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(The author is a Professor in International Economics in Nagasaki University, Japan)
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The recent drama in the G-8 declaration that, unless India signs the NPT( Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) it will not get any nuclear enrichment and reprocessing plants meeting regarding the Indo-US nuclear treaty, has demonstrated the unrealistic approach adopted by India. The unrealistic expectation of India was that by signing the treaty India can somehow avoid the restriction imposed by the IAEA and NSG against proliferations of nuclear weapons. However, both IAEA( International Atomic Energy Agency) and NSG( Nuclear Suppliers Group) do not recognize India as a legitimate nuclear weapons state, as they made it clear to India in the treaty India has signed already as a non-nuclear weapons state.
Another unrealistic expectation was that USA wants to set up India as a bulwark against China and in future it would protect India against possible invasion from China. USA now being financially bankrupt depends on China to revive its economy and the new President Obama, guided by arch-enemies of India like Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Carter, and Madeline Albright, foreign secretary to President Clinton, has already declared the strategic partnership between USA and China.
The Reality Regarding Nuclear Drama:
Indian media or the government cannot blame USA now because India knew all along what was on the cards. The Vienna Treaty with NSG has clearly pointed out the following that would cripple India"s nuclear weapons programme. The Treaty says:
(1) "Participating Governments may transfer trigger list items and/or related technology to India for peaceful purposes and for use in IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguarded civil nuclear facilities."
(2) "Participating Governments may transfer nuclear-related dual-use equipment, materials, software, and related technology to India for peaceful purposes and for use in civil nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards."
(3) "At each Plenary, Participating Governments shall notify each other of approved transfers to India. Participating Governments are also invited to exchange information, including about their own bilateral agreements with India."
Thus, only for the facilities under the control of IAEA India can import fuel, materials and technology. It cannot import even from Russia, as Russia is a member of NSG and has to consult NSG to export any nuclear materials or technology to India particularly anything related to India"s Nuclear Weapons Programme; this was made clear in a recent Senate bill presented when the discussion on the 123 treaty with USA is in progress.. That would practically mean Fast Breeder Reactors and Reprocessing plants, being built by Russia, would be under the IAEA controls, otherwise Russia can not supply any materials or technology for these from now on. Thus, India"s nuclear weapons programme or the reactors in the military sector will be lame ducks for the foreseeable future unless and until Russia will come out of NSG.
123 Deal puts further restrictions. The Bush administration"s January 2008 letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made public recently, brings out the following.
USA has given no legally binding fuel-supply assurance of any kind and there is no US consent to stockpiling of fuel reserves. India will not be allowed to build such stocks to avoid if US re-impose sanctions. US civil nuclear cooperation is explicitly prohibiting further nuclear tests by India even if warranted by Indian national security concerns. All cooperation will cease immediately if India conducts a test.
The US has retained the right to suspend or terminate supplies at its own discretion.
The 123 Agreement has granted India no right to take corrective measures in case of any fuel-supply disruption. Rather, India"s obligations are legally irrevocable and perpetual.
The Bush administration"s letter states that the 123 Agreement fully conforms to the Hyde Act provisions. "US government will not assist India in the design, construction or operation of sensitive nuclear technologies." Under the 123 Agreement, India has agreed to forego reprocessing until it has, in future, won a separate agreement.
123 Agreement Article 5(2) that, "Sensitive nuclear technology, heavy water production technology, sensitive nuclear facilities, heavy water production facilities and major critical components of such facilities may be transferred under this Agreement pursuant to an amendment to this Agreement." The Bush administration"s letter to Congress states that the US government had no plan to seek to amend the deal to allow any sensitive transfers.
Already the US senate has imposed a new clause in the Hyde Act that in future national security organizations of USA, which means CIA and FBI, would now collaborate with India regarding nuclear non-proliferation. This in effect would imply that US organizations would make sure India will not be able to gain any advantage to use its nuclear facilities to create nuclear weapons.
Section 104(d) (2) of the Hyde Act is related to the supply of nuclear fuel to the plants in India, which would be used to produce nuclear weapons, by using end-use monitoring of spent fuel by the IAEA and the US organizations. There are provisions in the legislation, which would putt a cap on fissile material production. These would end India"s nuclear weapons programme.
Alternative was available:
India was not a "Pariah" in the world of nuclear energy since 1974, as the media is suggesting, but India has become nearly self sufficient due to the help from the USSR and Russia. Russia, after India"s nuclear tests in 1974, was practically the only country for India as a source of materials for the nuclear energy industry including both nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants. Russia along with the former Soviet Union so far has supplied India heavy water plants, reprocessing plants, Fast Breeder Reactors and two fresh nuclear power plants with the excuse that the contracts for these were signed between India and the Soviet Union in 1985, which Russia needs to oblige.
USSR has started for India the construction of the first FBTR (Fast Breeder Test Reactor) of capacity of 40 MWt (million watts thermal) in Kalapakkan in 1985. In 2008 Russia has started the construction of a Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor( FBR) of capacity 500 MWE (million watts electrical) in Kalapakkan. Associated Reprocessing plants in Kalapakkan were first built by USSR in 1985 and then in 1998 by Russia.
