‘US cannot shape the world without India’

October 17th, 2008 - 9:55 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Oct 17 (IANS) Describing the India-US civil nuclear deal as a “game-changing” success story, a senior Republican leader has advised the next US president that American efforts to shape the world may not succeed fully without India.”The bottom line is that American efforts to shape the world are unlikely to succeed fully without the cooperation of India,” said Senator Dick Lugar Wednesday adding, “Its sheer size ensures that it will have an enormous impact on the global economy.”

The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was laying out at the National Defence University what was described as “a new foreign policy approach for the next president focusing on energy security, trade, climate change, and pro-active American leadership.”

“With patient investments in the building blocks of national security and attention to long term strategic opportunities, the United States will thrive in this century as we did in the last,” he told Republican nominee John McCain and his Democratic rival Barack Obama.

Amplifying this dynamic, Lugar cited the India nuclear deal as a case “in which our government has succeeded in implementing a game-changing policy that opens up new economic and strategic opportunities that may benefit our diplomacy for decades.”

“By far the most forward looking foreign policy achievement of the current administration was the recent nuclear agreement with India, which could free the US-Indian relationship from decades of contentiousness,” he said.

“The benefits of this pact are designed to be a lasting incentive for India to abstain from further nuclear weapons tests and to cooperate closely with the United States in stopping proliferation,” Lugar said.

“But the strategic benefits of the relationship extend far beyond the nuclear agenda,” added the lawmaker who as then chairman of the Senate panel played a key role in crafting the US enabling law, the Hyde Act.

“We have already received some benefits from this engagement,” said Lugar suggesting, “India is taking a more positive outlook toward the US military presence in Afghanistan than it did originally.”

“It supported our efforts to constrain Iran’s nuclear programme through its votes in the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Board of Governors in 2005 and 2006,” he said. “India has also taken a more supportive attitude toward the Proliferation Security Initiative, though it has thus far declined to join.”

“The bottom line is that American efforts to shape the world are unlikely to succeed fully without the cooperation of India. Its sheer size ensures that it will have an enormous impact on the global economy,” Lugar said.

The nuclear deal gives the US a better chance to cooperate with the Indians on limiting carbon emissions, he said. “We have a strong interest in expanding energy cooperation with India to develop new technologies, cut green house gas emissions, and prepare for declining global fossil fuel reserves.”

“The United States’ own energy problems will be exacerbated if we do not forge energy partnerships with India, China, and other nations experiencing rapid economic growth,” said Lugar.

The Indiana senator said the agreement also improves US “access to the burgeoning information technology industry in India and strengthens our position related to strategic issues pertaining to China, on which India is naturally predisposed to be with us.”

“A closer relationship with India, gives us more diplomatic leverage in preventing flare-ups of the conflict between India and Pakistan,” Lugar said suggesting “Further down the road, it is reasonable to expect greater conventional military cooperation with the Indians as they buy more of our weapons.”

“This could be critical to areas of joint interest, such as counter-terrorism and the suppression of piracy,” the lawmaker said adding, “With a well-educated middle class that is larger than the entire US population, India can be an anchor of stability in Asia and a centre of economic growth.”

“By concluding this pact, the US has embraced a long-term outlook that will give us new diplomatic options,” Lugar said describing it as “opportunity to build a strategic partnership with a nation that shares our democratic values and will exert increasing influence on the world stage.”

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