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Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Why this hurry and at what cost?

New Delhi, Mon, 07 Jul 2008 Dr Sandeep Pandey

Amidst protests against price rises of essential items throughout the country, the PM Manmohan Singh has again started harping on the issue of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. The Deal has been pushed forward in India in an anti-democratic manner without approval of the Parliament - in fact in the teeth of opposition by a large majority of parliamentarians. The Deal has the potential of disturbing regional stability and further distorting India’s relationships with important neighbours like China, Pakistan and Iran.

This cannot also but severely undermine the prospects for both vertical and horizontal non-proliferation and thereby the prospects for global nuclear disarmament. This allurement also has the danger of further propelling India towards becoming a junior military ally of the US and a market to mint profits for its MNCs and also the nuclear industry of other advanced countries -- Russia and France, in particular.

Most importantly it will be a set back to the environmentally friendly sustainable ways of meeting our energy requirements. Power from nuclear energy is a failed project in developed countries and the eagerness of the Prime Minister to clinch the Deal fails to generate any enthusiasm among the common people of India. Neither is nuclear energy a solution to global warming as some experts make it out to be. On the contrary the entire nuclear fuel cycle is fraught with danger and exposes human beings to hazardous radiation. The world is yet to find a safe way for disposal of radioactive waste, a factor which is constraining the growth of nuclear power programmes in the developed countries.

The US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Japan all seem to be reviewing their nuclear energy programmes and commissioning of new nuclear power plants in all these countries has almost come to a stand still. Australia, the biggest supplier of Uranium in the world, is yet to initiate a nuclear power programme. Everybody has realized there is no future in nuclear energy. Advanced countries are looking for alternatives. But because of the parochial vision of our government the ruling class of this country has become obsessed with the nuclear option without any clear understanding of its implications. There seems to be a superficial feeling that this Deal is somehow going to enhance the stature of India in the community of nations. Hence it is matter of vanity and false sense of pride with possibly no concrete benefits for the people of this country.

A Planning Commission study shows that even with the best possible estimates of capacity addition in power generation after the Deal is through, the country is not going to increase its share of electricity from nuclear energy from the present 3% to more than 7-9%. And this would come at a huge cost -- financially and politically. We would be required to bring our foreign policy in line with the US policy as has been already exhibited by India being forced to vote against Iran in the IAEA meeting.

The Indo-US Nuclear Deal is meant to serve the interests of the global nuclear power industry and is a ploy to keep India away from staking claims to shrinking fossil fuel reserves in proportion to its large population so that these reserves may last for some more time for the rich countries.

The undue importance given to the Indo-US Nuclear Deal as opposed to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, even though gas is predicted to be the major source of power globally for the next two to three decades, raises questions about the motives of the Indian government.

The most diabolical aspect of the Deal is the increasing military proximity between the US and India. Joint Indo-US military exercises have already been going on for the last seven years with the aim of building interoperability.

A Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School has been established at Vairengte in Mizoram. The US Congress has been briefed that in a war that is being predicted with China in about fifteen years from now, the US would like to see India on its side. US envisions a military base for itself on India soil soon.

The increasing militarization of the India State is also being used to stifle civil liberties and democratic movements in the country. India must learn a lesson from the history of US military involvement in various parts of the world which have been left devastated. It is dangerous to have the US as an enemy but fatal to have as a friend.

The friendship and the elusive geo-political status or possibly a seat in the Security Council, whatever the Government of India is aspiring for, is going to come at the cost of loss of sovereignty to the nation. Our status will be reduced to that of a second rate UK or Israel.

In the face of unprecedented pressure mounted by the US, the Left Front, a partner in the UPA alliance, must be congratulated for successfully stalling the Indo-US Nuclear Deal up till now. The Deal is now stuck at the stage of finalizing an India specific agreement with the IAEA. The Left party leaders have displayed foresight in foiling the US hegemonic designs in South Asia even though they have yet to take an ideological position against the nuclear power programme.

