Thursday, August 09, 2007

nuclear agreement with US

In every nation’s life there comes a time when its leaders are confronted by some extra ordinary challenges necessitating deliberate and drastic action to change the direction of its policy which in turn has serious impact upon its future and the nature of its independence. New Delhi experienced such an occasion in 1947 when India assumed her role in the community of nations as an independent sovereign country. Under the guidance of many internationally recognized leaders, despite five wars forced upon India, that role was played superbly earning global recognition and appreciation for the young democracy. After 60 years due to GOIs lukewarm yet casual dedication to India’s well established independence that kind of crucial moment is cast upon the Indian nation once again when her policy makers are faced with the prospect of making an historic decision to either uphold the traditional national sovereignty and autonomy or compromise it for ever thus relegating the Republic to the status of a client state of a foreign power.

The current challenge has been thrust upon India by the officially sponsored until recently secret “Indo-US Nuclear Deal” under which the Govt. has agreed to surrender unceremoniously India’s hard earned sovereignty especially in the field of nuclear independence, foreign, national security, economic and other policies. Henceforth the Indo-US relations and New Delhi’s relations with other nations will largely be guided and even governed by the provisions of the so called Hyde Act .

According to the latest version of this “Deal” which is also known as 123 Agreement the following are the likely consequences India will face:

a) The future US cooperation with India will be governed under the provisions of the US National Laws, the Hyde Act included;

b) The 123 Agreement promulgates a “permanent ban” on India for conducting nuclear tests;

c) The Deal forces upon New Delhi the hitherto unacceptable CTBT regime which ironically even the US has refused to ratify;

d) This agreement recognizes the superior authority of the US President, US Congress, US Govt. Agencies, International Organizations, nuclear cartel etc upon India while reducing the Indian Republic to a subordinate and an inferior position. It seems that India has come full circle. She gained independence and sovereignty from the British after a hundred years of sustained struggle and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru among others was at the helm. Now after 60 years Nehru’s Italian born grand-daughter-in-law and her hand picked PM Dr. Man Mohan Singh are returning the same to the US on a platter without even firing a single shot.

e) India will have no case in the World Court should the US terminate this cooperation under any real or imaginary pretext;

f) Furthermore, the US will have right to seek the return of all nuclear items and materials and costs thereof;

g) The previously imposed embargo against India will remain in tact;

h) Under the direction of Washington India will work to prevent the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to the so called third world;

i) India will not be allowed to build stockpiling that will help it to ride out any future sanctions and/or embargos;

j) The 123 Agreement for all practical purposes is subordinate to the US legislative conditions that extend their role in to India;

k) The US will not compensate India for having unilaterally broken with impunity the accord of 1963;

l) India’s civilian nuclear establishment present and future among others will remain perpetually under the IAEA inspection regime;

m) The Deal’s qualitative and quantitative checks would substantially limit the size and sophistication of India’s weapons programs;

n) The US retains veto power in permitting India reprocessing which it did not have in the agreement of 1963;

o) American corporations will enjoy monopoly on reactor building contracts in India etc.

In the US all three branches of the Govt. i.e., executive, legislative and judiciary have been actively involved in the preparation, examination and finalization of this Deal. On the Indian side however, it has been the so called three musketeers at the top of the executive branch who know and did the whole thing. Transparency, legal feasibility and Parliament’s advice, very fundamental processes in a democracy, were considered unnecessary. The billion plus Indians, nuclear experts, media, parliament, judiciary and Govt. agencies were denied the real contents and the text of the Deal up to the eleventh hour. Sonia - Man Mohan team held this secret closest to its chest as long as it could. It seemed like the good old Soviet times when only the privileged central actors of the politburo were trusted with the real facts.

