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Nuclear Thread - 3
<b>Rahul hails Manmohan for pursuing nuke deal</b>

Amethi (PTI): Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday hailed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for showing "vision, tenacity and leadership" over the Indo-US nuclear deal issue and said the accord is worth taking a "risk".

A week ahead of the government's trust vote, he strongly defended the nuclear deal, saying it will be beneficial for the country in the long run.

Questioning opposition to the deal, Gandhi said it was similar to the criticism his late father Rajiv Gandhi faced when he introduced computers in the late 80s.

"At that time all thought it (decision to introduce computers) was ridiculous. The argument given that time was how will it benefit farmers," he said at a press conference here.

Gandhi said the Prime Minister has shown "vision, tenacity and leadership" by deciding to go ahead with the nuclear deal.

"If the nuclear deal involves risk, I will tell the Prime Minister to take this risk again and again," he said.
<b>Cong will pay heavy price in coming elections: Karat</b>

Chennai (PTI): Accusing the Congress of joining hands with "some opportunist elements" to save itself in the July 22 vote of confidence in the Parliament, CPM General Secretary, Prakash Karat, on Wednesday said the party will pay a heavy price in the coming elections.

"People will not only punish the Congress in the elections" for joining hands with opportunist elements but also betraying them on the Common Minimum Programme (CMP)," he said at a public meeting here organised to explain the Left parties' stand behind withdrawing their support to Congress-led UPA government at the Centre over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

He flayed the parties which have pledged their support to the Congress in the confidence vote, after having opposed the nuclear deal earlier.

"These elements that had been claiming the Indo-US nuclear deal to be a disaster to the nation, found virtue overnight in the deal," Karat said in an apparent reference to Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party.

The SP, which had been opposing nuclear deal, extended its support to UPA government in the wake of Left's pullout after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to go ahead with the operationalisation of the deal.

Karat also sought to remind Congress that the UPA Government had "credibility" only because of the Left parties' support to it.

Describing the Congress as a "sinking ship", Karat asked his "friends" in the UPA to "jump off the ship as quickly as possible and join the Left" to fight against communal forces.

"We can form an alternative force to both the Congress and the BJP," he said.

"We are not worried about the outcome of the confidence vote," Karat said, adding that the Left's struggle against the UPA will continue.

"Even if they win the confidence vote, we will continue our struggle against the nuclear deal issue and UPA's anti-people policies by taking them to the people," he said.

Flaying Congress' pro-US stand, Karat said the Left had supported UPA only to keep the BJP away from coming to power since Congress had also claimed to be against communal forces.

"But you cannot fight against BJP sitting in the lap of the US as the BJP is known for its pro-US policies," he warned.

Justifying their withdrawal of support to the UPA, Karat said the government was pursuing "neo-liberal policies" resulting in problems like inflation, price rise, unemployment and even farmers' suicides.

CPI national General Secretary D Raja said the Congress had lost all moral ground, and had no locus standi in accusing the Left of helping BJP by withdrawing their support to the former and voting against it in the confidence motion.

"Congress is taking India on the wrong path", he said.

Accusing Prime Minister's Office of becoming a "lobby" of corporates, Raja, in an apparent reference to Ambani brothers's spat knocking the PMO's doors, said, "Prime Minister himself is involved in compromising disputes between corporate companies."

<b>India scales down briefing for IAEA</b>

New Delhi (PTI): India has decided to scale down the July 18 special briefing for the IAEA on the safeguards agreement and other aspects of Indo-US nuclear deal, confining it to its 35-member Board of Governors and NSG countries which are not part of the Board.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon will brief the representatives of the 54 countries in Vienna to garner support for India's case with regard to the safeguards agreement that is to be approved by the IAEA Board and the waiver required from Nuclear Suppliers Group, officials said here on Wednesday.

At the briefing, Menon will speak about the importance of the initiative of Indo-US nuclear deal while citing the country's impeccable track record on non-proliferation front despite not being a signatory to NPT.

