- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Belfer Center Engages India as Emerging Great Power

Spring 2007

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the wisdom of the civilian nuclear power agreement signed in December by President George W. Bush, most agree that the deal will deepen the long-standing relationship between the U.S. and India, a relationship that will continue to impact both countries on many levels. Along with the Kennedy School and Harvard, the Belfer Center is working to expand the relationship that began in 1960 when President John F. Kennedy named Harvard's John Kenneth Galbraith as ambassador to India.

Belfer Center Executive Director for Research Xenia Dormandy believes it is essential to build ties with India, the largest democracy in the world. As director for South Asia at the National Security Council before coming to the Belfer Center, Dormandy coordinatedthe July 2005 meeting between President Bush and India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that resulted in the recent agreement. She worked on the U.S.- India relationship with Center International Council member Robert Blackwill, who served as ambassador to India between 2001-2003.

Ashton Carter, co-director of he Preventive Defense Project and a member of the Center Board of Directors, agrees with the civilian nuclear agreement, but with reservations.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 2006, Carter said, "Washington gave on the nuclear front to get something on the non-nuclear front. Powerful arguments can be made that strategic partnership with India will prove to be in the deep and long-term U.S. security interest." However, Carter said, ". . . the United States gave its big quid of nuclear recognition up front, but what it stands to get in return from partnership with India lies further out in the uncertain future."

During the fall semester, the dialogue on India continued with Jaswant Singh, former Indian finance minister, minister of foreign affairs, and current leader of the opposition, who joined the Belfer Center as a senior fellow. India's Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan also visited the Center and discussed with Harvard scholars ways in which the U.S. and India might collaborate to promote peace in South Asia as well as a healthy economy and environment in India.

The Center's Energy Technology Innovation Program (ETIP) has been working since 2000 with the India Energy Group to advanceclean coal technology projects to generate electricity. The second most populous country in the world, India has extensive coal reserves, but no significant oil or natural gas resources.

In January, Carter, Dormandy, and University Distinguished Service Professor and center Board of Directors member Joseph Nye traveled to India for the U.S.-India Aspen Strategy Group meeting. With their Indian counterparts and senior Indian officials, they explored additional ways to raise the relationship to the next level.

Concluding the India focus this past semester was a reception and forum with India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Looking forward, the Kennedy School just launched an annual India Executive Program, with the first taking place in January. The Belfer Center will continue focusing on India and is exploring the possibility of launching an India program.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Belfer Center Engages India as Emerging Great Power.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Spring 2007).