"I congratulate PM Manmohan Singh for his conviction and commitment.... Three decades of isolation have ended."
—Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Sept 6, 2008
hen news finally came in from Vienna on September 6 that India had finally—in the face of great odds—secured a "clean waiver" from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s first response was that a "great burden" had been lifted off his shoulders. Officials and party/ministerial colleagues who met him on the day say he seemed more relieved than triumphant. He had, after all, staked both his own reputation and that of his government on the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement—and emerged victorious, if not unscathed.
But, clearly, he had not lost his political instincts: one of the first phone calls he made was to Brajesh Mishra, national security advisor under Atal Behari Vajpayee, to thank him for his moral support. All through that Saturday evening, Mishra, chief architect of India’s foreign policy during the...