Singh Survives Trust Vote

It looks like Indian PM Manmohan Singh has handily won today’s “trust vote” in the Indian Parliament. The vote was triggered by the departure from the governing coalition of the Left Party following Singh’s decision to present the U.S.-India Nuclear deal to the IAEA for its seal of approval. Singh now has a governing majority, but no guarantee that the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group will sign off on the deal in time for it to be ratified by the U.S. Congress. Nevertheless, the vote does clear him to pursue those groups’ approval, which will be essential for any subsequent deals negotiated with, say, France or Russia. Significantly, the Bush administration’s NSC spokesman Gordon Johndroe welcomed the vote, while placing it in a much broader context:

We look forward to continuing to work with Prime Minister Singh’s government on strengthening our strategic partnership with India and working on a number of important bilateral issues including a US-India civilian nuclear agreement.

That squares with a lot of what I’ve been reading lately about India’s willingness to more closely align with America on a number of strategic objectives, and raises the question of why, if both sides desire a closer strategic relationship, the nuclear deal was necessary in the first place?