Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dawn of a new era

India and the US have reached an agreement on the landmark nuclear deal after confabulations between President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. After a two-hour meting at the Hyderabad House, the two leaders emerged to smile for the cameras and make their historic announcement.

This contrasts well with President Musharraf's visit to Agra a coupe of years back, when despite long-winding discussions with then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for close to 24 hours, the visit ended in televised failure.

Where there is a will, there's a way...may be cliched, but it does make eminent sense if you think about the fast movement that the two leaders achieved on the nuke deal. Bush arrived in India only last night.

A tremendous amount of groundwork had been done in preparation for the trip. For both sides, the gains from the deal clearly outweighed any reservations. While India has agreed to open 14 facilities to international supervision, Bush has promised to rake in Congress in allowing greater nuclear transfer to the host country.

Plenty of heartburn for our neighbour(s) and plenty of joy for those who have junked past shibboleths.

Meanwhile, at the ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Bush got a bit carried away:

"I have been received in many capitals around the world but I have never seen a reception as well organised and as grand as the one I just received. Coming up to this majestic building was breathtaking and the horses that led us in added great elegance to this welcoming ceremony.

"It is a great honour, I have never been to India before and I have been looking forward to this visit for a long time. I am looking forward to meeting the Prime Minister to foster a very important relationship.

"I want to thank the President and the Prime Minister, thank you sir, for such grand opening reception and also thank you for arranging such beautiful weather."

Yes, some people never change!

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