[Marxism] Indian Communists challenge nuclear initiatives

Sukla Sen suklasenp at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Oct 10 23:25:01 MDT 2007

One may find the comparison between the Left / CPIM
position and that of the Hindu Nationalist BJP on the
'deal' pretty interesting.

The Left Parties' statement, a pretty elaborate - even
if somewhat rambling, one is available at
and that of the BJP is reproduced below.

A brief analysis of the Left Parties' statement is
offered below.

The objections to the 'deal' are as under.

I. India should not develop any close relationship
with the US - a neo-colonial entrapment.
II. India must retain its full independence over its
energy and weapons programmes. The 'deal' is going to
circumscribe it.
III. India must retain its right to carry out further
explosive tests, never mind  the Left is against
testing! (Further testing is required to graduate from
the A-Bomb to the H-Bomb - to be able to murder
millions instead of hundreds of thousands!)
IV. India must get all the promises in the joint
statement of July 18 2005, including those regarding
reprocessing technology etc., realised. 

There is also a faintest hint at reservation against
nuclear power if based on collaboration with the US.

Obviously some of these are self-contradictory, apart
from the self-contradictory III, I and IV are
contradicting each other.

The Left parties have consistently held that the
nuclear cooperation agreement should not be seen in
isolation ....


India conforming to various bilateral/multilateral
agreements to which India is not currently a signatory
such as the US' Missile Technology Control Regime
(MTCR), the Australia Group etc  [Section 104c E,F,G]

The above relates mainly to I above.

The Left parties have well known views against nuclear
testing for weaponisation, but that does not mean
acceptance of any US imposed curbs on India's
sovereign right to exercise that choice. The direction
in the Hyde Act with regard to the Fissile Material
Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) is unacceptable.

This relates to point III.

While the 123 Agreement is being presented as a
victory for India's positions and conforming to the
Prime Minister's assurances in the Parliament, we find
that there are a number of issues on which it falls
short of what the Prime Minister had assured the
Parliament. While the Indian commitments are binding
and in perpetuity, some of the commitments that the US
has made are either quite ambiguous or are ones that
can be terminated at a future date.


The agreement also assures that in the event of
termination of co-operation with the United States,
compensation would be paid for the return of nuclear
materials and related equipment. This will be small
comfort for the damage caused.

This relates mainly to point IV, but also to II and

However, whether the fuel supply will continue even
after cessation or termination of the agreement
depends solely on the US Congress. ..... Therefore,
the 123 agreement represents the acceptance of IAEA
safeguards in perpetuity for uncertain fuel supplies
and continuing nuclear isolation with respect to a
substantial amount of technological know-how.

This relates to II, and also III.

The Prime Minister assured the Parliament that all
steps would be taken by India reciprocally with steps
by the US. The Agreement ties India into long-term
virtually irreversible changes in its nuclear
institutional structures and arrangements. It is
crucial to ensure that India is fully satisfied on all
aspects of the agreement as also other strategic and
foreign policy concerns before it actually implements
its separation plan and placing of its civilian
facilities under permanent IAEA safeguards.  Not only
the provisions of the Agreement but also the
sequencing of actions is therefore of vital

Relates to II, and also IV.

The bilateral nuclear agreement must be seen as a
crucial step to lock in India into the US global
strategic designs. Alongside negotiations for the
nuclear accord, steps have been taken for closer
military collaboration. The Access and Cross Servicing
Agreement, otherwise known as the Logistics Support
Agreement is being pushed ahead as provided for in the
Defence Framework Agreement . This would lead to
regular port calls by US naval ships in Indian ports
for fueling, maintenance and repairs. The regular
joint naval exercises have now been widened to include
India in the trilateral security cooperation which
exists between the US, Japan and Australia. The
September joint naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal
are a major step in this direction. The United States
is exerting pressure on India to buy a whole range of
weaponary such as fighter planes, helicopters, radars
and artillery involving multi-billion dollar
contracts. The aim is to ensure "inter-operability" of
the two armed forces.

Relates to I.

The flawed nuclear cooperation agreement cannot be
justified on the debatable basis of augmenting our
energy resources, or achieving energy security. The
motivation for the US side is commercial gains which
will accrue for its corporates running into billions
of dollars.

Some faint hint at doubts over efficacy of nuclear
power in case it is sourced from outside (or the US?).

The Left parties had earlier cautioned the government
not to accept nuclear cooperation with United States
on terms that compromises its independent foreign
policy and its sovereign rights for developing a
self-reliant nuclear programme. It had asked the UPA
government to desist from proceeding with the
negotiations for the 123 agreement till the inimical
provisions of the Hyde Act are cleared out of the way.

Relates to II.


