Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why is India wary of the US in the nuclear deal ??

India agreeing to the 123 act on Indo-US nuclear co-operation was based on the basic necessity of meeting our energy needs given the double digit economic growth forecast in the coming years. Either we develop indigenous R&D at such frenetic pace to meet the excess demand or team up with somebody who can provide us that energy. Since indigenous development was not practical, the only direction we could turn to others. Iran was ready with natural gas, constructing a gas pipeline connecting the two countries. Or we could enter into this treaty with US where they assure nuclear reactors, fuel and so on but with some catches. And US wanted to torpedo the gas treaty as it wanted to restrict Iranian clout in the world.

What followed was India and US signing the July 18,2005 Indo US nuclear act(also called the 123 act). Some of the objectionable clauses in the act were objected to by our PM and had been taken care of.

US on realising that they had conceded too much ground in the 123 act (out of its necessity to block Iran's economic clout), decided to gain lost ground by passing the Hyde Act in Dec 2006. It is the restrictive clauses listed in this Act which is the cause of concern in Indian political circles these days. Having already burnt it's fingers with US sanctions following the Pokhran explosion in 1974, India does not want to take chances this time. Also knowing fully well that this time we do not have much to lose, Indian politicians are busy debating and asking for time to dissect this treaty in detail.

Here is the objection raised by our nuclear scientists against the Hyde Act and reported in The Hindu newspaper.

Henry J. Hyde Act passed in Dec 2006, is applicable and supercedes any other act passed before it. Through the back door the act among other restrictions, can impose heavy penalties on India if it conducts any further nuclear test, necessary for it ensuring minimum deterrance. This point is being publicly debated in India. The US is thus 'indirectly' acting to block India from exercising it's sovereignity in deciding it's level of self-defence by bringing the Hyde Act which overrides all earlier legislation, discussions. It mandates on us to return all equipments, fuel received from US in case we explode a nuclear device.

Under the 123 Act, if India is denied US fuel supplies for the civilian nuclear reactors, supplies from alternative sources from NSG would be arranged, which is also denied by the Hyde Act.

US is also bringing in parts of nuclear non-proliferaton on US terms through the Hyde Act, by making it mandatory for US to report to US Congress on India's compliance with nuclear non-proliferation and co-operation with US efforts to restrict Iran and other countries from going nuclear. What India wanted instead was a non-proliferation treaty which was global and non-discriminatory. The Fissile material cutoff treaty, is non-discriminatory, multilaterally negotiated and internationally verifiable. That is being denied if we sign the 123 act in it's present form with the Hyde act in the background.

If perpetual fuel supplies are not granted, why should India import US reactors which will have to be returned, halting our efforts at nuclear power generation, incurring terrible economic costs which could cripple India's growth before indigenous R&D gets ready with alternate options ?

If we go ahead with the gas pipeline with Iran, though better conditions cannot be guaranteed, at least we are not bound with any crippling acts restraining our sovereignity to act to ensure minimum deterrance in the event of a necessity.

If US thinks it can bulldoze its way and hoodwink others into accepting conditions favouring it, it is completely wrong. With our earlier experiences when we were isolated in the international nuclear field by US blocking fuel supplies for the Tarapur plant, our scientists learned a bitter leason and are better prepared now. Our scientists and decision makers /parliamentarians are aware of the dirty cheap tricks up their sleeve which it would play on its allies / would-be allies, in order to retain it's supremacy and control over the world.

The Left parties need to be fully credited for creating an awareness among the Indian decision makers and the public at large regarding this. Let us utilise this time to deliberate on the conditons and implications of this treaty before committing to it in totality.

Better late than never at all.

George Easaw


  1. Well written I should say..

    not at all biased..

  2. thanks. With a bit of researching, it is possible for anybody..

    thanks once again for the kind words..

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Cool template for the blog.

    Well written, good research..

    Quick comments though -

    Question - when the Smiling Buddha was tested (pokhran 1974) - was india signatory to the 123 pact?

    Answer - I dont think so..

    Question - did we get sanctioned by the US at that time?

    Answer - Yes we did.

    Whats my point?

    well pretty simple, everything that is being considered as the NEGATIVE side of the 123 Agreement, can happen, even if India doesnt sign the deal.

    so .. basically, what my view on the matter is:

    IF the decision is made to give India a tough time for its nuclear programme, then the agreement signed or not signed - doesnt matter!

    Its not like If India DOESNT Sign the agreement, then THE US or anyone else, wont be able to impose sanctions or give you a tough time (if someone actually believes this, then he/she needs help along with a major reality check)

    if the agreement is Signed, yes, we do have alot to gain.

    Its actually a pretty simple choice as long as one were to discuss this in a TRULY unbiased manner.

    Alternatively, well to each his own, the world, n the parties and the blocs can argue about it till armageddon (or perhaps even after that) .. without actually achieving anything in the process.

    Just my views.

  5. like i told HK - deal or no deal - it is all a matter of economics & business, at the end of the day. Only one worry, how are we going to add all those energy sources that we need to take india forward? instead of focusing on the 'nukelar' aspect, why not look at the power plant part - all the writers? where is the front - left or right going to bring it from now or in 10 years??

  6. thanks folks.. I do think our opposition and left acted sensibly in blocking the 123 deal which comes along with the Hyde Act.

    After India passes another legislation overcoming the effects of Hyde act ourselves, we can sign on the 123 act.. till then we can afford to wai, than ride piggyback on somebody. pl read some of my recent blogs too on this subject..

    thanks to all,


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