Monday, October 12, 2009

Nuke-ing the deal

For every statement made in the media about the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement, there are countless refutations and counter-statements made almost instantaneously after the fact. I suspect, perhaps conspiratorially, that they collectively form an on-going strategy by certain elements belonging to the Indian Left that will always refute its obvious benefits to us, in the harsh (to them) geo-political realities of today.
It seems to me the anti-thesis of any supposedly pro-people policy, that we condemn more than 400 million Indian citizens to virtual darkness by spreading misinformation about the agreement's demonstrable benefits to the country.

In the cold, hard light of day, anyone who has ever lived anywhere in India is naturally incredulous at any argument that stands against the fact that this country needs reliable electricity, and much more of it.
Local demands for energy are growing at an average rate of 3.6% per annum and have been for the past thirty years. Electricity losses during transmission and distribution across the country vary from between 30% and 45%. Presently, about 75% of our energy is generated from thermal plants, 21% from hydro-electric plants and more than 50% of our commercial energy requirements are met by the burning of coal, for which the demand has been increasing at an annual rate of 6% since 1992-93. In 2004-05, electricity demand outstripped supply by 7% to 11%. The theft of electricity, mostly in urban areas, amounts to 1.5% of the country's GDP.

A perfunctory reading of the details related to the nuclear agreement Manmohan Singh entered into with George W. Bush at the end of last year reads like a point-by-point capitulation by all world-wide bodies related to nuclear non-proliferation. India is not a signatory to the NPT. India has not ratified the CTBT. India declared a voluntary moratorium on nuclear weapons testing in 1998 and all official statements since then insist that the country will reserve the right to conduct any future tests if it decides that its sovereignty is in any way threatened. We are the only country in the world that can now enter into the world's nuclear marketplace while not budging on our rights to maintain and develop a nuclear weapons program. The IAEA will not be allowed to inspect our military nuclear installations as a result of the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement. We have developed an advanced nuclear program, both civilian and military, ever since we were declared pariahs by the world's nuclear community in 1974, that is on the cutting-edge of every new technology being developed in the field, such as: Fast Breeder Reactors, Thermal Breeder Reactors, the Thorium fuel cycle, nuclear fuel reprocessing and Tritium extraction and production. We have reserves of Uranium in this country that will be sufficient, even in worst-case estimates, for both our current energy consumption levels and our nuclear arsenal for the next 40 to 50 years.

Barack Obama's administration has consistently endorsed views regarding the crying need for the eventual reduction of the world's nuclear stockpiles, towards a future nuclear weapons-free world. That is consistent with India's stand, where we have been crying ourselves hoarse about the exact same thing for the past thirty years. The world has now come around to our view that we cannot be held hostage by restrictions imposed on us by nations that have for so long not taken a single step in understanding our security or developmental concerns. We need not be apprehensive about the people Obama surrounds himself with, or his views - they comprehensively support our own.



  1. I was getting ready to ask you to provide citations once I started reading this and then found that you had.

    PS: what's with this lame-ass commenting system? Defaults aren't good enough anymore?

  2. "We have reserves of Uranium in this country that will be sufficient, even in worst-case estimates, for both our current energy consumption levels and our nuclear arsenal for the next 40 to 50 years."

    Is this being debated whether to improve the powerless regions, pun intended(?), or is the Uranium forcibly contained?

    Very interesting post!