India and the US today are working closely on critical and emerging technology. The US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) will be an important component in talks during the upcoming State Visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington DC. He will be only the third Indian leader after President Radhakrishan in 1963 and Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2009 to be hosted on a State Visit by the American President.
While the India US relations have undergone massive transformations in the last decade and a half, the one deal that reshaped and reset the contours of this relation was the 123 agreement or the India-US civil nuclear agreement inked in 2008. This marked a strategic repositioning of Indian foreign policy overcoming the deep mistrust of the US in the post Cold War era. It also ended the nuclear apartheid and discrimination that India was subjected to despite being a nuclear weapons power.
This deal involved intricate and complicated diplomacy and negotiations over a period of 3 years under the leadership of US President George W Bush and Indian PM Dr. Manmohan Singh.
On Episode 2 of Beyond Nation and State season 2, we turn back the clock to reflect on what played out behind the scenes in obtaining a special waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group and inking the agreement. What still holds back the deal and the future of nuclear energy.
Smita Sharma speaks to Ambassador Shyam Saran, former Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, currently the President of the India International Centre. Among the key architects who made the deal a possibility, Saran shares the make it or break it moments and sharp insights from the drawing board table.