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Nuclear Thread - 3
Nuclear deal is so important for Queen and Moron Singh that they are ready to empty banks, and even thinking of election. Major problem, people had short memory plus inflation is so high, it will offset everything.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> <b> 'India is bound by Hyde Act and 123' </b>
Shobori Ganguli | New Delhi
Boucher remarks fly in the face of Govt's claim
Despite External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's attempts to delink the Hyde Act from the India-US 123 Agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation, the United States on Tuesday made it apparent that the latter is not independent of the Act. Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Richard Boucher, following talks with Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon here said, "The Hyde Act is a domestic legislation (and) the 123 Agreement is an international agreement. I think we can move forward with both in a consistent manner."   

While the BJP and the Left have consistently raised concerns over the impact of the Hyde Act on the bilateral nuclear engagement, the UPA Government has striven hard to maintain that America's domestic legislation will have no impact on the deal. On Monday, Mukherjee told Parliament that "the Hyde Act is an enabling provision that is between the executive and the legislative organs of the US Government," that "India's rights and obligations regarding civil nuclear cooperation with the US arise only from the bilateral 123 Agreement that we have agreed upon with the US."
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Stop Chasing Illusions
Brahma Chellaney

Nearly a century after chemical arms were introduced in World War I and more than six decades following the nuclear incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world is at the threshold of new lethal and precision weapons, as underlined by the ongoing research on lasers, information weapons, space-based platforms, anti-satellite weapons and directed energy systems. Technological forces are now shaping geopolitics and power equations in a way unforeseen before in history.

We live in a Hobbesian world, with power coterminous with national security and success. The global power structure reflects this reality. Only countries armed with intercontinental-range weaponry are UN Security Council permanent members, while those seeking new permanent seats have regionally confined capabilities and thus are likely to stay condemned as mere aspirants. Japan, with one-tenth of the population, has a bigger economy than China, but the latter, because of its rising military prowess, gets more international respect.

The past century was the most momentous in history technologically, with innovations fostering not just rapid economic change, but bringing greater lethality to warfare. Consequently, the 20th century was the bloodiest.

Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles came to occupy a central military role. In the new century, the advance of technology and the absence of relevant safeguards or regimes evoke possible scenarios of deadly information and space warfare.

<b>Such are the challenges from the accelerated weaponisation of science that instead of disarmament, rearmament today looms large on the horizon, with the arms race being extended to outer space. </b>Take, for example, America's February 20 destruction of a crippled satellite by missile strike. Having criticised China's January 2007 anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon test — the first ASAT kill by any power in more than two decades — the US set out to be the first to knock out a space-based asset from a mobile platform at sea, in an operation that resembled shooting down an ICBM, except that the target was larger and easier to destroy.

In a Cold War-reminiscent tone, outgoing President Vladimir Putin last month vowed that Russia will field new strategic weapons because "a new arms race has been unleashed in the world". Alluding to the US pressing ahead with a missile shield in Eastern Europe and working on new warheads, Putin declared: "We didn't start it... funnelling multibillions of dollars into developing weapon systems". The same day, the Russian foreign minister raised the spectre of "hundreds of thousands of missile interceptors all over the world... in the foreseeable future".

<b>Disarmament fell off the global agenda long ago, with the UN's Conference on Disarmament (CD) bereft of real work for nearly 12 years now. Yet, some in India continue to chase illusions. </b>More flattering attention has been paid in India than anywhere else to two newspaper articles written by four senior ex-US officials, who in office were votaries of unbridled nuclear might but who now, while peddling a nukes-free world as a distant goal akin to an invisible mountaintop, suggest modest steps for US forces (like changing the antediluvian Cold War posture), only to advocate more rigorous non-proliferation.

