On 8th July 2006,senior officials from both the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met in New Delhi on an India specific safeguards agreement with the latter. This is the second round of discussions to separate India’s civilian and military nuclear facilities. As per the March 2006 separation plan, India will place 14 of its 22 thermal nuclear reactors under international safeguards in a phased manner. Separately, it is discussing a nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. As per the Prime minister of India that India-specific safeguards would provide for protection against withdrawal of safeguarded nuclear material from civilian use at any time while permitting the country to take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies. The matter would be more clear if it is seen in tandem with the U.S. and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act of 2006 draft Bill presented before the US House International Relations Committee. The immediate question comes in mind that whetherthe U.S. presidential waver will “cease to be affective” if India conducts a nuclear test? If it is so, then India’s unilateral moratorium on conducting nuclear tests cannot be subservient to such U.S. Conditional ties and which ultimately will push India to compromise with her sovereignty. Further to this the Bill makes a specific reference to securing India’s, “full and active participation” in the US efforts to “dissuade, isolate and if necessary sanction and contain Iran” for seeking nuclear weapons. This clearly leaves apprehensions in mind that through this nuclear deal, USA will arm-twist India to change its foreign policy and gradually toe to align with the U.S. strategic global designs. The bill seeks to enforce India to comply with the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) which India had in the past refused to sign on the grounds of it being discriminatory. Moreoverthe bill further states that the U.S. president must first determine that India and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have “concluded a safeguards agreement requiring the application of IAEA safeguards in perpetuity.” This runs completely contrary to the assurance given by the Prime Minister in both the Houses of Parliament that India will approach the IAEA for safeguards only after the USA endorses the July 18, 2005 nuclear deal.
The above information triggers the inquisiveness of any patriotic person that why such nuclear deal is necessary with the USA? In search of the above reply Forum Of Scientists Engineers And Technologists (FOSET), being one of the largest platform of scientists, engineers and technologists, took a proactive action and organised a series of Seminars and Discussions in the first week of April’2006 inviting renowned nuclear scientists, social scientists and educationists in various universities located in West Bengal. To substantiate the apprehensions expressed in the aforesaid paragraph, the summery of the Seminars may be recalled.
There is no difference in opinion that India needs to double its Power generation capacity from its present 110,000 MW by next decade to sustain its present GDP rate of 7-8% per year. Out of the present power generation, 40% comes from hydrocarbons, 56% from coal and Hydro based power stations and 3% from Nuclear. Further need of power can be extrapolated to 1344,000 MW by the year 2052 with the present rate of GDP growth. Thus with present generation of nuclear power of 3040MW , it can be increased to 13600MW by 2010 and maximum 68000 MW by the year 2052 with the import of Light water reactors.
In India the research on atomic energy started in 1945 at TIFR, Mumbai, before the country achieved its political independence. In 1948 the Atomic energy act was slated and in 1954 Atomic energy research centre was established at Trombay. Since then India made lot of progress in the area of nuclear energy almost independently. As there are lot of storage of Thorium(Approx 5 lac ton) in comparison with Uranium (Approx 0.78 lack ton) Indian scientists stress upon the research on Thorium step by step. Initially they used natural Uranium as fuel in the reactor then they assembled Bridder reactor and produced U-238 and Plutonium-239. In the third step Indian scientists have the plan to assemble Fast Bridder reactor to produce U-233 from Thorium-232 which are available in plenty in India. In this process India is approaching towards the self-reliance in the area of nuclear power. One renowned Nuclear scientist expressed his deep concern about surrendering the so much achievements of Indian nuclear scientists to such a deal by which India may not be in a position to solve its energy problem by getting support from Nuclear power (68000 MW), only 15% of total requirement in 2052.
The immediate question comes in mind that is there any probable hidden agenda of USA in this nuclear deal? Perhaps the focal point of Nuclear deal is not the energy solution for India but something more is being hatched under the carpet. The post 1990 era must be kept under the scanner to detect the shift of policy direction between USA and India. Time and again India offered Naval facilities to USA during their military operation in Asia. However it was the outcry of Indian people particularly left oppositions prevented the venture. Since then USA have been pushing their long-term war strategy in Asia by extending their paws on India. From the Indo-US defence agreement it is clear that India will cooperate with the USA in the so-called fight against terrorism. We will have to fight against terrorism inside our country but can we do the same in international scale? Does our foreign policy say we will become police of the whole world along with the USA?
Its not a day dreaming if the three major powers in Asia like China, India and Russia can take lead to convince the other countries of south Asia to form a security network through mutual co-operation. To prevent the emergence of such security structure in Asia, India has been pulled into a security structure, which is being erected by the USA. To ensure it, fantasies are being fed to India that it will be a great world power through US co-operation.
If India gets a good nuclear deal as is being projected, it may be at a grater cost to India somewhere else. No super power works without any interest. Either it would be directly in the deal or would be hidden behind the deal.
The 19th AGM of FOSET, is hereby, take the resolution and demand that under no circumstances the self reliance which India achieved in the area of Nuclear Technology through decades long hard work and Research & Development process should not be given up at the pressure of any country and the UPA government to uphold India’s sovereignty in all these matters and not deviate from its stated foreign policy commitments and positions under US pressure.