US now sees India as partner not a target: US scholar

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : The US moves this week lifting export controls on Indian defence and space organisations indicate how much the US view has changed about India and its strategic weapons capabilities, says a US expert.

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President Barack Obama’s nod to India’s membership in the four major international non-proliferation groupings – Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar, and the Australia Group – only underscores that the US no longer seeks to isolate or punish India over its nuclear status, writes Lisa Curtis.

Instead it is trying to find new ways to cooperate with New Delhi in stemming global non-proliferation, notes Curtis senior research fellow for South Asia at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank.

Obama’s decision to support India’s membership in the non-proliferation groupings was attributed in part to a Track II effort led by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, she said.

Continuing to improve its export control processes and demonstrating a degree of transparency with its strategic weapons programmes would help bolster the case for India’s full membership in the multilateral non-proliferation groupings, Curtis said.

With regard to the US and other international partners, they will need to develop fresh ways of thinking about India’s relationship to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and non-proliferation system that take into account the reality that India is unlikely to join the treaty as a non-weapons state any time in the near future, she said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])