Monday, June 23, 2008

Nuclear Deal: The Left, and right

Last week India witnessed two ominous events. The first was yet another incursion into Indian territory by the Chinese. The other was the Left parties carrying the brinkmanship on India’s talks with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) almost to a point of no return.

What is the problem with IAEA negotiations? Accord with IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a prerequisite for concluding India’s 123 Nuclear Agreement with the USA. The IAEA, which was originally formed as ‘Atoms for Peace’ under the UN umbrella, is the premier agency for promoting safe, secure and peaceful use of atomic energy. Without their approval, India may not be able to procure uranium, the critical material, even for the existing facilities.

China has been a member of IAEA from 1984. The statement made by China at the IAEA General Conference in 1997 says, "China always supports the safeguards activities of the Agency. China signed the voluntary-offer safeguards agreement with the Agency soon after joining it, and subsequently acceded to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the NPT, displaying China's consistent sincere wish for the maintenance of world peace and stability…” The full text can be read at http://www.nti.org/db/China/engdocs/chiaea97.htm [Accessed on 21/6/08]

Why do the Communists oppose India’s discussions with the IAEA? Their view seems to be that India should limit its atomic cooperation to Russia. But Russia has made it clear that India has to obtain clearance from the IAEA and the NSG before future collaboration in the nuclear field can be effective. Russia is reportedly supporting Indo-US Nuclear Pact.

It is generally considered that India’s nuclear technology is more advanced than China’s. Both countries accept the reality that atomic plants are essential to meet their energy needs. Ground realities do not sustain the Indian Communist’s claim that alternate sources like coal can provide the country’s power requirements. Therefore, it is not surprising that the major parties in the country do not oppose the idea of an Indo-US Nuclear Deal.

Is the Left unaware that China would be the gainer if India’s nuclear energy program is thwarted? China is rapidly expanding their atomic power capability with mostly Western technology. Even Westinghouse of USA had helped them build a facility. According to reports China’s plan is to expand their nuclear energy capacity six-fold by 2020.

If the Indo-US Nuclear Pact becomes a reality and India enters the world market, there would be escalation of the demand for and prices of uranium. Neither India nor China is self-sufficient in this metal. If India is out, China can procure uranium at low prices and outpace India’s development. By the time India stabilizes its thorium (indigenously available and cheaper) based technology in the next few decades, China would be too far ahead.

If the NPA, more specifically the Congress, genuinely believes that the Deal is good for the country, they should go ahead and conclude the talks with the IAEA and sign the 123 Agreement. That may lead to premature election and possible loss of power. The Left parties, in turn, would have the chance to face the people and vindicate their stand.

It would be a historic day for India if those in power decide to put the country before the self interest of hanging on to their seats.

Ends.

Also see:

Indo-US nuclear agreement

123 Go - BY THE BOOK

[Cross posted from: Song of the waves - Parayil A. Tharakan Blog]

1 comment:

Shenoy said...

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Kindly reply.

Vivek Shenoy P