Approval of the India-specific safeguards agreement by the IAEA Board is a crucial step in the implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

After firming up of the safeguards agreement, India has to get a waiver from the 45-nation NSG to allow it to have trade in the field with international community.

Among the 35 members of the IAEA Board, 26 are also part of NSG. Rest of the NSG countries have also been invited for the special briefing.

Earlier, India had decided to brief all the 140 members of the IAEA and Indian Ambassador Saurabh Kumar had sent out invitations to them.

But the briefing has now been scaled down as it was considered unnecessary as the safeguards agreement is to be approved only by the 35-nation Board.

The IAEA Board of Governors will meet on August 1 to consider the safeguards agreement initialled on July 7.

R B Grover, Secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy, will accompany Menon to Vienna for the briefing.

Earlier in the day, IAEA said the briefing has been cancelled at India's request.

"We have been informed that India has decided to cancel the briefing," IAEA spokesperson Melissa Flemming said.

Indian officials, however, immediately came out with a clarification.

<b>Nuke deal: India to brief IAEA Board, NSG nations</b>

New Delhi (PTI): Ahead of the meeting of IAEA Board of Governors, India will brief the 35 members of the key body of the UN atomic watchdog on the Safeguards Agreement and other aspects related to the Indo-US nuclear deal on Friday in Vienna.

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) countries, who are not members of the Board, will also be briefed on the issue by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon in an effort to garner support for India's case, officials said here on Wednesday.

The special briefing for the IAEA Board members has been organised to enable India to apprise the important countries about India's case in the backdrop of the Indo-US nuclear agreement, officials said.

Among the 35 members of the IAEA Board, 26 are NSG countries. Rest of the NSG countries have also been invited for the special briefing, considering that the India has to seek waiver from the 45-nation grouping after the safeguards agreement is approved by the IAEA Board.

R B Grover, Secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy, will accompany Menon to Vienna for the briefing.

Earlier, India had decided to brief all the 140 members of the IAEA but the plan has now been scaled down as it was considered unnecessary as the safeguards agreement is to be approved only by the 35-nation Board.

The IAEA Board of Governors will meet on August 1 to consider the safeguards agreement initialled on July 7.

<b> Nuclear deal is in nation’s interest: Rahul</b>

Special Correspondent

Says party, government are secondary to issues in the country’s interest

LUCKNOW: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has said the nuclear deal is in the national interest. The party and the government were secondary to issues in the country’s interest.

Talking to newspersons at Jais in Rae Bareli district on Wednesday, the Amethi MP said he was confident that the UPA government would survive the trial of strength in Parliament on July 22. He wondered why there was so much opposition to the deal. He had talked to a cross-section of youth leaders cutting across party lines and all of them supported the deal.

As for the BJP’s opposition, he claimed that the youth leaders (MPs) of the BJP favoured the deal.

Mr. Gandhi said he was proud of Manmohan Singh’s record as the Prime Minister. Dr. Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had excelled as leaders to whom the country’s interest was paramount.

Mr. Gandhi, on a three-day visit to his constituency, concluded his tour on Wednesday. He started his visit from Zainabganj in the Jagdishpur Assembly segment, where he addressed a meeting of chairmen of 61 gram panchayats and nine nyaya panchayats. He asked the panchayat chairmen to be prepared for the Lok Sabha election.

His next stop was Haliyapur, where he told the people that steps would be taken to redress their grievances.

He attacked the BSP government for the slow pace of development work in the constituency, including implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme.

On Tuesday, Mr. Gandhi was scheduled to inaugurate a lawyers’ chamber in Gauriganj. But permission was reportedly denied by the district administration of Sultanpur.

<b> A betrayal of India’s constitutional vision</b>
V. R. Krishna Iyer

Sovereign India is justly sceptical about the Manmohan Singh government’s specious nuclear strategy.
There are shining victories to be won in the cause of peace and social justice. We shall reach the new freedom by not submitting to economic slavery… forward with the people.

