how the world sees america

Professor Disappointed by U.S.-India Nuclear Deal

Note: Please upgrade your Flash plug-in to view our enhanced content.

India is not “America’s ally,” Professor Brahma Chellaney emphasizes, it is its "strategic partner.” After World War II, Japan and Germany were America’s allies obeying America in a “patron-client” relationship because “they had no other choice.” That would have worked in the 20th century, with countries defeated in war and -- in the case of Eastern Europe -- running to America after the Cold War, “But in the 21st century…any new friend America going to seek a semblance of equality in the relationship. It is important for U.S. policy-makers to understand a different mindset in a country like India and respect it.”

And anyway, Chellaney says, America doesn’t need so much control to achieve its geopolitical objectives. In fact, Washington’s forceful attitude and "outdated" mindset actually works against it. The failing India-U.S. nuclear deal is a prime example...

Things are complicated. Remember, Chellaney says, General Electric built the first nuclear power plant in India in the 1960s. Yes, India refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968, believing it segregated the world into "nuclear have and have nots” but when India tested its first nuclear weapon in 1974, at least it was “legal.” The bomb was even codenamed “Smiling Buddha” and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi called the test, perhaps unconvincingly, the “peaceful nuclear explosion.” It's about deterrence, Chellaney says.

In response, the U.S. government, “came down with bricks on India” imposing myriad technology export controls. And this, in Chellaney’s view, became “the main impediment to developing the [U.S.-India] relationship to its full potential.”

So when President Bush and Prime Minister Singh signed the nuclear cooperation agreement removing restrictions on civilian nuclear technology transfers in July 2005, Chellaney thought "a true global strategic partnership between the U.S. and India could be formed.”

A disillusioned Chellaney opines in the Asian Age.
“There was euphoria…in India when the deal was signed….There was a lot of excitement that finally the U.S. and India would be close buddies.” That didn’t last long. And today, after months have dragged into years and many more provisions have bloated the bill in the U.S. Congress, “people are disillusioned in India.”

Some military and policy elites in Delhi wonder whether America is actually “using the deal to stymie the Indian nuclear deterrent program” and “retard India’s nuclear deterrent capabilities vis-à-vis China. This confuses a lot of Indians.” He explains it by saying the U.S. has a long-term desire to support non-proliferation objects around the world and “cap India’s nuclear missile program at the sub-continental level” so in the years to come “India does not prove a threat to U.S. security.”

The controlling nature of U.S. policy-makers particularly concerns Chellaney. He says policy-makers in Washing realize they can use the deal to gain significant leverage over India to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives from punishing Iran to constructing gas pipelines through U.S.-controlled lands in Afghanistan. They’re “milking” the deal for every last drop, even if those drops have nothing to do with nuclear power or civilian nuclear cooperation. This, ultimately, makes Indians distrustful of America's objectives in the deal. And this undermines the very strategic partnership and act of good will it was supposed to foster in the first place.

It's a perspective worth considering as efforts to push the deal through drag on. But does everyone think America's doing this on purpose, trying to hold India back? More perspectives to come on this issue and on India's diplomatic relationship with America the superpower.

Join Monthly Mailing List | | Digg | Facebook

Comments (17)

mlfpytro qvswafz:

euvow ogsprfq rwgnme tnlhwc jnsb acomlknp gbay

mlfpytro qvswafz:

euvow ogsprfq rwgnme tnlhwc jnsb acomlknp gbay

mlfpytro qvswafz:

euvow ogsprfq rwgnme tnlhwc jnsb acomlknp gbay

mlfpytro qvswafz:

euvow ogsprfq rwgnme tnlhwc jnsb acomlknp gbay

Kartik Bommakanti, Monterey California:

