August 23, 2007

ALREADY ENGAGED, NOW TO MAKE THE UNION LEGAL:

A Bump in India-U.S. Rapport: Defining ‘Ally’ (SOMINI SENGUPTA, August 23, 2007, NY Times)

The hullabaloo here contrasts sharply with the criticism that President Bush has faced at home from members of Congress, who accuse him of yielding too much to Indian demands, particularly on its right to test atomic weapons. Such a broad exception, critics say, stands to weaken international nonproliferation norms.

The Indian government, and supporters of the deal more broadly, contend that Indians ought not to fret about American domination. “The engagement with America is already complete,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, whose company, Bharti Enterprises, has entered into a partnership that allows Wal-Mart into the Indian market. “Wal-Mart is here. Indian companies are making acquisitions there.”

Mr. Mittal, who is also president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, said the nuclear accord would be a touchstone of far broader cooperation between the countries in everything from pharmaceuticals to agriculture. “If America and India are really seen as allies, as great partners in progress, you will see trade multiply,” he said.

Beyond the talk of shared values, good will for Americans, their culture, even their government prevails among many Indians. Indians make up the largest number of foreign students in the United States, and they get the largest number of work visas to the United States, according to the American Embassy here. Last year, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that 56 percent of Indians surveyed had a favorable view of the United States, second only to Japanese’s view.

Prem Shankar Jha, a magazine columnist who has written in favor of the nuclear deal, said part of the good will came because, “by the grace of God, we never became your allies in past, we never got a chance to be let down.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 23, 2007 3:12 PM
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