— From an editorial in Daily Mirror in 1945, as reproduced in Hidden Agendas, by John Pilger; Vintage, Great Britain, 1998.</i>
The unity and integrity of India are tending to dwindle amid the divisive polemics over the ongoing dubious nuclear politics. But the real issue is not the import of enriched uranium, nuclear plant equipment or technology from the U.S.: it goes deeper. The issue involves U.S. suzerainty over India’s national economy and foreign policy, although the countrywide debate is currently centred on the nuclear deal. American nuclear big business is keen to make India its meg a-market, using for the purpose a willing and weak Prime Minister.</b>
The grave implications of this business are profound, as is obvious from Dr. Manmohan Singh’s defiant do-or-die determination demanding a confidence vote in the Lok Sabha. He is staking his government’s very survival on the energy deal. Whoever wins the vote in the House, the nation has lost its solidarity, integrity and fraternity.</b> George Bush’s stubborn hegemonistic strategy promoting U.S big business investment has become India’s national policy, facilitated by the Sonia-Manmohan commitment. This is virtually a reversal of the Nehru-Indira socialistic non-alignment stance and the principles of Panch Sheel. This basic battle is at the raging core of the controversy. The hideous hidden agenda could spell the de facto defeat of the Indian people’s historic tryst with destiny, the betrayal of India’s constitutional vision and mission.

We should not miss the real nature of the ideological war involved in this naively simplistic treaty dispute. Let us not be beguiled by the nuclear alibi. <span style='color:red'>Are we a sovereign nation, or a mere satellite? Who decides our import-investment policies, the direction of swadeshi agriculture and native industrial development? Are we a ‘banana republic’ of sorts? The Sonia-Manmohanomic party is neither Indian nor national: the Congress has formally become the brand name of a political business corporation. We have politicking operators with no democratic swaraj ideology or crimson nationalism. Communal concatenation and power-crazy cliques are the shopping complexes in the Indian power bazaar. </span>Mr. Bush browbeats or buys these political engineers as his proxies. The Constitution is now rendered irrelevant by logomachy.

Parties barter seats and votes and try to make Parliament an enterprise with commercial stakes. The media report of seats and deals for high prices, and micro-parties and independents as being available commodities. The Supreme Court’s stultifying jurisprudence on parliamentary bribery being immune to judicial discovery has made ‘horse trading’ a less risky operation than democratic decency would have tolerated. Appalling judicialese sometimes incinerates finer values, lets opportune alliances going and allows corruption inside the hallowed House.

My entreaty is to preserve undiminished the dynamics, dimensions and dialectical realities of our democracy without the authoritarian patronage and commanding directives of a big power beyond the Atlantic. <b>Do not ‘nuclearise’ our freedom. We need no U.S. nuclear imports to attain energy swaraj. We have uranium of our own yet to be mined. We have large thorium resources. We have enough alternative resources and technology. But where is the will to tell Mr. Bush that we do not need him? We shall not surrender our freedom in disgrace. Parliamentary votes are not private commodities. Bondage to Mr. Bush and U.S. big business is nothing but colonialism.</b>

At the recent meeting between Mr. Bush and Mr. Manmohan Singh, where the staggering mutual admiration was evident, it was stated in a spirit of (tragic) triumph that in the field of space, defence, educational exchanges and other strategic areas Indo-American “cooperation” has attained a new high status — which is but a euphemism for acquiescence by India in American domination.

The common Indian masses are totally innocent of this vicarious but unveracious appreciation by some people of the hated Mr. Bush. Mr. Manmohan Singh never consulted Indians by means of a referendum or a House debate, and the fake tribute paid to the Prime Minister by a lame-duck President is of little consequence.

To be fair to Dr. Manmohan Singh, I hold him as being personally simple, clean, gentle, non-communal and capable. <b>What scandalises me as a puzzle, a riddle and pro-Yankee obscurantism, is his forsaking of the Indian have-nots. He is gravely neglecting his socialist, constitutional oath-bound commitment to liberate the poor and implement poverty economics and going for globalisation and privatisation, which are liberal with imports and investments. </b>This drive is also marked by a Bush-friendly foreign policy and defence strategy and an extravagant addiction to American nuclear import dependence.

