When the new history of Indo-US relations is written, Ashley J. Tellis, an Indian American strategist, will find a very special place in the riveting narrative of how the nuclear deal was conceived, birthed, nurtured, protected and finally delivered against heavy bureaucratic and political odds. As senior advisor to the US State Department, Tellis shepherded the deal in Washington, liaised with the Indian government at the highest levels and, most importantly, kept the faith. He spoke to Seema Sirohi.
To what do you attribute the constant tension in getting the deal through?
This was built into the very nature of the initiative. The administration sought the deal primarily as an effort at building a new relationship with India, whereas many in the United States, including Congress, would acquiesce to it only to the degree that it contributed to non-proliferation objectives. Since the deal was to change over 30 years of US policy, it wasn't easy.
The bill to approve the deal says that the Hyde Act would be supreme.
That is not...