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Thursday, August 28, 2008

US Playing Good Cop, Bad Cop With India - Post 007

As expected, some Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) members like Austria, Ireland and Switzerland are against giving India a "clean waiver" without a formal assurance from it that there will be no further nuclear tests. Now, New Zealand, Canada and Japan have also joined them. They are the bad cops. All the same, this is an upfront demand and India, if it so wishes, can reject it.

However, the real danger is the United States - playing the role of the good cop. The Bush administration is deploying the classic diplomatic strategy of appearing to be India’s friend whilst persuading the UPA government to give in to the demands of the above countries to incorporate the additional clause - that all nuclear commerce would come to a halt if India conducted any further nuclear tests. This would virtually mean signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in another form and accepting a status of a non nuclear weapons state permanently.

It would also mean that the pioneering work of over 60 years of the Indian nuclear scientists in developing indigenous nuclear technology, despite the strenuous attempts of the Western powers to suppress their endeavor, would also go in vain. As per the terms of the safeguard agreement, all further work would have to be done under the scrutiny of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These scientists have done such highly creditable research work that even the nuclear deal 123 agreement, which also refuses to recognize India as a nuclear weapon state, admits that India is a state "possessing advanced nuclear technology."

Moreover, India also has sufficient uranium resources for its immediate requirements. Mr. Ramendra Gupta, the Chairman and Managing Director of Uranium Corporation of India Ltd., categorically stated on June 8, 2008, in an interview with a leading national newspaper, “We have enough uranium resources.” He went on to add, “There is some mismatch for the time being which is expected to be over once these new projects (mining and processing) are commissioned. And for 20,000 megawatt of power, we have enough uranium resources in the country.” By that time, hopefully, Indian nuclear scientists, if there are no restraints of IAEA on them, would have cracked the advanced heavy water reactor technology of using the substitute thorium, described as the fuel of the future, instead of uranium, to generate electricity on a massive scale. And we have the world’s largest reserve of thorium.

Therefore, there is absolutely no need for India, at the behest of USA, to back down on our terms of a clean waiver from the NSG. Security of India should not be compromised to propitiate the Bush administration.