NEW DELHI: With India and the United States struggling to work out a nuclear pact before US President George W. Bush's visit today, India's prime minister has pledged not to compromise the country's security to seal the deal.
The landmark nuclear pact has, for many in India, come to illustrate what India stands to gain from America and what it has to lose.
Talks on the nuclear deal "are currently at a delicate stage," held up by disagreements over which of India's nuclear facilities are to be designated as civilian and which are to be considered military, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told lawmakers on Monday.
Separating India's tightly entwined civilian and military nuclear programmes is key to the deal, because the United States has only agreed to recognize India as having a civilian nuclear programme not as a legitimate nuclear weapons state.
The pact would allow the United States to provide nuclear technology and fuel desperately needed by India to fuel its booming but energy-starved economy. In return, India has pledged to separate its programmes and open the civilian ones to international inspection.
Some Indian opponents see it as an attempt to undermine the country's nuclear weapons programme.
Among Indians, there is also "a sense of America being arrogant in its dealings surrounding the nuclear pact," said Nandan Unnikrishnan of New Delhi's Observer Research Foundation.
He cited US Ambassador David C. Mulford's remark in January that if India did not support referring Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, the India-US nuclear pact could "die" in Congress.
Source: China Daily