Without the nuclear deal with NSG and USA India could be able to maintain its nuclear plants by using reprocessed plutonium as a fuel in the FBRs and using its own uranium in the conventional plants. India could continue to get both onshore and offshore nuclear plants from Russia, as it would honour the Indo-Soviet Treaty of 1985. This is exactly what former President Putin and former Prime Minister Fradkov have suggested during their last visits to India, but India was not interested. In that case India would be at liberty to test and develop nuclear weapons any time it likes without any restrictions using plutonium from its FBRs and enriched Uranium from other nuclear plants. Indo-US Nuclear Deal and the Vienna Treaty with NSG on the other hand will increase both real and perceived restrictions on India that would in reality destroy any credible nuclear deterrent for India against possible attacks from either China or Pakistan.
Section 103 of the Hyde Act suggests that the US would oppose development of a capability to produce nuclear weapons by any non-nuclear weapon state within or outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime. The section requires the US to work with the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group to further restrict transfers of equipment and technologies related to uranium enrichment, reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and production of heavy water to all countries, including India. The legislation also requires the US government to seek to prevent transfer of these equipment and technologies from other members of NSG or from any other source. Section 104(d) (2) stipulates that transfers to India cannot begin without the NSG guidelines. Also, there are provisions in the legislation, which would putt a cap on fissile material production. The Senate Bill presented now will apply Hyde Act worldwide against India even when India will buy anything nuclear from any other countries within NSG.
International situation is rapidly changing. A new cold war has already started when USA wants to expand NATO to the doorsteps of Russia by including Georgia and Ukraine. USA is setting up missile launching stations in Poland and Czech Republic; in response Russia is setting up retaliatory missile stations in Kaliningrad, in the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. Russia has already taken over South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia. USA already has cancelled its 123 Deal with Russia, imposed sanctions against Russian scientific establishment and will not allow Russia to do any nuclear trade with USA. It is quite possible that in retaliation Russia very soon will withdraw itself from the NSG, as the current President Medvedev has ruled out Russia"s obligation towards any further reduction of its nuclear forces under the SALT treaty. Russia is already supplying sensitive nuclear technology to Iran, Venezuela and Syria. India could just certainly wait for a few months rather than signing its surrender to USA in a great hurry.
By accepting the Vienna Treaty with NSG and the Indo-US 123 Deal, India is accepting a subordinate position in relation to USA and the Western countries, which is not needed for the future development of nuclear energy in India. Iran, Venezuela and Syria has not signed any 123 Deal with USA to receive nuclear plants from Russia. Pakistan is going to receive 6 nuclear plants from China without signing any 123 Deal with USA or any treaty with NSG or IAEA. India forgot the fact that NSG was created by the United States immediately after 1974 to punish India for its first atomic test. It was never directed towards Pakistan, who was allowed to accept whatever it wants from China. China in 1985 has signed a very different 123 Treaty with USA as a recognized nuclear weapons state, whereas India in practice has given up its nuclear weapons by signing 123 Treaty with USA and IAEA as a non-nuclear weapons state.
The result will make Pakistan, which receives every nuclear weapons and missiles from China, much stronger than India in very near future. Pakistan"s M-11 missiles obtained from China are mobile missiles although these have short ranges of 300km. "No-Dong" missiles obtained from North Korea with the approval of China has 1500km range. This can cover most important parts of India. Pakistan has no need, unlike that of India, to conduct any tests to maintain its nuclear weapons, as it can obtain these ready-made whenever it requires from China.
China has a formidable nuclear force located in Tibet directed against India. It has deployed some 125 long range (1700km or more) nuclear armed ballistic missiles, It has developed DF-31 ballistic missiles with a range of 8000 km, which can hit any parts of India from anywhere in China. Other missiles in the armory of China include CSS-2, CSS-3, and CSS-5 of 1700km range, which also can hit India from Tibet. China has decided to use Pakistan against India, by supplying whatever China has. Thus, Pakistan is now more powerful in nuclear weapons delivery system than India can be in near future.
That serves the geo-political interest of the United States with Pakistan as the bridge to the Islamic world. Gradual acceptance of Taliban by USA as recommended by Pakistan is already happening. The unfolding scenario will ruin India in the process when India will be forced to surrender also to the demands of Pakistan, a NATO ally of USA, and China, the most important business partner of the U.S corporations and on whom the fate of the US Dollar and the world economy depends. The possible appointment of the Richrd Holbrooke, the destroyer of Yugoslavia, a staunch anti-Indian and pro-Pakistani, as the negotiator between Afghanistan, India and Pakistan by the newly elected President Obama is the clear danger signal, which Indian political establishment is ignoring.
