India, US engaged in bid to end India’s nuclear isolation

April 19th, 2008 - 10:31 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 19 (IANS) India and the US are working together to correct the “historical anomaly” of New Delhi being treated as a target of international instruments to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons, says the Indian ambassador here. “For too long, India, a proponent and adherent of nuclear non-proliferation, itself was treated as a target of international instruments to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems,” Ambassador Ronen Sen said Thursday.

This was “notwithstanding the fact that India’s system of controls over nuclear material, equipment and technology were perhaps the most effective in the world,” he said in a keynote address at a conference on Future Direction of India’s Foreign Policy. The Centre for Advanced Study of India (CASI) of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia organised the conference.

“We are now engaged in a major endeavour, primarily in cooperation with the United States, on correcting this historical anomaly,” said Sen, apparently alluding to the stalled India-US civil nuclear deal, which would allow India to resume nuclear commerce after a gap of thirty years.

Once it goes through, the landmark deal would bring India into the mainstream of international non-proliferation with New Delhi entering into an India specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) changing its guidelines for global nuclear trade.

The deal, which would go the US Congress only after it gets the nod from IAEA and the NSG, has been stalled due to opposition from the leftist supporters of India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Besides the nuclear deal, the envoy noted that during the last three and a half years of his current assignment he had witnessed “the irrevocable transformation of our relations with the United States”.

“In addition to the rapid growth of two-way trade and investment, cooperation in education and science and technology, the governments in both countries have invested significant political capital in building a strategic partnership based on shared values and common concerns.

“India-US relations encompass the most wide-ranging engagement that India has with any country today,” Sen said.

Turning to India’s relations with the rest of the world, the envoy said: “India is in transition in a changing world. Its engagement with the world is also evolving and changing.”

“As India grows into one of the three largest economies of the world, the course of its development would be of global significance,” said Sen. But “India’s growth and its rising global profile will not be at the cost of other countries,” he assured.

“Its growth will be propelled not exclusively, or even primarily, by its exports, but by growing domestic demand. India’s growth will not be disruptive. It will, on the contrary, be a locomotive of growth for Asia and beyond,” Sen said.

Asserting that “It is a more secure and self-assured India that is engaging the world today,” he said: “India will increasingly seek to shape its environment and not merely react to events.”

“But we will continue to pursue the path of diplomacy and dialogue. India will be capable of defending itself against a broad range of potential threats, but will not seek a path of confrontation and conflict,” he said.

Noting that the challenge of terrorism will confront the world for some time to come, Sen said advancing international cooperation in combating it would continue to receive India’s unremitting attention.

“India will continue to seek an adjustment in the global political and security architecture that will enable it to fulfil its aspirations and allow it to play the role that the world increasingly expects from our country,” he said, declaring: “UN reforms, in particular of the UN Security Council, are inevitable.”

As Indians increasingly live, trade and invest abroad, securing their rights and protecting their interests will become an increasingly important dimension to India’s foreign policy, he said.

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