Photo: Key members of the Administration and Congress gather to watch President Bush sign US-India Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation bill into law at the White House
Teresita Schaffer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. says one of the ironies of the impasse over the U.S.-India nuclear pact is the role of vibrant democracies challenging the deal.
“Historically, the US and India had radically different perspectives on security. The US opposed India’s nuclear policy, especially after the 1998 test of an explicitly military nuclear device. India saw the Indian Ocean as its own “security space,” and looked with a jaundiced eye on other powers, including the US, maintaining a regular military presence there.
Ironically, the nuclear test provided the occasion for India and the US to have their first serious discussion about respective strategic perspectives and what would make the world a safer place. This dialogue ultimately did not change either country’s fundamental approach to nuclear proliferation. But it did lead the US to accept that it must deal with India as a nuclear power. ”