U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue Yields More Than Just Six US Nuclear Plants for India

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PKONWEB Report (Washington/Islamabad) — The United States has committed to establishing six nuclear power plants in India as part of its strategic security, defense and civil nuclear cooperation.

A joint statement released by the two Governments on the occasion of the 9th round of U.S.-India Strategic Security Dialogue in US capital said they “committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six U.S. nuclear power plants in India.”

It gave no further details of the nuclear plant deal.

The two countries have been discussing the supply of US nuclear reactors to India, the world’s third-biggest buyer of oil, for more than a decade.

But a long-standing obstacle has been the need to bring Indian liability rules in line with international norms, which require the costs of any accident to be shouldered by the operator rather than the maker of a nuclear power station.

The statement also said, “The United States reaffirmed its strong support of India’s early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”

China has meanwhile emerged in the support of Pakistan–India’s rival to its west, claiming that it will not approve the membership of India in NSG until or unless Pakistan is not made a member.

India and Pakistan both seek to be a part of this group and both the nuclear armed countries have applied for its membership. Though it is against the terms and conditions of the NSG to give membership to countries that are not the part of NPT (both India and Pakistan are not).

NSG is a multilateral export control regime.It is a set of nuclear supplier countries that look forward to preventing nuclear proliferation.It contains 45 countries including nuclear power states and other NPT states, that have came together on one table with the pledge to control the export of nuclear materials, equipment and technology that can be employed to manufacture nuclear weapons. The members of the NSG are the countries that are also part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT.

The NSG was founded as a result of Indian nuclear testing in May 1974 with its first official meeting held in November 1975 seeing the need for further limitations to be set upon the export of nuclear weaponry.

The joint statement indicates the two have taken a step further in their “strategic partnership”–once used to characterize “US-Pakistan” alliance in the region during the Cold War.

The two new defense and security partner in their joint statement says they’ll work together to deny access to weapons of mass destruction by terrorists and non-state actors.

“The two sides exchanged views on a wide range of global security and nonproliferation challenges and reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.”

“Terrorists” and “non-state actors” are phrases oft repeated in South Asia region’s context where Kashmiris struggle for self-determination continues unabated north of India’s hinterland, and the Afghan Taliban continue to demonstrate their resistance militarily against the West’s presence in Afghanistan for the last 17 years.

While the Taliban are no longer considered bad guys—the US-Taliban talks in Doha are reportedly moving in the positive direction, the Kashmiris struggle keeps getting dubbed as a growing hum drum influenced by “terrorists” and “non-state actors” from across the border (Pakistan) and local militants trying to destabilize the pristine occupied Himalayan Valley.

Some observers say this latest dialogue between the US and India could influence solutions to the festering India-Pakistan dispute on Kashmir–from global players standpoint.

The US has in the meanwhile stepped up its efforts to become numero uno in arms export to India, which has emerged as world’s largest defense importer. Presently Russia tops the list in arms export to India, followed by US and Israel.

“There are more takeaways this time than just six nuclear plants,” said one observer.

Earlier, on March 12, the third round of the U.S.-India Space Dialogue was held, where they discussed trends in space threats, respective national space priorities, and opportunities for cooperation bilaterally and in multilateral fora.

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