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Monday, July 21, 2008

Why is so much turmoil for Nuke deal in India?

Why is so much turmoil for Nuke deal? Is it a personal ego clash or does it have any political values kept in that question for the common people and larger rural population of India, for which now two major oppositions are fighting, ignoring inflation, and keeping other major development factors pending. Within few hours we’ would know the booming India would be hijacked by the sense of instability for another six months or not. Many experts already commented that, during this turmoil if this Govt goes for the election now, 2009 Q1 would be profitable for the entire India, or else at any case they’ve to go for election in 2009. The business men can’t afford to loose much, because 2008 had given enough pain in profit booking due to soaring oil prices and inflation. The equity market had also seen huge corrections. Hence, when things are going bad, let it be bad and finish it for all. So, we reach at today when most of the world is watching India tonight at this debate.

There’re several opinions available from the different sources in Internet.

In Favor: We don’t yet know the wonders a cheap and dependable energy can do to our lives, not because we lack education but because we tend to look back rather than look forward. The life in rural area improves if the urban area is thriving it is not true other way round. After all jobs are in the urban area not in rural areas. The law of prosperity seem s to a complete circle.

Look at the 15% rise in cost of the fuel, it has played havoc with the life of general public. Everything has gone dearer by more than 10%. Imagine if the cost of electricity comes down by 30% and the supply becomes dependable. It will change the way we live.

Even after the deal has been made, we can still go ahead with our nuclear weapon program. We just have to keep the facilities open for inspection. This is fine. We can have Pokharan -III.

When there is much benefit from the nuke deal, we have to be dependent upon the supplier. The law of nature is you always blown down to the giver ! Be it the Sun, the Earth the Water, the mother .

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he would not seek changes in a controversial nuclear deal with India and hoped it would be finalised by year-end, a magazine reported Saturday.

"The existing agreement effectively balanced a range of important issues -- from our strategic relationship with India to our non-proliferation concerns to India's energy needs," Obama was quoted as saying by the weekly Outlook news magazine.

"I am therefore reluctant to seek changes," he said in the interview.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush had in 2005 unveiled the agreement which if finalised will allow India in to the fold of global nuclear commerce after having been shut out for decades.

Singh argues the pact is crucial for India's energy security and continued strong economic growth.

But the Indian government's left-wing allies who are staunchly opposed to the agreement last week withdrew their support over the issue.

The government will now face a confidence vote on July 22, hich is within few hours of this posts and I was watching the learned members of parliaments, how they were fighting with each others forgetting the true faces of India.

Despite the political opposition, Singh's government moved forward on an agreement subjecting the country's civilian nuclear sites to international controls for the first time.

An approval by the UN atomic agency International Atomic Energy (IAEA) of the draft agreement is one of the several conditions India must fulfil to clinch the accord, apart from getting the nod from the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

"A final judgement on the deal negotiated by the Indian and US governments ... must await the IAEA's approval of a safeguards agreement with India and changes to be agreed by the Nuclear Suppliers Group," Obama was quoted as saying.

"At that point, the US Congress will decide whether to approve the agreement. I continue to hope this process can be concluded before the end of the year," Obama said.

Analysts have previously said that the agreement may face hurdles in finalising the agreement once Bush's administration ends in January.

For almost 30 years the U.S. has been at the fore of a global fight to deny India access to Nuclear power technology, because it developed nuclear weapons and tested them.(Cruel Hypocrisy really, considering that the U.S. were among the earliest nations to develop nuclear weapons and test them)

Now after nearly three decades India have been offered a golden opportunity to emerge out of their nuclear seclusion and be at par with the top nations of the world in terms of nuclear energy output.

At present nuclear power production in India accounts for only a measly 3% of the total generation of 120,000 MW. Large scale nuclear power production would also mean less dependence on traditional sources of non-renewable fuel such as coal, oil and petroleum. Abundant nuclear power production would obviously lead to a fall in fuel and electricity prices. It especially holds relevance as a promising new alternative in the face of price rise and fall in oil output.

The fruits of total privatization are seen in the telecom sector. Gone are the days when a cellphone was an item of luxury beyond the reach of the common man.

The nuclear deal could mean a similar privatisation in the energy. According to a report in Bloomberg,multinationals such as Westinghouse, Rosatom, GE and Areva have expressed a keen interest in operating a nuclear power plant in India, should the government encourage private investment. Indian companies such as Tata power and Reliance Energy are more than eagerly open to such a proposition.

But how does the U.S benefit from the deal?