Mr.Nageshwaran and Mr. Narayana,

Let me begin with the latter. Strategic cooperation with the US will always be a limited affair. India's engagement with the US is to expand the range of foreign policy options at its disposal. Our objective is not to reflexively oppose the US, but ask ourselves whether it is in our interests to do so. There will be areas of cooperation and areas of divergence. The key is to have an open mind. The Tarapore episode looms large in current 123 negotiations and our diplomatic team will make sure there is no repeat of that episode. I appreciate your desire and commitment to defend India, but frankly sir you have no monopoly over Indian patriotism or nationalism. I love India as much as you do. Nor am I an ayatollah of nonproliferation. I want a relationship with the US based on pragmatism and realism. Ultimately nothing comes for free in international politics and you should understand that; the nuclear deal reflects that. The irony is that just as you oppose this deal the faculty at the nonproliferation institute opposes the deal. In fact the debate here is almost the mirror opposite of what it is in India. I have had to confront opponents both from India and the US.
Mr. Nageshwaran should understand my view of Brahma is based more on fact than fiction. His opposition to the deal is indeed rigid and extreme as are many of his other views. But I also agree with him that India and the US can never be allies. The Litmus test you demand from the US can only be met partially as far as the 123 agreement is concerned. The US cannot go beyond the Hyde Act otherwise it risks running afoul of its own nonproliferation obligations and domestic laws on nonproliferation. The Hyde Act passed last December clearly stipulates that if India were to test a nuclear device it would lead to a suspension of all nuclear commerce. Now this has been a major bone of contention between the two sides. One way to wrestle out of this is by accepting this constraint by tying it to a nuclear test conducted by another country. For instance if Pakistan or China were to test following the consummation of the 123 accord and India responded it would not lose the benefits of nuclear commerce. This idea based on some reports was accepted by Senator Joe Biden, the Chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. Reprocessing is another issue. On this I agree India cannot compromise, because it goes to the integrity of the July 18 statement and March 2 accord. India has agreed to place under safeguards its reprocessing facility for spent fuel and the US has agreed and based on latest reports Indian and US nuclear negotiators have reached an agreement. All that it needs is political clearance at the highest levels on both sides. Ultimately we cannot get all that we want as far as testing goes, but on reprocessing we should get what we want.

Kartik Bommakanti

KT Narayana:

Karthic Bammakanti is a student of Monterey Nonproliferation school. His is is paid to advocate the nonproliferation interests of United States of America, and more specifically, the ayatollahs of Nonproliferation.Guarav Kampani is another so called analyst for the same school.

Brahma Challeney argues for the average Indian mindset. The impression that the Indians have of the United States and its handling of the security interests of India coincides with that of Brahma. If Brahma is hawkish, then most Indians are hawkish. One should expect every Indian to defend his right to defend himself. The Indians fear the misguided nature of the US foreign policy and security policy. The Americans are largely responsible for this impression that Indians have. The American thought that they can renege a contractual obligation to supply nuclear fuel to the GE supplied nuke plant at Tarapore. The US Congress reneged on this agreement. The US is paying for its imprudent actions. No Indian will trust United States with respect to their security interests. I will not put much weight on the strategic cooperation either. It is currently is relevant but in the long term such cooperation is irrelevant to the security interests of India. That is why the Indians are hesistent with the Indo-US nuke deal.

Anantha Nageswaran:

Mr. Karthik Bommakanti begins his comments with an observation that these are the fulminations of a well-known hawk. That automatically pre-disposes him to see the comments made by Dr. Chellaney in a particular light, regardless of the merits of the arguments made.

A simple test of US sincerity and transparency would be to see whether the text of the final agreement corresponds to the July 18, 2005 statement made by the US administration. The answer, even to a non-expert reader of newspapers, is obvious and it is a NO.

Leaving aside all other technical considerations, the attempt to convert a unilateral moratorium on further testing by India into a legally binding obligation with consequences to follow for violation should be completely unacceptable to any sovereign nation.

These two alone lend prima facie legitimacy to the issues raised by Dr. Chellaney regardless of final agreement on the loud thinking he does.

Mr. Bommakanti's response fails to address these core issues.


Karthik, really appreciated the balanced post. Thank you. Share some of your research here!


i am an average Indian (not a political analyst). to me the whole US thingie is a BIG sham! US has never put its mouth where the words are.. while it wants to safeguard its borders from terrorists it is the same money that fuels jehadi movement in Kashmiri camps. the trained terrorists there can't be restricted to India alone - after all u can't create a demon and keep its face in one direction all the time..
IMHO, US should take a position where their actions justify their words! if you want to be friends with a country be a friend and not an imperialist.
on the nuclear deal, US is trying its strong arm tactics with India. historically, US has the unique distinction of using nuclear device in the world. so i don't think that it is in a position to teach any other country any nuclear doctrine. and India has proven time and again that it is a responsible country.
IMHO, US needs to learn a lot from India.
US needs to be responsible rather than acting like a cowboy! the consequences of its choices will determine the future course of the world. till now, all the choices made by US have been wrong - Vietnam, Iraq, Cuba,Israel, Korea. let's hope it gets some sense now..


X2, While we're on the subject of completely unsubstantiated remarks...

the ability to vote Democratic is the the "freedom" you pride yourself on.