The community of scientists, nuclear experts and the public figures from patriotic opposition in India deserve high degree of credit and appreciation for having put up a strong fight in defense of India’s nuclear independence, sovereignty, autonomy and national security. They dared to ask some penetrating and inconvenient questions and demanded that the full text of this very important Deal be made public and parliamentary approval be sought before the Deal is finalized. Clearly, due to the utmost secrecy maintained around the negotiations during the past two years and oft repeated untruthful statements and assurances given by the PM their faith in the Govt. has been shaken. Yet without disclosing the actual text of the Deal up to the eleventh hour and without the parliamentary discussion and approval the Govt. leaders want the lawmakers to blindly ratify the document and condemn India to a new subservient status.

Hence, there is the need, justification and constitutional requirement that the Parliament should undertake a full scrutiny of the Deal, irrespective of the time needed, as the Govt. has already committed breach of trust and defaulted due to bypassing the experts, legislature, judiciary and public - a necessary process for the formalization of treaties in a democratic system. This historic event in the contemporary history of India is offering you a unique and an unprecedented opportunity for standing firm and vote to uphold the sovereignty of the country as also its autonomy in policy making.

1) In this context we would like to remind you of the historic assertion made by none other than the country’s first Prime Minister Pt. NEHRU that “India had missed our on the gunpowder revolution leading eventually to its enslavement but the country would not miss out on the nuclear revolution”

There is a nagging suspicion that through this hurriedly formulated Deal, India is being led by the descendants of the East India Company into yet another era of subservience and slavery. The acceptance of the Deal in its present form will not only violate India’s sovereignty but also the solemn pledge made by Mr. Nehru – the idol of Premier Singh and his party. The N- Deal in its current form compromises India’s national security and sovereignty, relegating it to a client and subservient status.

2) The 'breadth of facilities' that India has decided to surrender to the so-called international safeguards is shocking as it includes 'fundamental physics and other research institutions'. Research institutions, like the Bhaba Institute of Fundamental Research, should be permanent national institutions and to surrender them permanently to foreign inspection regime cleverly titled as safeguards regime without the ability to withdraw is against national interest.

It would be suicidal to accept a moratorium on nuclear research envisaged by the Indo-US Deal. Opening up some 37 facilities for int’l inspections, including many top scientific institutions could irreparably harm future research. From basic research to weapons-grade plutonium production capability, India’s nascent nuclear deterrent is being delivered a body blow by this Deal.

The loss of India’s dependable defense muscle to the foreigners would have the potential of pushing her back in to the “dark ages” i.e., a state of subservience and external domination.

The available evidence and supportive materials clearly establish the fact that the fundamental US goal in this Deal is to deter the rise of India as a full-fledged nuclear state that may threaten US global or regional interests. Under the US pressure India has gradually expanded the number of facilities to be placed under the safeguards regime from the initial “one or two”, to 37. With nuclear energy just the bait, the deal has allowed to sharply restrict and cap India’s nuclear weapons program, its fundamental research and consequently its potential rise as an economic power.

The US nuclear energy program is bifurcated and has come under the safeguards regime only under the following conditions: a) if not used currently for military purposes; b) is not co-located with military-use units; c) is not occasionally used for military purposes; and, d) its inclusion in the safeguards list poses no “incremental risk” to national security. Why should these 4 principles not be applicable to the Indo-US nuclear deal as well?

2) Exorbitant costs of the Nuclear Deal : Public deserves to know why the coal powered electric plants that are widely used cannot be built or bought, preferably with clean air technology. This will be a Swadeshi (indigenous) solution to the problem with no strings attached by any foreign entities and it will eventually enable India to fulfill her power needs from the indigenous Thorium based reactors after some time.

The emergence of an OPEC like Uranium and Nuclear Suppliers Group in the form of a Cartel must not be ruled out. Such an entity could manipulate both in pricing as well as imposing other unacceptable conditions upon India in the future. The clear indications to that effect are already observable.

This deal is fundamentally flawed because generating electricity from imported reactors and imported fuel makes little economic or strategic sense, for it culminates into energy insecurity and exorbitant costs of foreign goods and materials.

