New Delhi, June 9: It was in 2005 when then US President George W Bush and Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh first announced the need to enter into a nuclear agreement. Three years later, India and US signed the 123 Agreement, also known as the US–India Civil Nuclear Agreement or Indo-US nuclear deal, beginning a new strategic partnership between the world’s largest and oldest democracies. Bharatiya Janata Party, while sitting in opposition, chose to oppose the deal. Also Read - Wear Masks, Maintain Social Distancing: Modi in Message to Bengal For Durga Puja Festivities | Highlights
Interestingly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing US Congress praised the Indo-US nuclear deal terming it the centerpiece of a new strategic partnership between India and US. Thanks to the Indo-US deal, Modi received strong backing by the US on membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group and membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime. (ALSO READ: Narendra Modi thanks Mexico for supporting India’s NSG membership bid) Also Read - Give Concrete Solutions, Not Plain Speeches: Congress Slams PM Modi Over His Address to Nation
Since beginning the Indo-US nuclear deal was all about liberating India from the restrictions enforced by the global powers on nuclear energy. US came forward to help India in order to keep China at bay. The motive of the US government behind the deal was to create a strategic counterweight to China in the Asia-Pacific region. Also Read - Anticipating Backlash, BJP Turns Off 'Dislike' Button on YouTube Channel Amid PM Modi's Address to The Nation
The world’s four major technology control regimes are the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, the Missile Control Technology Regime, the Australian Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement. US understood that India cannot become a strategic counterweight to China if it continues to remain under restriction enforced by the technology control regimes. Manmohan Singh-led government took the golden opportunity and signed Indo-US nuclear deal that released India from technology denial.
The Indo-US nuclear deal opened the gate for India to walk down the path to membership of the four major technology control regimes. However the Manmohan Singh led government could not complete the procedure of the membership following financial crisis in 2008, but it successfully laid the foundation of it.
Now the responsibility of getting membership of major technology control regimes falls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With MTCR membership in bag, China stands only hurdle between India and NSG membership. After MTCR and NSG, Modi will have to take further step and get membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.
While celebrating positive progress on NSG and MTCR, PM Modi must acknowledge the role of his predecessor Manmohan Singh, who even put Congress government at risk, for making the deal a possibility. Manmohan Singh had agreed to go through ‘vote of confidence’ in the Parliament to strengthen India’s forthcoming diplomatic achievements. This is why, the Modi government owes the progress of Indo-US nuclear relations to the Manmohan Singh government.