14 October 2008

 It has been pulled off! All the nay sayers said it couldn't be done but Manmohan and Bush had the last laugh. Karat & Co pulled out the plug, BJP & Co said UPA had sold the country to the US -- but perhaps in their heart of hearts they wished that they had done it. They were merely playing politics without bothering to read the Hyde Act or the text of the draft 123 agreement. It was a singular triumph for the PM Manmohan Singh who with a Sardarji's steely resolve pursued the deal, even offering to resign if it was not done, and was finally rewarded with success.

Significantly, the approval of the IAEA, NSG and the US Senate has allowed India to be equated with the big 5 nuclear states, without signing the NPT. India's impeccable record of commitment to nuclear non proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy have been recognised and rewarded.  It was this equality that we craved more than just the need for electric power. We should savour the special treatment given to India by the NSG nations.

The positive gains:

  • Nuclear equality on the global stage

  • An immediate agreement with France for supply of nuclear plant and fuel

  • Negotiations for similar supplies with USA & Russia

  • Reprocessing of spent fuel without let and hindrance

  • In the long term -- adequate electricity for the whole country

  • In the long term -- time to perfect our own nuclear processing capabilities i.e. convert thorium into uranium and knowing the will and ability of our scientists and engineers the ability to build our own nuclear plants

For all the politics of the deal and the doom spelt out by the nay sayers, the deal is a singular achievement by our government and they need our congratulations and support. There is nothing in the deal which prevents our capacity to use nuclear power for strategic purposes. In the event we feel the need to carry out more nuclear testing and there is fear of sanctions from USA again, we should wait to cross that hurdle when the time comes. There is nothing in the deal to say that we must get all our supplies from USA.

So, please keep your comments coming. With this deal what have we gained or lost?

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