Due to the objections raised by USA, Russia is disinterested to continue to supply nuclear materials or power plants to India anymore. The sudden shift of Russia"s position is the result of India"s decision to ignore Russia since the days of Jaswant Singh first when he was the Foreign Minister of India and to buy weapons systems, aircrafts, submarines from Israel, Britain and France and India"s growing interest to purchase aircrafts from USA.
The nuclear offer of the US was never a friendly gesture to India as the Indian media had tried to to portray but a process of surrender for India regarding its nuclear energy and weapons programme. That process was indicated by President Clinton in 1998 when he declared openly that he loathed to even think that India-Pakistan can have nuclear weapons and the objective of the United States will be to roll back, curtail and eliminate India"s nuclear weapons programme. George Bush has followed that up using his charm and sweet talks, but the purpose was the same.
The media in India is giving the impression that USA is trying to make India as a bulwark against China. It was not true during the presidency of george Bush. It is absurd to even think about during the pro-Chinese presidency of Obama. In fact, USA since 1972 has made China as a bulwark against the Soviet Union by supplying indirectly every type of weapons technology via Israel, France, Pakistan, and Turkey. USA also made China as the permanent member of the UN Security Council as a counterweight against the Soviet Union.
If USA wants to destroy China as a power, it can do so without firing a single bullet, but by just not importing from China and asking its allies not to import from China. USA had followed that policy in 1934 against Japan, but it has no intension to follow it against China, because that would undermine investments of large number of American companies and their profit. China can also retaliate against USA just by selling its Dollar reserve, which would mean a massive devaluation of the US Dollar and destruction of the special status of the US Dollar as the international reserve currency - a fiat money by which USA can buy anything from the rest of the world just by printing its own currency. There is no need for the US to earn foreign exchange to pay for its imports or to pay for the American military bases all over the world in any other currency but in US Dollar.
This unique position would be diminished if China suddenly exchanges its Dollar holdings into Euro. That can destroy the American economy, as USA would not be able to use Dollar to get its imports. USA would be unable to pay for the expenses of the American military bases as well thus, reducing the US to a regional power, not a world power. Close bilateral relationship through trade and investments has made USA and China indispensable to each other.
Because of these threats to the American Dollar and the America"s special status as a super-power, USA is reluctant even to recognize Taiwan as a separate country, but still insisting upon the "one-China" policy which, basically approves Chinese colonialism over Taiwan. USA also has no policy towards Tibet or East Turkistan, which were colonized by China in 1949. President Clinton has declared China as the strategic partner of USA. President Bush recently joined hands with China to oppose India"s possible membership of the UN Security Council. However, in 1972, President Nixon had no objection against China"s membership of the UN Security Council. USA even had forced the expulsion of Taiwan from the U.N to make room for China. President Obama just like President Clinton before him went to China and declared China, India"s enemy No 1, as the strategic partner of USA.
When India has declared after the nuclear tests in 1998 President Clinton has imposed sanctions against India and India was isolated in the world temporarily. President Bush has forced India to start the peace-process with Pakistan, who has already killed more than 50,000 people in the Jammu & Kashmir and has managed to spread terrorism throughout India, as the recent attack on Mumbai demonstrated. USA also forced India to abandon its development of long-range missiles and any further nuclear testing. As a result, India has no credible nuclear forces and is in no match for China. This situation will not change in future in favour of India, as USA does not want India to have either nuclear weapons or missiles.
USA is not offering India any advanced weapons system or aircrafts. The F-16 or F-18 aircraft, which USA has offered India is equivalent to Russian Mig-29, which India already got about ten years ago and is under production in HAL factories in India. USA is delivering same aircrafts to Pakistan for free as its aid programme against terrorism although Pakistan is the source of international terrorism. A pure business deal from which USA not India will gain substantially is repackaged by the media as the friendly gesture of the United States to India.
The reality is that by accepting American pseudo-friendship India has become weaker than even Pakistan, who has long-range missiles fitted with nuclear weapons imported from China and can be used against India at any time. As Pakistan has the policy of "first strike" with nuclear weapons, as obvious from the preparations of General Musharaf during the Kargil invasion of 1999, it is doubtful whether India, without the support of the Soviet Union as it had during both 1965 and 1971 wars, can withstand the first nuclear strike by Pakistan. The most likely scenario is that India will collapse, which would open the door for invasions by Pakistan, China, and Nepal.
India"s policy makers mainly diplomats from the Indian Foreign Service are excellent to surrender easily as they did in Simla Conference in 1972 and subsequently in every international gatherings. They, particularly the India"s ambassador to USA Mr.Ronen Sen and the national security adviser Narayanan, had advised the government to surrender to the American demand and to accept the control of the IAEA on the nuclear facilities in India. They have failed to understand and still do not understand, as obvious from the statement made by Pranab Mukherjee that G-8 Declaration against India does not matter. The nuclear co-operation with USA would start the second phase of surrender to abolish nuclear weapons in India, but Pakistan, as an ally of both NATO and China, would still have nuclear weapons. It is unfortunate that the India"s so-called experts of foreign policy cannot see the reality but have decided to live in a fool"s paradise.
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