<b>India has a rich history of floating disarmament proposals that come back and haunt it as non-proliferation pacts. </b><b>It was India that put forth the ideas of an NPT and CTBT. </b>Add to that its record of not acting when the time is right. <b>Had it tested when it acquired a nuclear-explosive capability in the mid-1960s, it would have beaten the NPT trap. Had Indira Gandhi pressed ahead and not baulked after the May 1974 test, India would not have faced a rising tide of technology sanctions for the next quarter-century. No nation perhaps has paid a heavier price for indecision than India.
<b>India's priority today should be its security, given that it still does not have a minimal, let alone credible, nuclear deterrent against China, which is rapidly modernising its arsenal. </b>Yet, India has placed its future deterrent capability at risk by concluding a nuclear deal with the US whose touted energy benefits are dubious and dispensable. It is also unable to control its proverbial itch to win brownie points, as shown by its recent submission of a seven-point proposal to the deadlocked CD, calling for, among other things, the outlawing of nukes. Such ardour is baffling, given that India imports virtually all its conventional weapons and is in osition to deter China conventionally.

Pursuing disarmament is like chasing butterflies — enjoyable for some retired old men but never-ending and beyond the pale. Nuclear weapons, as the last US posture review stated, will continue to play a "critical role" because they possess "unique properties". Until such time as nukes remain the premier mass-destruction technology, disarmament will stay a mirage. The Chemical Weapons Convention became possible only when chemical arms ceased to be militarily relevant for the major powers and instead threatened to become the poor state's WMD. <b>Considering the rapid pace of technological change, a new class of surgical-strike WMD could emerge, </b>even as nuclear weapons, with their unparalleled destructive capacity, stay at the centre of international power and force.
The writer is a strategic affairs analyst.</i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Advani says UPA-Left in secret deal to dump N-pact</b>
Pioneer News Service

Leader of the Opposition LK Advani on Friday claimed the Government has silently conveyed to its Left allies that it was not pursuing the India-US civilian nuclear agreement.   

Advani's revelation at India Today's conclave here came just ahead of the March 17 meeting of the UPA-Left coordination committee to decide the fate of the India-US nuclear deal and that of the Government.

<b>"Today when I was coming to this meeting, a colleague of mine phoned me that he had met so and so from the Left who conveyed to him that privately the Government has told them they are not pursuing it," he said.</b>

Reiterating that the BJP was in favour of strategic partnership with the US,<b> Advani said this agreement between "unequals" would ensure that no future Prime Minister is able to conduct Pokharan III, even if our security considerations demand it.</b>

Advani said the deal has become highest priority for the Congress-led Government, so much so that it has been blatantly disregarding the criticism expressed by its own supporting parties in the Left, and also the dissenting stand taken by the BJP-NDA and UNPA parties, which together constitute the majority opinion in Parliament.

Saying that the BJP represents the future of India, Advani added the Congress, which was once a common platform of great national leaders, represents much of what has gone wrong in India's recent past.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b> Contempt of Parliament! </b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Going by what the Left MPs have been saying, the IAEA draft has not only been discussed in detail with them, but the full text will also be made available to them. This, when it has not been shown to parliament.
<b>N-deal: Left to send detailed questionnaire to Govt</b>

Wed, Mar 19 04:47 AM

While the IAEA still awaits confirmation from New Delhi to conclude the negotiated safeguards agreement, the Left is gearing up to prolong engagement with the Government on the IAEA negotiations and is preparing a detailed questionnaire ahead of the next meeting.

Left sources said the questionnaire would be sent to the Government, which could prepare its response before the next meeting. All parties of the Left would hold a meeting towards the month-end to clear this questionnaire.

While this process starts here, a source familiar with the India-IAEA talks in Vienna said: "Yes, the sides are close to a final text but India has to confirm to the IAEA that there is an agreement on the text. Until then, there is in fact no agreement."

The confirmation, of course, can only happen after consultations with the Left, which in turn, is in touch with its panel of experts on the nuclear deal to come up with a detailed set of questions.

The decision on a questionnaire was taken after the Government refused to hand over the full text of its agreement with the IAEA. At Monday's meeting, the Government had given the Left only a gist of what transpired in talks with the IAEA at Vienna. The Left was "unhappy" with what they were given and asked for more.

In fact, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed Government's inability to give the full text of an international agreement which was supposed to be a "secret."

