India, US sign pact to become strategic allies
(IANS) India and the US, the world's largest democracies, have established a path-breaking accord that seeks to recognise New Delhi as a nuclear power and makes it a strategic ally of Washington.
Finally burying the lingering suspicions of the Cold War, the US late Monday acknowledged India as a favoured recipient of high technology for civil nuclear purposes, space and even "dual uses".
The new friendship, reflected in a seminal India-US joint statement released after intense talks between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House, is all encompassing in its sweep.
The statement said the two countries had established a global partnership to forge a new relationship that would promote stability, democracy, prosperity and peace throughout the world.
The most striking feature of the agreement is the de facto US recognition of India as a nuclear weapon power that would enjoy "benefits and advantages" of a nuclear power. In the process, Washington would have to change its laws and policies and adjust international regimes to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with New Delhi.
In the process, India will become eligible for supply of critical nuclear fuel under a highly strategic bilateral agreement for its nuclear reactors at Tarapur, a US-built facility near Mumbai. Washington stopped supplying low-enriched uranium after it signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1974.
This is the first time a president of the United States had promised he would work to remove restrictive regimes against India to enable the country to enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other nuclear weapon state.