After long and intensive discussions, the Indo-Us civilian nuclear deal has finally materialized and the much debated 123 agreement was formally announced on July 27, 2007, with India categorically stating that it would retain the right to conduct fires nuclear tests and its strategic programme would remain untouched by 123 agreement.
Regarding the shortcomings of the deal, National Security Adviser, M.K. Narayanan said that India would have liked to get reprocessing and enrichment technologies. He also said that no one in India had reason to be concerned about the lack of fissile material for the strategic programme. Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Mr. Anil Kakodkar dubbed the agreement as satisfactory and fully consistent with the commitments undertaken by both the countries on July 18, 2005 and March 2, 2006 joint statements. But apart from these textual assurances, it is clear that this agreement is a win-win situation from Indian point of view.
Analyzing the results of the nuclear deal, we can say that the hurdles faced by India is procuring nuclear technology and fuel have been removed from good. As a result, all the current restrictions on India’s access to America’s high and dual technology will be withdrawn.
India will be able to build more nuclear power plants. At presents it has 15 functional plants with an additional seven under construction. India has stuck to its guns during the course of touch negotiations in the last few months. Till a few months ago it seemed as if there has been an impasse over the 123 text. It had not satisfactorily addressed India’s concerns about the right to reprocess the spent fuel and the status of guaranteed fuel supplies for the imported reactors. But India insisted on its demand of keeping with the letter and spirit of the July, 2005 George Bush-Manmohan Singh agreement. As per the deal, India did not agree to open all its nuclear facilities to international inspection. Instead, it ingeniously divided its facilities into ‘civilian’ and ‘military’ ones and agreed to open only the former to international inspection.
According to the available information India will place 14 out of its 22 plants under the civilian list. Delhi considers the nuclear energy as the answer to its ever growing needs for power. With this deal, India will not have to exercise constraint on the US or Russian arsenal because of their huge stockpiles of fissile material.
To cope up with increasing demand for energy due to rapid globalization and industrialization, the nuclear deal is the need of the hour. We know that the conventional sources of energy like coal and petroleum are limited and cannot cater to the energy requirements for a long term. As they are bound to exhaust one day, we will have to look for some alternative sources of energy so that we may achieve a sustainable development. The uranium has an immense store of energy which can be exploited successfully. Earlier India was not allowed the access to global nuclear and high tech market, which imposed a big hurdle in the path of India’s economic growth. And India’s civilian nuclear energy aspirations were being thwarted due to shrinking domestic uranium ore capability. It was due to this reason that the Government has taken such bold and innovative step which will push us into an era of economic stability and sustainable development.
The nuclear deal has put an end to three decades of India’s isolation from the world of commerce in nuclear technology. No doubt the nuclear deal will satisfy the country’s quest for energy. India is emerging as a leading power of the world. Many industries are being set up. It is becoming a hub of economic activities. We must take initiatives in building a modern and vibrant India; for this proper and adequate supplies of latest technology, various inputs and modernization of Indian infrastructure is essential. Technology collaboration with the US will lead us to the path of prosperity, progress and stability, will again come into operation. The energy generated from the nuclear plants will be sufficient to met the demand for the new few years. We will have enough stockpile of uranium to met our increasing demands.
Once the nuclear deal comes into operation, we will have access to cleaner, more efficient, affordable and diversified energy technologies. It will be on top priority to safeguard the environment against pollution so as to achieve a smoke free generation of electricity.
The benefits of nuclear deal are not only confined to energy sector but will also help in getting access to dual use technology, space, pharmaceuticals etc. It will build closer ties in space exploration, satellite launch and in the commercial space area through mechanisms such as Us-India working group in civil space co-operation. It will also accelerate the pace of scientific and technological development through joint research and training, carrying out experiments and the establishment of public-private partnerships. Both the countries will engage in exchange of information and knowledge on various issues, examine the gravity of various problem in each other’s country and work in collaboration to solve these problems. Really India’s future depends a lot on the nuclear deal.