Attempting to allay apprehensions of the Left regarding the deal, Mukherjee said the Government was willing to answer the Left's questions on any aspect of the agreement. The Left accepted this and agreed that it would put forward a series of questions to the Government.

The questionnaire, according to Left sources, would seek answers to the Left's apprehensions about the deal like whether it would in any way bring India's nuclear programme under a more restrictive regime, how would it help seal civil nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia and France and on the impact it might have on India's capacity to follow an independent foreign policy.

The Left would also want an answer on whether the deal would make India a strategic ally of the US and whether this is an agreement only on nuclear cooperation or part of a wider agreement.

<b>Govt hands tied on deal</b>

New Delhi, March 19: <b>Pranab Mukherjee today expressed the government’s helplessness over the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying it could neither mend nor end it. </b>

The foreign minister was replying to questions during a short discussion on the foreign policy statement he had made in Parliament on March 3.

<b>“We are at a stage where we can neither mend it nor end it. We are in the dialogue stage,”</b> Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha.

The minister had on March 3 said the IAEA safeguards agreement and guidelines from the Nuclear Suppliers Group would enable India to carry out nuclear commerce with other countries.

While the Opposition today wanted the Centre to “end the suspense” on whether it was going ahead with the deal, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury and the CPI’s D. Raja reiterated the Left’s opposition.

Mukherjee said there had been some progress in talks on the India-specific safeguards agreement with atomic watchdog IAEA, but it was yet to be inked.

“When the entire process is over, we will come and seek Parliament’s opinion. Let that stage come,” he said, explaining why the government had rejected the BJP’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee on the nuclear deal.

Mukherjee said that “never before” had the country subjected an international agreement to Parliament scrutiny.

The minister pointed out that since July 2005, the deal had been discussed five times in Parliament.

Responding to the BJP charge that the main Opposition had been kept in the dark and only the Left had been privy to information about the deal, Mukherjee said it was “an internal arrangement” since the Left was supporting the government from outside.

The BJP’s allegation prompted Yechury to quip: “Let them (BJP) join the UPA.”

But the smile on the CPM leader’s lips vanished when he began attacking the government on the direction its foreign policy was allegedly taking. “Although we support the government now, we will be the first to oppose the government if it succumbs to (US) pressure,” Yechury said.

<b>He also flayed Delhi’s policy on Israel.</b> “If the government falters, we will pull it up. We cannot afford to be drawn into the strategic tie-ups. We will not permit the government to succumb to US pressure,” Yechury said.

Mukherjee stressed that there had been no change in India’s stand on the Palestine issue.

On allegations that the government was not making strong enough statements against Israel, Mukherjee said “the strongest” of sentiments could be expressed in a very “sober way”.
Not only their hands are tied but they are braindead also.
UPA government should put a board,
<!--emo&:furious--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/furious.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='furious.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Thorium plant gets Rs 2 crore less
24 Mar 2008, 0004 hrs IST,Subodh Varma,TNN
NEW DELHI: <span style='font-family:Impact'><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>At a time when the UPA government is projecting nuclear power as the answer to India's future energy needs, allocations for the DAE in the 2008-09 Budget are Rs 1,333 crore less than last year's</span></span>.

A D Damodaran, former head of the Nuclear Fuels Complex, pointed out that a comparison of the outlay and estimated actual expenditure for last year shows that in many cases money has also remained unspent. "Why this slow down? Is it due to avoidable project slippage or was it thrust on DAE under the embargo regime?" he said.

The most important segment of India's long-term strategy for nuclear power – the thorium cycle – could be adversely affected by these cuts.

Outlay for operation and maintenance of the thorium plant at Mumbai has been reduced from Rs 15 crore to Rs 13 crore. The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, which is developing the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, has been given a puny increase of Rs 1 lakh. Once completed, this facility will for the first time attempt commercial production of energy using thorium, a nuclear fuel found abundantly in India.

Bhavini, which is building the PFBR has also suffered a major cut of Rs 306 crore in budgetary support from Rs 926 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 620 crore in 2008-09.

Even the existing nuclear energy infrastructure appears to be undergoing a resource squeeze at the hands of the Union government.

