Saturday 26 July 2008

ആണവക്കരാറ്-ചില നിരീക്ഷണങ്ങള്‍( Indo-US Nuclear deal)

ഒരു ഇ-മെയില്‍ ചറ്ച്ചയില്‍നിന്നു കിട്ടിയ എതാനും നിരീക്ഷണങ്ങളാണിത്.

വിവര്‍ത്തനം ചെയ്യാനുള്ള ക്ഷമയില്ലാത്തതുകൊണ്ട്,അതേപടി ചേറ്ക്കുന്നു.

സിമിയുടെ ബ്ലോഗിലെ ചൂട്പിടിച്ച വാദപ്രതിവാദങ്ങള്‍ വായിച്ചപ്പോള്‍,ഇത്കൂടിയിവിടെ പങ്ക് വെയ്ക്കാമെന്ന് തോന്നി.


The opponents of the deal fall into 3 categories

(I) The left, who are still trapped in a time warp. They still cannot break free from the sixties’ cold-war mindsets. They cannot get over the “if-it-is-America-it-has-to-be-evil” syndrome. They pee in their pants when they hear about foreign technology. These are the people who were against introducing computers into the country.


(ii) The BJP – in the heart of their hearts, they are for the deal, but would hate to let anyone else walk away with the credit. In fact, the seeds of the deal were sown during the Jaswant Singh – Steve Talbott talks. They are just quoting some technicality to oppose the deal.


(iii) Others, who haven’t really understood the nuances of the deal, but see a point in the Left’s stand that India is compromising its strategic security and becoming an ally of the US.


Let ua examine the various arguments against the deal.


1. We are compromising our strategic security: The deal is purely confined to civilian nuclear cooperation, and does not cover strategic aspects of our nuclear program. We are free to pursue our strategic nuclear program, we are free to retain our nuclear arsenal, and are even free to carry out future nuclear tests. (That the BJP government has foreclosed that option by announcing unilateral moratorium on future nuclear testing is another thing). We can choose the nuclear facilities that have to be put under IAEA safeguards, no questions asked. Out of the 22 nuclear facilities, we have declared 8 as strategic, and they are out of bounds for anyone. The remaining 14 will be progressively brought under safeguards, by 2014. The fast-breeder test reactor and the prototype fast-breeder reactor have been kept outside the safeguards regime. We have also agreed that future civilian fast-breeder reactors would be placed under safeguards, but the determination of what is civilian is solely an Indian decision. India had its way in inserting this clause despite the demands in the US Congress – some Congressmen were afraid it will help India circumvent the restrictions.




2. The fear of USA. ( I don’t think we can ever get out of this) We are a mature democracy of over a billion people, a fast growing economic superpower, one of the strongest nations in the world. Just imagine what would happen to the US economy if our IT companies were to pull out of US? (That they would never do it is another matter). Why is it that our knees still knock the moment we hear USA’s name? USA is no angel. They agreed for the deal not because of their love for India, but purely due to their economic interests. In this world, every interest finally converges at the economic interest. Just because it is in USA’s economic interests, should it mean that it would be against ours? Don’t we have a huge economic interest in harnessing nuclear energy? It is time we developed confidence in doing business with the devil, rather than running for cover at the very mention of the devil’s name. Another fear is the provisions in the Hyde Act which would seem to impinge upon our foreign policy independence. First of all, Hyde Act is a domestic US legislation whose main function is to allow nuclear cooperation with India, and US domestic legislation is binding on the US, not India. It's an enabling legislation. It's the 123 agreement that is binding on the US and India. There is no contradiction between the two. The operative part of the Hyde Act incorporates three permanent and unconditional waivers from relevant provisions of the US Atomic Energy Act. The Hyde Act allows the US Administration to engage in civil nuclear cooperation with India, waiving 3 critical requirements of the US law. Second, all these foreign policy related provisions (Iran etc) are in the non-binding section of the Hyde Act. They are there only as sops to the US lawmakers to agree to the provisions of the Act. They are only advisory in nature to the US government. Bush, while signing statement, said that he is not bound by the advisory provisions of the Act. It will be interesting to note that the China-specific Act had, in its non-binding provisions Tibet, (which is like having Kashmir in the India agreement) human rights and religious freedom for China to work on, which are far more worse than the provisions in the Hyde Act meant for India. But the Chinese are smart. They let the US keep these for whatever they are worth as they knew the value of what they were getting. Would our comrades say that China has mortgaged its foreign policy independence to the US? The binding provisions of the Hyde Act enables US to sign the 123 agreement with India, by making amendments to the US laws which the agreement would have otherwise violated. Why would there have been such a strong opposition with the US politicians and lawmakers against the deal if it were to serve only US interests? Even agreeing for argument’s sake that Hyde Act overrides 123 Agreement, according to Article VI of the US Constitution, as interpreted by the US Supreme Court, obligations of an international agreement supersede provisions of domestic law. India did manage to push through another article, 16.4, that the agreement “shall be implemented in good faith and in accordance with the principles of international law.” The phrase “principles of international law” is a clear reference to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Article 27 of the Convention, which, as a part of customary international law, does not have to be cited to be applicable, states: “A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.” The legal opinion in the US is almost unanimous that the 123 Agreement supersedes the Hyde Act.




