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Bush's Indian Triumph By: Kalavai Venkat
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, March 23, 2006

G. W. Bush recently concluded a nuclear deal with India which will not just facilitate transfer of civilian N-technology, N-fuel and reactors from the US to India, but will go far beyond. The Indo-US Pact will facilitate increased bilateral trade, knowledge transfer, joint initiatives in the war against terror and deployment of American instruments in India’s space probes.


India and the US are natural allies. Both are pluralistic democracies. Both cherish and preserve religious and cultural diversity. Both are faced with Islamic terrorism and Leftist menace. According to the Pew Global Attitude Survey 2005, 71 percent of Indians had a favorable impression of the US. Only Americans, at 83 percent, had a more favorable view of the US! If we factor in India’s 14 percent Muslim population, as well as Communists, who are largely opposed to the US, then virtually most other Indians are favorable to the US. Americans too have a favorable impression of the Indian immigrants who have been very law-abiding, industrious and strived for excellence. Goodwill between peoples of two nations is the most reliable factor in enduring bilateral relations.


India’s economy is growing at nine percent a year. By 2050, its per capita income would have increased to 35 times its current level. Its growing middle class offers new markets for American products. A relatively young population and higher population densities offer economies of scale that these companies cannot achieve in the US.


As much as the US needs Indian markets, India too needs American investment. India’s infrastructure – airports, roads, telecom network etc, are ill-equipped to handle this level of explosive growth. India’s maniacal obsession with socialism for five decades killed private enterprise. Government attempted to run everything from hospitals to trains. Instead of attempting to increase wealth to feed its large population, socialist politicians attempted to distribute wealth that had not been generated yet.


All of this changed over the last decade when India started to liberalize its economy, and opened up to foreign investment. In the coming years, Indian markets present crucial opportunities for American investment. Higher education is one such opportunity. India’s state-run universities produce some of the best technical professionals in the world, but do not possess any significant R&D infrastructure. American universities can invest in campuses in India that will certainly generate cost-effective patents for corporate America, and bring quality higher education to Indians.


India lacks a credible healthcare system. The quality of available healthcare system ranges from a few world-class hospitals to shockingly ill-equipped government-run hospitals. India’s growing middle-class needs a quality healthcare system that it can hold accountable. This presents an immense long-term opportunity for American health insurance and pharmaceutical companies.


The list can go on. But long-term economic opportunities for India and the US underline the recently concluded India-US Pact. Bush displayed farsightedness and pragmatism in identifying a natural ally in India. While the Leftists attempted to play the spoilsport by attacking Bush for concluding the deal with India, which has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) correctly argues:

"India has an excellent record on non-proliferation and its nuclear weapons program is solely designed as a deterrent, based on India's own legitimate security assessments. India has pledged never to use nuclear weapons first. With China, Pakistan, and North Korea all maintaining nuclear weapons programs, it is unfair to criticize democratic India for taking steps to ensure the safety of its citizens."

True. This deal will require India to separate its civilian and military N-technologies. Fourteen of its 22 reactors will come under the purview of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Access to N-fuel will help India reduce its reliance on fossil fuel. This will spur its growth, and that presents additional opportunities for the US corporate. This will also reduce India’s dependence on the oil-rich Islamic world which became evident when India recently voted against Iran at the IAEA.

India’s Communist and Islamist groups that rioted and protested against Bush during his recently concluded visit of India have been blind to these strategic opportunities for both nations. But then they have never been concerned with society’s well being.

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Kalavai Venkat is an India-born, Silicon Valley-based orthodox, practising, agnostic Hindu.

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