To support or not to support? That is the question which is doing the rounds in the headquarters of all the major and minor political parties of India these days. Seen as a last ditch effort by the ruling government to reign in votes for the upcoming elections, the UPA is hell-bent on proving its majority (approval of 272 member of parliaments) on the floor of the house to table the deal.
However, it has most definitely not been easy for them. This deal has not only managed to generate world wide interest but has also displayed Indian politics at its best. With the Left pulling out and the friends-turned-foe-turned-friends Samajwadi Party coming to the Congress’ rescue, Somnath Chatterjee not willing to quit his post as the speaker of the house despite being a Leftist and allegations of buyouts of the MPs, the political scenario is more like a Bollywood movie with plenty of drama, emotions and action sequences.
Making the most of all this unrest are the small parties like RLD, JMM, NC and JDS who now seem to hold the key to the deal as the vote of every single MP counts. But in this entire mayhem, the importance of the nuclear deal has been undermined.
What exactly is the deal all about?
Well, the 123 deal helps India in acquiring uranium, technological expertise and the safety equipments required in handling radioactive substances from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and its member countries. The deal would end India’s technological isolation from the international community after the Pokhran tests. It would help Indian scientists procure nuclear power and technology for India’s nuclear reactors. It is estimated that this would help increase nuclear power generation from the current 3360 MW to 7280 MW. This will also lower our country dependence on oil and other natural resources. Although the initial costs are high, in comparison to the benefits it would provide, that negative side seems less important. The deal seems only the right thing to do.
However, there are many detractors (like the Left) who believe that this is one of the many tricks by way of which America is trying to gauge India’s nuclear technological capabilities. They think that by abiding the rules laid by the IAEA, India would need to be answerable to the USA for any tests we conduct, which would invariably affect our sovereignty in this field. The U.S. is known to work only for its own benefit and they would definitely not have agreed to this deal had they not being benefiting.
Apart from the political scenario, there is also a danger of nuclear warfare and radioactive leaks whose affects are much more harmful and permanent in nature, having the potential to destroy and wipe out many lives.
The nuclear deal comes with its own set of pros and cons and it is really a tricky situation for the Government to choose the correct option. However, with rising fuel prices, and our inability to cash in on solar, wind or hydro energy, the Nuclear deal seems to be the only hope we have to bail our country out from the shortage of energy.