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'No question of major changes to N-deal'

By Ram Narayanan chat transcript
April 12, 2006 20:36 IST
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Ram Narayanan  is an American of Indian heritage who lives in Buffalo, New York. He is a retired marketing consultant who is now an activist devoting all his waking hours to his labor of love -- promoting US-India friendship.

His website, has achieved wide recognition in the United States as a constantly updated resource for friends of India, including US citizens of Indian origin, to promote and strengthen bilateral ties between the planet's largest democracies.

In an exclusive chat with rediff readers, Narayanan explains why it is important to sustain the pressure on American lawmakers to pass the deal, and what it means for both nations. The transcript:

srinivas reddy asked, 
Why US is very keen to help indians? why do they think this is the right time to help? why won't they come up with this package in early 80's?
Ram Narayanan answers, The global strategic scenario has undergone a sea change since the end of the cold war. US and india now share common interests. There are very few issues on which the two countries do not share a common position. That explains why the two nations are getting strategically closer.
Venkatesh asked, Why US is against Iran-Pak-India gas pipeline? If US is really interested in peace it should actually encourage this project because these kind of projects increase the dependency among these nations which will help in avoiding conflicts.
Ram Narayanan answers, Actually, President Bush during his visit to Pakistan did specifically say he was not against the pipeline. He only cautined against Iran developing WMD which is India's position too.
srinivas reddy asked, US is not a trustable alloy always. It always favour the deals which favours them. In 1950's they have given advanced defence technology including the asia's first submarine. And also defence deals with US is useless , after they supply , who will supply the spare parts....... it's a big hurdle and a billion dollar question? if they leave half way who will take care of the defence equipment.
Ram Narayanan answers, What you say reflects the position of the past. This is no longer true and is unlikely so in the future. US-India relationship is taking on a totally new role. In the 21st century India is growing to be a powerful nation in its own right. It's no longer an underdevelopued nation. US has come to recognize the new role of India. So it's no longer in US interests to treat India the way things were decades ago
Indianpatriot asked, How effective has your campaign been in mobilizing support for the deal?
Ram Narayanan answers, I think the campaign is gaining momentum.
ramananda asked, Apart from lobbying lawmakers, what can Indian Americans do to help push this deal through Congress?
Ram Narayanan answers, Write letters to the editors of not only national newspapers, but more important, the regional and local newspapers. Send them op-ed too. Some do get published. One must remember that US Congress persons pay first attention to what appears on their local papers.
ramananda asked, India's announcement that it plans to make one of the world's largest military aircraft purchases, one that could exceed US$10 billion, could be linked to the fragile Indo-US nuclear technology and supplies deal. Reports suggest the Indian government might drop the US fighters from the list if the nuclear deal fails to make it. What do you think?
Ram Narayanan answers, Certainly large purchases from the US whether Boeing aircraft or fighter planes will help, but India needs to do what's in its best interest.
abhijeet asked, Is US not using India against China
Ram Narayanan answers, India has a clear mind of its own. I do not think any third nation can USE India. India's foreign policy serves India's interests. But it so happens that US-India interests on ,many issues coincide. As for China, both US and India have and are continuing to accelerate their economic and other engagements with that country. That will continue
srinivas reddy asked, How do you counter the Chinese,Pakistani lobbying to counter this deal?
Ram Narayanan answers, Friends of India in the US including Indian Americans need to develop close contacts with their House Reps and Senators by personal interaction, faxes, e-mails etc. This process need to taken up in massive numbers. The lawmakers are very conscious of what their constituents think
nuclearwinter askedHow can India be sure that the US will not walk out of the deal, like it did with Pakistan after the Soviets left Afghanistan?
Ram Narayanan answers, India is not Pakistan. India is on its way to becoming a super power in its own right. As the 21st century progresses, the US will find it more and more advantageous for itself to get closer to India
ramananda asked, How does this deal affect the negotiations taking place with Iran?
Ram Narayanan answers, Which negotiations?
srinivas reddy asked, are the NRI's doing any lobby for the nuclear deal in the american senate?
Ram Narayanan answers, Friends of India in the US inclusing persons of Indian origin are working hard to encourage their lawmakers to support the new legislation.
ramananda asked, What is your gut feeling: Will the deal make it through Congress without modifications?