Manmohan Singh, who talked about renewable energy for the last time at NAM meeting two years ago, has directed the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to draft an umbrella legislation for promotion and growth of renewable energy, under duress. It would make more political, economic and environmental sense for India to pursue a path of self reliant renewable energy programme for fulfilling its need rather than the elusive nuclear energy for which we'll always be at the mercy of external agencies. But then India will have to give up its own hegemonic designs of acting as a regional military super power.

Clean source of energy will have to be accompanied by clean politics. India will have to work on the agenda of regional peace, disarmament and stability rather than converting it into a region of warfare. If Manmohan Singh embarks on this twin objective programme, he would be remembered for his wisdom more than he would be if he were to finalize the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. He would favourably alter the course of history of not only this nation but also possibly the world towards a cleaner, safer and secure future.

Dr Sandeep Pandey

(The author is a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee (2002) for emergent leadership, heads the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and did his PhD from University of California, Berkeley in control theory which is applicable in missile technology. He can be contacted at:

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nijo josseph

October 12, 2008 at 12:00 AM

India want nuclear power for electricity but with whom we have contract US. US vetoed our permanent seat in UN security council. US helped the formation of PAK occuppied Kashmir. US sent their 7th fleet against India during PAK BANGLADESH war.US formed NSG to block nuclear trading against India. US blocked canada from supplying Uranium for Indian reactors. US blocked kOOdankulam 2000MW project by Russia.US want India to be their dancing doll through this deal.Singh is King Kong

Renjith Nair

September 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM

I wish to see what will be the face value of this waiver & exemptions if India go to do a Nuclear test TOMORROW or ANYTIME or If India decides to go ahead with LPG pipeline project with Iran. Legacy Of Americans tell us they will lick as long as one being obedient to them otherwise they will suck. Also, I hope Manmohan singh would be alive that time.

As always, Illiterate (Sorry, I meant to say common man is still don?t know what is this deal, they just know their daily life is MISERABLE because of UNAFFORDABLE COST OF LIVING) and comic goons are on the street celebrating beating drums as if they got independence from Americans!!.

Almost 75% of Indians are still living in utter poverty not because our country didn?t have NSG waiver and Nuclear deal. Now we are forced to believe that India remains the poorest because we didn?t have this deal.They people who are going to prosper by this deal are a group of American businessmen,a section of NRIs acting as middlemen and CROOKED POLITICIANS IN INDIA.That will remain as a truth.

If this deal is all about ending acute power crisis in this country, the people all the way praising this deal should wait and see whether this will end the electricity appetite of this nation and how it is going to elevate the poor people of this country. A country with no specific and strict protocols to stop the simple technical faults, transmission leaks and THEFT in electrical transmission systems yet. A country where disaster management,planning & coordination is a myth even in this 21st Century. Still millions are left out homeless in floods every year. who care about them???? I am wondering what this deal is all about!.

?INDIA IS MY COUNTRY AND I AM PROUD OF BEING AN INDIAN? But that words never matched the deeds in this country by its leaders.It is 21st century and India became worst than certain improvished African countries in many aspects if not all.Look at the the utterpoverty,Illiteracy,uncontrolled population growth,rampant corruption,bribery,
beurocracy,violence,terrorism,dirty politics,Pseudo-secularism,appeasement politics..WHAT NOT THERE.

Unless and until you correct the fundamentals and basic needs of this country It is just a fantasy dream that India become a superpower.For that we need is a realistic approach..visionary leaders..national integrity and patriotism.

Nuclear deal will not fill the stomach of poor people in this country.It is rubbish and foolishness when someone said Nuclear deal will bring down inflation!!!!.What a pity state of affair!

What kind of leaders our people choose and send to parliament, and the people shall have to pay the price for it. What a pity situation of my country!.People are being treated as idiots by their own leaders. This what is Indian democracy!.

Indians will have to wait for many years and luckly if there is a visionary leader with strong political will and nationalistic agenda, then their dreams can be fullfilled. Otherwise the pockets of polticians are only going to be filled with currencies!




September 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Jay if you are a scientist can you please explain why developed countries abandoned nuclear energy plans? Exactly what are the benefits of this deal to India? Who is going to build nuclear plants for us and at what cost? any idea?


