Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Sensible Vote

Via Indian Express, India votes to refer Iran’s nukes to UNSC. This is quite a revolutionary moment in our foreign policy, because we broke here from Russia (and China) -- both abstained.

We've previously supported such a vote by joining Nitin's excellent analysis.

Now that the vote is over and done, we'd like to make one observation.

There's been much fear expressed in Indian circles that if India had abstained (or even voted to deny referral), our emerging strategic partnership with America would have been derailed. We simply do not believe this.

The logic for our partnership anticipates disagreements and surely no sensible analyst has calculated that India would turn into an American lackey. Indeed, a lockstep Indian servility to America would undermine our great power status and credibility -- both key to advancing mutual interests in the new century.

India can better represent the community of global democracies in Asia (where a dictator dragon looms large) and in the developing world (where India is a credible role model) if it is seen to act as a standalone power -- with sufficient clout to part ways even with America.

Let's not ever sell India short by succumbing (Pakistan-like) to the routine rough-and-tumble of aggressive negotiation. Americans are far too smart to not negotiate this way, and to walk away from a millennial partnership over a symbolic vote that, per Stratfor, amounts to nothing more than an angry letter addressed to Iran.

In closing, now that the vote is done, we reiterate our calls that Indian-Americans Should Quit Supporting Tom Lantos and that Natwar Singh Should Resign.

5 comments:

Jaffna said...

Excellent opinion piece. I agree fully.

India made the correct decision given recent Iranian threats to share nuclear technology with other states in the Islamic world. The Iranian threat was irresponsible. There are no institutional safeguards for nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East.

India had to vote the way it did as a responsible nuclear power and hopefully as a core member of the emerging international coalition on nuclear non-proliferation.

This said, India did bail Iran out this time by convincingly arguing that an immediate referral to the UN be postponed. I hope that the plans of the Indian Oil Corporation to invest US$ 1 billion and co-finance the development of Iran's largest natural gas fields continue and that plans for the 1,700 mile gas pipeline between Iran and India are finalized, once the nuclear dust settles next year.

Primary Red said...

Jaffna:

Thanks a ton! Welcome to this forum.

Best regards.

Laks said...

Hi PR:

Right on. Apparently, Lantos's silly outburst against Nutwar did not have any effect. When more serious Indiaphile like Ackermann who convinced South Block to go with them this time.

Nevertheless, I agree that Indo-US agreements will resist a disagreement here and there.

Jaffna said...

Hi Primary Red,

Let me add another two cents worth of commentary.

Sinopec of China had signed a US$ 70 billion deal to buy crude oil and LNG from Iran over a thirty year period. Yet Iran's options to export LNG are limited. The costs of a gas pipeline from Iran to China are prohibitive given the geographic terrain. Iran could route a gas pipeline to European markets through Turkey. But Turkey drives a rough bargain to resell the LNG as "its produce". That leaves the proposed 1,700 mile gas pipeline with India as Iran's best option. India has done right to balance its international responsibilities and economic interest. Way to go!

libertarian said...

Jaffna,

Interesting data and analysis on Sinopec. Quite an eye-opener.

Looks like the Indian government is finally getting comfortable with it's larger footprint. Friedman mentioned that the babus in Delhi (as opposed to the techies in Bangalore) are slow to figure out that they "have the power" and should be using it.

PR, agree that Nutwar needs to go - looks unlikely though ...

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