the flesh. The deal is a bad one. It is such a bad deal for India, and it is being railroaded through with such deceit and opaqueness by the Manmohan Singh administration, that it will almost certainly be revoked unilaterally by a future Indian government. Given the contours of the NSG waiver, this will invite serious punitive sanctions on India.

The problem is that India is being sold a bill of goods. The deal is being sold to Indians as a guarantee of energy security and a harbinger of close co-operation with America. But it is obvious that this is neither; it is about non-proliferation, and about the bringing to heel of the one big nation that has challenged the apparently divinely mandated monopoly the P-5 have arrogated to themselves. India is being conned into signing the NPT as a non-weapons-state, with no guarantee that anybody will supply uranium for the obsolete fission reactors India will buy at, undoubtedly, vastly inflated prices.

Losing its small nuclear arsenal is not an option for India, which is threatened by two bellicose nuclear-armed neighbors: China and Pakistan. China has almost certainly proliferated nukes and missiles to Pakistan. And Pakistan’s nuclear Wal-Mart is well-known.

Being unable to deter China in its adventurism, India will not also be able to adequately deter its proxies Pakistan, Bangladesh or Nepal. The result of this is could even be a extinction of the India nation, as Bangladesh pursues its lebensraum, China pursues the diversion of the Brahmaputra, Pakistan pursues the death by a thousand cuts, and Nepal’s newly emboldened communists pursue their Pasupati-to-Tirupati corridor.

This is no way to treat a partner and an ally. In the long run, the US faces China, an implacable and ruthless foe. To subjugate the one nation in Asia that can match and counteract China, just to satisfy a bunch of non-proliferation fundamentalist Cold Warriors, and for the benefit of GE and Westinghouse, is not sensible. If I may be so bold as to say so, America doesn’t want to lose India.

Rajeev Srinivasan is a management consultant. His blog is at https://rajeev2007.wordpress.com


18 Responses to “N-deal could be a huge thorn in the flesh”

  1. santhana312 Says:

    Sir, your article on Nuke deal throws the light on the demerits of nuke deal… even though the nuke deal appears to be a quick fix solution for our energy needs its a long time trap for us… i really dont understand why the government deos not reveal what is what.. after all we live in a democratic country!!!!

  2. rajeev2007 Says:

    The UPA government epitomizes the Predatory State. The UPA bigwigs are only interested in a) hanging on to their ministries, b) making money.

    They are not interested in the nation’s long-run interests.

  3. kmguru Says:

    You sir, are an idiot. The Nuclear Agreement does not say India must spend Billions of Dollars and Rupees and start 10 or 20 – 2200 MW nuclear reactors. It is like a credit line…options that India can use if so choosen. Without it, India’s hands are tied. I do not know about you, but I sure am not fond of anyone who ties my hand.

    You talk about freedom, when someone wants to give it to you…you want your rope tied behind your back. Wake up man…be free to use the agreement or not! Be smart!

  4. rajeev2007 Says:

    Your statement is so absurd that it is laughable.

    Let me give you an analogy you will understand. Let’s say you get married at a cost of a million dollars. You would sit back and say, “Well, if I want to, I can have sex with this woman. Or, I can choose not to have sex with her. But I have gladly paid a million bucks to have that choice.”

    Well, you forget one small thing: she has a say in it, too. She may exercise her own freedom of choice and tell you to go fuck yourself.

    Then let’s also say you are a pauper, and you had to sell your genitals to come up with the million dollars. Then what would be the value of your great freedom of choice?

    Perhaps you understand what the UPA is doing to India.


  5. kmguru Says:

    You have genitals? Amazing? Have you actually read the agreement? Here is an excerpt:

    The purpose of the Agreement being to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation between the Parties, the Parties may pursue cooperation in all relevant areas to include, but not limited to, the following:

    a. Advanced nuclear energy research and development in such areas as may be agreed between the Parties;
    b. Nuclear safety matters of mutual interest and competence, as set out in Article 3;
    c. Facilitation of exchange of scientists for visits, meetings, symposia and collaborative research;
    d. Full civil nuclear cooperation activities covering nuclear reactors and aspects of the associated nuclear fuel cycleincluding technology transfer on an industrial or commercial scale between the Parties or authorized persons;
    e. Development of a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime of India’s reactors;
    f. Advanced research and development in nuclear sciences including but not limited to biological research, medicine, agriculture and industry, environment and climate change;
    g. Supply between the Parties, whether for use by or for the benefit of the Parties or third countries, of nuclear material;
    h. Alteration in form or content of nuclear material as provided for in Article 6;
    i. Supply between the Parties of equipment, whether for use by or for the benefit of the Parties or third countries;
    j. Controlled thermonuclear fusion including in multilateral projects; and
    k. Other areas of mutual interest as may be agreed by the Parties.