Capital outlay for the Nuclear Fuels Complex, which produces the crucial uranium oxide fuel and several other components for strategic use, has been cut from Rs 221 crore to Rs 90 crore.

Outlay for the Heavy Water Board too has been cut from Rs 138 crore to Rs 101 crore. Most of India's indigenously developed reactors use heavy water for coolant systems.

The stagnation in nuclear energy output is evident from the huge inventories of nuclear fuel and heavy water that appear to exist, since the Budget projects receipts of over Rs 1,556 crore from fuel outflow to reactors, up from Rs 1,064 in 2007-08.

Receipts from heavy water outflows too are projected to increase from Rs 492 crore to Rs 568 crore. However, this has been turned around to reduce funding to these two crucial links in the nuclear energy production system, thus putting brakes on future expansion and development.

Scientists are shocked at the manner in which some of the R&D institutions have been given a raw deal. The Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore, which is at the forefront of research in lasers, particle accelerators and irradiation applications has had its funds trimmed from Rs 115 crore to Rs 112 crore.

Similarly, fund allocation has been cut from Rs 100 crore to about Rs 88 crore for the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata, which developed India's first cyclotron - a particle accelerator - useful in lasers and nanotechnology based applications.

Both these centres have had extensive collaboration with European scientists. Systems developed by these centres have applications for both military and civilian use. Similar cuts have been imposed on the Saha Institute of Physics, Kolkata, Harish Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, and Institute of Plasma Research, Gandhinagar.

Even the allocation for research grants to universities and other institutions has been trimmed.

Cutbacks in financial support to institutions like the Board for Radiation & Isotope Technology (BRIT), which has been producing radioactive isotopes for radiation therapy and diagnostics, and the Tata Memorial Institute, which is a premier centre for cancer research and therapy, will have a negative impact on medical uses of nuclear research. Both have suffered fund cuts in the range of Rs 10 to 12 crore.


<b>Allocation for N-programme cut sharply</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> A D Damodaran, former head of the Nuclear Fuels Complex, said: "This causes grave apprehension about the intentions of the government, which is blindly pushing for the 123 Agreement".
<b>Pranab meets Bush, discusses N-deal, bilateral ties</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bush and Mukherjee are said to have exchanged not only pleasantries but also discussed the width and depth of the United States-India relations that included the civilian nuclear initiative.

Specific details of the meeting have not been made available to the media. Mukherjee is expected to describe them first hand at a press conference on Tuesday.

"<b>You will know tomorrow from the minister</b>" was all that a senior official would say when asked about the details of the Mukherjee-Bush meeting.

Apart from the minister, the Indian delegation at the Oval Office included Ambassador of India Ronen Sen, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, Deputy Chief of the Indian Mission Raminder Singh Jassal and the Joint Secretary (Americas) of the Ministry of External Affairs Gayatri Kumar.

Present with Bush were his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images] and his National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.

Yet another critical meeting that took place on Monday was the one-on-one dinner between Rice and Mukherjee, in which the two top functionaries are supposed to have gone much beyond their brief interaction at Foggy Bottom earlier in the morning.
<b>Nuclear politics </b>
By S Viswam

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee’s White House interaction with US President George W. Bush has neither improved the prospects of a conclusion to the India-US nuclear deal nor caused it a setback. <b>It has only helped reinforce the stalemate that existed before the minister’s first bilateral visit to Washington.</b>

The external affairs ministry can claim Mukherjee’s visit as a success since <b>he has managed to buy some more time, a few months, perhaps, before determining whether the deal goes ahead or falls through</b>. Though pressed for time, Washington has appreciated Mr Mukherjee’s explanation for the delay on India’s part in operationalising the deal. The White House has gone out of its way to make a concession to India by taking the position that the present is not yet a “now or never” situation.

