the australian editor has great insight, more so than thomas friedman with his shallowness, as demonstrated by his being led by the nose by robert einhorn, proliferation expert who certified that china was not proliferating, year after year. yes, proliferation expert, not non-proliferation expert.
sheridan's points about china's reactions are spot on. and of pakistan's. one more thing: china, on the very next day, pointedly increased its defense budget by 15%
i still don't agree that the nuclear deal in its details are good for india, but the fact that the bushies were willing to consider it shows the newly-found clout that india wields, which of course has a lot to do with the fact that india doesn't really need the uranium or obsolete american nuclear technology. it's like banks are willing to lend you money if and only if you don't need it. they *want* to give you their money in that case.
of course, the UPA government will, as usual, manage to give up any advantage india might potentially have gained. also, there must be some very large commissions floating around.
did anyone see the story in the leftist magazine outlook about the blatant 4% commission, ie. rs. 640 crore rupees, that appears to have been the 'reward' for the huge scorpene deal with france in october? where did that money go?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
In our interests to support India's rise
Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor
March 11, 2006
OCCASIONALLY in foreign affairs you can sense the established order
dissolving in front of your eyes and a new order beginning to take shape.
That's what we've seen in India over the past two weeks.
We also saw, in the reaction of China and in the deadly burst of terrorism
in the Indian holy city of Varanasi, that this new order is not going to be
The US has negotiated a deal with India which, in everything but name,
accepts India as a legitimate nuclear weapons state. It is the first such
state to be added to the five declared weapons states - the US, Britain,
France, Russia and China - all permanent members of the UN Security Council.
India will designate 14 of its 22 nuclear reactors as civilian energy
reactors and the other eight as related to its attempt to build a credible
nuclear deterrent against China and Pakistan. The US will co-operate with
only the peaceful elements of India's program and will supply India with
nuclear technology and materials. It will seek to convince its friends and
allies to do the same.
Here's the rub for Australia. Prime Minister John Howard had a good visit to
India this week but he had two contradictory responses to the US-India deal.
He welcomed it as a highly positive development but said Australia had no
intention of changing its policy of not selling uranium to nations that
hadn't signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In an exclusive interview at his New Delhi residence last week, India's
Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, told Inquirer India wanted Australia to sell
it uranium. Then, at a joint press conference with Howard a few days later,
Singh repeatedly said he expected Australia to support the US-India
The contradiction in Australia's position is this: If Canberra supports the
deal, it cannot logically oppose selling uranium to India, for part of the
deal is that India gets international co-operation on peaceful nuclear
So you can support the deal and sell uranium to India, or oppose the deal
and not sell uranium. You cannot logically support the deal, which is
designed to end India's nuclear isolation, but then attempt to continue that
isolation by refusing to sell uranium.
The Australian contradiction doesn't need to be resolved overnight. But
eventually Canberra will have to choose. If the US-India deal goes through,
you would have to imagine Australia will co-operate and become a uranium
supplier to India. To do otherwise would be not only to oppose the most
important strategic play the US has made since Iraq, but also to court
long-term Indian hostility.
That's the story so far. But now the world gets into quite interesting new
territory. For India's new status as a global power, which Washington will
do everything it can to confirm, threatens a number of players who will
The forces that will resist India's new status, in order of importance, are
China, Pakistan, the Non-Proliferation Treaty zealots and those who are just
unhappy about democracies in alliance with the US, and the domestic voices
in India who don't want this new status.
Each is significant. India, despite being a democracy, will face much
stiffer opposition to its emergence as a global power than China has. This
is partly because China was already a permanent member of the UN Security
Council and a declared nuclear weapons state accepted as such under the
These are two huge institutional advantages for China over India. What the
US has done in the past fortnight is try to redress these disadvantages.
China opposes the US-India deal outright and will campaign against it in the
Nuclear Suppliers' Group and in international diplomatic circles. China
could go further than this and play hardball. Beijing has an appalling
record of nuclear proliferation, having helped in the development of
Pakistan's nuclear weapons and North Korea's nuclear program.
China has generally sponsored Pakistan as a counterweight to India. It could
again get into the business of sponsoring Pakistan's nuclear technology as a
method of punishing both India and the US for this deal.
Similarly, Pakistan asked the US for the same sort of deal as India got and
was turned down. There are excellent reasons for this. Pakistan does not
have a peaceful nuclear energy program. More importantly, Pakistan, through
its disgraced former nuclear supremo, A.Q. Khan, was exposed as running the
biggest nuclear proliferation program in human history.
