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Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-01-2008

Congress says it is committed to deal

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Monday said that it was committed to take forward the India-U.S. nuclear deal and would try to take on board “all sections” on it.

The party dismissed suggestions of any connection between the nuclear agreement and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s proposed visit to Japan for the G-8 meeting.
<b>
“Going to the G-8 meeting is an international commitment of the government. It has no connection with the nuclear deal. It is not on the agenda of the meeting and it would be wrong to link the two,”</b> said party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan here.

Rejecting the charge of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was not following an independent foreign policy, Ms. Natarajan said country’s independent foreign policy was formulated and conceived by the Indian National Congress under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

The party had fought for independence unlike several other parties and <span style='color:blue'>had the “proud legacy, experience and expertise” of formulating an independent foreign policy. The Congress governments had contributed to the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and opposed the signing of CTBT and NTP.

“We reject any suggestion that the Prime Minister and the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, were not following an independent foreign policy as suggested in some quarters. We do not require any certificate on this,” she added. </span>

---

Nothing new in his offer: Left

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Left parties on Monday said there was “nothing new” in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s offer of coming to Parliament before operationalising the nuclear deal with the United States.

They also reiterated that they would withdraw support to the government, the moment it goes ahead with the deal.

The common stand of the Left parties — CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc — is that Dr. Singh is trying to present a fait accompli to Parliament by seeking permission to complete the negotiations with the IAEA and the NSG.

Sources in the Left parties say that leaders of the four parties are likely to meet here on July 4 to discuss the situation and all possible scenarios, if the government decides to go ahead with the deal.

“There is nothing new [in the Prime Minister’s assurance]. Our Polit Bureau’s stand is very clear,” CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters.

The Polit Bureau has made it clear that the CPI(M), in concert with other Left parties, would pull out if the government goes ahead with the deal.

A statement reminded the government that the United Progressive Alliance-Left committee on nuclear deal has not yet finalised its findings.

“The Prime Minister has said there is nothing new in the Left stand. We are saying there is nothing new in his stand as well,” Polit Bureau member Sitram Yechury said.

---

Manmohan: allow us to go to IAEA, NSG

Special Correspondent

“Once the process is over, I will bring it before Parliament and abide by the House”

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has offered to place before Parliament the civilian nuclear deal with the United States and to abide by the House, provided his government is allowed to complete the process of negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG).

“I have said it before. I will repeat it again that you allow us to complete the process. Once the process is over, I will bring it before Parliament and abide by the House,” he said on the side-lines of a function at his residence on Monday morning.

This is his first comment during the current stand-off with the Left.

“I am not asking for something that the government should not be doing. I am only saying you allow me to complete the negotiations. I agree to come to Parliament before I proceed to operationalise [the deal]. What can be more reasonable than this,” the Prime Minister asked.

Insisting that “all that I want is the authority to proceed with the process of negotiations through all stages like the IAEA and NSG that will not tie down the hands of the country,” Dr. Singh noted that the BJP and the Left parties would have an opportunity to discuss the deal in Parliament. “If Parliament feels you have done some wrong, so be it,” he said.

Asked about the Left’s stand of withdrawal of support to his government, the Prime Minister said “we will grapple with that stage when we come to it.”

Dr. Singh also refused to react to CPI(M) leader, Prakash Karat’s view that the current crisis was precipitated by the Prime Minister’s insistence on going to the IAEA.

He said: “There is nothing new in what the Left parties have said. I have not given up hope still.”

Dr. Singh, however, parried a question whether he would go to the G-8 summit in Tokyo.

--

It will be more difficult to stop deal when PM comes back to Parliament: Yechury

Vinay Kumar

NEW DELHI: CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said on Monday that if the government moved ahead formally to sign a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the party would implement the Polit Bureau decision of withdrawing support.

Mr. Yechury said the Prime Minister had time and again given statements about returning to Parliament after completing processes such as signing of a safeguards agreement with the IAEA, getting a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) and an endorsement by the United States Congress.

Mr. Yechury said it would be much more difficult to stop the agreement when the Prime Minister “comes back to Parliament, because they will say the whole world is in favour of the deal.”

CPI national secretary D Raja said the Left could not agree to the Prime Minister’s promise of coming back to Parliament before operationalising the deal.

“The government should not go ahead to seek ratification of the safeguards agreement from the IAEA Board of Governors, which in itself is a step in operationalising the deal.”

Mr. Raja said his party would not have any objection to the Prime Minister’s visit to Tokyo for the G-8 summit but he should not make any commitment there that the government would go ahead with the nuclear deal.

“If he makes any such commitment, the Left will have no other option but to withdraw support.”

Terming Dr. Singh’s statement “political deceit,” RSP general secretary T. J. Chandrachoodan said the Prime Minister’s formula of coming back to Parliament for discussion did not mean anything as the deal will be virtually operationalised when it gets the U.S. Congress’ clearance.