The Bush administration seems to place a heavier reliance than the Indian political class and public opinion on the <b>UPA government’s capability to bring about “national consensus” on the deal</b>. Mukherjee harped on the imperative of such a consensus in his talks with both President Bush and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and sounded optimistic on achieving that end. Interestingly, <b>Mukherjee identified the Left parties that support the government from outside as well as the BJP as the “sections” of the political class that are impeding the consensus</b>. <b>Mukherjee did not elaborate on the qualitative differences in the opposition of the BJP and the Left to the deal, nor did he specifically hint that the UPA would initiate talks with the BJP to bring about consensus. </b>

<b>The differences have significant political connotations for the White House. </b><b>The Left is opposed to the deal since it involves the United States, and not because the deal is per se flawed or is inimical to India’s long-term strategic or security interests. </b>

The Left has said that it will have no reservations on a nuclear energy deal negotiated by India with Russia, China or France. The Left resents the US as India’s partner, but has no such resentment against China for partnering a similar deal with Washington.

The BJP, on the other hand, is not allergic at all to the US but wants some lacunae in the deal to be rectified. In other words, the BJP would like the terms of the deal modified to satisfy the party’s views on India’s strategic independence.

The government position till now has been that once the Left’s resistance is broken, other parties, including the BJP, will either fall in line or be persuaded to agree to the firming up of the deal. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s appeal to BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee a couple of weeks ago to convince his party of the merits of the deal fits into this hope. Clearly, the UPA does not visualise the kind of tough and uncompromising opposition to the deal from the BJP as it has encountered with the Left. <b>The Left’s position is inflexible, the BJP position is flexible. </b>

<b>It is not without significance that Mukherjee spoke of the possibility of a regime change at the Centre after the 2009 elections.</b> He hinted that it could well be a government headed by the BJP that would be required to honour the nuclear deal agreement in case the UPA rushed to conclude it before the polls. However, in a not so subtle hint to the BJP and the Left, the minister pointed out that “if the deal is subsequently not honoured by the next government it would lead to an embarrassing situation for the country.”

Implicit in that remark was a warning to the Left that if the deal is not finalised during the UPA’s tenure, it could be taken up for conclusion by the next government where the Left may have no role to play.

The important outcome of Mukherjee’s US visit is that the focus has shifted even farther away from the deal than before and beamed it on the 2009 elections. One cannot speculate the basis of Mukherjee’s confidence over creating a national consensus over the deal.

He has suggested that it is not a question of the UPA having to choose between the deal and the government. Since he has bought extra time from Washington to “work on the consensus-making process”, the need for such a choice is irrelevant because regardless of whether the deal dies or goes through, elections are to be held before May-end 2009.

<b>There is a sense of smug satisfaction in the Congress and UPA circles that the nuclear deal stalemate is being prolonged without creating a crisis </b>wherein the Left would be forced to withdraw support, and, in the process, precipitate elections ahead of May-end 2009. The Communists are presently away from the national capital attending the CPI(M) and CPI party meets, but they have no reason for a rethink on their positions following the Mukherjee-Bush-Rice meeting. The Left’s position remains unaltered.

The Left must be wondering why Mukherjee is still harping on evolving “national consensus” when he has failed to break the logjam with them. They would be justified in thinking that all Mukherjee was interested in was to secure more time for taking a final decision on the deal. The Congress and its UPA partners are definitely interested in ensuring that the Left is not given a chance to withdraw support. <b>However, Mr Mukherjee’s comments imply that the Congress and the UPA would be reconciled to the eventual collapse of the deal because of Left opposition</b>.

He admitted that the negotiating process with the Left was “time-consuming” and “taxing our patience”. His suggestion here is that there will definitely be an end to patience and that the negotiations will be dropped. There would then be no question of withdrawal or continuance of support and elections would be held as scheduled. However, national attention has already shifted away from the deal. It can be said that the nation is already on the election mode. A significant input to the creation of an election-oriented atmosphere has come from L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the BJP’s officially nominated prime ministerial candidate. Mr Advani has taken the newly-assigned role quite seriously; he is going door-to-door and city to city doing a hard-sell of his autobiography.

The formal and informal launches/releases of his book give him an opportunity to project his party’s views on topical political issues.

