INDO-US NUCLEAR DEAL
Historically indo-US relations have been somewhat cold, due to India’s stance of NAM, its relations with the USSR and its refusal to sign CTBT and NPT claiming discriminatory nature.
THE NUCLEAR DEAL
However, the relations between the once ‘estranged democracies’ began to thaw, during Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington, he and George Bush agreed on having civilian nuclear cooperation, allowing India to obtain uranium fuel for its energy plants. They signed the Indo-US Nuclear Pact giving the bilateral nuclear deal a legal status. It envisaged a separation plan of India’s military and civilian nuclear programmers and placing the latter under international (IAEA) safeguards. India gets indirect recognition as a nuclear power and access to nuclear fuel and technology hitherto denied to it. In return the non-proliferation regime would expand its scope of control over India.
Ratified by the lame duck session, it was signed by Bush and was known as Henry J. Hyde US-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act, 2006 or the 123 agreement after Section 123 in the US Atomic Energy Act, 1954. If the deal goes through India will be able to use foreign uranium for power generation after NSG’s amendment and IAEA following India specific safeguards.
BENEFITS AND CRITICISMS
The US has denied ‘full’ civilian cooperation and the deal has been criticized by both sides. The Indians, especially the BJP, the scientific and strategic community say the de jure commitment will undermine their power to test in the future, which is needed for national security in view of Pakistan’s and china’s nuclear capabilities. In the US it’s felt that it’s a serious blow to the non-proliferation regime.
India’s doggedness on issue of nuclear testing, and their ‘go-slow’ attitude on talks with IAEA and NSG have made people feel that we are asking for too much. In this context, Nicholas Burns, Shyam...