India’s arduous journey out of the clutches of nuclear apartheid has involved long political and strategic battles—both at home and abroad. Naturally, most of the news reporting as well as commentary on this journey till now has focused on the politics of it all. But now, with the long-awaited waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group in the bag, it is high time we focused on another facet of the nuclear deal— the power of free trade.
On the one hand, we have large global manufacturers of nuclear reactors from countries such as France, the US and Russia salivating at the prospect of selling their goods into a large and growing market. And, on the other hand, we have hopes that Indian companies in the private and public sectors will break into the global trade for nuclear equipment. Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd chairman S.K. Jain is quite right when he says that “we will be equal partners in the global nuclear supply chain”. The politics is almost over. Comparative advantage should take over.