That US pushed n-deal amid financial turmoil is ‘real news’

October 12th, 2008 - 2:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew York, Oct 12 (IANS) The fact that the Bush administration found time to push the nuclear deal even amid the ongoing financial crisis is an indication of the growing importance the US accords to India, Indian American analysts and leaders point out.”That the White House and Congress could focus on India amid a worsening financial crisis is the real news,” Vivek Wadhwa, a Harvard Fellow, told IANS.

The deal that was given no chance at one time passed in Congress with bipartisan support indicating that India-US relations are becoming much more strategic, he said.

Referring to plunging global markets and a crisis of confidence in the financial system, Ashok Mago, chairman of the US India Forum, hoped the 123 agreement signed Friday by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee can help turn the tide in a small way.

“A fast track implementation of India’s building of nuclear power plants will provide some help because spending in public projects can prevent deep global recession,” Mago said.

“Let us not wait to make the best use of this agreement for those it was initiated for - the human race,” he added

Sampat Shivangi, co-chair of the Indian American Political Forum, felt the $100 billion business potential prompted the US to conclude the deal with alacrity to not get pre-empted by other countries also eyeing nuclear trade with India.

Talking about the much heralded staunch support by Indian Americans to the deal, Shivangi said: “The nuclear deal became a cause celebre, bringing together, for the first time, all Indian American groups to work on it as a priority. We realize how important energy availability is for India’s continued development.”

Prominent Hindu leader Rajan Zed told IANS: “India undoubtedly needs more power generation capacity and under the 123 agreement, it will now be able to acquire technology and supplies. It carries India into nuclear mainline with transparency and accountability.”

He also hoped that reducing India’s dependence on coal for energy can help decrease global warming.

Kishan Putta, head of the Indians for McCain group, said because of the tight time frame, had President George W. Bush not made the deal a priority, it would not have happened.

He pointed out that John McCain, Republican presidential nominee, has been a strong supporter of the deal, unlike his Democratic rival Barack Obama, because the deal is the biggest event so far in India-US ties.

“McCain as president values working with India, the only stable democracy in that part of the world,” Putta said, arguing that the relations between the two countries will be much stronger with McCain in the White House.

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