Do we require nuclear generation of energy? No. It involves the potential for dangerous radiation, high-cost generation, and the use of delicate technology that could be disastrous. After all, it feeds nuclear bombs in a world that faces instant annihilation with nuclear terrorism under big-power arsenals. Terrorists are everywhere and nuclear pilferage is a grave possibility.
Crime against humanity

The diabolic, dreadful immortality of nuclear waste that can cause lethal radiation after two or three decades of use of each nuclear power plant represents the gravest crime against humanity. The proposed deal violates the principles of nuclear non-proliferation. Let us be honest. Anyone who is knowledgeable in nuclear affairs will agree with the irony of the treaty. “It is almost as if the Titanic was going down, and the passengers were watching TV. India’s atomic energy programme has been subjected to a stunning managerial disaster over the past two decades, the results of which are visible now. We have known through the 1990s that India has all the uranium needed to run its nuclear power plants, currently running at half their capacity, wasting Rs. 16,000 crore of taxpayers’ money.” (Neelesh Misra, Hindustan Times, June 30, 2008)

Three great nuclear scientists who have been in high office without blame, Dr. P.K. Iyengar, Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan and Dr. A.N. Prasad, have fiercely opposed U.S. imports for reasons they have spelt out in a signed statement. Sarkari scientists, looking out for personal prospects, will obviously sign away contrary assertions.

The cult of the atom, those who know swear, is the enemy of ecological safety and the good earth where humanity still survives in billions. The high priests of the nuclear religion are specialists in the art of misleading public opinion. Neither Russia nor the U.S. will dare have a nuclear power plant after their bitter experience. Chernobyl (USSR) and Three Mile Island (U.S.) remain sombre warnings to humanity. Most Western nations, save France and Japan, now avoid new nuclear power plants.

But the nuclear barons have the power of unveracious propaganda. The political economy of nuclear electricity is forbidding. A widening agenda of dissent and oppositional strategies are mounting against atomic fission. Leading research-oriented jurists like Ralph Nader regard the menace of the atom as a culture of global destruction. Then why go in for this terrible worldwide thanatos?

Our country has abundant solar energy and the technology is accessible. It is culpable default for the authorities in the States and at the Centre not to explore, exploit and execute projects that run on solar power — which is far less costly and far safer than the nuclear graveyard alternative. We have potential hydel power from rivers that range from the Ganga to the Krishna, and tidal power from the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. We have prodigious wind energy potential. We have thermal power and coal-generated energy. Astonishing is the discovery that we have unused uranium in mega-quantity but not yet mined.

Amid this opulence of energy resources, why beg for or borrow American stuff that has strings attached and involves unfamiliar technology? History will one day record the traitor-tainted guilt of those in state power who, drugged by dollar power, run after Mr. Bush and big business. Their offer is aggressively expensive. Their supplies constitute a big-power gamble. The technology they offer is unfamiliar.

Why is the U.S. itself not building nuclear plants? Every patriot in Parliament must examine the relative implications of swaraj and exotic nuclear raj from the angle of Indian autonomy and alternative energy sources. Why are we boneless satellites? Why is there such indecent haste? What is behind this undignified speedy mendicancy and this mad seppuku instinct? The nuclear deal that Dr. Manmohan Singh is in a hurry to sign is a fatal testimony of subordination, what with the Hyde Act and other prints brought out as proof by Ashok Partharasathi (The Hindu, July 15, 2008).

Parliament has supreme power. Here is my appeal to India’s parliamentarians. Beware. The secret deal constitutes a game against India’s autonomy. It involves a dubious alibi and a hidden agenda. To seek to hitch Bharat’s wagon to the U.S. star at this phase of eclipse for Mr. Bush is but seppuku. The Prime Minister should tell the House the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Otherwise, any confidence vote that he may win will lose its value.
What a deal!

