President Barack Obama’s second visit to India as President seems to have galvanised the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, the framework for which was signed nine and a half years ago in July 2005. So when prime minister Narendra Modi announced that the two countries were proceeding towards commercialisation of the deal, it is evident that a final page has been decisively turned with the policy hurdles having been cleared. Later it was clarified that the liability issue is now a thing of the past and that an agreement has been reached on the administrative arrangements for implementing the nuclear agreement. The prime minister also announced that the US president had assured him of unstinted support for India’s entry into the Nuclear Supplier Group, the Missile Control Technology Regime as well as the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangements. All this doubtless will not happen overnight, and as Obama pointed out helpfully that much is needed in terms of patience and perseverance. The two leaders have brought considerable energies to bear to bring this to fruition,
Perseverance has characterstised too the way our relationship has shaped in the defence field. Picture the uproar when the Defence Framework Agreement was signed ten years ago. The agreement has been renewed for a further decade with far-reaching features that include pathfinder provisions for joint development and production and an exploratory venture on jet engines as well.
However, as with any agreement, we should welcome the outcome with caution for we know agreements have to be translated into reality. There could be slips between the expectation and the eventuality. Though Modi has stressed that there has to be a single unified global strategy to stamp out terror everywhere, we have to see how the US goads our neighbour towards the right path on this. The US must now take advantage and lead the world not only in the fight against terror but also against hunger and poverty. The ball is now in Obama’s court.