Indo Us Nuke Deal


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Indo Us Nuke Deal

  1. 1. Nuke Deal: Debating the pros and cons By: Indrajeet Rai As India readies to receive world’s most high profile guest, there is a backdoor frenzy to put a slew of agreements in place. Undoubtedly, the Indo-US nuke deal is pitted as the most contentious and vital. Seldom have so many deals been made contingent on a single deal in world history. Not only are bilateral deals between India and America a hostage to it but India’s bilateral nuclear deal with France and other nuclear supplying countries would also treat it like benchmark. Much has been written about the nuclear cooperation deal signed between India and USA during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to America in July 2005. Some analysts, mostly from the non- proliferation lobby in the US, have seen it as a catalyst for abetting proliferation of nuclear weapons. While analysts in India have accused the Indian government of succumbing to American pressures, which want to curb India’s nuclear weapon possessing capabilities, thereby curtailing proliferation and forfeiting its nuclear independence carefully crafted over the years. How can it be possible? How can the same agreement work in both ways, to curb India’s nuclear weapon making capabilities and also trigger nuclear weapon proliferation? How can a deal be a sellout to both the parties? Well, both the arguments have some basis. The truth, however, lies somewhere in between. Let us examine how. The Deal: Some basics As per the Joint Statement announced on July 18, 2005, President Bush said he would “work to achieve full civil nuclear energy cooperation with India” and “would also seek agreement from Congress to adjust US laws and policies”. On India’s part, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conveyed that India “would take on the same responsibilities and practices and acquire the same benefits and advantages as other leading countries with advanced nuclear technology, such as the United States”. As per the Joint Statement, “These responsibilities and practices consist of: r Identifying and separating civil and nuclear facilities and programmes in a phased manner and filing a declaration regarding its civilian facilities with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). · d d d Working with the United States for the conclusion of a Multilateral Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty . Arguments Against A The deal is likely to abet the nuclear weapon capabilities of India. For, if civil and military facilities are separated, the supply of international nuclear fuel will free its existing facilities, designated as military facilities, to produce plutonium and enriched plutonium exclusively for weapons’ purpose. f The deal might provoke other nuclear weapon states like China to enter into the same kind of agreement with other implicit nuclear nations like Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan President Musharraf, during his recent visit to China, has argued for a Pakistan-China nuclear deal along the same lines. t India has still not signed the NPT treaty. But it will enjoy all the privileges available to declared nuclear powers under the NPT regime. In the eyes of American non-proliferation lobby the nuclear deal is an American sellout to India. · A Arguments against the deal in India have centred around three main points. First and foremost, the proposed separation of nuclear facilities into civil and military is costly and difficult or rather impractical due to the Indian nuclear programme being unified since the very beginning. Secondly, the deal will impact India’s ability to produce requisite fissile material as all new nuclear facilities will be civilian in nature and under the supervision of IAEA. Third, nuclear power is costly in nature and an emerging county like India can ill afford it. It is a luxury that only the developed world can enjoy and India should not count on it in its energy security calculus. Last but not the least, the deal is asymmetrical in nature since it is all about American promises and Indian commitments. · Finally, the deal does not remove the discriminatory nature of the present nuclear regime which India has been fighting all along. Why should India place all its “existing and future civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA supervision” when other nuclear powers are not compelled to do so? In terms of statistics, out of the 915 facilities under IAEA safeguards worldwide, only 11 are in the five NPT nuclear powers. Thus, India will
  2. 2. continue to be a part of the discriminatory non-proliferation regime. Arguments For A First, to answer the proliferation charge, the present deal is a win-win situation for the non- proliferation regime since it brings India into the nuclear mainstream. All the past policies to bring India into NPT regime had failed. Then why not give the deal a chance? India, despite being a declared nuclear power, has an impeccable non-proliferation record that needs to be trusted and rewarded rather than questioned and punished. As India’s Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said, “If India’s past record and current policies are not recognised, and worse still, if it is to be graded with those whose record in this respect is more than suspect, then our nonproliferation objectives may enjoy the comfort of noble intentions but not the efficacy of tactical action.” b Second, India is a fast growing economy that is looking for all the energy resources that it can get hold of, howsoever costly they may be. True, the nuclear establishment has failed to meet its commitment of producing 2,700 megawatts of electricity from nuclear plants by 1980-81. It is roughly producing the same committed amount about thirty-five years later that constitutes three percent of India’s energy supply. The denial of nuclear fuel due to provisions of the NPT regime has been precisely the reason behind the Indian nuclear establishment’s dismal performance. History has given us the chance and we must seize it. If international nuclear fuel is available, the cost of producing electricity will also come down and will be within the affordable range. t Third, there is nothing in the deal that asks India not to pursue its three-phase nuclear power programme. In fact, it further adds to the process. India can continue to pursue its fast-breeder reactor programme independently. i Fourth, India will get access to all the facilities and technologies available to declared nuclear powers in the NPT regime without signing the treaty. · Fifth, India has not given any commitment