Indian Analysts See Advantages In Bush Victory
New Delhi (CNSNews.com) - India has the most to gain if Republican George W. Bush becomes the next American president, analysts said, basing their opinion on the GOP's Party platform, rather than the two Parties' past records.
Not only would New Delhi benefit substantially with the lifting of sanctions if Bush wins next week, but the pressure on India to sign the nuclear test ban treaty would also be lifted, they predicted.
"Bush understands the security needs of India. He is against the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and will not put pressure India to sign the CTBT," said foreign policy analyst Rajat Verma.
Verma also noted that Bush has called for the immediate lifting of U.S. sanctions imposed against India after it tested nuclear devices in May 1998.
This would help India acquire critical high-end technology for its nuclear reactors, he said.
Another analyst, K.K. Katyal, said a recent cooperation agreement between former Cold War allies India and Russia in the nuclear field, and the interest shown by France in selling nuclear technology to New Delhi, may have prompted Bush to take a more conciliatory stand.
"France has said it would have no problem coming to terms with a nuclear India. It was keen on a deal for highly sophisticated defense items," Katyal said.
"With Russia deciding to resist [American] arm-twisting, France would soon follow suit. If Paris takes some measures in this direction, the nuclear lobby in Washington would put pressure on the U.S. president not to lose the business opportunity of selling nuclear technology to India."
The signing of the CTBT has been a contentious issue between India and the U.S. While the Republicans have said they will not press India to sign the treaty and would lift sanctions, the Democrats said signing the CTBT would be a pre-condition for the lifting of sanctions.
Another political analyst took a different stance, saying the CTBT was a useful "bargaining chip" for India to use in attempts to secure concessions from a Democratic administration in other areas.
"With a Republican U.S. president, New Delhi would lose this and would have to think of new means of dealing with Washington," said C. Raja Mohan.
The Democratic manifesto criticizes Senate Republicans for derailing the treaty by not ratifying it, and says: "As president, Al Gore will promptly resubmit this treaty to the Senate with a demand from the American people for its ratification."
The GOP platform, by contrast, dismisses the CTBT as "another anachronism of obsolete strategic thinking."
On another issue of vital importance to India, the Bush and Gore camps are in agreement. Both said the Kashmir conflict should be resolved through negotiations between the disputing parties, India and Pakistan, and there is no place for U.S. intervention or mediation unless unambiguously invited by both to play such a role.
The Gore camp adds that India should seriously consider its offer to help resolve the crisis, which the Clinton administration says has the potential to lead to a nuclear confrontation between the South Asian neighbors.
Pakistan has agreed to U.S. involvement, but India remains strongly opposed. India accuses Pakistan of backing Islamic militants fighting for a bloody separatist campaign in Kashmir.
U.S.-based South Asia analyst Stephen Cohen wrote in Indian media that foreign policy has figures "only marginally" in the election, and South Asian issues not at all.
As a result, "the question would Bush or Gore be good for South Asia-India-Pakistan cannot be answered without heavy qualification," he said.
"The days are long over when Democrats were more `pro-Indian' and Republican more 'pro-Pakistan'. The difference this time is likely to be the degree of interest and activity in South Asia that one or the other might pursue.
"The Republican platform has a lengthy paragraph on the importance of strengthening ties with India (but notes that the U.S. should not allow relations with Pakistan to suffer.). The Democrat platform puts South Asia in the context of various global problems, such as non-proliferation and human rights concerns.
"However, platforms count for little after election, when policies tend to be driven by events," Cohen added.