  6. kmguru Says:

    Here is another: (notice “and not to affect…)

    The Parties affirm that the purpose of this Agreement is to provide for peaceful nuclear cooperation and not to affect the unsafeguarded nuclear activities of either Party. Accordingly, nothing in this Agreement shall be interpreted as affecting the rights of the Parties to use for their own purposes nuclear material, non-nuclear material, equipment, components, information or technology produced, acquired or developed by them independent of any nuclear material, non-nuclear material, equipment, components, information or technology transferred to them pursuant to this Agreement. This Agreement shall be implemented in a manner so as not to hinder or otherwise interfere with any other activities involving the use of nuclear material, non-nuclear material, equipment, components, information or technology and military nuclear facilities produced, acquired or developed by them independent of this Agreement for their own purposes.

  7. rajeev2007 Says:

    As I surmised, you are a moron who knows how to read, but doesn’t comprehend what’s written.

    Kindly see Article 2.1 below. Note that bit about “national laws”. This means American domestic legislation, eg. the Hyde Act, supersedes all the fine words about peace and friendship and cooperation in the 123 Agreement. That is, at any time it feels like, the US can enact a piece of domestic legislation that renders the 123 Agreement with India null and void! Yup, just like that.

    In fact, the US has done this before. They quoted “national laws”, which they amended suitably, to get out of their treaty obligations to India over the supply of nuclear fuel for Tarapur. So they have a track record of weaseling out.

    Furthermore, the Americans *just* pulled out of a 123 Agreement with Russia (on 9/9/08) to “punish” Russia for having fought with Georgia. If they simply pull out of the 123 Agreement with India just because they feel like it, you and whose army is going to discipline them? See http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/30133

    The commitments made by the US are all vague and non-binding; the commitments made by India are final, binding, forever, irrevocable and not undoable. Reminds me of the joke about ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’. When you have a breakfast of bacon and eggs, the chicken is ‘involved’, but the poor pig is ‘committed’. Here the US is merely involved, but India is committed.

    So, moron, again the analogy you might understand: the woman you have married has the right to say “Not tonight, dear” at any time. In fact, she can also say, “Bugger off, creep, get out of my life, I am divorcing you”, and YOU CAN DO SQUAT ABOUT IT. And oh, by the way, she has similar arrangements with a number of other guys (but none of them has given up their testicles for her).

    Incidentally, she gets to keep the million bucks. And you get to nurse the scar where your genitals were, which you chopped off to pay her the million bucks. Capiche?

    I just love underinformed and self-righteous buffoons like you.


    1. The Parties shall cooperate in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement. Each Party shall implement this Agreement in accordance with its respective applicable treaties, national laws, regulations, and license requirements concerning the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

  8. kmguru Says:

    We too, just love underinformed and self-righteous buffoons like you! A self-proclaimed subject matter expert who poops all over his own blog site. What is this obsession on sex and genitals, anyway? Not getting enough? Or when your Indian woman says “Not tonight, dear”, you rape her and SHE CAN DO SQUAT ABOUT IT, because she is commited! And she paid all that dowry for this? You Indians are weird…

    Your replies definitely shows your true colors. Good luck, but we will be watching you.

  9. rajeev2007 Says:

    “We” will be watching you, you said. That would be you and the American army, right?

    Oh my god, I am quaking in my boots.

    Oh yes, I am so scared of you because you are not an Indian. Massa, now that you have proudly acquired a US green card, please forgive me for daring to speak up against you, I swear I thought you were only an Indian. Now that you have shown me your great American self, I shall grovel at your feet.

    You little piece of excrement! Moron, ignoramus, illogical twerp.

  10. kmguru Says:

    You little piece of excrement! Moron, ignoramus, illogical twerp. You want a green card? and could not get it ?… like so many of your countrymen…half of your IITians are here! The other half could not….

    You are truly an IDIOT!

  11. rajeev2007 Says:

    You are a pathetic little piece of excrement. Just look at your outpourings here. You started by exhibiting your ignorance about how options work — they are bought for a very small price, See Black Sholes equation.

    Then you airily talked about freedom for Indians to choose nuclear weapons.

    When I pointed out that you were full of it in a sexual analogy that I was sure even your limited reptilian brain could understand, you stopped pontificating about the nuclear deal and started going all over the place. What about your brave quotes of the 123 Agreement’s contents? I have shown quoting chapter and verse that the 123 Agreement isn’t worth the paper is written on.

