Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My concerns over the current state of the Indo-US nuclear deal

Here is a summary of my concerns over the current state of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

1) Discussions over the deal appears to be wedging into the pro-bush-anti-Bush divide in Congress. The high-volume publicity campaign mounted by the NPA is only possible with the collusion of friendly media groups - hint hint. A likely scenario is a deadlock in Congress with all manner of unsavory characters raising lobbying costs and avoiding any outcome. A cooling off period may be necessary to avoid reaching an unmanageable situation.

2) The current industrial support for the deal comes from the belief that India will eventually purchase existing reactor technology from US suppliers. This is impossible without a complete tech. transfer of Uranium enrichment. Given that the Uranium enrichment market is controlled technology so far and changes in that regime are unlikely. The Pakistanis for one will not permit India to enter their highly lucrative and captive market in Uranium enrichment related products. Pakistan and China's friends in the NPA community will move accordingly.

3) A clear sign of growing pressure on the Bush administration is the prevalence of non-proliferation related agendas in the negotiations. At the present time it is inadvisable to do anything that openly expresses a lack of confidence in the Bush administration's ability to manage its end of the July 18 bargain. Such a move is likely to attract the ire of the Bush family - an event that could have unpredictable consequences. However it is equally unprofitable to be seen as entering into an agreement that does not meet our national interests. We need to politely tell the Bush govt. that it is not in our national interests to be part of a badly scripted American national drama.

4) It may be that Vice President Cheney retains a sense of bitterness over the Enron-Dabhol issue. Perhaps this is prompting Cheney acolytes to create an environment of hostility towards the Indo-US deal. I suspect that given the desire on part of Cheney friendly oil companies to exploit the South Pars field, President Bush may even have a sense of ambivalence towards the deal. I had suggested earlier that the nuclear deal is a pay-off for not acting against Pakistan. I stand by this assessment - the Americans are going to have to do some serious conflict management in Pakistan as the Musharraf regime crumbles. Without India's support there is unlikely to be a resolution that favors American interests. Addressing India's nuclear energy concerns is a good way to ensure that India has no incentive to push Pakistan when it is down.

5) The current formulation of the GNEP is not sensitive to our national interests. It does not even recognize our three-stage fuel cycle which offers the most effective usage of fissile material and the most efficient means of waste and proliferation risk management. I see little point in it going forward. I feel these points should be made clearer as technical discussions on the GNEP are presented to an Indian audience. I welcome the move to ask India to join ITER - but more needs to be done before GNEP actually can be called "Global" from our perspective.

6) It is impossible to achieve any kind of FMCT without a concurrent regime of testing. We have avoided the development of high yeild nuclear weapons thus far and we have also avoided the bulk of weaponization issues thus far. These lacunae will have to be addressed in the testing regime. The Pakistanis are bound to view all this as an escalation. Unfortunately only lip service can be paid to their views as of now. An overt acceptance of this fact is necessary to secure the agreement. How the NPA's feel about is not really relevant and their agreement is not necessary.

7) On PSI - I cannot stress that we offer complete cooperation. Should a nuclear weapon directed at American targets appear on our screens, we will immediately convey the information to American national security agents. I am willing to publicly recognize that we have no way to compel the US to provide similar such information regarding Pakistani attempts to surreptitiously target nuclear weapons at India, though I am quite confident that people in the US will most certainly know about such events.

8) Our non-proliferation policy is simple. We are willing to cooperate in civilian uses of nuclear techology under IAEA mediated arrangements. Should our national interests dictate an independent approach towards any nation, we will keep the IAEA informed of our activities. This approach will find reflection in any special protocols that the IAEA might develop to deal with us. Intrusive surveillance over India's nuclear establishment is unacceptable.

9) India is willing to observe voluntary moratoriums on testing as long as it suits national interests. The greatest national interest is to preserve political space for expediency. It is up to the Americans to recognize that they cannot coax or force India to undermine its national interests.

alls well that ends well.


At 3:08 AM, Blogger mukunda said...

Few will read my posts. Anyway if one looks at the peace of westphalia that achieved four objectives, the most important of it (from wikipedia)
""The principle of the sovereignty of nation-states and the concomitant fundamental right of political self-determination"". This is exactly what you have mentioned in concluding parts of your posts(preserving political expdiency..)
This is principal reasons why people are opposing the Indo-US July/18/2005 agreement. We do not want any decisions relating to our nations future being taken from Washington D.C as was happening before in London.That is why Gen S.Padmanabhawrote the book "writing on the wall". Last question do we have the strength to oppose American hegemonism?

At 4:26 AM, Anonymous Ranjith said...

The concerns should be about the nuclear deal. The first few points speak about what the congress or others will do.
Well the congress has never before debated the pro's and con's of a India-US nuclear deal. This being debated is a significant step in itself.
I admit there are certain concerns about the contents of the deal but overall the deal is forward looking and must be appreciated.


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