In the recent past, there has been much ado about the Indo-US nuclear deal, also known as the 123 Agreement. Every day we receive different opinions about the advantages and disadvantages of this deal, that the government is pushing ahead of the polls and the opposition is pushing away to come out ahead in the polls.
All said and done, according to the government projections, if the implementation of the deal is successful, then the nuclear power supplied by the US will be only 5 percent of India’s energy requirement. Is the entire Indo-US nuclear deal anything more than a political drama with a lot of players, each with their own ulterior motive?
The Indian government has multiple reasons to push the deal. There is the internal
motive, which is the UPA wants to show their strength and the political will that they can generate. If the UPA can successfully go through with the deal, they will not only be on a political high ground they may also be able to take the people’s attention away from the rising inflation. Then there is the external motive, the strategic partnership with the USA that comes along with the 123 agreement. The 123 agreement will not only lift the international embargo on the export of civilian nuclear technology and fuel it creates a unique exemption for India within the world nuclear regulatory regime, allowing a self-proclaimed nuclear-weapons state that is a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to purchase nuclear fuel and advanced nuclear technology. This may be a landmark in the nuclear history of the nation, but it all comes at a cost. The visible cost here is that we will have to make our civil reactors regulated by the IAEA, but there is a hidden cost involved as well, the sacrifice of our foreign policy.
It is this sacrifice in the Indian foreign policy that has attracted USA to the deal in the first place. The US needs a strategic partner in the Indian subcontinent with China rising economically and...