Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

India to counterbalance China

By Aussiegirl

India is being groomed as a counterbalance to China. Good move -- also an important nuclear ally in the event that Pakistan falls into unfriendly hands.

US plans to broaden India's access to nuclear technology, announced this week during an enthusiastic visit to Washington by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have their roots in designs from the earliest days of the Bush administration to build India's stature as a counterbalance to a rising and problematic China.

The proposed extension of nuclear access to what the White House likes to call "the world's largest democracy" raises questions about potential impact on other countries with nuclear ambitions and designs for international status. That is especially true as the announcement comes just days before the European Union is to return to negotiations with Iran to end its nuclear-weapons programs and six-party talks are to take up again in Beijing on North Korea's nuclear program.

But perhaps the greatest significance of the plan is what it says about 21st- century geopolitics and in particular about a Bush administration vision for dealing with China, some analysts say.

"The crux of this announcement is what it tells us about the US grand strategy, and that behind whatever else is going on here the US is preparing for a grand conflict with China and constructing an anti-China coalition," says Joseph Cirincione, head of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "In that scenario, India is even more valuable as a nuclear power, rather than as a nonnuclear country."

The White House plan, which would allow India broader access to international technology for its nuclear power industry in exchange for India granting some access to international inspections, still faces high hurdles: Opposition is expected to be strong both in the US Congress and among other nuclear powers who along with the US would have some say.

In the view of some specialists, the plan would certainly erode and perhaps mean the scrapping of decades of international nonproliferation effort in favor of an ad hoc, case-by-case approach that rewards certain countries while punishing others. "This is a plan that chooses good guys and bad guys, and says that what matters is power politics and not nonproliferation. . .


At 8:59 AM, Blogger Billy D said...

I don't know. Do you trust India enough to do that? I mean, obviously Pakistan will never be a true ally to the US, but India, I'm not real sure on. What's your personal opinion on this?

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

Billy D -- we have little choice -- India is going to be an important power in the future, with its enormous population, it's nuclear power, its growing economic clout and participation. In the long run India will have to be carefully wooed by the U.S. even though India is seeking close ties with China as well as Iran because of its energy needs. But ultimately, because India can be a counterweight not only to China but to a nuclear Pakistan and a bulwark against muslim threat in that part of Asia, it can not be ignored. On the plus side is that India is a modern democracy, it is English speaking, and ironically has benefitted enormously from the colonial influence of England, which left it a legacy of democracy and legal structure.

The future alignments of the world are going to be far different than the ones we were used to in the 20th century -- with Asia becoming a powerful part of the globe which can't be overlooked.

At 9:52 PM, Blogger BonnieBlueFlag said...

Fortunately, India is about 80% Hindu, with only approximately 12-13% Muslims. Plus, a good many of the Indian professionals have been educated in America, and have been exposed to American democracy.

Recently many of the Indians who have been living and working here for a number of years, have decided that with the economic changes in present day India, they would go back home.

I feel that they have received their education, at the cost of our own young people not getting that same education.
The medical schools were filled with Indian students that were preferred by the schools, because of the financial gains in federal payments for taking foreign students.

And now they will be taking those skills (medical and technical) out of the United States.

On the other hand, hopefully, their American education and experience, will make them a good partner for the United States on the world stage.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

I have concerns about creating another superpower. There are good things and bad things about India, and I don`t think we will be able to predict which direction India will go. Certainly, India was less than friendly to the United States during the Cold
War years. Also, that sizable Moslem population is cause for concern.

As you say, Aussiegirl, India is going to emerge as a great power. We should do everything in our power to steer them into our camp, and away from China. The Chinese ultimately threaten both our nations.


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