“If they [Congress] think they can tie the Left at their stable, they are mistaken. Once the deal is discussed at the IAEA, NSG and the U.S. Congress, the deal is on. Then there is no role for us and the government cannot change anything. The Prime Minister’s remarks are an indication that the government is moving ahead and that there will be an inevitable separation of the UPA and the Left,” he said.
A political question

Forward Bloc Secretary G. Devarajan said: “It seems that the Prime Minister does not know the Left parties very well. They take a decision on any issue after giving it a lot of thought. Once a decision is taken, normally we don’t go back and in nuclear deal also, we are not changing our stand. For us, the deal is not a technical issue; it is a political question.”

--


Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-01-2008

<b>Congress sees victory in LS </b>

New Delhi, June 30: Congress managers have started working on mustering a majority on the floor of the Lok Sabha if a floor test becomes necessary in the Monsoon Session if the Left withdraws support. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he is confident of securing the support of the House on the nuclear deal, the role of the Samajwadi Party, smaller parties, Independents and unattached members has become crucial.

Besides the SP (37 MPs), the Janata Dal(S), with two, Raj Babbar (unattached, suspended by SP), Veerendra Kumar (expelled by JD-S), A. Narendra (expelled by TRS), Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Baleshwar Yadav of the National Loktantrik Party, and Independents — Thupstan Chhwang (J&K), Harish Nagpal (UP), Charenamei Mani (Manipur) and S.K. Bwiswmuthiary (Assam) — are being approached.

They are confident that the three RLD members would back the UPA. But whether Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP and Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM would support a deal with the US would be interesting to see, as parties which depend on Muslim support would not like to be seen as pro-US. The Congress has 154 members, RJD 24, DMK 16, NCP 11, PMK six, JMM five, LJP four, MDMK two, Kerala Congress two, and the RPI, Sikkim Democratic Front and Muslim League one each.

A section of the Congress wants the session, due in August, to be further postponed, perhaps till September. But if the Left withdraws support in a few days, in early July, the session might have to be brought forward, or even — as the BJP might demand — a special session convened.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of the House, is working on floor strategy, along with agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. The Congress is hoping the Shiv Sena, which has publicly supported the nuclear deal, and the Akali Dal, despite both being part of the NDA, will not vote to bring down the Manmohan Singh government.




Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-01-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The party had fought for independence unlike several other parties and had the “proud legacy, experience and expertise” of formulating an independent foreign policy. The Congress governments had contributed to the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and opposed the signing of CTBT and NTP<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
This is a most stupid and arrogant statement.
Independence was fought by everyone, Independence movement started much before Congress came into existence.
How dare Congress say this nonsense?
Now Congress is headed by Italian Congress? What a shame they can't find Indian to head Congress Party.



Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-01-2008

<b>Prime Minister in high dudgeon</b>

Kanchan Gupta; Pioneer, June 30, 2008

The Prime Minister, by all available accounts, is in high dudgeon. Having promised the Americans that he would ensure the bilateral agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation is signed, sealed and delivered before President George W Bush vacates his current lodgings, Mr Manmohan Singh finds the deal foundering on the rock of Communist obstinacy. Ever since the July 18, 2005 joint statement, which was issued after his meeting with Mr Bush at the White House, Mr Singh has pursued the deal with single-minded determination, caring little for national pride and even lesser for national interest. He has had no compunction keeping the Opposition in the dark on so momentous an issue; at the same time, he has craftily invoked Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee's name to convince the BJP into supporting what is patently an unfavourable deal, not least because it serves American commercial and strategic interests, subsuming those of India.

<b>Three years down the line, with time running out rapidly both for him as well as his mentors in Washington, DC, Mr Singh, under increasing American pressure to deliver on his promise, is now desperate to conclude the nuclear cooperation agreement. </b>So, though not for the first time, Mr Singh has slyly let it be known that he is prepared to resign from office rather than see the deal die its deserved death. <b>At a time when the national economy is in the doldrums and prices of essential commodities are shooting through the roof, all that he can think of is appeasing the Americans at any which cost.</b> <b>He is least concerned about the appalling performance of the Government he heads or the shenanigans of his Cabinet colleagues. The fact that governance, and along with it India's development story, has virtually come to a grinding halt does not appear to bother him. Nor is he particularly perturbed about the gloomy internal security situation.</b>

<b>All that he wants is the draft 123 Agreement to be converted into a bilateral arrangement that will severely compromise India's strategic interests even while serving US commercial interests by reviving the out-of-business American nuclear power industry, without fetching us any tangible gains.</b> Since propagandists have been claiming that the deal will allow us access to American technology, it needs to be said, and said again, that this is so much bunkum and no more. The ban on transfer of dual-use high technology shall continue to remain in place and the commercial nuclear power technology that will be provided will be under restrictive safeguards. Of course, Mr Bush will be able to claim a foreign policy 'success' and his end-of-term report card shall not be drenched in red ink. The Democrats, who are slated to seize control over both Capitol Hill and the White House after this November's elections, will then use the agreement to further their non-proliferation agenda: Forcing India to sign the CTBT is only the thin end of the edge; the crushing blow will come in the form of the missile technology control and fissile material cut-off regimes to which we shall have to abjectly surrender.

In this wondrous land of ours, such fine details are of little or no consequence. You are either with America or against America. <b>If you are with America, and believe that it is in India's interest to have a strategic relationship with the US -- which is indisputable -- then you must support the deal.</b> What if you do believe in forging a strategic partnership with the US but are opposed to the nuclear deal in its present form for reasons that have nothing to do with ideology but national and strategic interest?