The IT revolution in India has produced more wealth in America than was taken away from the undereducated Americans whose jobs were lost... maybe it's time to get a school system.


Bush was stupid to sign this deal. Its not like Indians will look at him more favorably.

They still vote mostly Democratic and take American jobs, which is what Dems are supposed to be against.

Kartik Bommakanti, Monterey California:

Hi I'm a graduate student from India at the Monterey Institute of International studies specializing in nonproliferation.

Brahma's arguments are misleading and essentially the fulminations of a well known Indian hawk. Let's remember the Bush Administation has had to reverse over 30 years of US nonproliferation policy vis-a-vis India. This longstanding policy signally failed to coerce and dissuade India from acquiring a nuclear capability. The US reversal was welcome because it confronted the reality that India would never surrender its nuclear capability. Have the likes of Brahma ever asked themselves the pressures both on the domestic and international fronts the Bush Administration has had to face in trying to consummate this technically complex agreement. The deal does not in anyway directly impinge negatively on India's strategic program (India would never allow that) nor does it prevent India from building up its capabilities to match China's. If anything it gives India the option of ramping up production of fissile material by freeing up India's limited domestic uranium reserves. India has refused to accept any legally binding restraints on fissile material production for now, something Washington has accepted. Nor does the issue feature in the current 123 negotiations. The deal is ultimately a civilian energy accord that is intended to redress India's growing energy needs and ends India's nuclear isolation by making it a legitimate stakeholder in upholding the nonproliferation regime. But the strategic import of the accord is undeniable and the foregoing only discredits Brahma's view that there is a hidden American agenda to deny India its rightful place among major powers. If anything it is intended to accomodate India's growing power and aspirations. President Bush has got many things wrong, but on this he is right. But Brahma is right in noting that India and America can never be allies. New Delhi is unlikely to subordinate its interests to the US or become Washington's junior partner. But will they become enemies and the answer is nope. The growing social and economic bonds between the two countries will forestall any adversarial relationship from developing. This is a partnership based on mutual interests and the evolving Indo-US strategic partnership is an effort to shape the geostrategic landscape in Asia. Finally if the nuclear deal were to collapse it would be a devastating blow to the bilateral relationship and would play directly into the hands of hawks like Mr. Chellaney whose worldview is that of a frog in a well. This is a win-win deal for India, the US and for the longterm health of the global nonproliferation regime. Get well soon Amar!


Pakistani Muslim:

Dear Sir / Madam
I am 46 years old, Canadian citizen and native of Pakistan (Muslim). I was an immigration consultant in Canada and as part of my business; I had an office in New York.
During 2001 immediately after the Sept 11, event the US govt arrested me on Oct 25, 2001 on anonymous call, as a material witness for the 9/11 world trade centre terrorist attack. A detail investigation by the FBI and USA Naval intelligence dept was conducted and I was cleared, but even then govt put me in front of Grand jury, and I was cleared and the case was dismissed by the Grand jury of the US Federal Court.
Approximately after 2 weeks , before I was released from custody the US Govt imposed a new charges of Fraud and money laundering , under the advice of my attorney , I pleaded guilty and I was sentenced to prison for five years (which was four years more, what I pleaded). In which I had already spent 3 years in Detention jail, during the case , I had about 14 months left to finishing my sentence ,(instead of appealing, I preferred to applied for Treaty Transfer to Canada, because if the case is in the appeal, defendant is not eligible for transfer back to his home country).
While at prison, I learned from the case manager Miss House, that my citizen was incorrect in the FBOP’s (Federal Bureau of Prison) computer system as Pakistani instead of Canadian.
Its important to note , that all of my Canadian identifications (passport , citizenship card , S.I.N , Health card , Driving license etc) were under FBI’s possession, with a great deal of concern, I wrote a letter to the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, N.Y to notify such mistake and requested them to fix this problem. This is especially important for Treaty Transfer back to Canada.
The Canadian Consulate official sent a letter to the jail to correct my citizenship status, however FBOP ignored the request and the citizenship status in the FBOP computer still reflect Pakistani instead of Canadian (Note: - I would be required to obtain visa to visit Pakistan) .In contrast, the deportation letter received from US Immigration dept, Contained the correct citizenship status of Canada.
At the hindsight, I believe that the FBOP intentionally left the citizenship as Pakistani, so that they could retained me at their facility, while the govt is planning to file new charges against me 3rd time.
Approximately six weeks before my released date on Jan 30, 2006 I was notified by the FBOP that I was being transferred from Ellenwood, PA to MDC (Metropolitan Detention Centre) in Brooklyn N.Y, it was explained to me, that the purpose of this transfer was in preparation for deportation back to Canada, (after few days, I signed the immigration deportation papers, with my consular Miss Chen).
But immediately after my arriving to MDC Brooklyn, I discovered during a phone call with my family in Montreal, that RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) official had contacted my sister and brother-in-law regarding the whereabouts of my wife and my current situation, there was no explanation given by the RCMP official to the purpose of the call and he left his phone number and asked my wife to call him back immediately, my wife called the RCMP official and left messages in his voice mail. Then the official contacted my brother-in-law again and had asked him to tell my wife not to call again, because there is nothing good nor anything bad.
Meanwhile the AUSA (United States Attorney) office Investigator and FBI brought me to their office to be interrogated without an attorney present, even AUSA told in the court to the judge on March 16, 2006 that he arranged attorney for me before my arrival from Ellenwood PA to MDC Brooklyn, N.Y, on Transcript; page 11, Transcript line No: 14 to 23.
AUSA: - He (Khalid Awan) was writ in the cause of a grand jury investigation. He clearly had criminal exposure. So to protect his interest I made an application to the duty magistrate for counsel to be appointed.
THE COURT: - Initially he was brought here by a Court to testify before the grand jury?
AUSA: - That is correct, Your Honour.

