The Times of India needs to be applauded for this... While all other newspapers have come up about how the government has been exposed regarding the non-revealing of the safeguards agreement, TOI has written how the safeguards agreement is fully tilted in India's favour and there is no casuse for alarm.
The parliament will be taking up the vote of confidence on 18 July and the IAEA will be discussing the safeguards agreement only on July 25, a week after the vote of confidence. If the govt stays, the deal is through, if not, it will be thrown away, as simple as that !!
From the viewpoint of pressing energy needs of the country, both for the present times and future, keeping concerns about greenhouse gas emissions under control, the deal is very much national and patriotic. This deal the way it has been taken through, also places it politically sensitive.
If national interests were foremost, the picture and hence decision making becomes very clear !!
Cat's out - Editorial from TOI .. 11 July, 08.
So, the text of the India-specific safeguards pact being negotiated with the IAEA is now out. And, it turns out, those who were raising a storm over the dilution of national sovereignty with the pact needn't have bothered.
According to the agreement, India will identify and separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities in a phased manner.
It will place civilian facilities under IAEA safeguards. In return, India will have reliable, uninterrupted and continuous access to the international nuclear fuel market.
Over the lifetime of its reactors, India can develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply.
In other words, India can create a nuclear fuel bank. The official release of the text of the agreement ought to silence those who were alleging it was kept under wraps in order to sell out Indian interests.
As a matter of fact, the pact has US non-proliferation experts, who are opposed to India joining the international
nuclear order, seriously worried.
In particular, the provisions that allow India access to an uninterrupted fuel supply have drawn their ire. That's a sure sign that Indian interests are protected by the pact as it stands.
IAEA diplomats have indicated that a special governors' meeting may be convened in Vienna on July 28, to discuss whether the pact should be approved.
But another controversy has erupted over how external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee allegedly cheated Parliament by assuring it that the government would seek IAEA ratification of the pact only after winning the floor test in the Lok Sabha.
That's an issue which can also be easily resolved. The prime minister should seek a trust vote from the Lok Sabha before the IAEA board of governors formally meets in Vienna to discuss the deal.
If a trust vote is held and the government loses it, then it falls. That automatically means the deal falls through as well, unless the next elected government takes it up.
If, on the other hand, the government wins the trust vote, there is no ground for the opposition asserting there is only minority support for the deal in Parliament.
The Left's opposition to the deal is well known, but since it has formally withdrawn support to the government its opposition shouldn't matter.
But as far as the technical — as opposed to ideological — objections to the deal from the Indian point of view go, they have been settled by the text of the IAEA safeguards pact as it stands.
Friday, July 11, 2008
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