Monday, December 11, 2006

Indo-US nuke deal not acceptable: CPI(M)

Indo-US nuke deal not acceptable: CPI(M)

US Legislation on Nuclear Deal Not Acceptable

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) is of the considered view that the recent Act
passed by the US legislature concerning bilateral civil nuclear cooperation with
India is grossly violative of the assurances made by the Prime Minister in the
Indian parliament. An agreement on this basis will seriously undermine the
pursuit of an independent foreign policy.

Replying to the debate in the Rajya Sabha on 17th August 2006, with specific
reference to the nine points of concern raised by the CPI(M), the Prime Minister
had unambiguously stated that India cannot and will not accept any compromises
on the following:

1.. Full civilian nuclear cooperation: "removal of all restrictions on all
aspects of cooperation and technology transfers."
2.. Principle of Reciprocity: "India will accept only IAEA safeguards on
nuclear facilities in a phased manner.only when all restrictions on India have been
3.. Annual certification by US President: "We have conveyed to the United States our opposition to these provisions, even if they are projected as
non-binding on India, as being contrary to the letter and spirit of the July statement."
4.. India as a state possessing advanced nuclear technology: "India's
strategic programme is totally outside the purview of the July statement and we oppose
any legislative provisions that mandate scrutiny of either our nuclear weapons
programme or our unsafeguarded nuclear facilities."
5.. Safeguards agreement and fuel assurances: India seeks uninterrupted
supply of fuel to reactors that would be placed under IAEA safeguards together with
India's right to take corrective measures in the event the fuel supplies are
interrupted. Further, "there is no question of allowing American inspectors to
roam around our nuclear facilities".
6.. Autonomy of decision making on future scientific research and
development: "We will not accept interference by other countries vis a vis the development
of our strategic programme.
7.. Moratorium on production of fissile material: "We are not willing to
accept a moratorium on the production of fissile material".
8.. Global Nuclear Disarmament: While committed to the Rajiv Gandhi action
plan, "there is no question of India..accepting full scope safeguards as a
requirement for nuclear supplies to India now or in the future."
9.. Cessation of Future cooperation: Responding to US terms to cease
cooperation in case India proceeds with further nuclear tests the PM had stated,
"India's position and development of nuclear weapons is an integral part of our
national security. This will remain so."

The final act of the US legislation runs contrary to most of these assurances
given by the Prime Minister. This includes provision of imposing restrictions
and trade regimes barring access to dual use nuclear technology thus denying
India its full nuclear fuel cycle. The annual good conduct certification by the US
President remains. There are nine references to India's role being one of
support and complicity with the US designs on Iran. The act talks of India's foreign
policy being "congruent to that of the United States." Instead of an India
specific additional protocol with the IAEA US law calls for a modified additional
protocol meant for non-nuclear weapon countries etc.

Once again goal posts have been shifted. Two new provisions have been included
concerning a) in case of US canceling its obligations it would help
facilitating alternate fuel supplies from friendly countries of the Nuclear Suppliers
Group. This is now restricted only under conditions of market failures and does not
cover deliberate US termination. b) It was agreed that US would help build a
strategic fuel reserve to ensure continuity of running our reactors for their
lifetime. The final act now explicitly bars any reserve other than normal
operating reserves required to run our reactors.

Under these circumstances, the argument that the country should wait for the
final bilateral agreement is specious. Obviously, the US administration is bound
by the provisions of its act while negotiating this agreement. This cannot be
accepted by India as it negates the most significant, if not all, assurances
made by the Prime Minister to the Indian parliament. Thus, further negotiations
on this score must not proceed.

The CPI(M) demands a full fledged debate in the Indian parliament. Nothing
short of the assurances made by the Prime Minister on August 17, 2006 can be

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