Essay on Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Land­mark in Indo-US Relationship

The important outcomes of New Delhi-Washington deal are:

(1) India has agreed to classify 14 of the 22 nuclear reactors as civilians and open to them to international safeguards under IAEA as part of the sepa­ration plan. Neverthless, India’s military nuclear programmes as well as the fast breeer reactor programme remain out of bounds for the international inspectors.

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(2) Further, the Nuclear Deal has made it clear that the classification of India’s future nuclear reactors into civilian and military will be its sole discretion and there will be no debate and intervention on this aspect.

(3) Finally, the separation of India’s 22 nuclear reactors would be taken in phased manner and completed by 2014. US will also help India achieve a multilateral regime to ensure uninterrupted supply of nuclear fuel.

At the same time, India can not trade in military part of the nuclear sphere but India can go ahead with military nuclear programme. It means all gain; nothing is at stake. First, India has managed to keep eight nuclear reactors out of international safeguards regime. This will provide enough room for India to get as much bomb material as needs for maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent (minimum 35% of the country’s thermal nuclear power generating capacity). At the same time it re-establishes India’s capabilities on the international stage while removing the decades of isolation in which atomic energy in India was developed.

No doubt that this deal was a manifestation of India’s responsible conduct on nuclear matters. In other words, India has been able to achieve a middle path as it did not fall in the category and commitment of five nuclear weapon states and at the same time it is identified with status to a protocol as a non-nuclear weapon state.

The deal will definitely reduce an important irritant so that two countries can develop a long term strategy relationship. In strategic terms the Nuclear Deal is expected to empower India into a balance of power club. The backing of US means the backing of Europe, Russia and Japan. Now the future of nuclear deal depends on two factors (a) the ratification of US Congress (b) The Consent of the 45 member Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) to waive sanctions on India when it comes to nuclear supplies. President Bush has offered commitment and the confidence that he will be able to persuade the US Congress to realise that the deal is in America’s long term interests. At NSG India will have to face the opposition of China.

Advantages of Nuclear Deal

(i) It will legitimise Indian nuclear programme and India will be gradually recognised as a nuclear power.

(ii) It will ensure regular supply of essential technology and raw materials for the nuclear installations.

(iii) The relation with European Union in general and France in particular will improve. The outcome of Nuclear Deal with US will determine the out­comes of other relations.

(iv)India position in the region will be strengthened essentially against Pakistan and China.

(v) Indian energy security will be further streamlined and better access to nuclear energy will be ensured.

Disadvantages of Nuclear Deal

(i) The bringing of nuclear installations under the aegis of IAEA would definitely breach the sanctity of the project.

(ii) The inspection by IAEA can be treated as the violation of the sovereignty of the country.

(iii) The history of IAEA is very controversial as unnecessary intervention can be seen in the past.

American Gains

(i) A prosperous India would provide better option to American economy.

(ii) A powerful nuclear equipped India will stabilise the global and regional balance.

(iii) By ensuring security, India’s reliance on Iran and other countries would be less. India’s reliance on USA would be more for the supply of nuclear fuel.

(iv)Indian democracy is part of the long term antidote to terrorism. Major Irritants:

(1) America’s upgradation of its relationship with Pakistan in March 2004 with Pakistan being accorded the status of a Major Non NATO Ally has also meant that India’s neighbour has gained significant access to conventional arms from the world’s only superpower.

(2) USA has refused to endorse India’s chief foreign policy goal, a permanent seat in an expanded United Nations Security Council.

(3) US have not yet defined the concept of terrorism and have restrained it from branding terrorism as a real threat and act of terrorism.

(4) The US Congress has yet to ratify the nuclear agreement.

(5) USA may blackmail India on key issues in the name of nuclear deal.

And now, if the nuclear test in the year 1998 were very courageous and measured steps towards uplifting the status of India in the arena of world nations, this Nuclear Deal is a seal to that status. Advancing narrow minded criticisms has become the main mode of Indian Political Parties as a means of their existence. They do not bother to look for the good points, they always exhaust their energies in fault finding of others. They don’t try to do something better and never advance practical and constructive suggestins. Everything whatever has its good and bad aspects. We have to persue the path of lesser evil. The good points in the present Nuclear Deal outweigh the bad points. In the ultimate analysis, the on-going Nuclear Deal is going to break ice of Indian nuclear isolationism. It will not only legitimise Indian Nuclear programme but also ensure regular supply of fuels and the problems of energy security would be lessened. We should stand by the deal.

Some Important Points

(1) 14 Reactors would be placed under the IAEA safeguards in phased manner.

(2) At present there are 15 operating reactors. Out of which 13 are pressurized heavy water reactors.

(3) Four out of 15 (the first and second units of both the Tarapur and Rajasthan Atomic Power Stations) are placed under the safeguards.

(4) Eight reactors are still under construction. Out of Eight, five are pressured heavy reactors. Two are Russian built light water reactors. And one is fast breeder reactor. All reactors will become operational by 2011. By that time, India will have a total of 23 reactors.

Other Agreements

(1) Both sides feel the need of broadening bilateral economic relations and they have agreed to intensify their efforts for creating conducive climate for trade and investment. Trade barriers have to be brought down in large measure and the target is to do double the bilateral trade in three years.

(2) Both sides have agreed to advance mutually beneficial trade and investment by holding a high level public private investment summit in 2006. Both the countries have agreed to convince their efforts at promoting FDI.

(3) Acknowledge partnership has been envisaged through the creation of Bilateral Science and Technology Commission.

(4) With the view to supporting agricultural education, joint research and capacity building projects, institutional interforce has been considered to be inevitability. Bilateral trade agriculture has to be promoted and WTO Doha Development Agenda has to be completed before the end of 2006.

(5) Both sides have to honour the July 18, 2005 joint statement on Nuclear Cooperation.

(6) Combat against HIV/AIDS has been given due consideration; cooperation in the area of medical research is to continue.

(7) India and USA agreed to set up a Regional Science and Technology Commission which would promote industrial research and development.

(8) Cooperation in the field of civil space, prevention of weapon mass destruction and fight against global terrorism are other landmarks that have to be kept in sight by both the countries.

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