The Battle for India (Robert T. McLean, 8/28/2006, American Spectator)
The Bush Administration inherited few initiatives that Washington could build on, but the president has taken advantage of some inherent qualities that both the United States and India possess and some burdens that each must address.
The United States and India are both longstanding democracies that happen to be fighting Islamic fanaticism and facing the prospect of China’s uncertain intentions that accompany its ever-expanding regional and global influence. Despite an increase in economic cooperation between Beijing and New Delhi — according to some analysts, China should become India’s largest trading partner next year — geographic and historical factors continue to contribute to mutual suspicion. Less than helpful in this situation has been the strengthening of the traditional alliance between Beijing and Islamabad. Compounding this problem is China’s construction at the Port of Gwadar in Pakistan, which essentially gives Beijing a naval presence on both sides of the Indian subcontinent.
Fortunately, a majority in Congress understand the implications of nuclear cooperation between the United States and India. On July 26, the House of Representatives passed the United States and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act of 2006 recognizing India as a nuclear weapons state. The Senate is expected to pass its own version of the bill next month, but it is imperative that excessive additional conditions are not placed on New Delhi as such an alteration of the original text of the agreement could jeopardize the entire bilateral strategic partnership. Although ties are consistently improving between Washington and New Delhi, setbacks this fall could push the Indians to conclude that the politically homogenous governments in Beijing and Moscow are more reliable partners than the politically tempestuous United States.
However, in the end it most likely that the nuclear agreement will become law and President Bush and Prime Minister Singh will continue to strengthen their relationship. While New Delhi has yet to sign on to the Proliferation Security Initiative, the biennial American led RIMPAC naval exercises held this summer included India as an observer nation for the first time. India’s desires to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council should also play to Washington’s advantage. While this is unlikely to occur in the near future, the United States could highlight the actual roadblocks in this effort as both China and Russia strongly oppose Japan’s — who along with Germany and Brazil would likely have to accompany India in any addition — request to be admitted as a permanent member.
Japan and Germany should be denied seats for the same reason they should be taken from France, Russia and China–all are dying states. China is, additionally, not a democracy and no non-democracy should have a seat. Let each continent (other than Antarctica) have one, with India getting Asia’s and Brazil getting South America’s. Africa presents the only tough call at that point. Unfortunately, Botswana is too small.