While in India, President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed an important agreement relating to nuclear power. The deal would give US help in expanding India’s civilian nuclear program, and separate that program from India’s military nuclear program.
One of the problems we face is that production of fossil fuels may be at or near its peak. Once “peak oil” hits the rules of supply and demand will jack fuel costs through the roof. Because India’s economy and population are both expanding at high rates, India’s fuel needs are only going to get bigger. Something needs to be done to offset the massive growth in India and reduce the overall need for fossil fuels. Nuclear power is the only proven technology that can generate that kind of electrical output to keep the lights on from Goa to Hyderabad.
India is the world’s largest democracy, a nuclear power, and an increasingly key ally in an increasingly difficult area of the world. It is crucial that the US and India have strong ties, and President Bush should do what he can to encourage positive relations with India. This nuclear program is a positive first step towards closer relations and energy independence for both countries. Indian technology advances can help advance our own domestic nuclear programs as well, and India has far fewer barriers to research than we do.
India has the potential to do what China’s authoritarian political system cannot – be both prosperous and free. Closer relations with India will be critical in America’s future, and President Bush’s visit appears to have been a diplomatic success. It is now up to Congress and the Indian Parliament to approve this treaty, and both of them should approve it as soon as possible.