K Subrahmanayam, the dean of India's strategic thinkers, is one of the biggest supporters of the India-US civilian nuclear agreement. He has written several columns to explain the strengths of the deal and advantages to India. Here, he answers Managing Editor (National Affairs) Sheela Bhatt's questions in an e-mail interview.
What are the diplomatic implications if India were to desist from going ahead with the nuclear deal with the US?
It is not a nuclear deal with only the United States. As the Russian and French ambassadors in India have pointed out this is a deal offered by the international community to India. If India reneges on the deal it will be alienating not only the US but Russia, France, the UK and Germany who have joined in to accommodate India in the non-proliferation regime, though not in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
India's international credibility will be affected. India has taken the issue far enough to finalise a draft treaty with the US and has campaigned widely with the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. At this stage, withdrawal will mean a grave loss of credibility.
What are the diplomatic implications if India chooses to ink the negotiated draft with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the US takes the matter further?
India will liberate itself from the technology denial regime and will become a full-fledged balancer in the international balance of power.
Image: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, right, and CPI-M Politburo member Sitaram Yechuri at a press conference after an United Progressive Alliance-Left meeting on the nuclear deal in New Delhi, May 6. Photograph: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: Indo-US Nuclear Tango