The Indo-U.S. nuclear deal is a godsend for those who want to learn how to evaluate a project without going to expensive business schools — how, without going into critical issues and making a cost-benefit analysis, one can decide whether something is in the “national interest.”

To Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the nuclear deal ought to be good because his friend George Bush patted him and said ‘we can do business with you.’ His commitment to the U.S. President is the deciding factor; to the Congress MPs, the deal cannot but be good because their party chief ordained it to be so; to the rest of the UPA crowd, it has to be good because the BJP says it is bad.

To the leaders of the Samajwadi Party, the deal has suddenly become good because the ruling combine agreed to switch off the cases against its leaders and revive the cases against rival Mayawati; and to the TRS, the nuclear deal is good or bad depending on whether the UPA agrees to a separate Telangana state.

What a lesson in project evaluation, courtesy our beloved ‘netas!’

Ananda Murti Vemuri,


Neither Congressmen nor any of their allies have been able to explain the positive features of the nuclear deal. The Prime Minister is unnecessarily stubborn, and his party colleagues are expectedly pliant. What and how does the nation gain by entering into such a controversial deal, that too, by resorting to every dirty political trick? With every passing day, the opponents of the deal have been strengthening their arguments with convincing logic but the proponents of the deal have let out only pathetic lamentations.

T.S. Pattabhi Raman,

The common man is confused and baffled by the diametrically opposed views of experts and political leaders on the nuclear deal that has political, legal and technical implications. In the absence of a transparent and objective assessment, the people would not be in a position to know whether or not the deal is in the national interest. Wherein lies the truth?

The allegation that the run-up to the trust vote has a corporate dimension to it has made the situation worse and the issue more contentious. The trend of allowing the corporate world to decide the future of the country is indeed dangerous.

V.K. Sathyavan Nair,


Day in and day out, political parties issue statements saying they will support or oppose the confidence motion in Parliament not on the merits of the deal but on the basis of their demands which have nothing to do with the deal per se. The conditions put forth by parties for supporting the UPA government are: parochial (demand for a separate state); personal (demand for a ministerial berth); and business-driven (settling of a family feud in a corporate house).

Similarly, the reasons advanced by parties opposing the deal are parochial and ideological. In all this, where is dispassionate evaluation of the merits and demerits of the deal?

R.P. Viswanath,

The debate on the nuclear issue has raised tremendous heat and dust, leaving everyone confused. From the beginning, the deal was handled in a non-transparent and unconvincing manner. The right way forward would have been to appoint a committee of apolitical experts. The committee’s decision should have been treated as final.

D. Balakrishnan,

It is interesting to note that in their enthusiasm to please George Bush, the proponents of the nuclear deal forgot to include even a comprehensive arbitration clause in the text (“Judge the nuclear deal on facts, not convictions,” July 15). America’s self-centred attitude is evident in all its international dealings. From Rio de Janeiro to the recently-concluded G8 summit, the U.S. has not compromised its interests for a greater common cause. How, then, can we expect Mr. Bush to have special concern for the energy crisis towards which India is heading?

John Thomas,

It is evident that the UPA government and the Prime Minister have been obfuscating facts. America has never come to India’s assistance. It is to the credit of our nation that it has emerged stronger after all the impediments posed by the U.S. in the past. It is sad that the government is seeking the confidence of Parliament on an issue which is not as serious as the grave problems facing the nation.

S.S. Rajagopalan,


Congress is a sinking ship, says Karat</b>

Special Correspondent

Appeals to ‘friends in UPA’ to jump off the ship and join the Left endeavour

— Photo: R. Ragu

For realignment: CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI leader D. Raja, and Forward Bloc leader Debabrata Biswas at a public meeting in Chennai on Wednesday.

CHENNAI: Describing the Congress as a “sinking ship,” CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Wednesday advised the “friends in the UPA” to jump off the ship as soon as possible and join the endeavour of the Left to unite all democratic forces.