THE COURT: - When he arrived here, you made arrangements for an attorney to be pointed to request him?
AUSA: - Yes, Your Honour.
This interrogation started with the AUSA office Investigator stating that my family will be arrested in Canada if I refused to answer their questions.
At this point I am certain that my family is in great danger for reasons that I am not aware of. I was scared that my family would be harassed by these people along with the Canadian RCMP official; I strongly believe that the RCMP is doing this intentionally in collaboration with FBI official to further harass me to admit charges that I never committed.
Without knowledge of the reasons why the Canadian RCMP agency was involved. I was surprised that RCMP official directly approached my family instead of me without proper explanation, and its also shocked for me, that how RCMP got the phone number of my family (because before my arrest, I don’t have any single record in any police dept, of any country).
I was intimated and pushed to the edge during this interrogation; I was determined to provide anything these USA officials wanted to make them happy even is the questions made no sense, because I want them to stop the harassment to my family.
On March 15, 2006 I completed the term of my imprisonment and was to be released from American Custody and deported back to Canada. Before that I was arrested again 3rd time, and charged with providing “material support to a foreign terrorist” and money laundering (to an organization and person, which are not designated by the USA govt and belongs to Sikh religion).
These charges emerged while I was still in prison and without the capability of providing any type of support. It was even difficult for me to get enough financial assistance to pay legal fees. I could not have provided any material support while I was in prison for five years and I could not launder any money because I did not have any.
AUSA filed three counts of indictment against me.
Conspiracy to provide material support.
Provide a material support to the foreign terrorist.
Money laundering to support terrorism.
(Please note, that in my previous case govt charged me for money laundering and fraud from Jan 1999 to 2002 and “its mentioned in the plea-agreement by the AUSA that no further money laundering charges will be brought against defendant from Jan 1999 to April 2002” even then govt indict me for money laundering from 1998 to Nov 2001 (Which is double Jeopardy and violation of 5th Amendment of U.S Constitution.)
In Oct 2006, during pre-trial hearing on the motions filed by my attorney the first two counts of my indictment were dismissed by the judge, stating that there is a lack of facts and figures.
After two weeks AUSA re-indicted me again. I believe this is a desperate act of the AUSA to cover up a huge embarrassment. Further this hastily drawn indictment was full of factual errors and creative legal theories.
Since I was first arrested by the American govt, I believe that I have been singled out, isolated and discriminated against primarily because of my race and religion, in addition to the fact that I don’t know any information that the American govt is trying to pressure out of me.
I do not understand the American laws and this is what led to my pleading guilty in the first case. I have difficulty understanding the new charges also.
I have been charged under, section 2339(a) of Title 18 of the United States code, which makes it illegal to provide material support to a foreign terrorist.
Please understand, I am not a terrorist, I do not know any terrorist and I have had no connections with or to any known or unknown terrorist. I have been incarcerated for last 5 years and I had no money to provide or launder.
The law enforcement have in America is pressuring me to provide information to them that I really do not have or know. I am a Canadian Citizen and nearly all of my family is in Canada, including my wife and kids. I don’t know any information to tell them to help their investigation.
Because of this, I am being treated unfairly and my rights under the American constitution are being violated. I am being held here in further detention against my will for crimes which I could have never committed, because I was in prison.
I believe that I am a victim of the discrimination that was outlined in the July 3, 2006 issue of Time magazine (Page 29, column 3). In this article section 2339(a) & (b) are discussed and criticized “as most suspects are charged under these two sections. However, the justice dept here in America admits that of the more than 218 guilty pleas that it has obtained, most are for minor investigation issues that are uncovered deeding the course of their terrorism investigation. This suggest, according to the article that the Attorney General’s office have is not concerned about the rights or fairness or the manner in which it achieves convictions for the people they arrest. Furthermore, criticizes have noted that one of the patterns to emerge from these domestic prosecutions is that suspect seen too incompetent to carry out the deeds they are accused of. The Deputy Attorney General acknowledges that the Dept of Justice’s goal is “preventions through prosecutions” and this is done with no regard for an individual’s rights.
I agree that these guilty of terrorism should be prosecuted. But as the above mentioned article suggest, innocent people should not be targeted because of their race or religion.
I am not a terrorist and I should not be targeted and treated unfairly and unjustly.
I need your assistance desperately in my case, as I believe that I am being treated unjustly here. I would like to send you my attorney’s contact information and provide you with legal documents related to my case, so that you may become more familiar with my situation.
Please also note, that I appeared in the court , for no guilty of my 2nd superseding indictment on Aug 02, 2006 and on Aug 03, 2006 FBOP officials placed me in the SHU (Segregation Housing Unit) out of these months, I placed in the SHU isolation from Aug 03, 2006 to March 6, 2007 for unknown “Pending Investigation” in these 215 days of my segregation and isolation, I don’t have a single phone call access to my family, no legal calls to my attorney and Canadian Council, my legal mail opened in my absence, no medical treatment for my injured shoulder (even I went for hunger strike for 3 and half day) I harassed by the various jail officials and lot of other problems too which already been submitted in the attention of the FBOP higher authorities, but no action taken on them, after writing the court, instead of receiving the response or any action on my complaints, jail officials removed /moved me from MDC federal facility to Nassau County Jail .
My suffering has gone on for far too long, and I need your help to bring my suffering to an end. I want to return home to my family, because my imprisonment was injustice and will remain a great injustice forever.
May God bless you and be with you in your efforts to champion the cause of human rights, and the suffering of innocent prisoners and restore hope, faith and love to peoples all over the world.
FBOP NO. 50959-054


