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India-US Nuclear Deal-The Countdown Begins

At the moment, Indian Opposition politicians think that the country’s independence and prestige have been sold out. Many US politicians are thinking that a gaping hole has been punched into the NPT regime. Yes, both are right, although the Indian side is stretching it a bit. President Bush is looking forward at the changing times. From 1970-78 when US sponsored NPT (Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) and its subsequent laws, it was their intent to punish India for exploding a nuclear bomb in 1974. They set a date of 1967 as criteria for inclusion in the select group. China was gleeful; as they had exploded their bomb in 1964, hence found their berth in this group automatically. So did France. To exclude India with a fifth of humanity and a bomb was a mistake. India at that time was economically weak.

For 25 years India endured its exclusion for not signing the NPT and was barred from any civilian use nuclear technology and materials. Later US politicians, to placate Pakistan, even blamed India for starting a nuclear arms race. In short, India was ignored. Although China was no better economically then, yet it was welcomed as one of the World powers.
There are a lot of benefits to US from this deal. If India sets up 10 large size nuclear power plants, which is its intent in next 15 years, India will import technology and hardware from US for at least half of these projects (technology for the remaining may come from elsewhere). Each of these plants at a green field site will cost about $4 billion. In short, orders worth $15-20 billion could be placed with the US companies in next 6 to 8 years. Remaining orders may go to France, Germany, Canada and UK. Fund for these installations will come to India either in form of FDI or soft & commercial loans. Banks and equipment manufacturers abroad will be delighted to make this amount available to India. In return India will pay it back with goods and services export, in the same way China did it for the past 25 years. It is a win-win situation for the US lenders and US suppliers. Further expansion of business dealings on both sides will follow.
Benefits to India are immense with this deal. First and foremost, is the de-facto recognition of India as a nuclear power? It is not clearly stated in the deal, but it’s an implicit understanding. India missed this opportunity in 1970-78. It is unlikely that this opportunity is to be missed again. Second, is future recognition of India as a permanent UN Security Council member? India has tried this in last three years. It has not succeeded. It is unlikely to succeed in next 10 years. But with a Trillion and a half dollar economy (8% growth over ten years), India will make this grade. When UN reforming movement gains strength in the future, India will be right there and waiting for this opportunity.
But the mojor question is: Is India ready for such a revolution? Indian politicians are at least not.
Lal Krishan Advani is really a lucky man. Fortune has given him the chance of a lifetime. When UPA government seems to be helpless, he can save the historic Indo-US nuclear accord and grow in stature from a politician to a statesman. Less than four weeks remain, after which the treaty will die. The Left has no room for manoeuvre, but the BJP does. If Advani seizes the day and persuades his BJP colleagues, he will go into history as the ‘‘white knight’’ that saved India’s energy and security future. He would also take a giant step to fill the large shoes of his predecessor, and become more worthy in the eyes of NDA’s coalition partners.
A hundred years from now history books will recount that when oil was ruling at $135 a barrel, India’s leaders were complacent. They argued that since 65% of India’s power needs are met by coal and only 3% by nuclear energy, why does India need a nuclear treaty? Oil did run out in the 21st century, but the nuclear deal rescued India. Initially, it freed the country from 35 years of nuclear apartheid, allowing it to import uranium, which helped to lift the performance of its 17 reactors from 50% to 95%. After the treaty, India’s energy needs were increasingly powered by nuclear energy while other countries scrambled for the last few barrels of oil.
History will describe how China rose in the second quarter of 21st century to dominate the world. Some Asian nations became its satellites, including its closest ally, Pakistan, to which it supplied vast quantities of arms. India was able to hold its own thanks to the treaty, which paved the way for closer ties with the western democracies. The West stood by India during its times of trouble and eventually India went on to balance power in Asia and the world. History will narrate that the nuclear treaty never compromised India’s right to Pokhran III. China and France did nuclear tests in 2020, which ended the CTBT regime. India was by then the world’s third largest economy, and it followed up with its own test. The Democrats in America, instead of throwing the CTBT at India, were relieved to see India balance Chinese power in Asia.
History will report that during the 2009 election campaign Advani confidently took credit for having saved India’s future from a traitorous Left and an indifferent Congress. During his campaign, Advani claimed that in saving the accord he had merely completed a process that Vajpayee had begun with Pokhran II, Jaswant Singh had followed up in his dialogues with Strobe Talbott and Brajesh Mishra with Condoleezza Rice. Manmohan Singh had crowned this effort, he said, showing great wisdom in signing the accord with Bush. He claimed that BJP’s pressure forced crucial changes in the final treaty in India’s favour. Advani told voters that when the UPA let its own prime minister down, BJP had to rescue the nation’s honour and energy future.
This history will also have a coda. When he was trying to persuade his BJP colleagues in June 2008, Advani quoted from Arrian’s account of Alexander the Great. As the Greeks were crossing the Jhelum in narrow boats on a stormy monsoon night in 326 BC, just before their famous battle with Raja Puru, Alexander told his generals, ‘‘Don’t be afraid my friends, your grandchildren will sing your praises and remember your glory.’’ Hearing this, the BJP leadership broke into applause. They had finally found a statesman to lead them to victory at the next elections. Rescuing the nuclear treaty became the turning point in the career of Lal Krishna Advani.



2 comments:
James Alexander said...
 

cf my post "Outlandish II"
http://conversations-on-innovations.blogspot.com/2008/05/future-is-now-tommorow-is-today-can.html

Further remarks (Two important specialists in Nuclear proliferation Prof J.Harris FRS -member Pugwash and Nobel Physics, George Charpak (who experienced the worst in human nature-under the Nazi regime) call on all concerned to beware of terrorist activity in the nuclear field. Harris finger points Iran, Charpak points out that any mislead individuals or groups may be "brainwashed into using nuclear weapons eg against the "Security Council Nations" who will be obliged to retaliate "Consequences being "Outlandishly"! "unthinkable)Charpak recommends all nuclear arms including USA... be subjected to an independent overseer "World Body".

Cheers Vineet and pleasant dreams, good wishes to our friends in India & all non-proliferation advocates.

VINEET KUMAR TRIPATHI said...
 

Thanks James,

Important points raised by you.

The way terrorists are threatening the world today, something firm needs to be done.

God bless.

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