Some of the views have turned controversial. Such controversies suit the BJP’s political interests. They help to keep the Congress focused on Advani’s weaknesses and foibles and the gaffes committed by the NDA during his deputy prime-ministerial tenure instead of concentrating on issues that have the potential of bringing the Congress long-term electoral advantages. Advani has been shrewd enough to choose specific chapters from his book for specific occasions hoping that the Congress would avidly pick holes and blow up the NDA’s negative points. The strategy is obviously succeeding. Probably, the book’s sale is also going up in tandem with the progress of the controversies.
<b>India’s energy needs and nuclear maths </b>
By Arun Kumar Singh

The numbers game first. India today produces close to 137,000 MWe (megawatts electricity), as against an estimated requirement of about 400,000 MWe. By 2050, the projected requirement is 1,250,000 MWe. At present, coal and oil (70 per cent oil is imported) contribute 54 per cent and 32 per cent respectively to the national power grid. Nuclear power chips in with a measly 4,000 MWe, or 3.5 per cent, well below the 10.5 per cent of hydel, wind and solar power. Unless we make new “finds”, our coal reserves will last till about 2090, oil reserves till 2030, gas reserves till 2040 and Uranium 238 (U-238) till 2025.

However, India’s thorium 232 (Th 232) reserves are capable of producing 400,000 MWe for the next 400 years.This, of course, is possible only if the second and third stages of our indigenous fast breeder plan is allowed to grow and not be killed by the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) which, along with the CTBT, will definitely be a priority for the next man in the White House. India has only about 90,000 tons of poor-quality U-238 ore and unfortunately no funds were made available for additional mining efforts in the last 16 years.

Uranium 238, when used in the reactors, produces Plutonium 239 (PU 239) as a byproduct. Plutonium is vital to our nuclear weapons programme, as well as our second-stage fast breeder reactors (FBR). In the first variant of the FBR, the plutonium is used with U-238 to produce energy and more plutonium. One such pilot FBR plant is operational in Kalpakkam since 1985 and five plants of 500 MWe should be ready by 2020.

The second variant of the stage 2 FBR uses a mix of plutonium and thorium to produce energy with uranium 233 (U-233) as a byproduct. One such pilot plant is operational at Kalpakkam since 1996, while a 300 MWe plant should be ready by 2020. The third stage of India’s indigenous plan uses a mix of thorium and U-233 in an FBR to produce energy and more U233. One such 300 MWe stage 3 FBR should be ready by 2020.

The only problem with the indigenous FBR stage 2 and 3 programmes is that sufficient stocks of Plutonium 239 and Uranium 233 will be built up only by about 2030 to 2040. We will need this time to construct 10 to 20 indigenous FBRs, of increasing sophistication and reliability. With oil prices crossing $105 a barrel, and our oil imports expected to quadruple by 2025, the government is pressing ahead to sign the Indo-US nuclear deal to tide over India’s power requirements till about 2050 and beyond.

We do need additional power but we also need to realise that at $4 billion per 1000 MWe imported light water reactor with imported and safeguarded Uranium 235, India will need $400 billion to build and operate 100 such plants that will produce 100,000 MWe by about 2050. This, when our requirement is 1,250,000 Mwe, of which nuclear power is expected to contribute 400,000 Mwe, at a cost of $1,600 billion at 2008 prices.

The proposed Indo-US nuclear deal will add some badly needed power to the national grid, but it will not greatly reduce our power cuts, even assuming that we have the money to import these LWRs at exorbitant prices, which will then be passed on to consumers. More important is the strategic cost India will have to pay — as per the deal India will have to produce Plutonium 239 from its seven non-safeguarded research reactors both for its weapons and stage 2 FBRs. Further, the United States expects India to support its plan for CTBT and the FMCT to cap India’s fissile material.

This will adversely impact India’s nascent strategic deterrent, while almost putting a stop to the indigenous FBR programme. The directorate of atomic energy’s 2008-2009 budget shows a reduction of Rs 1,333 crores over last year’s allocation. This has sparked speculation about the future of the thorium-based civilian nuclear power plans, as well as our commitment to building a strategic deterrent.