September 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

ths is total crap......ths guy has no idea about the use of nuclear power in the building of a nation.....he just goes on to give stupid and irrevelent reason.....india is a soverighjn country and will be......if or if not the nuclear deal gos thru.....but all things claimed in ths article is total crap....ask any scintist and he will explain...iam a scintist myself....


dr kpdutta

August 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM

When I proposed in a wellrepresented conference in west bengal,india the prospects of nuclear power, most of the panelists did not o deep into it, including member of planning comm. and present ext affair minister.They set aside my proposal as an utopian scheme.The urgency and hastiness the manmohan singh govt has shown in passin nuclear deal raises suspicion to most of the population of india even now.I apprehend if congress makes this an election issue ,it will definitely fail common people the implications of it and might jeopardise election prospects.The comments and reminder /warning for hastially passing nuclear deal by us -ambassadors in india is indecent diplomatic ettiquette. A sovreign developing country does not need such reminders by a diplomatic officer of other country.To be unbiased, some countries will dfinitely have strong say against such deal delinking it from nuclear nonprolf.guarantee. With all my respect for pm,i must say he should not have been in haste, as usa follows key foreign policies even if govt changes


August 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Holy God.
this is actually that important!
See guys, i don't know the details, i don't know the data , i don't know what the other countries think or have. what i know is that we desperately need energy for the billion+. US will definitely try and use this as an opportunity , it's no secret but we are not Iran, Afghanistan or Iraq.
we've got one of the largest military force, we've got our mind where it should be and we know[as is proved in all above reviews] so let's face it, we cannot live without involving ourself in this. the truth is that India cannot just isolate itself from every other country or keep the feelings of other country s unhurt.It's all business and politics, where people have step over someone in order to reach top.


July 24, 2008 at 12:00 AM

I think it is not safe to go for the deal. There is sense in this article.Yes, India may get support from US now, but what about future? Yes, there is poverty in india, frequent & long power cuts, we have to overcome this, but not by spoiling our environment and taking risk of the future. we should ensure our future to be safe. there is good human resource in india which in some parts of the country(mainly villages) is not provided with basic necessities. i mean to say that government should try to focus on strenthning human resources by imparting knowledge(education), so that our country may take a vital step ahead towards development. by this, we will be capable to develop our nation on our own rather than heeding someone's is good to produce energy by renewable sources as they are reliable and safe. yes, it may take time and it is difficult too, to produce energy on large scale and get india in top international fuel producer's list, it may not give results sa quick as nuclear deal, but it assures our safe future away from political horrors and disastrous environmental hazard which affects our health and life.i believe in calibre of indians because there are a large number of indians in US who by some way or the other responsible for its development.we can put that efforts into wellbeing of our country.

Krishnendu Chakrabarti

July 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Indian opposition parties have policies only to oppose, whatever may be the consequences ,even if it is at the cost of the countries future. We should not forget the left parties in any case as an opposition party in Indian politics, can anybody forget their decision on introduction of computer for countries banking and administrative sector? They had the same slogan as they have today ?Chalchena Chalbena?. Probably they may declare that it was a ?Historical Mistake?.The country should not be misguided by these politicians; their god father China had a much inferior deal with the US when they became a nuclear force. They frequently travel to China but never disclose the progres of China with the help of western power, today whole of China is flooded with Western MNCs. Indian leftist always see the interest of China first but have they ever disclosed that the US retail giant has so many outlets in China? Let?s talk about West Bengal where English in Primary education was abolished forcefully and today they say that it was a ?Historical Mistake? what happens to millions of student who have already passed out in the last two decades, the country does not have any rule to punish such a killer of the national resource.

Regarding nuclear technology for power generation, I have several logic and data to counter the claims, let me also elaborate:

