Saturday, July 28, 2007

India, the next superpower

From The Washington Post:

After two years of controversial negotiations, the United States and India yesterday announced a deal on peaceful nuclear cooperation that allows trade in nuclear reactors, technology and fuel, permits India to reprocess nuclear fuel and opens the way for the United States to become a "reliable" supplier for India's energy program.

"This is perhaps the single most important initiative that India and the United States have agreed to in the 60 years of our relationship," said R. Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, in announcing the deal. It is also a boost to an administration struggling with diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East, Africa, Russia and other parts of the world.

The deal could foster greater strategic cooperation between the two nations and open up markets for U.S. energy and defense industries. The so-called 123 agreement still faces significant hurdles, however, notably in Congress, which must approve the accord. Critics say the deal sets a bad example because India will win access to U.S. technology without complying with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows cooperation on nuclear energy only when countries pledge not to develop nuclear weapons.

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should not be abandoned because it makes too useful a stick to beat rogue nations like Iran with. However the civilized nations of the world need to understand that responsible nations like India do not threaten the peace and stability of the world by possessing nuclear weapons. In fact a good argument could be made that the world is a safer place because India has them.

India is in a dangerous part of the world sharing borders with nuclear armed Pakistan and China. While the Chinese, at least at the present moment, seem more interested in growing their economy through trade than in military expansion that could change in a very short time. Pakistan is walking a very thin tightrope over the pit of full blown Islamofascism and it would take very, very little to cause it to fall in.

Nuclear India provides a check against both of those potentially dangerous forces and should be encouraged.