US agrees to expedite N-deal

US agrees to expedite N-deal

US agrees to expedite N-deal

The president’s reaffirmation of this position, acknowledged by his predecessor George W Bush in July 2005, is considered to be a significant accomplishment for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

New Delhi was beginning to perceive that the Obama administration was prodding India to accept its non-proliferation agenda as non-nuclear power state as defined in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). India has stayed away from the NPT.

A joint statement issued by the two sides at the end of the Singh-Obama summit talks, however, committed India to work with the US for the Obama administration’s nuclear non-proliferation agenda.

India has agreed to work with the US to seek an early start of a multilateral, non-discriminatory fissile material cut-off treaty. India also reaffirmed its commitment to adhere to its voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests.

The prime minister, however, made no commitment on signing the controversial Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which the US itself has not ratified for the last 13 years. President Obama is keen to push through the treaty in Congress and has made a case for India to sign in.

Besides the nuclear issue, the joint statement touched upon terrorism, Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism in the sub-continent, Afghan situation and obliquely also the Chinese assertiveness in the region that has upset India.

India’s expectations

But, the joint statement’s formulations on most of the issues fell far short of India’s pre-summit expectations. India would have liked the statement to name Pakistan as a sponsor of terrorism against India. But, the agreed statement merely mentioned that the two leaders “expressed their grave concern about the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremists emanating from India’s neighbourhood.”

Again, without naming Pakistan, the statement said it was absolutely “imperative to bring to justice the perpetrators” of last year’s Mumbai terror attacks. But the two leaders vowed to step up efforts jointly to deal with terrorism effectively and expand cooperation on counterterrorism, information sharing and capacity-building.

Regarding Afghanistan, Obama reassured that India would not be left out of his Af-Pak initiative and committed the US to work towards stabilising Afghanistan, promoting its development and independence. Both the leaders reiterated that the defeat of terrorist safe heavens in Pakistan and Afghanistan would be a priority. Obama appreciated India’s role in the reconstruction and rebuilding of war-torn Afghanistan.

Through the joint statement, Obama assured India that it was not left out of his administration’s security framework for Asia. The US-India global partnership would not only benefit them, but also promote “peace, stability and prosperity in Asia,” it said.  However, the statement went into the details to elaborate the ways to mutually deepen Indo-US cooperation in the fields of defence, health, education, agriculture, food security, science and technology, energy.