to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which even US and China have signed, though both are yet to ratify it. The only commitment that India has given is that of negotiating a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty with the US. · n Sixth, India is not under any obligation to not produce fissile material and can continue to do so as long as it needs, to meet its declared policy of developing credible minimum nuclear deterrence. · Seventh, there is no provision in the deal that asks India to place its indigenously developed nuclear reactors under IAEA supervision. The deal is applicable only in the case of existing and future nuclear reactors that will be using international nuclear fuel. Technically, India can build up as many indigenous nuclear reactors as it wants for its security purposes. · There is a great deal of verbiage about inspection and proliferation, but these are not central to the deal. It is best to focus on the central theme, which is `yes' to uranium and `no' to thorium. It is this exchange that has the Indian scientific community up in arms against the deal. They fully realise that by agreeing to this deal India will be sacrificing its unique capability while relying on American businesses to supply its future non-fossil energy needs. India has substantial thorium reserves but little uranium. India also has outstanding technical capability in building reactors based on the thorium cycle, as good as any in the world. But the Indian political-bureaucratic establishment does not trust its own scientific talent. Western lobbyists, in the U.S. in particular, seem to have played on this Indian weakness to press a deal that is disadvantageous to India's long-term energy interests. d Finally, to quote the Indian Prime Minister, “It will be an autonomous Indian decision as to what is ‘civilian’ and what is ‘military’. Nobody outside will tell us what is ‘civilian’ and what is ‘military’.” We have no reason to distrust the words of our Prime Minister. On balance, the India-US nuclear deal as proposed is the much-needed recipe to regenerate our nuclear establishment that is stifling under present international regulations. If the status quo is allowed to prevail, our ambitious plan for nuclear power will not only remain a pipedream but even the status quo will become unsustainable as Indian nuclear fuel sources are limited and of inferior quality that make it more costly. Of course, there are a few conditions, which may be strict in nature, that have to be adhered to. But isn’t politics all about interest articulation, aggregation and mediation? The Indian government will be doing the same if it will be closing the nuclear deal with the USA in the coming week.
  3. 3. Nuclear deal: the untold story N.S. RAJARAM The unstated agenda is to gain monopoly of India's huge non-fossil energy market I RECENTLY visited Houston, the energy capital of the world where I worked for over a decade, after nearly 15 years. There, both in the media and through personal acquaintances, I learnt something that should be making the headlines in India but is not: Saudi Arabia's oil production has peaked and will soon be on a downward trend, imperceptibly at first but accelerating over time. The same is true of other oil producers of the region. This does not mean that oil wells are about to run dry, but that more oil is being pumped out than new sources discovered. It is important to recognise that this is not a political problem but a resource problem brought on by the supply-demand equation. Even if the political situation were to change — say with the ending of the Iraq war, or even Saudi Arabia becoming a liberal democracy — the supply-demand imbalance will not be reversed. If anything, it will get worse with rising living standards in India and China making greater demands on a diminishing resource. What this means is that over the coming decades the world will increasingly have to shift from fossil energy to non-fossil energy. Despite fond hopes about windmills and solar energy, the only viable and proven source of non-fossil energy is nuclear power. While no one can give a timetable, the transition from fossil energy to nuclear power is irreversible and only a matter of time. The proposed Indo-U.S. nuclear deal must be evaluated against this background. The economic implications of this transition are incalculable. It will bring problems of course, but also great business opportunities as new plants and distribution and delivery systems are brought on line, involving massive expenditures. This is unlikely to be lost on American lawmakers and industrialists who see a major opportunity in India with its burgeoning demand for energy. The Bush Administration, which enjoys a particularly close relationship with the energy industry, is sure to have briefed the lawmakers in the closed-door meeting that preceded the vote in Congress. One aspect stands out This means that the just passed nuclear agreement will reflect the interests of the U.S. energy industry, of the nuclear industry in particular. The details of the proposed deal, when reduced to basics, seem to bear this out. While the agreement is complex, one feature stands out: it calls on India to stop its thorium based research and development in exchange for uranium based technology and fuel (uranium) to be supplied by the United States. The U.S. lawmakers have passed an agreement that is decidedly favourable to American interests. That is their prerogative and their duty. The failure so far has been on the Indian side. They have failed to take the country into confidence and failed also to heed the advice of its scientific community — a community that has placed India on the world scientific map, and will also have the responsibility for implementing any nuclear deal. Instead the government has been working with a close-knit group of advisers and lobbyists that is not accountable to the country at large. It is the duty of India's lawmakers to highlight the scientific and economic consequences of the proposed deal, clearly focusing on the extraordinary sacrifice India will have to make in abandoning research and development in its area of strength. Should India concede the demand, it will mean
  4. 4. sacrificing energy independence for the next generation, allowing U.S. companies to gain a stranglehold on non-fossil energy. This is the essence of the proposed nuclear agreement; other details are a diversion — a red herring. North Korea tests may hit India-US N- Get news updates: What's this? deal The Rediff Special | M K Bhadrakumar
