US need not rush with N-deal: NYT

July 5th, 2008 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 5 (IANS) As India finally seemed ready to push forward the stalled nuclear deal, an influential American daily has suggested there was no reason for the US to rush as President George Bush had given away “too much and got far too little”. “Bush was right to build on the Clinton administration legacy and forge stronger ties with India, a burgeoning power whose democratic values provide a unique basis for cooperation,” said The New York Times in an editorial titled “No Rush, Please” Saturday.

“But it was a mistake to let India and industry lobbyists persuade him to make the nuclear deal the centrepiece.”

If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “finds a way to push the deal forward, it would be a mistake for the United States to try and ram through the remaining approvals” just to meet the artificial deadline of Bush’s presidency, the Times said.

“As far as we’re concerned, there is no reason at all to rush,” it said suggesting that “Bush gave away far too much and got far too little for this deal.”

“No promise from India to stop producing bomb-making material. No promise not to expand its arsenal. And no promise not to resume nuclear testing.”

President Bush had “offered India a far-too-generous nuclear deal” that would effectively forgive “India’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons” and allow New Delhi for the first time in 30 years to buy nuclear fuel and equipment from the US and other nations, the daily said.

But “instead of celebrating a big political win, the deal quickly turned into a political nightmare” for Manmohan Singh, the Times said taking note of the Leftist threat to pull down his coalition government if he went ahead with the deal.

But “Bush, who is eager for any foreign policy win before he goes back to (his home in) Crawford, Texas, is pressing Singh hard to finally work this out,” said the daily, adding: “As far as we’re concerned, there is no reason at all to rush.

“Bush may be running out of time, but Congress, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (the 45 nations that set the rules for nuclear trade) will need plenty of it to review the agreement before deciding whether to grant their respective approvals,” it said.

“At a minimum, they must insist that international suppliers halt nuclear trade if India tests another nuclear weapon, as it last did in 1998. And they must insist that India accept the fullest possible monitoring of its civilian nuclear facilities by IAEA inspectors.

The US must ensure that any rule the suppliers’ group adopts for selling technology to India is not weaker than anything already in American law.

“Otherwise, New Delhi will be able to end run Washington and buy technology and fuel from states - like Russia and France - that are even more eager for the business and even less punctilious than this country,” the editorial suggested.

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