Left's contempt for change is incongruous in a country shouting Chak De India!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The very intricate nature of Indo-US nuclear deal has confused many including Left Front. One must have heard some noises like, "This deal is a biggest threat to our national security", "If this deal go through, India will become America's new slave", "US will indirectly have a say on Indian internal affairs", "Our right to have nuclear weapon will be curtailed", etc. Bhartiya Janata Party has even gone to the extent of saying "the deal in its present form was unacceptable to BJP and wanted the deal to be renegotiated!" I believe all those who make noises about nuclear deal should go back to basics and ask the following questions to themselves.
1. Is this deal a biggest threat to our national security?
Rubbish. Go through the text of India US agreement for peaceful use of nuclear energy.
  • India do not have to surrender its right to test nuclear weapons (Article 14.2 makes it clear). 
  • Only civilian nuclear infrastructure (that too not all reactors) come under IAEA safeguards. India can continue with its nuclear research and development projects.
  • More over, Under Article 6(iii) of the deal, India has the right to reprocess the used fuel.
  • This nuclear deal and Joint military exercises like "Malabar 2007 Naval Exercise" are of strategic importance to India considering the balance of power in South Asian region. They should not be treated as India's dependency over United States.
2. If this deal go through, will US start sneaking into India's internal affairs? Will India become a slave of US?
Again Rubbish. India blatently refused US's pressure to cut down its relations with Iran. Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited India in April.  In an era of coalition politics, why will opposition parties and coalition partners let the government to consider US's interest in Indian internal affairs? Didn't the Left Front withdraw its support when they didn't like the nuclear deal? The very nature of Indian parliamentary democracy and its constitution and political conventions will not allow any government to consider foreign influence in domestic policy making. When it comes to policy making, any government, in that matter either NDA or UPA, India's interests are of atmost importnat and they are the driving forces.

3. Will this deal put our sovereignty at stake?
Not sure if this question really make any sense. "With our advanced nuclear and military capabilities, why should India be afraid of some other nation?" "Today, India can build any type of satellite launch vehicle, any type of spacecraft and launch from Indian soil and also it has all the capability with its mighty facilities and powerful human resource. [Dr. Kalam]" After six decades of independent democratic experience followed by century of struggle for freedom, we have learnt the best possible meaning and importance of "sovereignty". Why will this agreement bring billions to their knees? Why are we so parochial in our thinking?

If you make a detailed analysis of Indo-US nuclear deal, few things seems to be conspicuous.
4. What if US terminates fuel supply to India?
Absolutely no problem. Remember Tarapur experience? US had offered a nuclear fuel supply to Tarapur atomic energy power plant under 1963's 123 agreement. But after India conducted its nuclear weapon test in 1974, United states withdrew the fuel supply to Tarapur plant. US made an alternative arrangement by asking France to supply the fuel, France too refused to supply the fuel saying that India is not a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG)! Russia came in to help India and ensured the fuel supply to Tarapur plant
Didn't we find alternatives to our fuel need? Now, the present 123 agreement has a seperate section dealing with " termination and cessation of cooperation [Article 14]." Even India-IAEA Safeguards Agreement makes this very clear. Articles 105 and 106 allow India to raise these violations directly with the IAEA Board. More over the agreement is strictly within the text and spirit of International laws. Forget about the legal intricacies, India can go to any other countries like Canada, Australia, France, Russia, etc to buy fuel! So why should we worry if US does not want to supply fuel in the future?

Most importantly many people (especially Left) think that by going to IAEA, and subsequently to NSG, India is putting its sovereignty at stake. This is clearly unjustified and misinterpreted view. Why? Going to IAEA is first step to operationalize this deal. Here is the procedure
  1. First we go to IAEA, get the approval of the Board of Governors.
  2. Then we take it forward to the Nuclear Suppliers' Group for the approval.
  3. The US Congress has to approve the deal.
  4. Then, India-US 123 Agreement will be signed.
  5. After that we come back to the IAEA, then we give a declaration of the nuclear reactor, identify which reactors will be put under safeguards.
  6. And finally we have to be satisfied that our fuel supply will be consistent. Only then it is operationalised.
Also, "we can go to other countries like Canada and Australia to sign separate agreements on fuel supply. We don't have to go to the United States. So if one country stops fuel supplies then we can go to another country," Mr. Kapil Sibal explained in an interview to CNN-IBN.

So whats going in antagonists mind? They do not seem to be understanding the impact of "economic globalization", they don't seem to have realized the strength and capabilities of India becoming a super power (or atleast a developed nation in Dr. Kalam's terms). More over, Leftist ideology has not changed in last 50 years, they don't seem to be learning from Communist China's experiences, and they don't seem to be getting out of Anti American mindset. As Sagarika Ghose rightly said, Left's contempt for change is incongruous in a country shouting Chak De India!"

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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.