India, US seal N-deal: Has Delhi given away a lot?
Lets see it objectively:
what's it is all about?
- All Indian current and future "civilian" nuclear plants will now be put under permanent international safeguards
- In return, US assures India of uninterrupted supply of nuclear fuel
- The world market will be accessible to India for nuclear fuel once it joins the loop
- India will be free to continue its nuclear programme - be it development of new reactors of military programme
- 14 of India's 22 reactors will now come under international scanner
Now what is that India gain's?
- Costs of uranium will go down.
- Deal will open the door to nuclear power suppliers from Russia and France to set up plants in India
- These countries will take back the spent fuel (greenpeace pay attn)
- India can get international nuclear technology for its reactors
What will India giveup?
-- All these facilities will be open to inspections by the IAEA
- India won't be allowed to trade in military part of nuclear sphere
Now analyses time:-
No sensible person can deny the benefits from what India is gaining. At a time when India has huge power shortage which is also mother of all infrastructure related crisis, nuclear power is welcome. We can put a safe bet on India's future with nuclear power. No doubt that it is risky proposition in terms of hazards or environmental issues, but I firmly believe these are problems which have solution. The solution are easy if we put our brains in engineering our reactors well and when we are disciplined on usage, waste disposal and in general safety and security. It a small price to feed, grow and prosper nearly 1.1 billion Indians.
On the other hand, looking at what India might has to give up the most concern that people are having is having an IAEA watchdog on our reactors. Mind you we already have them on 6 of the proposed 14. We will still have 8 marked as military including fast breeders. The concern is that our nuclear capability will be capped.
We already have some nuclear capability and if govt is to be believed then we will have sufficient strike back capability to meet our current "demands" from China, Pak etc.
Infact I do not think as a nation any of these would ever dare to launch nuclear war as a nuclear war has only losers and no winners. What must concern us is that the nukes of Pak are open for sale to terrorists. It is that shop which we need to shut as that is the most realistic threat to us in current scenario. And the only diplomatic way to do that would be to show it ourselves and get Pak do it too. It will ensure that our capability is not capped because practically we would have increased our capability by relatively decreasing our "enemy's" capability.
India not being able to trade in military nuclear area looks irrelevant to me as Dr. A Q Khan who was born in Bhopal has already moved his shop to Pakistan. We have got no more nuke traders. Add to that our brilliant scientist are confident that we have got a good deal by ensuring perennial supply of cheaper uranium.
In conclusion, I do not think that New Delhi has given away something big unless there is no conspiracy theory behind and what we are seeing is more or less truth.
I would extend this blog with this White House link India Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Responding to Critics. This information very much supports my assumptions and analysis .