A valid question. The U.S. would be supplying India with both nuclear technology and reactors, should the deal progress beyond endless chatter and talks. The U.S.A. is projected to mint over $150 billion of the deal.

That precisely is what the Left is worried about. The deal would mean that India is completely dependent on the U.S. for supply of technology and reactors. This places India in a vulnerable position, open to being exploited for the U.S. would be able to dictate the price, terms and conditions as they please.

Verdict

The pros outweigh the cons and hence India should go with the deal. They must however not haggle so much and must make a quick decision. In any case the deal will not bring change or improve the lives of the people who constitute the real India-India lives in small towns and villages, not metropolitan cities or big towns, and I’m afraid that the deal is going to benefit only the latter.

What is your take on the nuke deal? Is it a boon or a bane? We are open to all your views and criticisms. We encourage you to leave behind a comment.

19 comments:

Robert Mills said...

As I have been following the Indo-Pak conflict and various efforts to resolve the conflict... I am more in agreement with Gandhists which believe there must be a non-proliferation and all Indian-Pakistan solution without the involvement of U.S vs Pak-China solution. Of course I am a proponent of Satyagraha, and prefer that no military weapons be preferred.

If U.S. gets any more involved, such involvement can only be done with an equal agreement between the U.S. and China, as such would intensify the conflict between India and Pakistan (recall the close nuclear exchange of 2001 when each side challenged the border disputes with Nuclear armed missiles).

Aneal Mahajn said...

The question is: What are the motivations of the parties involved and are the intermediaries magnanimous or in pursuit of their own agenda?

It is time for the world to invest in a global peace keeping authority where all nations hold equal sway. This authority then should be empowered to take measures required to enforce the agreed upon rules globally.

It is a sorry state of world affairs when a country like Tibet is terrorized, ethnically cleansed and diluted right in front of the world. If it weren't for British decency India and other countries may still be colonies of the crown with suppressed populations.

Daniel Tonetti said...

I think the population of India represented by its politicians must decide what is best for their country. Energy and Power, in all senses, is an issue that 1st world nations want to control. It is a dependable and stable matrix controlled by them. Should it continue that way? Well, look where global climate is going and you know my opinion. Do not listen to those nations, do not listen to me, our anyone else besides the Indian population! July 22 is just around the corner. Best of luck!

Vernon C said...

Dibyendu,

There are no simple answers to the noted query, the dynamics of the super powers, the needs of the smaller countries and their associated dynamics, and the interplay between the two and the singular, are all part of that noted association. At this time, I'm awaiting much more information before any knee jerk reactions to whats been proffered at this time.

My best regards, Vernon C.

Manu Mayank said...

Well its about perception...Left thinks that its not good for the Country, as this would lead to America Policing all the Nuclear Policies.

While the Congress is under the notion that this would be good for the countries energy independence. Well, It would be quite some time before this deal would show the effect, the current benefits would be ... India getting recognition as an ally in the So called American Power Circle. We have already given so much of inside information on our Nuclear capability to US that it would be a blunder not going ahead with this deal now.

Left has always voiced its opinion against deal, as we know how much left is against the Capitalist America. So now they are saving the face.

My Personal Opinion is that there is no harm in trying American technology and support...if it leads to a solution on energy crisis. But consider this....America itself is planning to convert big time to Wind energy.....and guess who is the Major supplier for all these wind mills.....Suzlon.

My only concern with this deal is that....Given that we will get all the technology....Will India be able to handle the Nuclear waste.....thats a big question.

SNO said...

I have often read that this deal will help 'fuel' India's energy requirement.. but nowhere have I seen any reliable calculation of the cost of providing energy generated from the proposed Nuclear power plants that will subsequently come up once this deal is through.

In any case, if I'm not mistaken Nuclear energy will not be less expensive than Hydro energy .. and we have an abundance of water resources around the country that we haven't even begun to exploit.

Subhas C Biswas said...

To many Indians world has not moved beyond Industrial revolution and time remained static since Das Capital was written.

To others, we are a great scientific community with a few noble prizes on science and literature.

To me we have a situation where 90% educated people pursue job, business or career with mindless pursuit to earning money and laurel while keeping the recent developments and the books away.

So why blame the politicians - they are one of us, half-literate, incompetent and greedy for their own self.

Only fools will expect reasons and balanced judgements from them.

Harshwardhan Gupta said...