The Left's obstruction of the deal stems from its ideological opposition, call it posturing if you will, to 'American imperialism' . For evidence, look at the CPI(M) Polit Bureau's statement issued on Saturday: "A massive disinformation campaign has been mounted that nuclear energy is a solution not only to the shortage of electricity in the country but also an answer to the oil price rise. This is nothing but a cover to promote the strategic ties with the US." Earlier last week, the CPI(M) had berated the Government for trying to forge an India-Israel- US axis, which to the Marxists would be evil personified. But there are also those who are opposed to the deal as much as they are opposed to the Left's anti-imperialism sloganeering and its bogus anti-Americanism. <b>Most, if not all, of them belong to the same middleclass which our politicians mistakenly believe unequivocally and blindly supports everything American.</b>

It is entirely possible that the Congress, or at least certain sections of it, faced with mounting disquiet over rising prices -- inflation now stands at 11.05 per cent, the same level as in 1995 when Mr Singh was the Finance Minister in PV Narasimha Rao's Government -- has come round to the view that it can mollify the middleclass by pushing through the nuclear deal with the US. It may not be entirely coincidental that the latest effort by the Prime Minister to conclude the agreement follows the publication of the results of the <b>Pew Global Attitudes Survey, which shows that 55 per cent of Indians support Mr Bush; 66 per cent view the US favourably; and, 90 per cent are gung-ho about trade with America.

What it does not highlight is that these findings reflect the 'attitudes' of 2,056 Indians who live in chrome-and-glass cities, many of whom would do whatever it takes to see their children migrate to the US and become American Green Card holders if not citizens. </b>The remaining more than a billion Indians do not necessarily agree with them, which, however, does not suggest India hates America.

The fact of the matter is Mr Singh is as clueless about prevailing national sentiments and concerns as the Congress. Cocooned in the sanitised world of 7, Race Course Road and South Block, he has no idea about the anger that is boiling over in India's cities and villages as people struggle to keep their home fire burning. It will be hugely entertaining to hear Congress leaders, and their lackeys in the UPA, tell voters at election rallies that while the Government may have failed to hold the price line, <b>it has succeeded in securing cockamamie guarantees of nuclear fuel supply, which in turn, at some distant date, will provide the people with nuclear power</b>. <b>What they will not mention is that nuclear power, when new reactors go critical more than a decade later, will be frightfully expensive and never contribute more than a tenth of India's requirement of electricity</b>. So, never mind if you are hungry now, vote for the Congress.

Meanwhile, I have missed the deadline hoping to hear that the Prime Minister has made up his mind.


Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-01-2008

<b>India likely to clinch IAEA pact by mid-July</b>


Nuclear Thread - 3 - ramana - 07-02-2008

Congrees breathes easy with SP support

Looks like SP and SS are bailing out INC.

SS was doubtful from the time of the Presidential elections.


Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-02-2008

SP is helping Reliance, it means they are getting cut from both sides.


Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-02-2008

<b>N-deal to power new alignment </b>



Sun, 29 Jun, 2008,02:52 PM
.
‘Ready to Sleep with the enemy’. If you are looking for an apt Hollywood description to explain the Congress predicament in the light of Left looking ready to stop propping the UPA government, then the previous sentence would be the one.

A desperate Congress after being brought to the mat by the intransigent Left is now ready to break bread with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samjawadi party.
.
Mulayam and his man Friday Amar Singh had been personal enemies of Sonia Gandhi not long ago. But now both of them have buried the hatchet, symbolising politics time-worn cliche: nobody is a permanent enemy.

Intriguingly, if reports are to be believed, Sonia and Mulayam, leaving their security personnel in the lurch, met at an undisclosed place in New Delhi twice in the last few days.

The meeting is significant, and the fact that they met twice is pointer to the fact that something concrete is happening between the two parties, said a top source today.

The possible meeting came out in the open after it was learnt that the two leaders went missing from their residence around the same time. ‘This was a natural inference. They must have met,’ sources added.

Being high-profile, they could not have kept it more clandestine, they added.

Mulayam’s party has just 39 MPs, while the Left has 61 MPs. So in the event of Left withdrawing support, the Congress would still have to look for more allies like Deve Gowda (3 MPs), Ajith Singh (3 MPs), UPA’s estranged ally Telangana Rashtra Samiti (3 MPs) and some other small parties.

If the Left withdraws its legislative support, the Congress-led government would need the help of smaller parties to cross the halfway mark of 271.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has already discussed the options before the government with its allies Thursday.

The Congress has been under pressure from its poll-wary allies, who are against taking any steps that would disrupt UPA-Left ties.

The problem for the Congress high command that other than Sonia and her coterie, the other top leaders are not very keen to do business with Mulayam.

Congress leaders claimed that they were undecided on whether to take Mulayam’s support because his party was famous for playing the politics of convenience.

‘Many Congress leaders feel that we cannot trust its leaders,’ said a senior Congress minister, who did not want to be identified.

The Samajwadi Party, on its part, has already indicated that it does not mind extending support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government.