Singh made it clear to me that Pakistan is still sponsoring terrorism in
India. He said: "Pakistan has to do a lot more to prevent the use of its
territory for terrorist acts directed at our country."
Pakistan is obsessed with India and the fear that India will accelerate away
into global economic and political success, leaving it behind. A
characteristic Pakistani response to the Indian deal would be to increase
its sponsorship of terror within India with a view to creating internal
communal strife between India's 150 million Muslims and more than 900
This would serve Pakistan's interests in two ways. It could increase Indian
opposition to the deal and it could make India look unstable and contribute
to the international community feeling that it is too risky to help India
with its nuclear program.
The deadly terrorist bombings in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, in Uttar
Pradesh, this week, for which Lashkar-e-Taiba is prime suspect, fit
appallingly well into this analytical framework.
Similarly, Muslim-led anti-Bush demonstrations in Lucknow managed to turn
themselves into Hindu-Muslim communal disturbances.
The domestic opposition to the deal in India is a minority business but
potentially quite vicious. There is anti-Americanism in India, as
everywhere. But the most important domestic opposition to the deal rests in
a potentially lethal combination of Indian Muslims and the Indian far Left.
This is an alliance of increasing closeness within India and mirrors a broad
Of course, India's Muslims are not at all monolithic. They have
traditionally been moderate politically and deeply committed to India's
secularism and its democracy. But the forces of global Islamic radicalism
are hard at work on them, trying to radicalise them along the lines of
anti-Americanism, with the argument that the US has embarked on a global
crusade against Islam.
The final important opponents of the US-India deal will be the NPT zealots.
Two groups of these will be particularly important: those in the US Congress
and those in western Europe.
To give effect to the nuclear deal, the US will have to pass legislation
through its Congress. GeorgeW. Bush, with his popularity ratings at an
all-time low, is in a particularly weak position vis-a-vis Congress and he
probably erred in not taking congressional leaders with him to India to help
him sell the deal to them later back in the US.
However, the US has not made a new friend in a long time. Tearing up this
deal, with the world's largest democracy, with an emerging great power, with
the second fastest growing economy in the world, with a substantial military
power that has a million-man army and is developing a blue-water fleet -- to
throw that all away would seem to be an extreme action for the US Congress.
If the administration cannot sell this deal to Congress it could not sell
ice cream in the desert.
The west European NPT zealots, and the UN class generally, will not like the
deal but will be reluctant to embark on a jihad against India.
Although there are endless complications ahead, you'd have to think the deal
will stick eventually. It is overwhelmingly in Australia's interests for
India, a stable and exemplary democracy with whom we share deep political,
cultural and security interests, to take its rightful place as one of the
great powers of the 21st century
India, a powerful friend to have
Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor
March 04, 2006
AUSTRALIA and India, the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, once
remarked with acute insight, are two countries with a great deal in common
but which have very little to do with each other.
Prime Minister John Howard will try to remedy that tomorrow night when he
arrives in Delhi for a three-day visit to India which will also take in
Mumbai, the commercial and entertainment capital, and Chennai (formerly
Madras), the heart of Tamil civilisation.
Howard's visit is deadly serious. It is a recognition of the unique
intersection of geo-strategic, economic, cultural and diplomatic importance
which is accumulating around New Delhi in a process of great historic
On every front that counts, in every policy question that defines our age,
India is a central part of the equation. Australia must do much better with
India than it has in the past.
The Australian bureaucracy has had three impediments to understanding and
acting on the real importance of India. These are: an obsession with the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, an obsession with China and a tendency to
group all things Indian with Pakistan.
All of these destructive bureaucratic habits of mind need to be broken if
Australia is to reach anything like its potential with India.
Howard's visit follows hot on the heels of George W. Bush, who in turn
barely missed France's Jacques Chirac, who in turn was in New Delhi only
shortly after Britain's Tony Blair. All of these leaders recognise the
centrality of India to the new global equations. Howard will be accompanied
by a big business delegation and this is as it should be. The potential
economic relationship between Australia and India is vast. Already India is
our sixth largest export market, ahead of Britain, with total two-way trade
of $10 billion, with the balance substantially in our favour.
India's budget, brought down this week, indicates growth of more than 8 per
cent in the Indian economy this year, a similar figure to that achieved in
the past few years. This puts India just behind China in growth rate for a
India stands in direct line to Japan and China as likely to produce the same
economic opportunities for Australia that those other two Asian giants did.
The energy demands alone of India's rapid development will be huge. It will
need other bulk commodities in enormous quantities. But more than that, the
potential in service industries is almost limitless as India's middle class
is growing exponentially.
