With the president in India
This is the President’s first full day in Delhi. How is he being received? Well, the lead editorial in The Times of India says the President’s schedule has been designed to created "maximum nuisance."
Big news here today is that the U.S. and India have reached an agreement on nuclear energy. This is actually a big deal. India needs nuclear energy if its economy is going to continue to grow at such high rates. American companies know that as Indians get richer they will buy more of what we produce. Consider this: the emerging Indian middle class is estimated at 300 million people -- bigger than the entire U-S population. That is a rich prize for America’s export market.
I spoke today with Ron Somers, who heads the U.S.-Indian business council and is part of the delegation of American CEOs on this trip. He imparted some interesting facts. India uses 400 kilowatts of electricity per person, per year. By comparison, the U.S. uses 11,000 kilowatts. India is a country of 1.1 billion people. That means that the country is going without adequate electricity. Brown-outs are not uncommon around the country. As India gets wealthier, the demand for energy will only grow. That’s where nuclear energy comes in. Somers said this deal, if approved by Congress, would allow India to import nuclear fuel and equipment from nuclear providers like the United States and others. Why have U.S. CEOs accompanied the President on this trip? Because India’s appetite for fuel and equipment creates, as Somers put it, "A $60 billion price tag of opportunity" for companies around the world selling those products.
While India needs energy, it has also developed nuclear weapons. The U.S., through the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), is trying to contain the spread of nukes around the world. It is giving India a pass, however, because the world’s largest democracy has agreed to let international nuclear inspectors look over their shoulder and has agreed not to let nuclear know-how fall into the hands of dangerous countries like Iran or North Korea.
The former ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, who more recently coordinated Iraq policy for the White House, has written a very interesting piece on the deal and why it matters.
Read more from David Gregory
Observations from India
Trackbacks are links to weblogs that reference this post. Like comments, trackbacks do not appear until approved by us. The trackback URL for this post is: http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b0aa69e200d8347b86c353ef