Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Nuclear deal and the Hyde Act: Burns clarifies

One of the more asinine assertions in the nuclear debate has been that India is not bound by the Hyde Act because it only a "domestic legislation" in the US. This assertion has been made despite categorical statements to the contrary from US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

Nicholas Burns, who was the chief negotiator on the US side, emphasises this point in a story reported in

Burns said, "When this agreement was negotiated, it was fully consistent with the provisions of the Hyde Act. So we have the right to terminate it if India tests." But he said it was highly unlikely that India would conduct a nuclear test.

He also added, "No aspect of this deal recognises India as a nuclear weapons state."
I also do not buy the argument that this only a deal about nuclear energy. I am inclined to believe the deal is more about a strategic partnership with the US. It will give us access to dual-use technologies and it makes us an ally of the US at a time when China is on the rise and there are serious threats to Indian security arising from the Pakistan- Afghanistan neighbourhood as well as unfolding developments in Nepal, Burma and Sri Lanka.


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