Many of the themes in the joint statement issued at the end of the Iranian President’s visit hark back to a decade and a half when meaningful engagement between India and Iran had ceased.
“The Nuclear Posture Review has not been completed and will ultimately be reviewed and approved by the President and the Secretary of Defence,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
By roping India and Japan into its standoff with China, the US is raising the nuclear stakes in Asia – including, dangerously, between India and Pakistan.
Bandwagoning with the US cannot be a substitute for a working foreign policy in our own region and near abroad.
A plenary meeting of the elite nuclear club in June failed to take a decision on India’s application for its membership, but decided to discuss in November the issue of entry of non-NPT signatories.
India’s challenge to China is about nuclear status – the relationship that each country has to the key institutions and central players of the global non-proliferation order.
This is the first multilateral negotiation on nuclear weapons since the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was adopted in 1996.
There has been much speculation that India might be reconsidering its no first use strategy, but such talk has found few takers in the government. For India, the only true purpose of nuclear weapons are as deterrents.
UN member states are keen to see a nuclear weapons-free world, but the new US president may have other plans.
At stake is the eventual legal status of weapons that are activated without direct human intervention.
There are several points still up for discussion before the India-Japan nuclear accord becomes a reality, including Japanese apprehensions on India misusing nuclear technology.
Barack Obama is seeking to boost his legacy, but his plan will see some resistance from the Republicans. India, meanwhile, has chosen not to frame a position until the draft resolution is on the table.
By arming countries in China’s periphery, India could undermine the security system Beijing has so ruthlessly installed to further its goal of domination.
While a reactor going critical is good news for the power-starved states in south India, the history of the first unit suggests there could be speed bumps on the road ahead.
Apart from telling the Nuclear Suppliers Group about its nonproliferation record, India also outlined the additional measures it had taken beyond what the group requires.
Far from being geopolitically savvy, India has displayed petulance and a sense of entitlement in its attitude towards NSG membership.
China successfully stared down the US in Seoul while trying to control the nuclear order – once an American playing field where Washington set the rules.
But it is clear that several other members of the NSG helped play spoiler in the Indian quest for membership.