New U.S. Alliance With India Forges Key Strategic Relationship

When President George W. Bush signs into law the “Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006” expected to pass Congress overwhelmingly, he will pave the way for arguably the most important strategic relationship the U.S. will establish for many years to come.

The accord, under which the U.S. would ship nuclear technology for civilian use to India in exchange for safeguards and inspections at nuclear power plants, removes a long-standing source of tension between Washington and New Delhi and solidifies a partnership that will promote global peace and stability.

A robust U.S. relationship with India — a vibrant democracy with a rapidly growing economy — will provide a stabilizing influence in Asia and help the U.S. meet global challenges like counterterrorism, nuclear nonproliferation and HIV/AIDS.

Arriving at this point was no easy task. The Bush administration and Congress spent an enormous amount of time and energy pursuing and refining this controversial initiative over the last 18 months. Even before the deal was announced on July 18, 2005, U.S. policymakers, congressional staffers and academics battled over the issue. Nonproliferation experts were generally concerned about breaking the norms of the current nonproliferation regime, while regional experts saw a need to bring India into the nonproliferation mainstream and to cement the strategic relationship.

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