The US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement: A Look Back
Back in 2005, the United States and India signed a groundbreaking agreement for civil nuclear cooperation, which allowed for the transfer of nuclear technology and materials from the US to India. The deal was hailed as a major accomplishment by both countries, but it was not without controversy.
At the heart of the agreement was India’s desire to expand its nuclear power capabilities. In particular, the country was looking to tap into the benefits of nuclear energy to meet its growing demand for electricity. However, India’s nuclear program had been largely isolated from the rest of the world since it conducted its first nuclear test back in 1974.
This changed in 2005, when US President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement. The deal was seen as a major shift in US policy towards India, as it lifted a decades-long ban on nuclear trade with the country.
Under the agreement, the US agreed to help India build as many as six nuclear reactors. In return, India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear programs. This meant that India’s civilian nuclear facilities would be subject to international inspection, while it maintained its military nuclear program outside of this framework.
The US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement was not without controversy, however. Critics argued that the deal would undermine international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, as India has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is not bound by international safeguards.
Despite these concerns, the deal was finalized in 2008, and the first US-built nuclear reactor in India began commercial operation in 2016. The agreement has been credited with helping to strengthen ties between the US and India, and has opened up new opportunities for cooperation in areas ranging from energy security to defense.
Looking back on the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, it is clear that it was a landmark moment in the history of US-India relations. While the agreement was not without controversy, it has helped to facilitate greater cooperation between the two countries and has paved the way for new opportunities in the years to come.