After an initial mini roundup, we now present more press editorials and op-ed pieces on the Indo-US relations in general and President Bush’s visit in particular:The New York Sun has an historical take on President Bush’s visit when India is rediscovering its rich entrepreneurial roots advocated by Vallabhai Patel only to be stiffled by a socialist-minded Nehru. The New York Times chides President Bush to have ignored larger issues like poverty eradication and sustainable energy development and instead excessively concentrate on “a nuclear deal that shouldn't have been initiated to begin with”. It then demands the U.S. Congress to reject the deal should it be presented for ratification. The New York Newsday cheerfully praises the new U.S. ties with India as “most important relationships of the 21st century” and concluding, “As a pragmatic compromise the nuclear agreement has merit, especially if it becomes the basis on which to build closer ties with Asia's emerging geopolitical giant”.
The Los Angeles Times has a guarded response to the nuclear deal saying ‘the price is too high’. Its opposition to the deal is rooted in the fear that similar demands will be made by other states like Iran or North Korea. The San Francisco Chronicle credits President Bush for ‘tightly weaving India’s future’ with America’s own but expresses sceptism if he can bring back a deal acceptable to the U.S. Congress. The Baltimore Sun in an editorial dubs the President’s visit as an ‘important turning point’ to the Indo-US relations. It further argues that a ‘no deal’ at this point should not stop the two countries from further pursuing ‘big strides’ towards even closer relations.Daniel Sneider writing for the San Jose Mercury News while welcoming the Presidential visit also cautions against falling into three ‘pitfalls’. First, India may not be willing to play the role of a bulwark against an ascending China. Second, Mr. Sneider while welcoming a ‘reasonable’ form of the July 18 nuclear deal, also warns on the resistance the Prime Minister might face from Indian political parties. Third - while the growing Indian economy provides immense opportunities for the U.S., it can equally also present ‘competitive challenges’. Jim Hoagland of the Washington Post opines that the nuclear agreement is a ‘creative’ diplomatic effort as part of the “Rice Doctrine” through a “realistic reshaping of the global non-proliferation rules” to help India which has been ‘scrupulously’ adhering to non-proliferation principles. David Ignatius again of the Washington Post acknowledging the need for nuclear power for a vast country like India also categorically rules out any comparison with Iran wanting to imitate India’s nuclear deal since “The same rules don't apply to both; one has shown that it is benign and the other behaves like a global outlaw”.
The Financial Times UK, while calling the nuclear deal as ‘bold’ and giving solid arguments in its favor (India’s good non-proliferation record in contrast to Pakistan’s ‘nuclear Wal-Mart’, environmental reasons and the ‘China’ factor) nevertheless calls for a more ‘credible’ separation plan from India rather than hurriedly accept a ‘watered-down’ version of the deal. Finally, The Times UK in an editorial states that India should respond positively to the fact that “America’s ties with Pakistan are no longer a hindrance to the strategic partnership with Delhi that the Bush Administration seeks”. It further points that while India has big strides to make in developing infrastructure and boosting investment in primary education, an open society with free speech and strong political and business institutions will be on its side on the path towards its rapid emergence.
Cross-posted in Desicritics.org.