Ram Narayanan answers, There is no question of any substantive modifications. At this time the position is still unclear. However, the momentum is slowly building up. Influential lawmakers have visited India and more are coming. This is a good development.
Indianpatriot asked, Will this deal affect the India Pakistan peace process? If so, how?
Ram Narayanan answers, I do not think so.
surekha asked, will russia stop providing us with MIGs if the deal gets through? wont there be immence competition there?
Ram Narayanan answers, Russia-India relations are very strong. India will continue to buy many weapon systems from Russia. If US offers more sophisticated items in some fields, India may go in for some of them. That's all
nuclearwinter asked, How then does Washington justify it's mollycoddling of Pakistan despite it being a known proliferator and a terrorist hub?
Ram Narayanan answers, US has been nicer to pakistan than warranted only because it needs Pak cooperation to fight Al Qaida and in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan. However, US now realizes that pakistan has not been quite effective in either of these areas. The question is what options are open to the US?
Prasad asked, Ram, How do you think is Washinton going to deal with Pakistan's request to strike a similar deal ?
Ram Narayanan answers, Pakistan's nonproliferation record has been very bad. Therefore, there is no question of US according the same treatment to pakistan
ramananda askednegotiations on Iran's nuclear plans with the EU and the US...(and of course the IAEA)
Ram Narayanan answers, As you know, Iran and India are in totally different situations. So, I do not think negotiations with Iran will be affected by the nuclear deal with india
Bharat asked, It Seems that by this Nuclear deal we will be in very good position, Which China will never like!! What is the China's stand on this issue? As a strong nation in Nuclear Armed Countries, how much China's stand will affect?
Ram Narayanan answers, One thing about China is that it is a very pragmatic nation. I do not think even as of now officially they have opposed the US-India nuclear deal. Only their media which I know is officially controlled has made some noises against. But that's to allow them to take the right in due course stand without losing face
AshokVamadevan asked, do you think that is there any trap behind this US friendship regard this subject?
Ram Narayanan answers, Trap for what? The US and India have convergent interests and this will become more so as the 21st century advances.
Sadayan asked, Is it really worthwhile for countries like Israel, US and other western nations to pursue a policy of friendship with us? Aren't we still Dhimmies looking up to Islamic terrorists for their votes?
Ram Narayanan answers, Islamic terrorist do not vote.
DesiDude asked, Hallo Mr Ram Narayanan, Hope you saw the Senate hearings, Mr Sarbanes - was posing "tough" questions! But I m convinced that Mrs Boxer will be in favour of the deal! whats your point of view from Senate hearings
Ram Narayanan answers, I think the Senate hearing went pretty well. Condi did a great job. The lawmakers asked tough questions. But tough questions do not neceesarily mean that in the end these lawmakers will not support the new legislation.
Naveen asked, Are u answering for selected questions or all of them ?
Ram Narayanan answers, There are too many questions. So I have to be necessarily selective.
iidlivadasambhar asked, Are u a registered lobbyist or work with a PAC-Political Action committee?
Ram Narayanan answers, No, I am NOT a lobbyist. My website is a resource for friends of India to draw upon. I act as a resource that's all. This is supplemented by regular updates by e-mail to all those living in the US visiting the site and filling in the guest register.
mrbond asked, what can indians in u.s. do to make sure this deal is passed in congress
Ram Narayanan answers, I have already answered this question.
Guru asked, The deal would have happened if BJP is in power?
Ram Narayanan answers, Of course!
JGorti asked, Mr RamNarayan How do we know whether a Senator/Congressman Supports the Nuclear Deal or Not?? This will enable us to concentrate more on Congressmen who are not supporting the deal.
Ram Narayanan answers, As of now lots of them are still undecided. Those supporting have issued statements. It's important not to become complacent. Whether they have come in support or not, friends of India should continue to accelerate their campaign getting in touch with all. A flood of e-mails and telephone calls backed by face to face contacts will make all the difference
raajeshed asked, all the best. keep going! miles ahead
Ram Narayanan answers, Friends of India in the US appreciate your good wishes!
ramananda asked, Does the new friendship with India stretch across party lines in the US, or are the Republicans more India friendly than the Democrats?
Ram Narayanan answers, It's bipartisan. However, there are more concerns among Democrats, as compared to the Republicans, about non-pro.
Arjun asked, I think the US will support this deal, period. It is in their interest to do so. It is a damn good deal for them, I don't think it is the same for India yet...
Ram Narayanan answers, I think it benefits both the nations.
Ram Narayanan says, Thanks a lot! I enjoyed your questions. Unfortunately, there were too many. Bye for now!
Earlier chat: 'India has too much to offer the US': Dr Harold Gould
Complete coverage:
The Bush visit: | Chats | The nuclear deal

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Ram Narayanan chat transcript