There are pros and cons to the Indo-US nuclear deal. There is no doubt that the deal will have technology spinoffs and end India’s nuclear isolation. The Americans, having realised that India became a de facto nuclear weapons state in 1998, have adopted a pragmatic approach: they have negotiated hard, but eventually agreed to all Indian demands (including reprocessing), except for nuclear testing. This way, they hope to contain India’s strategic programme, while engaging India in a strategic partnership.

India’s dilemma, if it can be called that, is simple: it has two nuclear-armed neighbours who also have territorial claims, and its five nuclear tests in 1998 are clearly insufficient. Three of these tests were irrelevant “sub-kiloton” types, one was a 20kt “Hiroshima-type” test, while the 40kt “thermo-nuclear” device was not big enough, given China’s 1,000kt and 150kt bombs.

More tests will be required if a credible database is to be built for future “computer simulation testing”. Interestingly, China has conducted 45 tests while Pakistan has done six, of already-proven weapons. The US has tested over 1,000 bombs, while Russia, Britain and France have a combined total of 800 tests.

All this permits confidence in future “computer simulation tests”. India has a difficult decision to take, keeping in mind its differing energy and strategic requirements, and needs to take this decision with great care, keeping its national interests in mind. A good beginning can be made by simply increasing this year’s DAE budget allocation, to send a clear signal that independent of the Indo-US nuclear deal, our indigenous programme will go ahead at full speed. We must remember that at some stage in the near or distant future, India may have to carry out at least half a dozen tests before it has sufficient faith in “computer simulated testing”, even if the Indo-US nuclear deal is eventually signed.

<i>Arun Kumar Singh, a former vice-admiral of the Indian Navy, retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam in April 2007 </i>
<img src='http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/opinion/uraniumVH.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Two die at Pakistan nuclear plant</span></b>[/center]

<b>A gas leak in Pakistan has killed two people at a heavy water plant run by the country's atomic energy agency in Punjab province, officials say.</b>

<img src='http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44550000/jpg/_44550349_khushab_203.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<b>Officials say the plant is now safe</b>(Pic: GeoEye satellite images)

They say that the leak at the Khushab heavy water plant happened when it was closed for annual maintenance.

It is believed to be the first fatal accident at any of the country's nuclear facility.

The main function of the plant at Khushab is the production and refinement of plutonium.

A spokesman said that an inquiry had been ordered.

Pakistan built its first nuclear power station in 1972 in Karachi with the help of Canadian experts.

But Western countries, lobbied by the US, later halted cooperation amid fears that Pakistan was secretly developing nuclear weapons.

<b>'Precautionary measure'</b>

"The Khushab heavy water plant was under annual maintenance and was under shutdown status," the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said in a statement.

"All necessary steps were taken, including evacuation of personnel as a precautionary measure.

"The situation was immediately brought under control, and two workers lost their lives while controlling the incident. There is no threat to public life."

It said the leaking gas has now been burned off.

The plant at Khushab is not subject to International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, unlike other nuclear plants in Karachi and at Chashma in Punjab.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan is Islamabad says that it is Pakistan's most well-protected fissile material production facility.

Our correspondent says that the country's premier plant was the source of much tension between the US, Pakistan and China when it was made operational.

The US was highly critical of the project which, it said, would exacerbate the nuclear weapons race in South Asia.

Pakistan conducted five nuclear weapon tests in May 1998 to become a recognised nuclear-armed state.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Yankees are coming ............ <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
The deal that refuses to die
Rajeev Srinivasan

<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo--> Advani slams N-deal <!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo--> ,
<!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo--> Brajesh says grab it
28 Apr, 2008, 0443 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: Even as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L K Advani on Sunday reiterated his party’s opposition to the India-US nuclear deal, saying it could not go ahead in the present form as it barred New Delhi from further tests, Brajesh Mishra, national security adviser in the previous NDA government, contradicted the stand in a TV interview.

<!--emo&:devil--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/devilsmiley.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='devilsmiley.gif' /><!--endemo--> Mishra said India should go ahead with the agreement, failing which India would have a "severe loss of face" and suffer a setback to its atomic programme. He said the deal should be concluded with the Bush administration as a change of government in the US would make things difficult for India.

