It seems that contrary to all the worried reporting in the US and Indian media about the US Congress blocking or atleast delaying the India-US nuclear deal, the nuclear deal will be signed and sealed by August end. Yesterday, the House panel referred the bill, with some ammendments and with an overwhelming majority of 35-7, to the full house with a 60 day deadline to pass. Today a similar senate panel will perhaps do the needful.
So people in India are celebrating. Just imagine that! We are celebrating the stages of passing of a bill in the US legistlature as if we have achieved a major victory. Ofcourse the NRIs launched a big campaign along with the business class. But it does seem absurd the way the indian mainstream media like the TOI and HT are cooing over the bill like a protective hen over its egg.
Ofcourse the deal has lots of benefits for india. First of all, there is the importance of diversifying our energy resource, our shortage of uranium and need to have the advanced technology in nuclear power. But it has almost become like an ego match for many back home. As if the failure of the deal to pass, would mean a loss of face to India and Indians and it will affect our international status.
I think it is this complex which has been played out by the US side. It is as if the US executive and the legistlature were playing the good cop and the bad cop game. The US executive assures the Indian government that it is doing all that it can to convince the highly suspicious legistlature and in the process both trying to extract more concessions from the Indian side.
I think the Indian media has been thoroughly taken in by this and most of the reporting was following this faithfully. The pronounciation of any senator on the deal was faithfully reported by the press and analyzed wether he supports us or opposes us. The nuclear non-proliferation lobby is painted as the devil in most case as they are trying to scuttle the deal. But I think the lobby had to do what it had to do. For contrary to what the governments say, this deal is another setback for the non-proliferation. But it is no more than the continued possesion of nuclear weapons by the recognized nuclear powers.
Even the Indian government should have tried to reach out to the non-proliferation lobby and explain the rationale for the deal. It would not get their support but it might help it in the future efforts to get rid of the nuclear weapons.
Overall, the passage of the bill seems to be in the interest of both the parties though it might not be in the interest of others like Pakistan and China. India has to factor in the reaction of these countries to the deal in the future calculations.
PS: The senate commitee to has passed the bill and now the only thing needed to wreck it is another IAEA vote on Iran.