“We will bring about a realignment of political forces in the country,” he said at a public meeting organised by the Left parties here to explain why they withdrew support to the Congress-led UPA government. Those who think that the future of the country was the Congress and the BJP would be proved wrong, he said.

Rejecting criticism that by withdrawing support to the Congress the Left would end up helping the BJP, he said while the Left was able to fight communalism, the BJP was able to come to power in many Congress-ruled States using the failures and the misrule of the Congress. The policies of the Congress had failed to isolate the BJP. But the Left had a proven record of isolating the BJP in all the three States where it was in power, the CPI(M) leader said.

The Congress would not be able to fight the communal forces by joining hands with the U.S. because the BJP was the most important pro-American and imperialist party. “You cannot defeat the communal forces by sitting on the lap of George Bush.” The Congress was trying to tie the country to the apron strings of the U.S. The UPA, he said, was no longer capable of fighting communal forces.

The UPA had not only failed to fulfil the Common Minimum Programme, but it had actually gone back on the CMP, Mr. Karat said. In one year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh substituted the CMP with President Bush.

Accusing the Congress of constantly trying to deceive the Left, he said that just a day after it said that it would not go to the IAEA before winning the confidence vote, the Congress-led government went to the IAEA. “We will not forgive the betrayal of the Congress.” In the next election, the Congress would have to pay a heavy price and would be punished by the people for this.

The Left would not be worried even if the UPA government won the vote of confidence. “Whether they win or lose, we will continue the struggle to get the nuclear deal scrapped,” he said. The Congress had credibility so long as it had the support of the Left. Now its credibility was at stake because of some opportunistic elements.

CPI national secretary D. Raja pointed out that it was the Congress that joined hands with the BJP to pull down the National Front government led by V.P. Singh and the United Front governments led by Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral. The Prime Minister’s Office had become a corporate office, he said.

Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas wondered how the country, which faced high rates of poverty and unemployment, could become a great power merely by signing the nuclear deal.

“Accord will help end nuclear apartheid”</b>

Special correspondent

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the proposed safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency “will enable India to cooperate in civil nuclear energy development with all the 45 member countries of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, including USA, Russia, France and China,” according to a press release by the Prime Minister’s media advisor.

Briefing a group of selected journalists from the electronic media here, Dr. Singh referred to “opportunities for international cooperation in civil nuclear energy, in addressing the challenge of energy security and high technology development.”

The Prime Minister said that “concluding the agreements would end the era of nuclear apartheid against India. He said the agreement will in no way impinge on our strategic programme, which is entirely outside the purview of the IAEA safeguards agreement.

“Stating that India would never allow any extraneous interference in the conduct of our independent foreign policy, the Prime Minister said that India would continue to seek good relations with all our Asian neighbours.

“The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the people of India understood the significance of the initiatives being taken by the UPA Government and endorse them.”

The release said the Prime Minister outlined the steps taken by the government to sustain the growth momentum and curb inflation in the face of external pressures on account of rising crude prices. He referred to the various government initiatives to make the growth process socially inclusive, including the measures taken to insulate the poor to the extent possible from inflation.

Closing N-deal very difficult now: US Senator</b>

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | July 16, 2008 02:33 IST

Senator Joseph R Biden, Jr, the chairman of the powerful US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who will be the key player in moving the US-India civilian nuclear agreement forward in Congress if India succeeds in getting in back on the Congressional court expeditiously, says it may be possible to get the deal consummated this year, but that it's going to be in terms of a best-case scenario a photo-finish.

In a brief interview with rediff.com when this correspondent buttonholed him after a news conference he held in the Senate press gallery to unveil a landmark legislation on Pakistan to provide that country with billions of dollars in additional economic assistance, Biden while lauding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] for deciding to go ahead with the deal notwithstanding the withdrawal of the Left Front, when asked if the deal could still be completed before the Congress adjourned, said, "It's possible, but it's very, very tight."

