Friday, February 24, 2006

Here's to a productive friendship..

The U.S. scored big in this deal:
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India and the United States have made progress toward a landmark nuclear deal, an Indian statement said on Friday, days before President George W. Bush visits New Delhi to cement a new friendship between both nations.

The deal, first agreed to in principle last July, aims to give India access to long-denied U.S. nuclear equipment and fuel to meet its soaring energy needs.

But it had run into trouble with the U.S. insisting that a plan to separate India's civilian and military nuclear programmes, on which the deal hinges, must be credible and transparent to prevent proliferation.

"The two sides had detailed and productive discussions. There was greater clarity on the issues under discussion. Progress has been made in the talks," a statement from the Indian Foreign Ministry said.

There was no comment from U.S. officials after two days of talks between Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran.

But a U.S. source told Reuters that the talks had gone well and any likely announcement would be left for Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh next week.

When Burns was asked ahead of Friday's talks whether the two sides could resolve the tangle before Bush arrives next week, he said: "President Bush and Prime Minister Singh have really given a clear signal, they both want to have this agreement done."

This is big. An alliance with India is sorely needed as a hedge against total Chicom influence in the southeast Asian sphere. Jeff, as usual, does a flawless analysis of the U.S.'s realization that, despite our highest aspirations, China is hopelessly becoming a grizzly bear, not a panda bear in its pursuit of world dominance. Bringing on board the second most populous nation, both regionally and geopolitically, can only serve to help us breathe a little easier.

(Filed under world affairs)