A very thoughtful alternate viewpoint. In the US one gets predominantly a single perspective. The Indian view of not being pushed around may indeed be a harbinger of things to come.


Yes, this has been a rough week. It's 6am here. I'm off to bed for real this time.


India is not “America’s ally,” ... it is its "strategic partner.”

Well, if world disarmament be considered "impossible" (your answer to Fleur De Lys, Amar), at least non-aligned India survives... somehow!

Yet this talk about "FRIENDS America makes", about "EQUALITY in the relationship", about "Washington's OVER CONTROLLING", about "EUPHORIA in India (WHO, exactly was euphoric?!!!) when the deal was signed", about "U.S. and India" as "CLOSE BUDDIES", about "they’re “MILKING” the deal for every last drop"... . is as surrealistic, coming from a professor of strategic studies, as the so-called "peaceful nuclear explosion" codenamed "Smiling Buddha"! SMILING BUDDHA!!!!!...

At least, Gandhi's "non-violence" (ahimsa) and Machiavelli's "The Prince" had the merit of being realistic.

Is there any way to move away from that juvenile orwellian talk? We're talking realpolitik here!!! DJEEEEEZZZZ.....!

I know adolescents who would burst out laughing, reading this, and refuse to put up with it, Amar; they would simply get up and leave.

Very disappointing. Very disappointing indeed.

P.S. Take time to recover fully. Think long term. All this can wait. No need to worry: This fan of yours can be very patient, whenever necessary. Take care.


Before the potential bombardment, just want to emphasize, I'm still learning about this deal. I don't necessarily agree! That said, I also got terrible food poisoning yesterday and so managed only several hours of nauseated semi-sleep for the past 40 hours. I tried posting about it, but my editor didn't publish. Perhaps because I was border-line delirious. That said, I'm going to withdraw from this thread and head to bed. It's 3:45am, but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this man. I'd have loved to include more of his life story to give you some perspective on him but we only spent an hour together. OK. Excuses over. Begin the ferocious debate!

Post a comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send your comments, questions and suggestions for PostGlobal to Lauren Keane, its editor and producer.