Nuke Deal: An Opportunity Missed Or a US Trap Escaped?

23indous.jpgWith the drastic depletion of energy reserves across the globe, the nuclear energy is for sure “the energy of the future”. The fact that the energy produced by a ton of uranium is comparable to that generated by utilizing a million tons of coal, surely establishes the candor behind this claim. But the changing global trends and the continual fight among the nations for proving their hold in the international arena have accelerated the need for deals and agreements for ensuring its use for peaceful purposes.

The never-ending debate on the feasibility of the Indo-US nuke deal has eventually driven the agreement into the tunnel of darkness. The proposed deal invited a mixed bag of reactions with the congress party led by Dr. Manmohan Singh in favour, while the Left counterpart of the UPA showed a great sense of disagreement to the same. While challenging the stability of our own government, the Left general secretary Prakash Kart and Sitaram Yechury succeeded in putting a halt to the proceedings. Meanwhile, Yashwant Sinha, the former finance minister also showed a strong disapproval for the agreement.

The Bush administration has promoted the deal as a great leap forward toward building a strategic relationship with India. The United States held the opinion that the deal will help to boost India’s current economic growth — which has been running at about 7 percent for the past few years and needs to be sustained, the key enabler being plentiful energy.

The opposition in India was based on concerns about the nation losing its ability to continue its nuclear weapons program without external scrutiny from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The left-wing parties, led by the Communists were deeply worried regarding the impact of the deal on economic liberalization and pressures exerted by Washington for further opening up of India’s economy. They think the nuclear deal would have other quid pro quos and would most certainly constrain India’s independent foreign policy. Whereas, on the other hand the bigger picture on the congress’s mind was enabling the inflow of technology for nuclear power development and the status of a nuclear power to be granted to India.

The deal would demand a transparency in the nuclear power development programs conducted by Indian administration and will restrict the use of foreign technological only to civilian nuclear power generation. While some take this as an opportunity on the part of India to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), others perceive this act as a mere reduction of India’s nuclear development targeted under the hands of the US. Whatever be the fate of the nuclear deal, an important concern is the instability and difference of opinions that the UPA faces among its own ministers due to a coalition government. Though some might form the opinion that it helps in scrutinizing any step that the government intends to take but the flipside highlights that it sometimes becomes a bottleneck in the decision-making process.

Ishant Arora