Firstly the world average of nuclear Power generation is about 16% and country like Canada has an average of 14.7% power generation from nuclear energy, France has 77%, Germany 26%, Japan 27.5%, Sweden 46%, Switzerland 43%, UK 15%, US19.4% are they fools.
Regarding future plan, I would like to draw the attention of the readers; country like China has a plan to install 107 reactors, USA 32, Russia 42, and Japan 14 in future.
Let?s not be misguided by the politician, today the only interest every country has is ?business?, yes it?s true that all the developed country will do a lot of business from the deal however, in the long run the advantage is enormous for us.
This tie-up with the western countries will bring much needed investment in Power sector, infrastructure sector and High tech technology for defense sector and manufacturing sector, the business goes on mutual trust and faith not on agreement in black and white. My request to all the readers, please read the 123 agreement then comment, I strongly believe it?s a great success for the government of India to have such a beautiful bilateral agreement with a country like US.
Regarding capability of Nuclear power plant, let me tell you that todays technology is far more efficient, France has reactors to generate 1700 MW per unit so, even if we have 8 reactors then generation will be around 13000 MW, which is around 8% of our total generation capacity.
We are luckily not politicians in profession but responsible citizens of the country; we should out rightly support the government to go ahead with the deal.


July 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM

What a nonsense !!! People like you never want India to develop so that parties like LEFT can always have the POOR (their vote bank) in the country !!!

Bipin Prasad

July 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM

This article is a perfect example of how someone can be so well educated and still be stupid (or make stupid arguments). Several claims and arguments made in this article are patently stupid and absurd:
1. The deal is being pushed in a undemocratic manner -
Are you on drugs. everything happening around this deal is happening in context of democratic give and take. Just because you do not agree with the conclusion does not make it undemocratic.

2. India needs civilian nuclear power. Keyword is need. Have you checked lately how much suffering in India is caused by power? This is not the time to be sensitive to how other countries in the region might think. Manmohan Singh prime minister of India, not China. He is not obligated to take take into account how badly Pakistan feels. Pakistan has a very capable and smart leadership that is fully capable of evaluating what is in there national interest - without thre help of Dr Sandeep Pandey.

3. "Whatever The Government of India is aspiring for".
Are you that stupid Mr. Pandey or are you just pretending to be stupid for this article. What is it about civilian nuclear deal that you don't understand? This is about power.

It is easy for you, sitting in California, far away from extreme heat, poverty, and power cuts. You with your conmfortable surroundings and 24-hour electricity - to advice India to go develop alternate forms of energy. Again, are you this stupid? In the last 50 years what is India's superlative track record in alternate energy, that makes you come out and dribble this elitist nonsense?

bala kamarsu

July 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Dr Sandeep Pandey, thanks for presenting the indo-us nuclear deal in a nationalist perspective. Every right thinking citizen in this country is expressing serious concerns about the disastrous situation the deal is bound to create in future. The country's sovereignity will be in danger if the deal is through. I am keenly following the contents of the deal for quite long. Unfortunately the persons like prime minister Manmohan Singh and Mrs Sonia Gandhi who do not have any affinity to this country supported by US stooges like Kakodkar are desperate to clinch the deal for obvious reasons.
I request sri Hitesh to go through the PLANNING COMMISSION report that clearly mentioned that the energy addition will only be 3 to 7 per cent that after several years and the investment runs into huge amount.. is it advisable to accept such disastrous deal? certainly not. Many more articles should come out explaining the dangers of this deal.


July 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM

i just regarded this atricle as another left backing non sense article until i read about the writer. Sir, with your qualifications i wouldnot question your credentials. You definately are in a position to explain your views. what i want to know is if what you are telling i right, then for the past 10 years we have been tryin to ally with the US, is all useless. the war with china prdicted in 15 years from now, will definately hurt India more than US. noone has ever forgotten the 1962 war. and the way russia changes itself. whom do we trust. US ll help us for their own benefit, but the main point is we ll be helped. and regarding the nuclear energy, we need it simply because we have no other option. what will india as a state do to meet its energy requirement?
these questions beg an answer.


July 7, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Dr. Sandeep,

either you are a person who thinks too much about the ENVIRONMENTAL SIDE EFFECTS...... or you CANNOT SEE AN INDIA WHICH is self- reliant on POWER and ENERGY needs.
The most devastating effect on Environment is due to ever increasing population.... that is a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION waiting to happen.

When you a BILLION POPULATION...... demanding all the resources.... these ENVIRONMENTAL concerns go out of the window.

So, please do not BLOCK THIS DEAL. It is imperative for India's future power needs.

Else, you will end up with a millions of people living in ABJECT poverty.... hurting the same environment that you are trying to protect.



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