A final decision, Mulayam Singh Yadav has said, would be taken 3 July in a meeting of the third-front parties, the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA).

The Samajwadi Party has its compulsions too. While its ally in the UNPA, the Telegu Desam Party (TDP) is dead against any pact with the Congress, the Left is also trying to stop it by rekindling hopes of a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Third Front.

TDP MP MV Mysoora Reddy ruled out any ties between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress. ‘We have not received any communication from the Samajwadi Party regarding their supporting Congress party. It is still with us,’ Reddy has said previously.




Nuclear Thread - 3 - ramana - 07-02-2008

From Deccan Chronicle, 1 july 2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Congress sees victory in LS
 

New Delhi, June 30: Congress managers have started working on mustering a majority on the floor of the Lok Sabha if a floor test becomes necessary in the Monsoon Session if the Left withdraws support.  While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he is confident of securing the support of the House on the nuclear deal, the role of the Samajwadi Party, smaller parties, Independents and unattached members has become crucial.

Besides the SP (37 MPs), the Janata Dal(S), with two, Raj Babbar (unattached, suspended by SP), Veerendra Kumar (expelled by JD-S), A. Narendra (expelled by TRS), Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Baleshwar Yadav of the National Loktantrik Party, and Independents — Thupstan Chhwang (J&K), Harish Nagpal (UP), Charenamei Mani (Manipur) and S.K. Bwiswmuthiary (Assam) — are being approached.

They are confident that the three RLD members would back the UPA. But whether Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP and Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM would support a deal with the US would be interesting to see, as parties which depend on Muslim support would not like to be seen as pro-US. <b>The Congress has 154 members, RJD 24, DMK 16, NCP 11, PMK six, JMM five, LJP four, MDMK two, Kerala Congress two, and the RPI, Sikkim Democratic Front and Muslim League one each.
A section of the Congress wants the session, due in August, to be further postponed, perhaps till September. But if the Left withdraws support in a few days, in early July, the session might have to be brought forward, or even — as the BJP might demand — a special session convened.</b>

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of the House, is working on floor strategy, along with agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. The Congress is hoping the Shiv Sena, which has publicly supported the nuclear deal, and the Akali Dal, despite both being part of the NDA, will not vote to bring down the Manmohan Singh government.

<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-02-2008

<b>Pakistan: Negligent on Terror?</b>

By ARYN BAKER/ISLAMABAD Tue Jul 1, 5:45 AM ET

It's almost like a bad joke. A bus driver, a ski lift operator and a gym rat have turned the Islamic world's only nuclear-armed nation upside down. On Saturday Pakistani forces chased militants led by former bus driver Mangal Bagh from the fringes of Peshawar, a provincial capital 30 miles from the border with Afghanistan and a key transit point for vital supplies destined for U.S. and NATO forces fighting the Afghan insurgency. In Swat, a one-time tourist haven 100 miles from the capital, Islamabad, militants set five schoolgirls on fire, torched a primary school and burned down the country's only ski resort. Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the local Taliban chapter, used to work the chairlift. Last year he nearly brought the Pakistani military to its knees in brutal fighting that turned "little Switzerland" into something resembling Afghanistan before the fall of the Taliban in 2001. The government sued for peace. Fazlullah agreed, on the condition that he be able to implement Islamic law in the area. Meanwhile, in Waziristan, followers of Baitullah Mehsud, the physical trainer turned assassin have slaughtered at least 22 peace negotiators who arrived on behalf of the government seeking to cement a ceasefire accord. Both the CIA and Pakistan's intelligence agencies say he is behind the attack that killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December. Three years ago no one had even heard of these men. What happened?
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According to a new Pentagon report released on Friday, Taliban militants in Afghanistan have regrouped after their fall from power and "coalesced into a resilient insurgency." That resilience, according to military officials in Afghanistan, has a lot to do with their ability to find sanctuary in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas along the border. The day before the report's release, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a press briefing that he had "real concern" that Pakistan was contributing to Afghanistan's instability by failing to prevent militants from crossing into Afghanistan to carry out attacks on coalition forces. Cross-border attacks on U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan have gone up 40% over the past several months. Gates attributes the increase to cease-fire accords with Islamist militants in which Pakistan's coalition government agreed to pull the military out of their areas in exchange for a promise not to attack government institutions. The deals meant that "the pressure was taken off" the militants, who are now "free to be able to cross the border and create problems for us," Gates said.

According to U.S. terrorism experts, the threat to the United States emanating from Pakistan's ungoverned tribal areas is comparable to the one it faced from Afghanistan on September 11, 2001. Al-Qaeda "has hundreds of training camps" scattered throughout the region, says a western official in Pakistan with access to some intelligence reports. "Most are less than an acre in size, so they are difficult to detect." But at the moment Pakistan has little to no ability to tackle the problem. What it does have is a weak, fractured government whose sole focus is on trying to figure out who is running the country. The parliamentary coalition that eclipsed the former military leader, Pervez Musharraf, spends most of its time in office wrangling over positions of power, neglecting the country's most pressing problems. Any long-term strategy on dealing with militants is just being pushed aside. "It's like nobody is minding the store," fumes Shaukat Qadir, a retired brigadier. "If they don't start paying attention, we will be in trouble."