Press Statement issued by Shri Yashwant Sinha & 
Shri Arun Shourie on Indo-US nuclear deal 
Preliminary comments of the BJP on the Agreement
between the Government of India and the Government of
the USA concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
1. The BJP has been expressing its reservations
regarding the Indo-US nuclear deal from the very
beginning. When the Joint Statement was issued at the
end of the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
Washington in July 2005, Shri Vajpayee issued a
statement in which he expressed his reservations about
the deal, specially with regard to its impact on our
strategic nuclear programme. He had expressed his
apprehension at the proposed separation plan of our
nuclear facilities between civilian and military.
Later, when the separation plan was presented to
Parliament, we expressed our opposition to it. We
warned the Government of India when the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee and the House International
Relations Committee of the US Congress adopted the
draft bills for enabling this cooperation between the
two countries. We protested strongly when the Hyde Act
was passed by the US Congress. We have consistently
opposed the deal in Parliament whenever discussions on
this deal have taken place.
None of our fears and apprehensions was ever given
serious consideration by the Government of India. No
effort was ever made by it to evolve a national
consensus on this vital issue of national concern
before making commitments to the US. 
The text of the bilateral 123 Agreement has been made
public on Friday, August 3, 2007. We have looked at
the text and our preliminary comments are as follows:
(i) Each party is required to implement this Agreement
in accordance with its national laws and regulations
and its licence requirements. There is no doubt,
therefore, that the implementation of this Agreement
shall be governed by the provisions of the Hyde Act of
2006, the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which are its
national laws on this subject, and its licensing
requirements relating to the supply of nuclear
materials to India {article 2(1)}. The confidence with
which US officials have asserted that the Agreement is
Hyde act bound flows from this provision. Which act
will India enforce on the US? 
(ii) The Agreement is supposed to lead to full civil
nuclear cooperation between the two countries yet
article 2(2)(d) talks of cooperation relating to
“aspects of the associated nuclear fuel cycle”.
Aspects mean parts and hence all aspects of the
nuclear fuel cycle are not covered under this
(iii) According to article 5(2) of the Agreement
sensitive nuclear technology, heavy water production
technology, sensitive nuclear facilities and major
critical components of such facilities can be
transferred to India only after an amendment to this
Agreement has been carried out. The provision for such
transfer should have been included in this Agreement
itself instead of leaving it to a future amendment. It
is a peculiar arrangement. 
Under the same provision, the US will retain the right
of end-use verification of all its supplies. This will
ensure that American inspectors will “roam around our
nuclear installations”, a fear which was completely
discounted by the Prime Minister while replying to the
Rajya Sabha debate on 17.8.2006.
(iv) As far as fuel supplies are concerned, the
commitment of the US in the Agreement is vague and
futuristic. “The US is committed to seeking agreement
from the US Congress to amend its domestic laws”. This
assurance in article 5(6)(a) of the Agreement and the
assurances contained in article 5(6)(b) of the
Agreement is not only bad drafting but deliberately
repeats an old assurance given by the US at the time
of the separation plan and remains as evasive as it
was then. According to article 5(6)(c), the India
specific Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA is to be
negotiated on the basis of these evasive assurances
and requires India to place its civilian nuclear
facilities under safeguards in perpetuity.
(v) India is required under this Agreement to
establish a new national reprocessing facility
dedicated to reprocessing safeguarded nuclear material
under IAEA safeguards. If it is an agreement between
two equal parties with reciprocal commitments, is the
US accepting a similar provision for its reprocessing
facilities? Is any such facility being created in any
country belonging to the Nuclear Five? 
(vi) Following the cessation of cooperation under this
Agreement either party shall have the right to require
the return by the other party of any nuclear material,
equipment, non-nuclear material or components
transferred under this Agreement and any special
fissionable material produced through their use.
{article 14(4)} Thus, notwithstanding the sugar-coated
language which has been used in the Agreement to
soften the blow, the fact remains that the US retains
the right to recall all the supplies that it has made
to India under this Agreement. What is worse is that
under article 16(3) despite the termination of this
Agreement, the safeguards in perpetuity will continue
to apply so long as any material or equipment or any
of the by products thereof remain on Indian soil. 
Clearly, therefore, with regard to fuel supplies,
reprocessing rights and the right to recall the
equipments supplied, the US has maintained its
position as in the Hyde Act. India, on the other hand,
has accepted legally enforceable commitments in
There is nothing in the Agreement regarding the
reprocessing of the spent fuel of Tarapur which has
accumulated over the last 33 years. 
Nuclear testing has not been mentioned in the
Agreement. According to the Government of India this
is a matter of great comfort for us. This view is
entirely untenable. When national laws apply, which
includes the NPT, the provisions of the Atomic Energy
Act of 1954 and the Hyde Act of 2006 which
specifically forbid nuclear tests, where is the
question of India having the freedom to test once we
enter into this agreement? In other words, we are
being forced to accept a bilateral CTBT with more
stringent provisions than the multilateral CTBT. 
In his very first statement in 2005, Shri Vajpayee had
raised the issue of the financial cost of separation
of our facilities between civilian and military. The
Government of India has kept mum on this. To this cost
has now been added the cost of setting up a dedicated
reprocessing facility, the cost of holding strategic
fuel supplies for the life time of all our future
reactors and the cost of mammoth and intrusive IAEA
In the separation plan prepared under the surveillance
of the US, two thirds of our reactors will be put in
the civilian category under safeguards. The recently
refurbished CYRUS reactor will be shut down. In course
of time, 90% of our reactors will be in the civilian
category. In the ongoing negotiations in the Committee
of Disarmament in Geneva, we have agreed to work
together with the US for the early conclusion of the
FMCT. We appear to have given up our insistence on
international verification and all countries
complying. All these, along with the intrusive
provisions of the Hyde Act are bound to have a
stultifying effect on our strategic nuclear programme.

The BJP is of the clear view that this Agreement is an
assault on our nuclear sovereignty and our foreign
policy options. We are, therefore, unable to accept
this Agreement as finalised. 
We demand that a Joint Parliamentary Committee be set
up to examine the text in detail; that, after it has
submitted its report, parliamentary approval be
secured before this deal is signed; and that all
further action on it should be suspended until this
sequence is completed.
The manner in which this agreement has been pushed
through, leads us to further demand that appropriate
amendments be made in the Constitution and laws to
ensure that all agreements which affect the country’s
sovereignty, territorial integrity and national
security shall be ratified by Parliament.
[Issued on August 4 2007. 
Source: http://www.bjp.org/]

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