India's governing Congress Party was on the verge of swapping allies Friday in a
last-ditch effort to push through a controversial nuclear deal with the United
The Congress Party was on the brink of replacing its leftist allies, led by
the Communist Party, with a coalition led by the Samajwadi, a North Indian
socialist party. The Congress Party's grip on India is weakening as inflation
and fuel prices rise and the economy slows. Securing an ally is crucial to
staying in power.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been a staunch supporter of the
nuclear agreement with the United States, has been rushing to firm up support
for the deal in India ahead of the Group of 8 summit meeting in Japan, which
There, he is expected to meet with President Bush to discuss the arrangement,
which would grant India access to American nuclear technology and atomic fuel in
exchange for agreeing to international inspections of its reactors.
Critics say the deal ties India's future foreign and energy policy too
closely to the United States, but advocates say it could usher in a new era of
nuclear power in India, freeing the country from heavy dependence on fossil