At this point, the government's lack of attention borders on negligence. For months militants have taken advantage of the administration's distraction to consolidate forces around the strategic provincial capital of Peshawar. They have attacked freight trucks ferrying fuel, supplies and even helicopter parts from the southern seaport of Karachi to Afghanistan. The notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has seized on this weakness, exhorting militants in Pakistan to attack American interests there rather than coming to fight across the border. "These days, the Afghan mujahideen have no need for you to come and fight in Afghanistan," he said in a statement obtained by the Afghan news agency Pajhwok. "But we do want you to fight Americans inside Pakistan." The supply convoys, he said, were being used to kill "innocent Afghans and civilians." In Karachi, long-distance truckers have been warned by a Taliban leaflet campaign threatening "any trawler caught supplying diesel, petrol or goods" destined for foreign forces in Afghanistan, "will not only be set on fire but the driver will also be slaughtered."

The offensive against Mangal Bagh marked the first major military response the new government has taken against militants in Pakistan. While the operation was nominally successful - Bagh and his men were driven from the area and his compound was blown up - it does not bode well for future anti-insurgent activities. Only one militant has been killed, and within a few hours after the attack Bagh was back on his pirate radio station vowing that he would continue his campaign for the imposition of Sharia - that is, Islamic law.

The lackluster performance of Pakistani security forces has raised eyebrows elsewhere in the region. Coalition force officials in Afghanistan have noticed a distinct pattern to some of the more recent cross-border strikes. "The point of origin of the attacks [from Pakistan into Afghanistan] is routinely next to border posts of the Pakistani Frontier Corps," says an official with Western coalition forces in Afghanistan. "Either they are ignoring the fact that Taliban are fighting within their areas, or they are complicit." Furthermore, details have emerged of deals involving Pakistani officials, which specifically allow attacks into Afghanistan on the condition that those militants do not conduct any attacks in Pakistan. "People are kidding themselves in Pakistan if they think they can solve their insurgency problem by sending it across the border," says the military coalition official. "Any short-term gain has to be offset by the longer-term fact that anyone pursuing the fight across the border is not someone you want in your country."

The U.S. is in a difficult position, says Seth Jones, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp. No one knows who is in power in Pakistan, so the Americans are dealing with everybody, which means essentially no one. Pakistan has become the neglected stepchild, only third or fourth in a list of U.S. strategic interests that start with Iraq and Afghanistan. "Pakistan should be number one," says Jones. "The most serious homeland threat to the United States, from abroad, comes from militant groups operating in Pakistan. That in itself means that Pakistan should be at the top of U.S. interests for all." With reporting by Massimo Calabresi/Washington, Shaheen Buneri/Peshawar and Ershad Mahmud/RawalpindiTime.com




Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-02-2008

Nuclear deal

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s obduracy on the India-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement is condemnable. At a time when the country is reeling under the burden of runaway inflation, he appears hell-bent on concluding a deal that is inconsequential to the aam aadmi. His reiteration of his government’s commitment to the deal defies his own assertion a few months ago that the UPA is not a one-issue government. The hurry is unwarranted especially when there is no consensus even among the scientific community, let alone political leaders.

B. Jayanna Krupakar,

Surathkal

* * *

The editorial “Short-sighted adventurism” (July 1) exposes the UPA government’s hypocrisy. It seems to be more committed to the U.S. than India. If the Congress acts in a manner that is against the spirit of the CMP, the Left cannot be blamed for withdrawing support to the UPA government led by it.

Ikbal Hussain Ahmed,

New Delhi

* * *

The Prime Minister’s request for authority to proceed with the process of negotiations with the IAEA and the NSG, after which he says he will place the deal before Parliament, is like putting the cart before the horse. In all fairness, a major issue such as the deal — on which the government is facing stiff opposition — should be brought before Parliament first. Further steps should be based on what a majority in Parliament feels.

T.A. Rajagopalan,

Chennai

* * *

When the people are suffering due to the unprecedented price burden and the nation is in the midst of a financial crisis, it is extremely unfortunate that the UPA government is planning to go ahead with the controversial nuclear deal. Heavens will not fall if the negotiations with the IAEA and the NSG are postponed. The Prime Minister’s adamant stance is unreasonable and incomprehensible. There is no doubt that his action is short-sighted political adventurism.

V.K. Sathyavan Nair,

Kottayam

* * *

The Congress’ act of moving closer to the Samajwadi Party shows how opportunistic it is. As leader of the minority UPA government, it could not solve the basic issues of the common man. But it is in a desperate hurry to sign the nuclear deal without taking its allies and supporting parties into confidence.

S. Sundaresh,

Bangalore

* * *

Both the government and the Left parties must now take a step backwards and re-engage in a constructive spirit to clear the current confusion. The government needs to address the perception that the deal involves an unstated American expectation of a closer alignment of India’s foreign policy objectives with U.S. interests. The Left parties should recognise the perils of looking at all things American through an ideological lens.

Ramakrishna Bantu,

Hyderabad

* * *

By asking that he be allowed to proceed with the negotiations, Dr. Singh has virtually demanded a blank cheque from the Left parties, going back on his own commitment to the UPA-Left coordination committee. How can a party that claims to be gearing up for the elections and has suffered a series of electoral setbacks in recent times be so blind to the writing on the wall?

