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  Indo-US nuclear Deal and its consequences  


By: Dr.Dipak Basu
December 19, 2006
iews expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.


(The author is a Professor in International Economics in Nagasaki University, Japan)

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In the euphoria of the recent U.S senate approval of the Indo-US nuclear deal, Indian establishment completely forgot the future effects of that deal. The Indo-American treaty on nuclear issue is being imposed upon India against the public opinion, without any voting in the parliament or any referendum of the people. Now the government of India is trying to erase out India’s nuclear deterrent against Pakistan as well by saying that without this Indo-US nuclear deal, there will be no future development of the nuclear energy in India.

The nuclear deal it has little to do with the nuclear power generations but it aims at the elimination of India’s ability to produce any nuclear weapons. Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), which India has refused to sign so far, is about to be imposed upon India through a back door with devastating consequences for India’s immediate future.

Already the US senate has imposed a new clause that in future national security organizations of USA, which means CIA and FBI, would now collaborate with India regarding nuclear non-proliferation. This in effect would imply that US organizations would make sure India will not be able to gain any advantage to use its nuclear facilities to create nuclear weapons.

Dr Homi Sethna, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and one of the founding-father of India’s nuclear program, said that what Dr Manmohan Singh was about to sign was worse than joining the NPT regime. Dr A. Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, has outlined how precisely commitments made by Dr Singh to Parliament and the people have been blatantly undermined and notes that if the deal goes through in its present form, it will "compromise the sovereignty of this country for decades to come". He has exposed the very enormous financial price that India will have to pay as well, between Rs 300,000 to Rs 400,000 corers in nuclear reactors that will be totally dependent for their existence on a yearly audit of our policies by the US Congress. Dr P.K. Iyengar, another former chairman of the AEC, has called the deal "giving up sovereignty". These men have spent their lives translating an Indian vision of a self-reliant industrialization, crafted by Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, into reality. They do not have a political or personal agenda. However, after a recent meeting with the Prime Minister they have eaten their words. The counterparts of these retired scientific administrators in India’s nuclear establishment who are currently employed are silent about the issue.

China-Pakistan Collaboration:

Pakistan and China have finalized in August 2006 landmark accord on nuclear energy cooperation, under which Islamabad will acquire 6 Chinese nuclear reactors. The nuclear energy cooperation deal with China has brought great solace to Pakistan, as the United States is not willing to extend such cooperation to Pakistan. With Chinese cooperation, Pak would build six new nuclear reactors in next 10 years having capacity of 2,000 megawatts. This was part of Pakistan’s plan to increase the capacity of N-power generation to over 8,000 megawatts by 2025. China has already helped Pak build a nuclear reactor of 350 megawatts at Chashma and it was currently building one more at the same place with the same capacity.

China has already supplied Pakistan enrichment plants and heavy water plants, and nuclear weapons as well. Chinese nuclear plants offered to Pakistan will not be under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Thus, Pakistan can very well use these to produce nuclear weapons. Although China is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) of 45 nations and a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), China like in all other international spheres does not care about its obligation to any international treaty if its national interest demands so. China’s national interest is to set up Pakistan against India by providing every weapons and missiles it has got.

China has so far violated every rule of the NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty) and NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) by supplying nuclear power plants with enrichment facility, which can produce nuclear weapons to Pakistan, North Korea and possibly Iran. For that USA will never dare to impose any sanction against China.

Does India need US nuclear power plants?

It is not true that without the American support India’s nuclear energy program would come to a halt. As Pakistan is getting everything regarding nuclear energy from China, India can also get nuclear power plants from Russia.

The real issue is whether India needs any US assistance at all regarding its nuclear energy sector. The argument of Man Mohan Singh, as he said in the Parliament recently, that otherwise India would be a nuclear ‘Pariah’ is false. In 1974, USA has imposed sanctions so that India cannot get any nuclear related materials or technology. After 1998 USA has imposed more sanctions on India so that it cannot get any defense related technology or materials at all. However, India since 1974 has received every nuclear technology, and materials including conventional nuclear power plants, Fast Breeder reactors, reprocessing and enrichment plants and heavy water plants from the Soviet Union and Russia without any restrictions attached to these. As a result, India is al most self-sufficient regarding nuclear technology and can produce nuclear weapons despite all the efforts of the United States to stop it.

Only for the last two years, because of its membership of the NSG, Russia now wants to supply nuclear power plants with added safeguards that the plants cannot be used to produce any nuclear weapons. However, at the same time, it has offered offshore nuclear plants to India, which would be without any restrictions. India can have both or either of the on-shore or offshore nuclear power plants from Russia and as a result for the future development of electricity production, India does not need US support at all. Thus, it really does not matter if India would refuse to sign the Indo-US treaty on nuclear energy.

CPI (M) is opposing the treaty by saying India does not need nuclear power plants. That is a non-issue here. Even if India needs nuclear power plants to supplement it energy requirement in future, India does not need nuclear power plants from USA. Russia can still supply whatever India needs at a much lower price.

India’s nuclear weapons:

The treaty has little to do with nuclear energy development in India but deals with the question of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and how to prevent India from becoming a nuclear weapon state. It is very clear that the treaty does not treat India as a present or future nuclear weapon state. The treaty will never legitimize India’s nuclear weapons, but will ruin any prospect of India to have any independent nuclear deterrent against even Pakistan; China is far cry.

When India will sign the Indo-US treaty, Pakistan without any treaty with the US will receive whatever it wants from China and will go on producing nuclear weapons but India cannot. The reason is that the treaty will force India to separate Indian’s nuclear facilities including the research institutes into two groups, military and non-military. About 90 percent of all nuclear facilities, including the Russian built Fast Breeder Reactors which can produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, will be included in the civilian sector and there will be regular inspection by the IAEA and the US authority to make sure that these facilities will not be used to produce nuclear weapons.

If India, in this situation, wants to keep its option for nuclear weapons, it needs to reconstruct every facility once again at a prohibitive cost. India for the military part of the nuclear sector will not be able to import technology or materials from any of the countries of the NSG, including Russia. Thus, India’s nuclear weapons program will disappear. This is the real aim of the Indo-US treaty. Man Mohan Singh’s recent declaration in the Indian parliament that India would maintain the option to test nuclear weapons is very theoretical. In practice, India will be unable to do that because of lack of availability of appropriate facility to develop and test nuclear weapons in near future.


The prospect for India in this situation is very bleak but the government of India itself is creating it. In the case of nuclear deal with the US also, India just like in 1991 and 1995 is accepting a subordinate position in relation to USA and the Western countries. USA will never accept any inspection of its nuclear facility by the IAEA. It will carry on developing new nuclear weapons and will test those in laboratory conditions. It has no separation of nuclear facilities into military and civilian sectors. However, India is accepting inspection of its nuclear facility by the American authority without demanding any corresponding right of inspection of the American nuclear facilities by the Indian authority. Just like other two treaties, with IMF in 1991 and with WTO in 1995, this Indo-US deal on nuclear energy is unequal, discriminatory and unjust.

The result will make Pakistan much stronger than India in very near future. That serves the geo-political interest of the United States with Pakistan as the bridge to the Islamic world as Pakistan was the bridge to China in 1971, when both USA and China were about to attack India jointly to save East Pakistan. The unfolding scenario will ruin India in the process when India will be forced to surrender also to the demands of Pakistan, a NATO ally of USA and China, the most important business partner of the U.S corporations and on whom the fate of the US Dollar depends.

Dr.Dipak Basu

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