  5. 5. October 09, 2006 North Korea stunned the world by conducting its first-ever nuclear test early Monday, October 9, morning. As the international community Related Articles grapples with the implications of the test, former Indian diplomat M K • 'A Q Khan helped North Korea' Bhadrakumar examines what it means for the world, the US and for India. • North Korea claims nuclear weapons What are the short term and long term implications? • India deplores North Korean nuke test In the short term, tensions may escalate in the Far East, where the • North Korea shows 'deterrent' geopolitics already remains complicated in terms of regional rivalries. to US team Japan 's reaction will be furious and it is bound to press for strong • North Korea withdraws from measures by the international community. Admittedly, South Korea will nuclear NPT be highly concerned too, but it will also have to ensure that tensions remain under check and will be keen that lines of communications • The Pakistan-North Korea nexus remain open vis-a-vis North Korea. China has been averse to the prospect of a nuclear North Korea, but will nonetheless have to calibrate its response within the overall ambit of its close fraternal relationship with North Korea, which is also an Top Emailed Features important neighboring country, apart from China's extreme keenness • FAQ: Is chikungunya fatal? to ensure that a peaceful regional environment prevails. • 10 things I love about India • Men have higher IQ than women In a longer term, North Korea's emergence as a nuclear weapon power fundamentally alters the balance of forces in East Asia. Whether Japan Tell us and South Korea, which possess fairly advanced nuclear capability, • How will you celebrate feel compelled under strong domestic pressure to respond remains to Diwali? be seen. This will have deep implications for the status that China has enjoyed for the past four decades as the sole nuclear weapon power State in the region. On a broader plane, North Korea has virtually torn asunder what remains of the nuclear non-proliferation regime built around the NPT. Advertisement This has profound implications since there are several countries in the world today that have nuclear weapon capability but hitherto exercised restraint, and will now keenly watch the international community's reaction to Pyongyang's strategic defiance. What is the significance for India? The impact on India is very acute. India stands to lose on several fronts. India is averse to the dilution of the exclusivity of the 'nuclear club'. Its own claim to be 'accommodated' as a Nuclear Weapon State suffers. India thus becomes an affected party in any redrawing of the nuclear non-proliferation regime that may follow. North Korea's close cooperation with Pakistan in the field of nuclear and missile development technology assumes an altogether new dimension for India. The delay in closing the Indo-US nuclear deal will come to haunt New Delhi. The likelihood is that the nuclear non-proliferation lobby in the US which opposes the nuclear deal will get a further fillip. Correspondingly, the North Korean challenge puts the Bush administration on the back foot, and its political will and capability to
  6. 6. steer the Indo-US nuclear deal through the United States Congress may suffer. India has been harmonising its stance on the nuclear non-proliferation issues with those of the US, and this provided a much- needed political underpinning for the nuclear deal. But with the NPT regime coming apart, India needs to rework its stance on the issues involved. Is there any significance in the timing? Certainly. The Bush administration is under pressure on several fronts, and Pyongyang likely visualizes a window of opportunity. Apart from the Iraq debacle and other controversies, the Bush Administration's foreign policy postulates have come under severe scrutiny in the US domestic opinion, and the White House is coping with political controversies at home almost on a daily basis in the highly charged atmosphere of the forthcoming Congressional elections in November. Equally, Pyongyang would have factored the change of leadership in Tokyo, and would have decided on acting before the leadership of Shinzo Abe settled in. Third, it is not improbable that a degree of coordination may be at play in 'nuclear diplomacy' between Iran and North Korea. Without doubt, North Korea 's moves deflect attention from the Iran nuclear issue, which is otherwise nearing another critical point. What are the options available for the United States? Very few. Military options must be ruled out. North Korea has the capability to retaliate. Essentially, therefore, the US would have to resort to economic pressures in the nature of sanctions. But the problem is that Washington has hardly any leverage over North Korean policies. Japan will expect the US to take strong measures against North Korea. South Korea, on the contrary, will advise against isolating North Korea. In evolving any viable course, the US will have to depend on cooperation from China and Russia, which, of course, has major implications for a multipolar world order. Washington will be increasingly hard-pressed to maintain a hard line toward Tehran. The virtual collapse of the nuclear non-proliferation regime is yet another factor working on the US. All in all, the US response will be almost entirely determined by any consensus involving the other permanent members of the UN Security Council as well. There is hardly any scope for 'unilateralism', though an entire range of issues concerning the US strategic presence in the Far East is opening up. What options are available for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh? First and foremost, New Delhi will try to ensure that the 'collateral damage' on the Indo-US nuclear deal is minimised, if not avoided. This calls for a high degree of harmonization with the US stance on the North Korea problem. Second, India would join hands with the international community in condemning Pyongyang's decision. Third, the Indian predicament is that since 1998, India has virtually become a 'status quo' power. It is simply not in India's interest to see the emergence of more nuclear weapon states. Therefore, while continuing to stress its unique status as a 'responsible' non- NPT nuclear weapon State, India will use all opportunity to highlight Pyongyang's past record of covert collaboration with Islamabad. Fourth, India will strive to have greater say in the negotiations that may ensue in any restructuring of the architecture of nuclear non-proliferation that may now become unavoidable. This calls for delicate balancing on the diplomatic front, and sustaining the present climate of trust and confidence in the Indo-US relations at the political level.