P.K. Parameswaran,

Chennai

* * *

It is not understood why Dr. Singh is so particular in signing the nuclear deal with the U.S., even at the cost of his government. If he feels the deal is good for the country, he should convince not only his supporting parties but also the main opposition party before entering into negotiations with the IAEA.

P.L.N. Rao,

Hyderabad

* * *

Dr. Singh perhaps feels his assurances and promises should convince the people. But democracy does not work like that. The will of the people should prevail. The government should hold a referendum on the issue to get the opinion of the people.

Subramanian Venkataraman,

Mumbai

* * *

The stalemate over the nuclear deal is unfortunate. The UPA government should go ahead and conclude it without wasting time. While the Left parties’ opposition to the deal on ideological basis is understandable, the argument that the deal is against the national interests is unacceptable. Even the main opposition BJP-led NDA favours the deal in principle but opposes it on grounds of political expediency.

D.S. Naidu,

Visakhapatnam

* * *

Energy, no doubt, is very important. But we cannot hand over our sovereignty to the U.S. by signing the deal without a political consensus. The government cannot mortgage our independence to the U.S.

Senthil Vedaiyan,

Vallam




Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-02-2008

From DC.

<b>Time to come clean on the nuclear deal </b>
By Pran Chopra

It is time for the government to take the country in confidence regarding the "nuclear deal" with America. All that we have had so far are more or less uninformed bits and pieces of guesswork, with the blanks filled in only by what "sources" of various persuasions want the readers to believe. The "secrecy" about the deal has only become a cloak for a propaganda war between the supporters and opponents of the deal.

The absurdity of the situation is evident in the oft-repeated argument that India must finalise the deal before the presidency of George W. Bush ends in the inglorious termination which awaits it. Those who argue thus forget three undeniable facts.

First and foremost, the deal is not, and was never meant to be, an agreement between President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, or one between the Republican Party of America and the Congress Party of India (both of which are now lame ducks). The "deal", whenever made, can only be made under an agreement between two countries. Unless it is made that way, and is seen to have been made that way, it can never be a reliable basis for good relations between the two countries on a matter so important as nuclear policy. Therefore, it should not be treated as a pawn in the party politics of either country.

Second, the deal has been more thoroughly debated in India than any other foreign policy issue for many years. Yet some major facts about it have remained hidden behind a dense debate between variously motivated "interests".

Third, assuming that some of these interests do wish to be impartial, are well informed and are not only the public face of some caucuses in Washington or New Delhi, many of them also have a knife in their hands or held at their backs in the form of the Hyde Act, the most treacherous component of what is now known as the deal.

The making of the deal began with a well publicised meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. After the meeting, the two leaders issued a joint statement which spelt out the broad principles upon which a further meeting would take place. The meeting itself as well as the joint statement were well received by Indian Parliament and by the country at large.

A second meeting followed at which the principles announced earlier were further elaborated as an understanding or an agreement. That too was approved by Parliament and by the Indian public. The agreement itself, as approved by the US Congress under America’s own legislative procedures, soon became widely known as the 123 Agreement.

Up to that point the American contribution towards the making of the deal was mainly made by the Republican Party, which till then had control of the Congress as well as the White House. But in the American Congressional elections which followed soon afterwards, the Republicans lost out to the Democrats. While the Republicans still held the White House, they, and in particular their leader President Bush, were reduced to a shadow of their earlier selves.

The Democrats’ opposition to anything like the "deal" which President Bush had negotiated with India has a history behind it. But while they could not directly oppose the deal so long as the author of the American contribution, President Bush, held the presidency, they succeeded in using their newly-won majority in Congress to plant a landmine in the form of the Hyde Act under the presidential table.

They also succeeded in attaching certain "switches" to the Hyde Act, which the opponents of the deal can press at any time, either to cripple the deal or to put severe restrictions on India’s deeply cherished independence of action on matters unconnected with nuclear issues. For example on India’s options in conducting business with Iran, including large-scale import of oil from that country.

This backdoor interference in India’s external relations is made possible by the "switch" which lays down that for the deal to remain in force the US President must, from time-to-time, satisfy Congress that India continues to abstain from actions and policies which would conflict with American interests.

In fact, according to some versions of the Congressional debate, the Act also requires that Indian actions in this field must support American policies and objectives. And if India fails to oblige, then America could not only stop all assistance but, whatever the damage such retaliation might cause to India’s nuclear economy, it could withdraw all nuclear assets it might have provided to India earlier.

Now, it may be in India’s interest to support the deal. But people must be given sufficient reasons to support the deal as it stands. The reasons must be given with the same degree of frankness and lucidity which had won our Parliament’s approval in the earlier stages of the debate on the subject.

The Bush-Singh agreements were clearly placed before Parliament, and its clear approval was obtained before proceeding further. But in the present case, a bland formula, and at that an incomplete one, is being paraded: "India needs development that needs energy. The deal is for energy, therefore, the deal must be supported."

But there is obfuscation on how much energy the deal will yield, over what period, beginning when, at what immediate and overall cost, and (most importantly) on what political and operational terms.

