By Ryan McGreal
Published January 30, 2006
Canada has recently had to face US ambassadors telling us how to run our country, so it comes as little surprise that India is facing the same pressure.
US Ambassador to India David Mulford warned India last week that if India doesn't vote along with the US to refer Iran to the Security Council, it will be "devastating" to the deal betwen India and America to exchange civil nuclear technology and information.
(In case you were wondering, India is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty but already possesses nuclear weapons, making the deal a straightforward US violation of the NPT.)
The US-India nuclear deal is currently being debated in the US Congress. Mulford said, "I think the Congress will simply stop considering the matter," if India doesn't do what it's told.
The reaction in India was swift; Indians pride themselves on a long tradition of independence from the bullying of superpowers. However, the threat has certainly been heard. The governing party responded meekly, and rumour has it India will abstain from the critical vote this Thursday at the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna.
As one of the largest states in the world and close to the geographic centre of Asia, India is under tremendous pressure from America to tie its economy and interests to continued American hegemony, even as momentum builds to draw it into a counter-hegemonic coalition between China, Russia, and Iran.
So far, India has endeavoured to walk the line between these opposing forces, just as it walked the line between the US and the USSR during the Cold War.
It is going to take tremendous skill and diplomacy on all parts to navigate the world through the terrible perils facing us the next several decades. Belligerent posturing and thinly veiled threats from American diplomats certainly won't help the situation.
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