You can get all kinds of startling statistics out of the Indian economy.
About a third of all computer engineers in the US's Silicon Valley are
Indians, but there are now more Indian computer engineers in Bangalore,
India's high-tech capital, than in Silicon Valley.
India, like China, is still a difficult market and Australian companies can
often do with the help of government agencies such as Austrade. But there
are already 25,000 Indian students studying in Australia. India has been the
fourth highest source of migrants to Australia in the Howard decade. Given
the irreducible connections of cricket and the English language, this is a
relationship waiting to boom, apparently designed in heaven and awaiting
only the merest human agency to take off spectacularly.
But in some ways the economic stuff is the easy bit. There will be no
opposition to this from anyone and it's just a matter of Australian energy,
infrastructure and effort.
But other parts of the relationship are more complex and demand a more
significant input from the political level of leadership, from Howard
himself and from cabinet.
In 1998 India tested a nuclear weapon. This was a shocking moment for the
world as it breached the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, although India
had never signed the NPT. At first the policy impulse of the US and
Australia was to try to reverse India's decision, an utterly futile and
Australia over-reacted to the Indian test and in fact the US accommodated
India before Australia did, leaving Canberra in the bizarre, though not
totally novel, position of defending territory that the US had abandoned. It
is not only futile to expect India ever to give up its nuclear weapons, it
can damage good policy. The priority now must be to assist India in making
sure it has good command and control procedures to keep its nuclear arsenal
safe, and helping it develop a peaceful nuclear energy industry so that it
will need to chew up fewer fossil fuels in its burgeoning development.
Moreover, there is a central strategic dimension to all of this, which is
India considered vis-a-vis China. India and China, though they have a
history of conflict, now have quite good bilateral relations. However, China
has opposed India getting a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and
has opposed a regularised relationship for India with the Nuclear Suppliers
No one can play the India card against China. India is far too powerful and
independent for that. Nor, indeed, would anyone want to. It's in everyone's
interests for India and China to have a stable, peaceful and economically
However, India undoubtedly does provide a balance to China at several
levels. First, at the strategic level. India is an important military power
with a continental-size landmass, formidable armed forces and a developing
Just by being there, being itself and being successful, India vastly
complicates any potential Chinese leadership's move towards an aggressive
posture, should any Chinese leadership be so tempted in the future.
As former US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill has argued, it is
overwhelmingly in the US's interests (and in Australia's interests, too) for
there to be a broad strategic parity between India and China. It would be
against Western interests for India to be permanently consigned to an
inferior status militarily to China.
In the nuclear realm, India has a perfect record of never having
proliferated nuclear weapons material or technology to any other nation.
China on the other hand has an appalling record, not recently but in the
past, of giving nuclear technology to Pakistan and North Korea. If Islamist
terrorists ever do get their hands on nuclear materials the ultimate design
is likely to have come, albeit unwittingly, from China.
Therefore it would be insane for the US and its allies to freeze India out
of this technology while China enjoys unfettered nuclear co-operation. Bush
and Prime Minister Singh are trying hard to work out a nuclear deal in which
India separates its military and civilian nuclear programs and then the US
engages in full nuclear co-operation with India.
When the outlines of this deal were first announced Howard was broadly
supportive of it. In time this could have significant implications for
Australia as an exporter of uranium. Certainly if Australia is to export
uranium to China it is difficult to see an argument against exporting it to
The Australian bureaucracy needs a dose of new thinking on these issues, and
this can only come from Howard and Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer.
Similarly, as well as supporting India for a seat on the UN Security
Council, Australia should announce unilateral support for Indian membership
of APEC and should invite India to attend next year's APEC summit in Sydney.
India also plays a central role in the war on terror. With 130 million
Muslims, India has the most Muslims of any nation apart from Indonesia.
Yet not a single Indian has joined al-Qa'ida. No Indian was discovered in
Afghanistan. None is held in Guantanamo Bay. This is a great tribute to
India's secular democracy. This democracy is another way in which India
balances China - and that is ideologically. It is impossible to argue that
democracy is not practical for poor, big countries, or that it is a Western
construct, with India in the room.
Increasingly India plays a pivotal role in Asian organisations. It is part
of the East Asia Summit. It was part of the core group, with the US, Japan
and Australia, in responding to the Asian tsunami of Boxing Day 2004. And it
is part of the partnership for clean development with the US, Australia,
Japan, China and South Korea.
The Australia-India partnership is pregnant with possibility. Can Howard be
the midwife of history this week?