Nor is there sufficient candour in comparing the benefits of the deal with those which other forms and sources of energy might bring. This is an omission worse than the one committed by the absence of sufficient debate on the consequences of the possibility of an American ban on a future nuclear test by India.

There is obviously a lot on which Dr Singh might have something to say if and when he chooses to say it, but most important would be his reasons for letting the latest stage of the deal hang in the air so mysteriously and for so long.


Nuclear Thread - 3 - shamu - 07-02-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Jul 2 2008, 12:39 AM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Jul 2 2008, 12:39 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Congrees breathes easy with SP support

Looks like SP and SS are bailing out INC.

<b>SS was doubtful from the time of the Presidential elections.</b>
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I think Congress has caught Shiv Sena by balls. Would like to know how.


Nuclear Thread - 3 - Capt M Kumar - 07-02-2008

<!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo--> She asserted that the nuclear deal, which was being widely opposed in the country, has ‘angered’ Muslims and was being done at the ‘cost of cheap gas’ from Iran.

The UP chief minister also had a piece of advice for the Left parties, which had described as ‘natural allies’ of the Samajwadi Party.

“It is my advice to the Left parties who have been opposing the nuclear deal that Samajwadi Party is an opportunist party which for its petty personal interests could join hands with anyone and let down their friends.”
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/P...how/3186275.cms


Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-03-2008

'It is immaterial what others think of us, if we decide that something is not good for us'

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->the yardsticks we should apply are two: one, whether the deal is necessary and useful for us in its present form and conditionalities, and two, whether a democratic consensus is available for such a major foreign policy decision. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->if we decide that something is not good for us, for our self-respect, for our country's freedom of action. We have always done things our own way. Why this sudden obsession with what other countries may think? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Also, by the time the NSG waiver is sought, as far as India is concerned, there is a fait accompli in that we have tied ourselves hands and feet, in perpetuity, to the IAEA. Even if the NSG is waiver is unpalatable, we can't revisit the IAEA safeguards agreement or seek correctives. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->On balance, my feeling is that Congress is overreaching. The deal may please influential corporate houses. It may even help Congress get a slice of the middle class votes that would have been with the BJP. But in the ultimate analysis, all that may still not add up. The nuclear deal is not exactly going to set the Ganges on fire.

Too much elitism -- that is what makes prime minister's media managers speak in terms of his 'credibility' problem. The prime minister's 'credibility' ultimately lies in securing a renewed mandate for the party to rule. The remaining eight or nine months of stable governance and a programmatic approach in the run-up to the April 2009 elections -- that is what is needed. Instead, what do we see? The prime minister can have a pleasant meeting with George W Bush on the sidelines of the G-8. Doesn't it sound pathetic? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->National interests reign supreme. I think the Left's opposition is to the strategic cooperation with the US, which is not in India's national interest. Nuclear cooperation with India is possible without the draconian underpinning of the Hyde Act, as Russia and France have shown. The US can demonstrate its friendliness toward India by removing from its statutes the embargoes on technology transfer that it imposed unilaterally without any UN mandate or anything.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-04-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Congress hopes of early SP support dashed </b>
Pioneer.com
PTI | New Delhi
Posted online: July 03, 2008
At the end of another day of political manouevrings, there were indications on Thursday night that Samajwadi Party continued to be on course to striking a deal with the Congress although it put up a show of unity with its allies in the UNPA, and the Left parties appeared to delay their inevitable divorce from the Manmohan Singh Government.

The UNPA, a conglomeration of anti-Congress parties, was not exactly expected to endorse the nuclear deal but in its four-hour-long meeting, the constituents appeared to have persuaded the SP from going public with its support for the Congress, at the least for the day.

Seeking a national debate, the UNPA leaders later met former President Abdul Kalam, a strong proponent of the deal, for seeking clarififcations in order to get their misvigings allayed.

In the opposite camp, there appeared to be still confusion over the withdrawal of support to the <b>UPA Government with indications that the action may be delayed till Prime Minister's return from Japan after attending the G-8 summit next week</b>.
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Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-04-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Is nuclear deal already a dead duck?  </b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
With no lame duck session, no time left: Ackerman
For over a fortnight, the country might have witnessed a spectacular political drama over the India-US civil nuclear agreement, but it may all end in a disappointing anti-climax.   

After reminding New Delhi repeatedly that each passing day was crucial for the passage of the deal, the US has now delivered a shocker to the Indian establishment by saying that there would not be any "lame duck session" of the US Congress at the year-end to pass the nuclear agreement after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the NSG stages are cleared.

What could sound music to the ears of the Left parties, senior US Congressman Gary Ackerman has said there is "virtually no time left" to get the deal through. After meeting Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon in New Delhi on Thursday, Ackerman surprised everyone by saying the US Congress was likely to adjourn in September for the rest of the year and not come back even for a lame duck session.

So far, the discussion on the timeline for the deal's approval by the US Congress was based on the assumption that it would have a lame duck session after September. A lame duck session at the end of the year has normally been a tradition in the US.

