A nearly full house at the Stein Auditorium, Habitat Centre, last evening (June 23) heard US Secretary of State, John Kerry, talk like Al Gore — about the desperate need to preserve our pristine environment with clean energy! It took up two-thirds of the time of a lecture billed as “Indo-US strategic partnership”. Had he come out and said that the US has shale gas to spare and would gladly export it to India to reduce its dependence on Iran — that would have been a theme in keeping with the billing. But he didn’t do that.
He prefaced the hardcore of his speech by saying that India and the US were not at all interested in containing or balancing China, or any such thing. And he pleaded for improved India-Pakistan relations, before pitching for more defense sales, of course, lauding India for having more C-17s than any other country in the world, and made the obligatory bow to collaborate in developing “defense systems” that GOI requires foreign visitors to iterate before signing the next big armament import deal!
But, more importantly, he talked, as expected, of India joining with the US in promoting the nonproliferation agenda — he specifically mentioned India’s signing the missile technology control regime (MTCR) and India buying “Westinghous-GE-Toshiba nuclear power plants”, almost in the same breath as he talked of Washington pushing for India’s membership in the nuclear suppliers group (NSG), and other technology-denying cartels. It is clear that India’s NSG enrollment depends on New Delhi getting on board MTCR, CTBT, etc., and buying American reactors. Now we formally know what the carrot is for New Delhi to give up its strategic maneuvering space. And damned if that isn’t just the way the Congress party Manmohan Singh regime is thinking (as stated in previous blogs)! Well, goodbye, India’s strategic options of transferring nuclear missiles to Vietnam, et al to permanently discomfit China as Beijing has done India!! And, India should prepare to junk its Civilian Nuclear Liability Act 2010 (because any purchase of American reactors will require limiting liability of the reactor technology supplier to $300 million — which was expressly negated by the Indian law). Manmohan Singh is therefore going to go the executive order-route to affect reactor sales to American satisfaction while upending an Act of Indian parliament. Cele ve’.