South Asia and Beyond

‘The Aim Of The Nuclear Deal Was Strategic, To Transform India-US Relations’

NEW DELHI: July 18, 2005, marks a turning point in India-US ties: on this day the joint vision statement setting out the future of the bilateral relationship was issued. It was long and detailed pinpointing areas of focus that ranged from economic development to high technology and space. Buried below was a paragraph where “the President (George Bush) told the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) that he will work to achieve full civil nuclear cooperation with India … would also seek agreement from US Congress to adjust laws and policies … to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India.” In this exclusive chat, Shivshankar Menon former national security adviser and foreign secretary, tells StratNews Global that the deal showed the giant leap both countries were prepared to take, to close the door on a less than friendly past and forge a new partnership. Menon says the US may have been thinking of India as a potential counter to China, but it may not have been the primary goal as Washington and Beijing enjoyed excellent relations at that time. The effort was to change the India-US narrative. So President Bush did not insist on India buying American made nuclear reactors. There’s more in this exclusive chat.

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Surya Gangadharan

Thirty eight years in journalism, widely travelled, history buff with a preference for Old Monk Rum. Current interest/focus spans China, Technology and Trade. Recent reads: Steven Colls Directorate S and Alexander Frater's Chasing the Monsoon. Netflix/Prime video junkie. Loves animal videos on Facebook. Reluctant tweeter.