"The calendar is running quickly," said Ackerman, head of the House Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on South Asia. "We had been hopeful that the processes will move quickly... (but) the processes have moved slower than we had hoped because of obvious reasons," he added.

<b>A six-member delegation led by Ackerman is also expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday. Ackerman made it clear that India would have to complete all formalities by September if it wanted the nuclear agreement to go through</b>. The 64-year-old Ackerman is the Democratic co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans and a senior member of the House International Relations Committee.

Reacting to the development, a senior Government official told The Pioneer that all was still not lost and the remaining two months could be enough to obtain the IAEA and NSG clearances for the deal.

<b>Sources said the Government was planning to approach the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) soon after the Prime Minister returned home on July 9 after attending the G-8 summit at Tokyo. </b>

The official told The Pioneer that the two-week time which the IAEA board of governors could take to approve the India-specific safeguards text, would be utilised to build consensus in the NSG for the deal. The Government hopes that when it presents the IAEA safeguards text before the board of governors, it could also informally circulate it among the NSG members at the same time. This could save crucial time and help narrow the time required for NSG clearances.

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>However, it was not clear if the safeguards text could be circulated to the NSG members without formal approval by the IAEA board of governors. And if that does not happen, the Government may not have any other option but to forget the deal </span>
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Nuclear Thread - 3 - shamu - 07-04-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jul 4 2008, 03:03 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jul 4 2008, 03:03 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Is nuclear deal already a dead duck?  </b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
With no lame duck session, no time left: Ackerman<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Do not count on this. The moment GoI approves it, GOTUS can call special session to push the deal through. They are the ones who is going to gain most out of the deal.


Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-04-2008

'It is immaterial what others think of us, if we decide that something is not good for us'
July 3, 2008
MK Bhadrakumar has parlayed a distinguished career in the Indian Foreign Service, with postings in Moscow, Seoul, Colombo, Bonn, Islamabad, Tashkent and Ankara into his current eminence as one of the country's foremost thinkers on foreign affairs. He spoke on the Indo-US nuclear deal in an e-mail interview with rediff.com's Managing Editor (National Affairs) Sheela Bhatt.

Earlier strategic affairs expert K Subrahmanyam had answered the same set of questions on the nuclear deal.

'The Left wants to humiliate the Congress'

What are the diplomatic implications if India were to desist from going ahead with the nuclear deal with the United States?

It is a sign of the intellectual decline in foreign policy discourses in recent years that such a specious plea has been advanced at all. In any case, the yardsticks we should apply are two: one, whether the deal is necessary and useful for us in its present form and conditionalities, and two, whether a democratic consensus is available for such a major foreign policy decision. Remember, it is no simple matter that a country signs away its national sovereignty in 'perpetuity'. I can't recall any country having done such a thing. You can walk out of even the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is immaterial what others think of us, if we decide that something is not good for us, for our self-respect, for our country's freedom of action. We have always done things our own way. Why this sudden obsession with what other countries may think?

What are the diplomatic implications if India decides to sign the negotiated draft guidelines with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the US then takes the matter further?

The short answer is that this subject goes out of our control or our ability to calibrate, which I think is very crucial. We do not know what this IAEA draft contains. The government is lacking in transparency. This is one aspect.

Again, let us not forget that the Nuclear Suppliers Group was created by the US to punish India for its nuclear programme. Our ability to influence the NSG is severely limited. We do not know what sort of waiver the US is going to seek from the NSG. Clearly, any waiver will have to be in strict conformity with the relevant US legislation known as the Hyde Act.

Also, by the time the NSG waiver is sought, as far as India is concerned, there is a fait accompli in that we have tied ourselves hands and feet, in perpetuity, to the IAEA. Even if the NSG is waiver is unpalatable, we can't revisit the IAEA safeguards agreement or seek correctives.
<b>
In retrospect, the government shouldn't have allowed the US to shift the sequencing of negotiations over this deal. Go back to what the US and India originally pledged to do, and look at what we have ended up with.</b>




Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-04-2008

Indo-US civil nuclear deal will be ultimately consummated: Sen

Thu, Jul 3 08:23 PM

Silicon Valley, July 3 (PTI) The stalled Indo-US nuclear deal will be ultimately "consummated," says Indian Ambassador to the US Ronen Sen, as he voiced confidence that the two countries will find a way out to overcome "some hiccups" in their strategic ties. Speaking at the 26th annual convention of Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in Las Vegas, Sen said the deal was important not only for economic development but also because of the energy constraints facing India.

Sen was quoted as telling AAPI members that their efforts to lobby for the deal will not go in vain and that ultimately the pact will be "consummated". Observing that Indo-US ties covered everything from the mango to the moon, an AAPI press release quoted Sen as saying that the US-India relationship is more broad-based, comprehensive than any of India's relationship with any other country in the world.

Sen said he was "very fortunate" to be posted in Washington at a time of unprecedented development of rapid and qualitative transformation in the bilateral ties. He said Indo-US relationship can truly be called a strategic partnership.

"And, I look forward to the future of this relationship with confidence," he said. "We might have some hiccups on the road, but I look at it with confidence because this relationship is based firstly -- it's not a relationship between two governments -- on a relationship between people, it is based on shared values and aspirations as democracies committed to the rule of law.

PTI.