Russia has offered to build offshore nuclear plants without conditions. Why is the Govt. unwilling to examine this proposal? Because of its membership of the NSG, Russia now wants to supply on-shore nuclear power plants with added safeguards so the plants cannot be used to produce any nuclear weapons. However, at the same time, Russia has offered offshore nuclear plants to India, which would be outside the jurisdiction of any restrictions of the NSG or IAEA. India can have both or either of the on-shore or offshore nuclear power plants from Russia. Even if India needs nuclear power plants to supplement its energy requirement in the future, India does not need nuclear power plants from the USA. Russia can still supply whatever India needs at a much lower price. Why are these offers being overlooked?

The staggering costs of mandated separation of civilian and defense nuclear facilities - estimated at $40 billion for separation and another $60 billion for establishing the proposed civilian nuclear sector, along with the impracticality of finding high caliber personnel for both will effectively shut down the entire nuclear program. Additionally, the opening up of top research institutions to foreign inspections, meddling and potential espionage would dampen the advanced research. This leads to a suspicion that the real intent of the "Deal" is to strangulate India's technological and industrial emergence. Even in the US, Los Alamos and other strategic labs conduct research on both civilian and military projects. Then why should India be barred to follow that standard practice?

The Government must come clean and explain to the nation as to why these staggering additional financial costs (unrelated to power generation - in addition to the loss of sovereignty and security) cannot make the conventional coal based electric power generation a very attractive and feasible alternative. In this case India will also be free from the strings of all of the foreign entities.

3) "Divya Astra" (divine weapon) for reliable defense, acquired by "tapasya", laboriously and under severe sanctions must not be sacrificed: Only some 8% of India’s power needs, that too after two decades, are likely to be harnessed from the much publicized Indo-US nuclear Deal. This small fraction of energy could easily be generated with conventional and domestic nuclear power.

A permanent moratorium envisaged by the US generated Deal on country's otherwise unrestricted future nuclear research, nuclear defense capabilities and its civilian nuclear energy independence would be suicidal because, the loss of the dependable defense muscle would have the potential of pushing India back in to a state of dependence, subservience and external domination.

India has two ruthless, inimical and unpredictable dictatorships as neighbors. One gobbled up Tibet and now backs Maoists and Naxalites in India to disrupt peace and democracy and the other provides funding, bases and training to Jihadists who have already killed over 65,000 in J&K and continuously attack Hindus and their temples and Parliament deep inside the country with its objective to disintegrate and Islamize India. Moreover, besides possessing the more sophisticated US supplied weapons Pakistan is already working on a nuclear facility capable of producing 40 to 50 plutonium bombs per year.

Whether the Indian authorities realize it or not, an emaciated Indian defense, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and its modern military arms supplied by US and China, have the potential of realizing Pakistan’s stated goal i.e., the Balkanization of India. The continuous brazen attacks on Indian Parliament, Raghunath, Akshardham and Sankat Mochan Temples and on Mumbai commuter rail system by Pak-created Jihadis are precursors and warnings for such an eventuality.

To effectively neutralize the ruthless neighbors and protect its borders and populace, India needs a credible deterrence capable of quick transformation with changing technologies and international threat. Having suffered for centuries at the hands of colonizers, tyrannical invaders and unfriendly nuclear neighbors, India has every right and need to build an impenetrable national defense system in order to maintain her hard earned independence.

4) "The Nuclear Deal is a historic blunder. If this Deal is ratified, it will prevent India from ever emerging as a full-fledged nuclear power”. In fact it will rank as serious a blunder or worse, as GOI’s decision to take the Kashmir issue to the UN and accept a ceasefire; the return of Haji Pir to Pakistan under the Tashkent Declaration; and, the surrender of battlefield gains at Simla in 1972 without securing a Kashmir settlement." The deal imposes such constraints upon India that it will be impossible for her to ever emerge as a strategic power; instead it might enlarge the Republic’s vulnerability.