    So now that you have been comprehensively exposed as a moron who flaunted the Agreement’s sections without understanding what they meant, you take refuge in completely irrelevent things. Figures. You got a poor education in India, came to the US on an H1 and now you figure you are superior to all Indians because you have acquired a green card. And you think you are an American now. Well, I have news for you, moron. You are a brown FOB who will get his ass kicked out of the US however much you kiss up to the natives. I know this, because I have lived for decades in the US and know what the white guys think of third-rate morons like you: cannon fodder.

  12. rajeev2007 Says:

    If you want to berate somebody, try and come up with something original. Don’t just repeat what he says.

  13. kmguru Says:

    What you do not get is I am not an Indian, my forefathers can to USA from Germany and Ireland. So, brown on brown would not cut it here. You need to come up with some original ideas rather than hide behind Hyde act…and as to berating…your excrements under your mustache is telling…

    May be you should invent the energy solutions for India if you have any engineering background…I guess that is too much to ask…

  14. thkruger Says:

    So fellas, settledown. Otherwise readers can not tell who is an Idiot and who is a Moron. Rajeev had an Anti-American bias for a long time. That is why Indians drink it up. You can not change his mind. Let it go. I am living in Delhi. There is a big cultural gap here you know. And KM, you are right. Brown on brown gets nasty. I have not seen this mean side of Rajeev for a long time as I follow his great articles. May be he is going through some marital problems…who knows.

  15. rajeev2007 Says:

    Why should I care if you are a white or a black or a purple moron? A morom is a moron. Ok, so maybe you are a German/Irish/American moron, not an Indian moron. Therefore what?

    So if you are not an Indian why on earth are you so interested in this deal? Because it is so great for India? This is like the Trojan Horse was so great for the Trojans?

    So Kruger is an American living in Delhi. How wonderful. You haven’t seen how brown on white can be pretty nasty? A lot of brown people have contempt for whites, in particular Americans. You haven’t seen this yet? Something to look forward to. Actually I think this is a hastily-created new id for kmguru: a small hint, your excessive use of ellipses gives you away.

    I have never been anti-American. I am quite pro-American, and anti-China. But I am very pro-India, that’s all. This particular deal is really bad for India. When Americans are trying to hoodwink Indians into doing something suicidal, I protest. This is a bad deal for India, and in the long run for the US as well because India is the counterweight to China.

    Ah yes, kmguru, since you are a believer in UFOs, you must really be a rational, scientific, engineering-savvy individual. See one of your old posts picked up from a trivial google search, way back from 2002:

    lets do it offline through PM or direct email (mine is posted – kmguru@hotmail.com, I use it exclusively for sciforums) such that we do not put too many filler material. I will be interested to know the specific questions and answers of your friend and if anyone tested the radio or the car for damages. What I am thinking is first we have to rule out our DoD experiments. 30 years ago, I did an engineering college project using Lorentz Propulsion. About the same time DoD was working on a full scale prototype. I am sure in the last 30 years they must have gone way out there due to advanced computer control technology. If I can get some more data, I should be able to tell you if it was manmade or out of this world.

  16. rajeev2007 Says:

    I am also tired of trying to respond logically to someone totally deovid of logic, who doesn’t understand that the Hyde Act subverts the 123 in toto. I can’t waste time on morons like kmguru, so this topic is now closed, and all further comments will be delated. In fact, I may delete the existing ones also, because they are not very meaningful.

  17. kmguru Says:

    The idiot can google. That is nice to know. You say:

    “Individual Indians are shackled, and the blunders of the past sixty years conspire to create a state of permanent slavery for the nation. That is the biggest disappointment of all: Indians aspire to mediocrity. Indians simply cannot imagine that they can recapture their historical primacy as the greatest innovators, the most prosperous nation on earth.”

    But it is people (since you love the word moron so much, insert the word idiot here) like you, who know everything and hence do not want to learn anything. If that is not rising to the top of mediocrity, what is? Indians do imagine, they can be the greatest innovators only outside the country! That is really sad. Your capacity for change is limited, and hence your statement “Indians aspire to mediocrity” becomes a self fullfilling prophecy.

    By the way, there are at least 5 kmgurus on the net. I know when trying to get an id but could not. Anyway, as to the “comments are not very meaningful”, it could have been, but you know how Indians are, you just wrote about them in “Independence, Freedom, Democracy and other such myths”. India is a society of mirrors. You will see people like you everywhere. I am not sure you understand, afterall I am a Moron. Good luck changing the Indians. I could hound you for the next few years, but I would not bother you, I would not gain much. I am sure you have already kicked the dog a few times. Here is an item you may find meaningful, then may be not. The book is “India Express” by Daniel Lak and see the last chapter. May be you can use that to promote change in India, if you can. Good Luck.

  18. alba01 Says:

    kmguru no one is interested in knowing whether you are a green card holder or a begggar in delhi or what you do with your genitals, dont behave like a rowdy here, post your opinions which can be meaningful

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