3. There is a large group consisting of people who are independent, and who oppose the deal not necessarily on political grounds. This is a cross section of our society including scientists, some people in the media and other sections of the general public. There are many scientists who are against the deal because they want to work in complete independence and not have anyone looking over their shoulders. India’s civil nuclear programme will be subject to IAEA safeguards. IAEA can inspect, ask questions. Very genuine fears. At the same time, let us also remember that there is a cost to any benefit. Many are led to believe that it is the Americans who are going to do this job. Fact is, they are not. IAEA is an independent body under the UN system, genuinely independent. Remember, they refused to certify that Saddam Husain was developing WMD. 140 countries across the world have accepted IAEA safeguards, though they are all signatories to NPT which India is not. IAEA safeguards ensure that nuclear fuel supplied under IAEA clearance is not diverted for military purpose. India does not do so, nor does it intend doing so. The question of IAEA inspection arises only if fissile materials, namely uranium-235, plutonium-239 or uranium-233 are in use in significant quantities or if work is in progress on uranium enrichment or on spent fuel-reprocessing or if activities involving weapons research are undertaken. None of the listed facilities have been involved in these activities in the past nor will they be so involved in the future. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology and other strategic facilities are outside the list of facilities accessible to IAEA inspection. We have a strategic uranium reserve meant for military purposes which has been recognized and which we will continue to keep. Scientists cannot tolerate auditors, leave alone IAEA! On the other hand, several eminent Scientists have allayed the misplaced fears and come out in support of the deal. What more endorsement does one need than from Abdul Kalam, (who, incidentally, has no love lost for the UPA government) a person of unquestioned honesty, integrity and patriotism. Would we trust a Manmohan Singh and an Abdul Kalam or the Karats and the Advanis and the Mayawatis?




4. Another argument is that we do not need uranium and we have an indigenous programme to develop thorium-based reactors. The deal would kill the indigenous programme, they say. In the period 2000–05, the nuclear power units began to operate with high capacity factors. In 2005, unit no. 4 of the Tarapore atomic power station, India’s largest reactor and largest single-unit generating-plant attained criticality. The time was appropriate to launch a much larger nuclear power programme. However, the problem was, the availability of uranium in the country. As of now, India possesses only relatively low-grade uranium ores which cost some four or five times the international price to extract. (Sudhakaran will bear me out on this). The total quantity available is also limited. The internationally accepted nuclear power units have a capacity of 1000 MW or more and employ low enriched uranium – an option now barred to India. Again, there is an inevitable time lag before thorium can be used as a source of energy, as a sufficient capacity of fast reactors using the plutonium–uranium cycle have to be built before thorium can be utilized. I have read about 20-30 years . Yet, there is nothing that bars us from continuing to do “blue-sky” research on thorium. Our energy requirements are galloping exponentially every year – can we just afford to wait and wait?




5. Next argument – nuclear energy will not bring about energy security – it will only take care of a small percentage of our energy needs. Which single source of energy is going to take care of 100% of our energy needs? We are at the mercy of the Arabs (who can make US look like an angel) for oil. More fossil fuels, more greenhouse gases, climate change effects. Our coal has high ash content and new mine locations are in areas classified as reserve forests. The solution is to tap ALL alternative sources – nuclear, hydel, solar, wind and so on. Nuclear energy is not cheap. Is oil (trading above $130/barrel) cheap? None of us want to stop using oil because it is costly.



6. It is argued that we have to depend on imported sources for our nuclear fuel requirement, which is uncertain. Aren’t we almost 100% dependent on imported oil? Haven’t we built massive refineries to process imported crude? It is not as if India has to import all the nuclear fuel from US. India is free to buy fuel from any source, Russia, France or any other exporter.

18 comments:

ഭൂമിപുത്രി said...

ഇന്തോ--യുഎസ് ആണവക്കരാറിനെക്കുറിച്ചുള്ള്
ഒരു ഇ-മെയില്‍ ചറ്ച്ചയില്‍നിന്നു കിട്ടിയ എതാനും നിരീക്ഷണങ്ങള്‍

അനൂപ്‌ കോതനല്ലൂര്‍ said...

കാര്യമെന്തു തന്നെയായാലും ആണവകരാര്‍
നടപ്പാക്കണം എന്നു തന്നെയാണ് എന്റീ അഭിപ്രായം.

ഭൂമിപുത്രി said...

mijagadees,ആ ലിങ്കിന്‍ നന്ദി.ഇവിടെക്കൊടുത്തിരിയ്ക്കുന്ന അഭിപ്രായങ്ങള്‍,എന്റേതല്ലയെന്ന് ആദ്യമേ വ്യക്തമാക്കിയിട്ടുണ്ടല്ലൊ.എന്നെ സംബന്ധിച്ചിടത്തോളം മൊത്തം ആശങ്കളാണ്‍.
ഭൂമിയ്ക്കടിയില്‍ ടാങ്കുകളില്‍ക്കുഴിച്ചിട്ട ആണവമാലിന്യം
ചോറ്ന്ന് അമേരിക്കയിലെ കൊളംബിയ നദി വിഷം നിറഞ്ഞതാകുന്നുവെന്നൊക്കെ അറിയുമ്പോള്‍..

Praveen payyanur said...

നന്ദി, ആണവക്കരാറിനെക്കുറിച്ചുള്ള ഒരു നല്ല ചര്‍ച്ച നോക്കിയിരിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. ലിങ്കു തന്നതിന് നന്ദി.

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