Hi Dibyendu,
The question nobody is asking is that why hasn't India been able to become self-sufficient in nuclear reactor and equipment design and production, and pushed its thorium based fast-breeder reactor technology to become feasible and operational. We can't even design and produce a decent Geiger counter, or various high-vacuum apparatus needed for developing nuclear technology. We have not been able to design and produce any "dual-use" technology under our own steam. Whom did Russia and China turn to, when they needed these technologies at the height of the cold war?
Other glaring examples are our pathetic attempts to develop the liquid-fuel rocket engine, light combat aircraft, main battle tank... We can't even design a modern small arm for our army. We can't develop a heads-up display,
For that matter, we can't even design and make laparoscopy instruments, high-speed manufacturing and packaging machines for diapers, for pencils, high-speed or high-power locomotives, turbofan engines...
In the pithy words of the great Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, former director of CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), The I in India doesnt stand for innovation, it stands for Imitation and Inhibition!
And we want to be a World Power, when we still keep buying servomotors, industrial robots, printing presses, even ALL our millions of mobile phones and their not-conforming-to-BIS chargers from the west which don't even make a reliable connection when plugged in.
And now we are washing our dirty "parliamentary democracy" laundry in front of the whole laughing world! Nuclear deal indeed!!!
Who did America or France or UK or Russia or Japan or Korea or Taiwan or Germany turn to, when they needed high-technology?
Our focus and mindset MUST shift ASAP from "obtaining" high-technology to developing high-technology ourselves in all, and I mean ALL, areas and do it fast. Earlier we used to beg for food, now we beg, buy or steal technologies.
As all our business gurus and Management experts produce so much malodorous gases alongwith our media and our politicians; they remain COMPLETELY ignorant to this HUGE blind-spot of ours.

Prasobh Krishnan said...

India signing or not signing on the Indo-US Nuke deal will give or not give any benefit to us only time will tell. I personally feel that Indian as a nation will not lose any thing even if it signs or not signs.

Prawin Rajagopalan said...

I feel that The Left are making a mountain out of a molehill & should give up their ego and support our govt. They are creating a wrong image of the United States as being ruthless,greedy capitalists. The Left are a hindrance to India’s progress and it would be a real disgrace if India lets go of this one-opportunities don’t come knocking on one’s door very often,but when they do you have to take it,no question about that.

mike wall said...

Hello All, I am an open minded Buddhist, not of the left or the right, but the middle path, with a great respect for the Dalai Lama, who I had the honor of meeting and interviewing in the 1980s.

I am opposed to the use of nuclear energy in any form. Does India want a repeat of what happened in Russia some years ago? India has a great choice of alternative energy such as Solar, Hydrogen, and the use of wind power to create lighting, air conditioning etc., in every Home, Factory, Temple, government building and in every public area, the more they use it, the cheaper it will become. Without the the danger of infecting and killing all life on Earth.

It will also assist in reducing the effect of global warming, and a future global superstorm. Sinserely Mike, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Prashant Bhekare said...

This is the dance of democracy.

This is how it should be. Let not the decision makes ever believe they can take unilateral decision and never be cross questioned or thrown out of power. We are a nation of intelligent people. The arguments are good, keeps the juice of democracy flowing.

For once, people are moving out of their personal cocoon of self interests and are discussing something of national interest. This should happen more often.

A seasoned warrior can take good care of its nation. The definition of war has moved from, a war of shedding blood to a war of words.

You have to take a stand in life.

Best wishes.

Prashant.

Ryan Baidya said...

Trust restored but democracy is in judgment

Democracy – and India
What we are reading online, watching on UTUBE and local (in India) TV are not what I set-out to write on this Blog. As saying goes, if there is a smell of fish there may be a cat if not fish at all.
If one had watched and read most of the transcripts of the TRUST vote (July 21-22) sessions, one would feel dejected and withdrawn from the democratic system. Here begins the danger – when a large portion of the citizen forced to withdraw from a democratic system, that democracy is no longer reliable and is bound to be exploitive.
Media now has much harder job to perform – it has professional responsibilities to bring the democratic system to life by constantly creating sincere pressure to bring out the truth before the established systems get ready to make it know for the citizens. It is the media who can bring the TRUST of the CITIZEN back to the democracy. A good democratic system is a direct reflection of the tenacity and performance of the nation’s editorial class (media of all outfits).

As Professor Jamini Oza said in his recent interview with freshnews that current episode of Indian Politics put a shadow on the pride of the India .

Ramanpreet Singh said...

It is an incremental effort for India's Energy Security in the future and an important effort but importantly puts an end to the nuclear isolation that is faced by India. I don't know why this is painted as an India-US deal whereas it actually lets India work with all the nations of the Nuclear Supplier Group.

This agreement is good for India and it is my opinion. Others who differ have the full right too.

