Senior U.S. officials are quietly pressuring India to sign the nuclear deal that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has put on the backburner because of domestic political compulsions.
After all, at stake for the American companies like GE and Westinghouse are multi-billion dollar contracts.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the Chief Spokesman for big American businesses, told reporters on Sunday in Amtala village near Kolkata:
It is a very important deal…I would encourage moving forward as quickly as possible.
In plain English, Paulson is telling Indian officials to stop dicking around, sign theÂ goddamn nuclear deal and start giving U.S. companies your multi-billion dollar contracts.
Paulson is in India this week to meet with government officials and business leaders.
Other senior U.S. administration officials have also expressed eagerness to get the nuclear deal moving.
would certainly, in an intangible way, affect calculations because when an American leader goes down a certain road he stakes his prestige on the ability to get it executed, so in that sense it would be a setback.
According to the U.S.-India Business Council, a lobbying group of 300 big American corporations doing business in India, the expansion of nuclear power generation in India represents a business opportunity valued at hundreds of billions of dollars and up to 27 thousand new jobs each year over the next ten years in the U.S. nuclear industry alone.
In India, the Communist parties, who are allies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ruling coalition, are strongly opposed to the nuclear deal and have threatened to bring down the government and force an election if the agreement goes through.
Since the ruling Congress party is too scared to face the voters, Manmohan Singh has shied off from moving forward with the nuclear deal.
Lost in all the blah-blah-blah of the “historic agreement” and scent of big commercial opportunities is the indisputable fact that nuclear power brings enormous problems with it.
Besides the massive cost and safety issues involved in transporting and storing theÂ radioactive nuclear waste for thousands of years, there’s also the deadly risk of accidents, terrorist attacks on the nuclear facilitiesÂ and the need for huge amounts of water to cool the nuclear reactors.