<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo--> BJP quickly clarified the views of Mishra, NSA under A B Vajpayee, were his own and he did not represent the party.

Noting that he had talks with government representatives and scientists, Mishra said he was convinced that the deal would not affect India’s strategic programme.

Asked about BJP’s opposition to the deal on the premise that it barred India from conducting tests, Mishra said, "In my view, we are not restricted from carrying out tests, and more or less, the programme we had devised before we left the NDA government is ongoing."

Mishra’s comments fly in the face of BJP’s contention that the deal will affect India’s strategic autonomy, its nuclear military programme and its independent foreign policy.

Earlier in the day, Advani told a TV channel that no country could give in writing that it would not undertake nuclear tests in future.

"No country can... has any other country said that hereafter we will have no further tests? Has the US given any such undertaking, has any other country which has so much nuclear weaponry said it in writing? It is one thing to voluntarily give it up but to say it in writing as part of a treaty is another," he said.

Though there is no ban on future atomic tests, Mishra agreed that "exercising that option means a lot of hardships — economic and otherwise — because sanctions will inevitably follow".

Specifically asked whether the UPA government should proceed with the deal despite opposition from BJP and the Left parties, he said, "That is a political question... my personal view is that given the harmful effects of not going ahead, perhaps we should go ahead and do it."

Mishra said India’s three-stage nuclear programme would also "suffer a setback" if the deal fell through.

"Obviously, dual-use technology will not be available to us if we don’t go through with this and, of course, it is a setback," he said. Mishra also said that India would have to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the option of nuclear tests was bound to be closed.

"CTBT is equal for all. There is no discriminatory treatment in it. Which is why if other countries mentioned in the treaty ratify, India can’t hold back. India will have to sign it and we will have no argument to go against it," he said.

Courtesy: www.timesofindia.com

<b>Pokhran not big for UPA, no celebrations planned</b>
Vishal Thapar


POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS: UPA isn't prepared to acknowledge the N-deal's defining moment, the Pokhran tests.
New Delhi: It was the nuclear weapons tests that were carried out at Pokhran in 1998, that many observers believe was the germination point of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.

However, the UPA Government, which staked so much on the deal, does not seem to be prepared to acknowledge the defining moment, which perhaps set it all up.

The Government will cold shoulder the 10th anniversary of the nuclear tests at Pokhran, with which India declared itself a nuclear weapons power.

The agencies involved in executing the Shakti Series of nuclear tests on May 11 and 13, 1998, have been told not to have any public commemoration of the event. Those closely associated with the event are disappointed.

<b>Key Pokhran Test Planner, K Santhanam says, "Those nations that do no remember their heroes are not cultured nations."</b>

The BJP sees this as deliberate denial of credit by the Congress-led UPA Government.

BJP Spokesperson, Prakash Javdekar says, "We gave Indira Gandhi credit, but Congress does not want to see anything beyond the Gandhi family."

So, while the Pokhran legacy becomes politically contested, the irony is that of the near consensus on nuclear weaponisation among successive governments

It was Nehru who firmly put India on the path of nuclear powerdom. Narasimha Rao almost achieved it. And from being a critic of nuclear weaponisation, Vajpayee actually detonated the bombs to declare India a nuclear weapons power. The question, then is: Should a national achievement be given a political colour?

In the middle of this political wrestling match, even military victories are being given political affiliations.

The UPA revived commemoration of the 1971 victory, <b>while Kargil has been consigned to the background. And in ignoring Pokhran, the Government may just have lost out an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to national security. </b>


Manmohan to go ahead with N-deal
By Harish Gupta

If reports are to be believed, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is all set to go ahead with the nuclear deal at the Nuclear Suppliers Group and International Atomic Energy Agency as soon as the Budget Session of Parliament ends. There are plans to bring up the Women’s Reservation Bill during the session as well. Since finance minister P. Chidambaram has already made it clear that due to the elections there will be no Union Budget next year, it is clear that political agenda will dominate the session. The Women’s Reservation Bill is the only agenda pending according to the UPA manifesto.

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