Nuclear deal with US finest example of India’s foreign policy success, say former foreign secretaries Shyam Saran, S Jaishankar

nuclear deal
nuclear deal

New Delhi, Aug 10: India and the US have not done much nuclear business even a decade after the 2008 civil atomic deal was signed. Yet, the real foreign policy goals, including India getting a global nuclear waiver and leveraging a great power to get ahead, have been achieved, say former foreign secretaries Shyam Saran and S. Jaishankar who played pivotal roles in negotiating the historic agreement.

Saran, who later became Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s special envoy and Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board, while recognising the advantages of the the watershed moment in the diplomatic history of the two democracies, also admitted that no new nuclear power plants could be established in India post the signing of the agreement. He attributed it mostly to the problems of the liability insurance and the change in public perception after Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

He said a partnership with the US was “very important” for India’s economic and security policies. And the nuclear deal accelerated the transformation of the relationship between the two countries. Nuclear power plants, which were earlier running at one-third capacity, were now operating at twice that operating capacity. He said India was no more a “target” of the non-proliferation lobby and “there is a stake in India’s strength and success which was previously too ambiguous.”

Jaishankar, who is now on the board of Tata Sons, said there cannot be a sharper example of radical initiative in foreign policy than India’s nuclear deal with the US that involved overcoming several layers and hurdles in the US bureaucracy and legislative circles. He said that the signing of the nuclear deal, a process and not an event, was to reverse the effects of “three strategic errors” of the past – the 1947 partition, delay in liberalization of economy and the nuclear diffidence. (IANS)