Nuclear Deal is Dead?

indousnucleardeal.jpgHow often have we seen the Indian cricket team being beaten in the game after getting better of the Opposition? The same thing is happening with the Indo-US nuclear deal, which was cleared by the Senate in the United States and then the Indian Prime Minister, went on to risk his Government to move forward with the deal. However, then some behind-the-stage drama led them to curtain the deal. Where is the nuke deal heading now? The issue, which dominated foreign policy in 2007, has lost its way somewhere after Left parties threatened to withdraw support from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if the deal was finalised.

US ambassador David Mulford has said, “If this is not processed in the present Congress, it is unlikely that this deal will be offered again to India. It certainly would not be revived and offered by any administration, Democratic or Republican, before the year 2010, which is after the life of this administration.” Flash back to 1950, when India was offered the permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, but the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru refused to accept the offer because he believed it was aimed at “creating trouble between India and China”. Ever since, India has been trying very hard to get a place in the Security Council. That seat eventually went to China. China grabbed it with both hands and now is the staunchest opponent on the expansion of the Security Council. It seems that time has rolled on and we are back at the same stage as before. The Government might have bought time to convince the dissatisfied colleagues of UPA on the deal, however, till date no positive step has been taken towards the finalisation of the deal. The top nuke scientists believe that India was getting a fair deal.A major component of any clean energy strategy must be nuclear power and I strongly believe that the civil nuclear agreement that was negotiated was good for India. India is already facing crisis on the energy front and the deal could have solved the problem for India. There are several other advantages, which have been highlighted time and again. The US is continuously warning India that it is “now or never” for India as non-proliferation groups may force additional conditions on it, considering that they too, are unhappy with the deal in its present form. The political atmosphere in India and US is changing and we might not get another deal in the near future if it fails this time. The backing out from the deal at the last moment has also caused an international embarrassment to the Prime Minister and he will have to personally face a two-sided attack for this foreign policy failure that he himself had nurtured and gone against the tide for. The times have changed but it seems that the Left is still living in the past. The Left, which has its presence only in the three Indian states and has only 60 MPs in Parliament, has caused the Government to change its stance on such an important issue. The lack of will on the part of Congress is also surprising because it was the Congress Government that refused the Security Council seat in United Nations in 1950 and now this deal in 2007. The inability to operationalise the deal has hurt the Government’s image. The prime reason for silence over the deal is that every step taken in Indian politics is backed by political mileage and economy, and international business has never been on that list. I feel that political parties don’t think about India‘s benefit when they take a stand. It is about time they took decisions which helped the nation’s development and not their votebanks.

Rishabh Srivastava