On Jimmy Carter & the “India-US Nuclear Deal”

I have always rather liked Jimmy Carter, who was President of the United States when I first went to Blacksburg from Cambridge in the summer of 1980.  It astonished me, perhaps because I was naiive, to find the depth of animosity against him among my American colleagues.  For example, I remember the late Wilson Schmidt (in one of several kindly gestures towards me until his untimely death) taking me to my first game of College Football — and there singing the Star Spangled Banner with the words “except Carter” added after “home of the brave”.   Of course it was the time of the Iranian hostage crisis which had then seemed to be a debilitating humiliation.


Jimmy Carter will need a good biographer to assess him properly, whether now or in years to come, and he may not get one; objective historians are simply too scarce, especially perhaps in America.  Certainly it was undignified of the Democratic Party not to give him any role whatsoever during the recent Convention appointing Barack Obama.


In the International Herald Tribune of September 11 2008, President Carter has said about the India-USA nuclear deal:


“different interpretations of the same pact can lead only to harsh confrontations if future decisions are made in New Delhi that contravene what has been understood in our country.”



I flatter myself to think he or his research-staff may have perhaps read my August 19 2007 article “Need for Clarity” available here where I said:

“The agreed text of the “treaty” looks, from a legal standpoint, quite sloppily and hurriedly written ~ almost as if each side has cut and paste its own preferred terms in different places with a nod to the other side…. Through the sloppiness comes scope for different interpretations. The Americans have said: try not to test, you don’t need to, we don’t test any more, and you have to know that if you do test, this deal is over, in fact it gets reversed. We have said, okay, we won’t test, and if we do test we know it is over with you but that does not mean it is over with others. Given such sloppy diplomacy and treaty-making, the scope for mutual misunderstanding, even war, remains immense long after all the public Indian moneys have found their way into private pockets worldwide. Will a future President Jeb Bush or Chelsea Clinton send F-22 bombers to bomb India’s nuclear facilities because India has carried out a test yet declined to return American equipment? Riding a tiger is not something generally to be recommended.”


One Response to “On Jimmy Carter & the “India-US Nuclear Deal””

  1. Renjith Nair Says:

    It will be interesting to see what will be the face value of the NSG “waiver” if India conducts a nuclear test or even goes ahead with the pipeline project with Iran. What will Manmohan Singh say then? 75% of Indians are still living in utter poverty not because our country didn’t have an NSG waiver and nuclear deal. The people who are going to prosper from this deal are some American businessmen,some NRIs acting as middlemen, and crooked Indian politicians. That remains as a truth.

    If this deal is all about ending the acute power crisis in this country, the people all the way praising this deal should wait and see whether this will end the electricity appetite of this nation and how it is going to elevate the poor people of this country. We are a country with no specific and strict protocols to stop simple technical faults, transmission leaks and theft in electrical transmission systems yet. We are a country where disaster management,planning & coordination is a myth even in this 21st Century, and millions are left homeless in floods every year. Who cares about them? What is this deal all about? Unless you correct the fundamentals and basic needs of this country, it is just a fantasy that India can become a superpower. For that we need a realistic approach, visionary leaders, national integrity and patriotism. Nuclear deal will not fill the stomachs of poor people in this country. It is rubbish and foolishness to say it will bring down inflation! People are being treated as idiots by their own leaders. This is Indian democracy! Indians will have to wait for many years and a visionary leader with strong political will and nationalistic agenda for their dreams to be fulfilled. Until then the pockets of politicians are going to be filled with foreign currencies!

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