Nuclear deal re-born on fourth of July!

July 5th, 2008 - 1:50 pm ICT by IANS  

By Manish Chand
New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Defying pundits and critics eager to write its obituary, the much debated and maligned India-US nuclear deal looked set for a re-birth on American Independence Day. There was a more than festive touch to the fourth of July celebrations at Roosevelt House, the residence of the American ambassador here, Friday night. US ambassador David Mulford waxed lyrical about American values of democracy and justice and blossoming relations between the world’s two largest democracies. India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee surprised many by showing up at the function and chipped in with generous praise of Mulford for batting for the freedom of not only Americans but also others.

In turn, Mulford showered praises on Mukherjee, calling him the most experienced politician in the government. Neither of them spoke about the nuclear deal, but clearly it was the deal which was on everyone’s mind. In fact, as one seasoned diplomat wryly remarked, it looked more like a thanksgiving party for rescuing the deal from the evil eyes of America-baiters.

Scores of diplomats, journalists and in-love-with-America socialites appeared hugely relieved that a dear one they gave up for dead has been miraculously reborn. Habitual conspiracy theorists, who are prone to suspect grand designs behind everything, had their own take. Nuclear deal re-born on the fourth of July? It can’t be pure chance, quipped one socialite, snickering at her joke.

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, the man who played the knight in shinning armour to rescue the deal from the Red ambush, was the toast of the party. The wily political networker, who has equations with just about everybody who matters in India, turned up slightly late at the party.

American diplomats were quick to embrace this most unusual saviour of the nuclear deal and onlookers were amazed by their new-found love for the man they suspected to be an America-baiter till a few days ago. Not only did ambassador Mulford hug him, he also profusely thanked this new apostle of the deal.

Just about every official of the embassy made it a point to shake hands with Amar Singh and put their gratitude on record. Singh tried to play down all this attention coming his way and told his American hosts with a disarming smile that he did it all in “national interest”.

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