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Gang of 123: Biden, Kerry & Hagel in India

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008

As Jason Motlagh pointed out in a recent WPR piece, the US-India nuclear deal (known as the 123 Agreement) is being held up in India's parliament by the communist members of Indian PM Manmohan Singh's governing coalition. There are also some hurdles to be cleared with the IAEA regarding an "uninterrupted supply" clause which India insists on including in its IAEA agreement. Beyond that, the deal has its share of detractors in the non-proliferation community, who worry about its potentially destabilizing impact on the NPT regime.

All of which makes it kind of odd to see Senators Biden and Kerry use the threat of a Democratic administration in 2009 as a reason for India to ratify the agreement in time to get it before Congress by July. According to Kerry, "The reluctance of senators had been overcome by their belief in the strength of the India-US relationship." A Democratic president, on the other hand, would almost certainly kill the deal in its current formulation. They're probably right. But the deal is already on life support, so I'm surprised they didn't just let colleague Chuck Hagel, along on the trip with them, do the talking.