David C. Mulford, U.S. ambassador to India, delivered an address on the state of U.S.-India relations and the importance of the proposed nuclear agreement between the two countries. Edited excerpts follow.
India’s transformation is accelerating, and a new U.S.-India relationship has emerged in the past three years. Our growing partnership touches almost every field of human endeavor.
We should not misjudge the vital importance of the normalization of India’s civil nuclear relation with us and with the world. The civil nuclear agreement as it stands agreed between the United States and India is the cornerstone. Going forward, do we really want India outside the world’s nuclear nonproliferation system, its gifted scientific community and political leadership confined to continued isolation? I think not.
The negotiations leading to the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement were long and complex, but at all times civil and constructive. The final result represents a fine balance of our respective national interests and political realities. India has already put in place new antiproliferation legislation and is working with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries. Legitimate concerns and questions on the agreement will be addressed by the administration.
In the end, we will need to make a fundamental judgment based on this agreement and the long-term interests of the United States. I believe this agreement will strongly serve U.S. national and global interests. It will strengthen the world’s nonproliferation regime, help address India’s real and growing energy needs, and recognize the new reality of India.
On May 11, AEI hosted another event on the U.S.-Indian strategic partnership. The panelists looked beyond the issue of whether Congress would or should approve the nuclear deal to how the outcome of any such agreement would affect the broader partnership. The keynote speech for the day was given by State Department counselor Philip Zelikow, a senior policy adviser to the secretary of state.