It would be perverse of US Congress to block n-deal: Obama aide (Interview)

September 16th, 2008 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) Democrats may be sceptical about the India-US nuclear deal, but it would be perverse on part of the US Congress if it blocks the deal after the NSG waiver, says Philip Gordon, a top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. “Now that the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) has approved the nuclear deal, it would be perverse on part of the US if it blocks the deal after asking others to make an exception for India,” Gordon, an advisor to Obama on foreign policy issues and an expert on US foreign policy, told IANS in an interview Tuesday.

Gordon admitted that there “is a lot of scepticism among Democrats” about the nuclear deal, but in the same breath he stressed that there is a broad bipartisan consensus about taking India along as a major partner of the US - and it is this view which will work in New Delhi’s favour.

“There are concerns about non-proliferation and the nuclear deal. But India is seen as a democracy, a friendly country and a major power. We are going to find a way to do it,” Gordon said, indicating that Democrats would not come in the way of Congressional approval of the implementing 123 agreement.

The Bush administration has already sent the 123 bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation pact to the US Congress for a simple yes and no vote. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W. Bush are likely to sign the historic nuclear agreement when they meet in Washington Sep 25.

Gordon, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a top US think tank, spoke about India’s emergence as a major global power in the next few decades and underlined that the nuclear deal will quicken this process.

“The nuclear deal is a step towards India’s continued emergence as a major power,” Gordon said.

Gordon has authored a clutch of much-discussed books on strategic issues like “Winning the Right War: The Path to Security for America and the World” and “Crescent of Crisis: US-European Strategy for the Greater Middle East”.

“China was not enthusiastic about it, but it has finally accepted it,” he said when asked about his reaction to China’s attempts to stall the nuclear deal at the Sep 4-6 NSG meeting in Vienna.

Earlier in the day, Gordon delivered a lecture on “The Geopolitics of Emerging Global Powers”, organised by The Aspen Institute and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

As Democrats are known to be hawkish on non-proliferation issues, there have been some concerns among sections of establishment in India that the nuclear deal may not fare well under a likely Democratic dispensation.

But Obama, the new flag-bearer of the Democratic Party, himself has clarified in an interview some time back that he will be “reluctant to seek changes” in the deal if he becomes president of the US.

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