The guarantee of national freedom and prosperity requires that India keep all its nuclear options open, just like the other nuclear powers do. This issue must be judged against India's national needs, goals for its future, including the national security and military invincibility and not just for minimal deterrence or meeting fractional electric power needs.

All fast Breeders Reactors in future will be in the civilian sector and 90 % to 95 % of facilities will be in the civilian sector in 25 years.

Though the agreement could be terminated on a year's notice, the civilian sector facilities would remain under IAEA and NSG safeguards. And India would have lost a golden chance to participate in a nuclear revolution as envisaged by Pt. NEHRU.

That this Deal is a monumental blunder has been aptly articulated by Mr. VP Singh, a former Prime Minister, who complained that the draft agreement to operationalize the Deal does not grant India reprocessing, enrichment and heavy water technologies and allows the US to terminate the pact with a year’s notice. .... the deal does not grant India the status of a nuclear weapons state and binds it to the national laws of the US, such as the Hyde Act. "It is ironical that a similar agreement with China grants supremacy to international laws while we are bound by the Hyde Act," ......the deal would make India dependent on the US for uranium supplies for power plants, "surrender" the right to conduct an atomic test and reprocess spent fuel, and open up nuclear facilities to American inspection.

"We can instead import coal, which can be done without any conditionalities, and set up thermal power plants along the coastline," he said. ... such a move would even dispel the possibility of sabotage of nuclear facilities and also avoid the trouble of disposal of nuclear waste. "Friendship with the US is okay, but we should not accept slavery," Mr. Singh warned.

5) Providing Leadership for Sovereign and Prosperous India: It would be highly questionable and unfortunate to allow a handful of individuals in the executive branch of the Govt. to take decisions of this magnitude by usurping the Parliament's authority and without inviting input from all the concerned parties and sections of public. The ratification of the proposed agreement by national consensus and the constitutionally the sovereign body i.e., the Parliament must be a precondition similar to approval by both the houses of the American legislature. The upcoming sixtieth anniversary of independence should be an occasion for a renewed resolve and re-dedication for preserving the country’s sovereignty, autonomy and independence rather than drowning the nation in a state of dependency under the cover of sugar coated and tactfully titled “ Indo-US Nuclear Deal”.

Hon'ble national Leaders and Parliamentarians, you will be remembered for generations for jealously guarding the sovereignty and freedom of India, against the attempts of accepting foreign domination. It can be done by ratifying only a treaty that is based on equality and which does not make India liable to domestic laws of foreign countries. May we also request you, to reopen this issue vociferously before the Parliament, Indian scientists, nuclear experts, jurists and public in general, and do whatever is necessary for bringing about an agreement which explicitly recognizes India as a nuclear power while enhancing her national security.

It may be prudent and pragmatic if the Parliament adopts a "vision" or “goal post” for making India a world leader in nuclear technology - to fulfill "Nehru's vision of not missing out on the nuclear revolution". Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who just relinquished the office of President of the Indian Republic, believes that the country could be a world leader in nuclear fuels if it develops technology for thorium-based reactors. But this will need the political will and freedom from subservient mindset. If Indians can rise to the top in foreign countries in all fields, there is no reason why they could not do so in India, if provided opportunities, appropriate avenues, management and resources without bureaucratic roadblocks.

In conclusion we would like to re-emphasize that the Parliament is the supreme sovereign body in India. And it falls within this body's jurisdiction to exercise its paramount authority in defending national sovereignty, if and when it is threatened, without any regard to what branch of national interest that threat may relate to. The complex issue of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal and the unusual eagerness demonstrated by the GOI to formalize it has landed India at the cross roads of her modern history. It is in your hands to take a firm stand in defense of the national sovereignty and autonomy in policy making and not allow any entity to compromise them at any cost. At this critical juncture with heightened expectations, the nation awaits your verdict.

Thank you for your time and consideration. We shall look forward to your response.


Dr. Jagan Kaul
Krishan Bhatnagar
Forum for Secularism and Development (USA)
August 07, 2007



Post a Comment

<< Home