The trials and tribulations that accompanied this trust vote were the best part of being in a vibrant and diverse democracy.

Panish Hangal said...

The objective merits of the Nuke deal was seemingly forgotten by the narrow sighted politics of survival. Please note that the primary objective of most of political parties /politicians is 'Re-electability'. Being unsure of this they have tried to capitalize on the Nuke deal as a means for personal political survival/gain. It has nothing to do with the terms of the Nuke deal.

Thanks to the vision and execution skills of a handful of learned MPs the Nuke deal now seems a reality by the end of the year.

PRABHAT SINHA said...

Hi Dibyendu,

I do not think that the nuke deal is such an issue. It is a requirement of time and the requirement is not of a political party or a leader - it is a requirement felt, researched and concluded by the experts, scientists and planners. The political machinery is only converting this need into a reality. The rationale is borne out of the fact that Indian having invetsed in the nuclear know-how sits on a vast resource and infrastructure that would be redundant in a nuclear weapon free world. Faced with the energy crisis that is difficult to meet through other sources such as hydel (which would also deplete India's water resource that has already become scarce in the world) and others. Also, the nuclear energy would be the most cost-efficient and easily distributed.

However, in politics, the opposition as a matter of its practice and nature, would be critical of any Government move. More so if the move of a Government is seen as one that would give it an edge in the public mind, particularly when an election is just round the corner. As a opposition leader one would quite naturally pursue the criticism aggressively. It can be done constructively by identifying areas that may not be covered by the Government. However, one is unable to find that or one has been lazy enough not to examine it closely or one believes that the fault in the process may not be relevant for the public consumption, chances are that one would use tactics, methods or means to create and build doubts or resort to build an issue that the public would easily relate to. A very common tool in the Indian context is corruption.

In the recent case, it was known that there is no way you can fight the nuclear issue - because there is not real fault and it is also known that the public would capture its relevance. The Left front was on the look for an opportunity to disassociate from the Congress considering it would have to contest Congress in its two patron states. The nuclear issue had the ingredients - association with the US that is seen as pro-right, very modern, another rightist incline. Once they quit, it became clear that there be a mandate. As opposition you cannot let the ruling party get a convincing mandate just when the election is near. So the opposition would be compelled to convert this into an opportunity to build a contrary public view.

In politics means has really never been the issue - it is a question of life and death. For 5 years you sit in the opposition and yet hope to sit another term? In absence of a real ground, the human instinct would take any recourse. It may be horrifying to witness the process but look at it from a desparate point of view....

Cheers

Rajesh Natarajan said...

Political drama
the real issue is an american pipe dream of creating another power center in asia to counter or balance communist china

here, a bunch of very value-less greedy hungry lawmakers are showing what our democracy is worth

if at all a debate, it must be on the lines of energy costs, access and development of alternate energy sources, and what benefit will this surge in nuclear energy boon on the poor indian

that's all that's relevant, i guess. i am fed up of our lawmakers and completely appalled at having a mayawati projected as a pm in waiting. definitely keeps the image of india at an all time global high! wow..annd hey i didn't expect much from this bunch called politicians. given anyways that some or is it most of them have histories of murders, rapes, and kidnappings/ booth capturing and vote buying as crimes seem pretty childish!

Sandeep Rao said...

I have not studied the fine print in the nuke-deal, there is lots of noise and drama, I feel since the govt is surviving today it is a matter of time we will know.

I am Ok with the deal so far as the answers to the below questions are NO

1. Will it stop India from innovating or manufacturing parts, supplies etc. In other words, today we might be buying stuff from the US and tomorrow will it stop us from making that stuff ourselves. Will it stop us from being a supplier.

2. IAEA safeguards/controls - Does it mean that the external agency gets the control to switch off a production live reactor in India.

I feel India is already self sufficient in nuclear technology (reactor or otherwise), particularly thorium based fast-breeders are a specialization. If there are parts/supplies that India can itself manufacture today at costs more than getting the same supplied from elsewhere and the deal facilitates that, it is welcome. Also if the inspections provide for a early warning for a situation that could stop a chernobyl or Bhopal Union-Carbide kind of scenario then those are also welcome.

Brian O'Shea said...

From am American perspective, I think Bush gave away the store on this deal. India (and Pakistan, to be fair) refused to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation treaty. It is in America's interest to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to essentially reward India for developing nukes will only make it more difficult to sway nations such as Iran from developing the bomb. By all means, India should be granted access to advanced reactor and fuel reprocesing technology, but this should only have been granted is the Rao government made much greater concessions on reducing India's nuclear arsenal.

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