Random Thoughts

Indian Pundits and The Indo-American Nuclear Pact

Once again the Indian pundits revealed their shallow thinking and emotional euphoria after the trumpeting of the nuclear pact signed during the Manmohan visit to America.

Such foolish optimism reminds one of the story of Sheikh chilley who after many days of starvation received an assignment of transporting a load of "gud" by carrying it on his head. He started dreaming of a regular contract to be the sole carrier of the merchant and eventually employing others to do the coolie work. After amassing capital he planned on buying a handcart and eventually a fleet of them. He dreamt that he would own a fleet of trucks and set his own price for transport by saying no to the merchants by shaking his head. In his daydream he shook his head vigorously and dropped the "gud" on the road where it broke into myriad fragments and scattered all over. He lost his load and wage and had to reimburse the merchant for damages, thus adding to his poverty.

The other story that succinctly summarizes the expertise and depth perception of Indian pundits is that of two hausfraus on their daily trip to the communal well to fetch water. In the male dominated ancient Indian society they had melded their ego with those of their husbands, as even today in Indian social gatherings the isolated women brag about their husbands' salary or position. The first one boasted that her husband was so knowledgeable that what he wrote, no one else could understand. The second one not to be outdone then bragged that her husband was even smarter as what he wrote even he himself could not understand. That summarizes most of the commentaries on the nuclear pact.

I am going to rush in where angels may fear to tread and bring some facts and objectives to the Indo-American relationship instead of pontificating gibberish as many so-called think tank sites and authors do.

America has three major fears.

  1. It does not want other states or terrorists to have nuclear weapons or delivery systems.

  2. It does not want an independent foreign, economic or military policy from Japan or the EU and hopes to achieve that by overwhelming military strength and a stranglehold on their energy supply.

  3. It wishes to contain China, the only emerging future adversary and does not wish to risk human casualties that its population will not tolerate.

Thus the plan is to use India as a surrogate power to counter Chinese conventional military might. The nuclear pact is to offer India an alternative source of needed energy and wean it from dependency on Iran. There is however a more important unmentioned objective and that is to restrict the stockpiles of HEU and Plutonium and thus eliminate India from the list of independent deterrent status to a dependency on the US nuclear umbrella. Thus it has dangled a carrot in front of the donkey while riding it. The Indian donkey (pundits) do not realize as they rush forwards to grab the carrot that it is destined to move forward with them and be perpetually beyond reach. This is what the Senate ratification clause of the American Constitution allows the administration to do. Similar strategy has been used with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, SALT and others with the Soviet Union and the present Russia.

There will be added demands for US acceptable separation of Indian civilian and military nuclear facilities even before the treaty is submitted for ratification to the US Senate. Ceilings will be demanded directly or indirectly on the production and stockpiling of fissile material and the Proliferation Security Initiative, NPT, Missile Technology Control Regime and the Nuclear Suppliers Group will be used to prevent India from being like the five acknowledged nuclear powers without any restraints, and preventing other states from acquiring nuclear weapons or delivery systems.

It would be prudent for India not build up false hopes and work within the confines of American desires by abandoning the nuclear treaty eventually without rancor, and obtaining the conventional military technologies like the new Raytheon radar, P3 Orions, Harpoon missiles and even Super-Hornets if there is a total transfer of technology.


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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