N-deal to spark spinoffs

New Delhi, Dec 30 | Updated: Dec 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
When US President George Bush signed the Henry J Hyde US-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act, it signaled the end of Indias 32-year isolation and the beginning of a new phase of growth. In 2007, say analysts, we will see the ramifications of the deal.

India will first have to initial an accord with the IAEA on safeguards. More crucial, the US will have to convince the Nuclear Suppliers Group to lift restrictions on nuclear trade with India, says G Parthasarathy, foreign policy analyst.

That should not be impossible as the big powers favour the deal but China might want Pakistan to get the same rights, he warns. Much depends on Indias negotiating ability.

C Uday Bhaskar, dy director, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), agrees: The greatest impact will be the removal of US-led denial regimes and the acceptance of India as a nuclear state. Says Air Cmde Jasjit Singh: Indias growing stature as a stabilising influence in Asia has been recognised.

US companies engaged in the nuclear energy business believe that Indias efforts to raise nuclear power production to 60,000 MW by 2030 could yield contracts worth $100 billion.

Parthasarathy adds a note of caution: India should not be in a hurry to import civilian nuclear technology and materials from the US. While Bush has said that provisions on restrictions of transfers are advisory in nature, a Democrat president may think otherwise.

The nuke deal is also expected to pave the way for more such deals on military equipment and technology transfer. That would be the logical extrapolation. The altered perception about India in the US will have its spin-off on all other trade, technology and related economic ties, says Bhaskar.