[Marxism] Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Kapil Sibal on 123

Sukla Sen suklasenp at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Aug 26 11:15:10 MDT 2007

[What Mr. Sibal misses here is that nor are the 44
other members of the NSG would have anything to do
with the Hyde Act.
But that does nothing to address the opposition to the
deal on the far more fundamental grounds of opposition
to nuclear weapons per se, strategic proximity between
India and the US - whether under compulsion or out of
free will on the part of India, and also nuclear


123 agreement is not Hyde-bound, says Sibal

Shishir Gupta

Posted online: Sunday, August 26, 2007 at 0000 hrs IST

Setting the tone for the Parliamentary debate on the
nuclear deal in which he will be the UPA Government’s
lead speaker, Union Science and Technology Minister
Kapil Sibal on Saturday tried to assuage Left concerns
underlining the endorsement from Atomic Energy
Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar.

Speaking to The Sunday Express, Sibal said: “Our
Atomic Energy Commission Chairman (Kakodkar) before
123 agreement negotiations himself had expressed
certain concerns...He is now satisfied that all these
concerns have been met with and resolved in the
national interest.”

To the Left’s demand that the deal not be
operationalised until its doubts are addressed, Sibal
made it clear that the “operationalisation” of the 123
agreement was not imminent and could only take place
after the India-specific IAEA safeguards agreement was
worked out in conjunction with the NSG negotiations
and the final step of US Congress approval. “Much
before this, the debate in Parliament, in which all
things will be clarified, will hopefully satisfy all
those concerned over the historic agreement,” Sibal

That Parliamentary debate is now expected to be
postponed to the first week of September after talks
with the Left, senior UPA ministers and party sources
confirmed to The Sunday Express. This was decided at a
meeting of the Congress core group on Friday where the
consensus was that there’s no question of any
“surrender” on the 123 agreement. And that the party
should keep the initiative with itself rather than be
seen as both succumbing to the

Left and losing the “historic opportunities” that come
with the nuclear deal.

Declining to comment on the standoff with the Left,
Sibal said: “The same concerns were expressed by US
legislature in the agreement with China in the context
of alleged human rights violations, status of Taiwan
and helping neighbours with weaponisation...But surely
the Chinese have not subjugated their foreign policy
to American diktat.”

Sibal said “it was both unnecessary and unfair” to
question the UPA’s credentials by slamming the
agreement as being against India’s interests.
“Sovereignty of India is dearly cherished by the
government and nothing shall be done to compromise
with that,” Sibal said, “this has been the history of
Congress party...we were the ones who did not sign
either the NPT or the CTBT...we decided to liberate
Bangladesh despite the presence of USS Enterprise in
1971...we detonated a nuclear device in 1974...did not
join any treaty or organisation during the Cold War
regime...despite the Indo-USSR friendship, we
conducted an independent foreign policy.”

Quoting Article 6 of the US Constitution, Sibal said
that the supremacy clause stipulated “all treaties
made under the authority of US shall be supreme law of
the land and judges shall be bound by them anything in
the Constitution and laws notwithstanding.”

In other words, Sibal said that clearly the obligation
of US made under the 123 agreement is “regarded as
supreme law of land and (will) over-ride all other
laws including the Hyde Act.” According to him, the
123 agreement is made under the Atomic Energy Act,
1954 and is required to be approved by the US Congress
before it acquired the force of law.

But once approved, Sibal said, the Agreement would
have a “life of its own and would not be secondary to
the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act or the Hyde
Act. The 123 agreement is the last expression of the
sovereign will and must control all the other previous

References to Iran in the Hyde Act, Sibal said,
represented the internal conflict between the
legislature and the executive of the US to seek
control of foreign policy matters. “That is why US
foreign policy is controlled by the President...the US
President has publicly stated that these expressions
(Hyde Act) are in the nature of guidance and advisory
in nature...and the President is not bound by them,”
Sibal said.

That there is still hard work ahead before the
operationalisation is evident in the fact that
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe conveyed to India
that he needed to take his own legislature, the Diet,
on board before committing to support in the NSG. And
before Kakodkar goes to attend the IAEA meeting, PM’s
Special Envoy Shyam Saran, who returns from Argentina
on Sunday, will go to Europe in the first week to sell
the 123 agreement to several NSG nations, including
Scandinavian countries.

CPM confused, time to withdraw support: FB

KOLKATA: In a veiled criticism of CPI(M) for softening
its stand in the standoff between Left parties and the
UPA Government on Indo-US civil nuclear deal, Forward
Bloc, a Left Front constituent, on Saturday said it
was the opportune moment to withdraw support to the
ruling alliance. Without naming CPI(M), Forward Bloc
all-India General Secretary Debabrata Biswas told a
rally that “they were waiting anxiously for Sonia to
return from South Africa to knock at her door. What a
pitiable situation”. “If only gain and loss of
withdrawing support is calculated, can we fight
imperialism? There should not be any tradeoff in the
fight against imperialism,” Biswas said. He later told
reporters that there was “confusion” within the CPI(M)
and other Left parties whether it was the right time
to bring down the UPA Government. “There is confusion,
vacillation and inner contradictions.”

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