India to pay heavy price if N-pact with US fails: Blackwill

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New Delhi, Apr 20 (UNI) Former US Ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill today said the failure of the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement would not produce a ''large bump in the bilateral relationship'', but New Delhi would pay a heavy price.

''... If it does not happen, although the US will pay no price whatever, India will pay a substantial price in its future energy policy, and its lack of civil nuclear assistance from the outside world,'' Mr Blackwill said at the 1st IISS Citi India Global Forum here.

''The next American President will not have the same sunk costs in the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement that this President and the top of the administration has,'' he added.

He expressed the hope that the next US President would not return to the pattern before 2001, of lecturing India on its nuclear weapons, and urging it to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, .

''.... That would be a substantial irritant in the relationship if it were to occur,'' he emphasised.

On US-India defence cooperation, he said: ''Perhaps in the next five years nothing would have such a beneficial and long-term impact on the bilateral relationship as India's purchase of an American combat aircraft, when it makes that decision in a few years time.'' Talking of the next 20-25 years, he said India is the only country in Asia holding a promise of a bilateral intimacy ''because of its democratic principles..., and because of Indian Americans in the US, which are now our most accomplished ethnic group''.

''If you push the timeline forward, we will see a special relationship-- not an alliance, but an alignment-- between the United States and India, which I think is all to the good for international peace and stability,'' he concluded.

UNI YJ RP KN1825

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