"We spoke about this three months ago in New Delhi when I met with the prime minister you remember, and so, it's going to be very, very tight because it has to go through the International Atomic Energy Agency and you got to get the Nuclear Suppliers Group signed off," he recalled.

"(And) once that occurs, under our law, there is a 30-day of continuous session -- which will taken about 50 days to get there," he added.

However, Biden pledged, "I am going to push like the devil... and, if they (India) get their end done to do it," he would endeavor to get the agreement completed, but reiterated, "it's going to be very, very tight."

Asked flat out if he believed the clock has already run out, Biden said, "I am an optimist. I am not going to say it has run out."
"I compliment the prime minister in making the move he's made and we are going to do everything we can to help accommodate it, but I think it's going to be very, very tight," Biden added.</b>

Asked if President Bush could call for a lame-duck session after the general election explicitly and solely to get Congress to vote on the deal, Biden first said, "He could, yes, he could." But, then he quickly retracted saying, "Well, no, let me back up. Once you call a lame-duck session you are in session and so, he may call it for the purpose of trying to get the US-India nuclear deal done, but he cannot limit the session to consider only that."

"So, the President would have a real issue here and it would be real interesting to see what would happen. Is it possible? Yes. And, I am going to do all I can as long as the prime minister is pushing to accommodate the possibility of us considering the deal, if he gets the sign off as is required from the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. But it's going to be very tight," Biden said.

Biden continued to repeat that he had explained all of these constraints to the prime minister when he visited with him in New Delhi along with two other senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- Senators John F Kerry, a Democrat like Biden, and Chuck Hagel, a Republican -- who had also impressed upon him that time was running out, and the window was "very, very narrow, and we told him that three months ago."

"I am not being critical, I am not making a judgment about his internal politics," Biden said, "I am just saying it's going to be very difficult."

<b>RPI leader to support UPA in trust vote</b>

July 16, 2008 19:23 IST

Republican Party of India leader and Lok Sabha member Ramdas Athavale has said he will support the United Progressive Alliance government in the July 22 trust vote.

However, Athavale pointed out that the UPA government had not involved him in the decision-making process by giving him ministership.

"There is lot of resentment among Dalits because of this. But moral responsibility and the country's interests are more important than personal grudges," he said in a statement issued in Mumbai on Wednesday.

According to Athavale, the numbers are in favour of the UPA government. "281 MPs will vote in favour of the government and the dream of the opposition to dislodge the government will remain a dream," said the MP, who represents the Pandharpur Lok Sabha seat.

He said the Communists would stand to lose the most if they vote against the government along with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In regards to India signing the nuclear accord, I feel that we should approach the whole problem in an entirely different way. Our past history in getting independence to rule by our own people is achieved in a non violent approach. If violence is always used in getting things, a dictator grabs the whole thing and behaves with a selfish approach. India should destroy all the nuclear weapon and set an example to the world to follow our method. Nuclear weapons have dreadful effects on human beings and it has the potential to kill countless innocent people. Thus, we should make a propaganda that all countries destroy their nuclear weapons. In addition, while using it for peaceful purpose like generating electricity, we should open the whole process for inspection to experts and their suggestions and opinions should be considered seriously for the safety of the people. There should be openness with regard to nuclear accord with any country.

Actually India should take initiative in destroying all nuclear weapons and use the technology for productive purpose. India should not hesitate to take up this initiative. We have made a mistake of exploding Nuclear bombs in the name of Patriotism. Now it is high time to show that we are a peace loving country and open our nuclear technologies to the experts of world scientist.

We have many pressing problems within our country to solve it with great effort instead of wasting our effort and time in the Nuclear Accord with USA.

Those who are in power should approach it by considering the welfare of human beings around the world.

Rama Murthi
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>What if there is a free vote?</b>
Swapan Dasgupta

The rules and conventions of Indian parliamentary democracy don't permit members of Parliament the luxury of either a free or a conscience vote. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the three-line whip was temporarily shelved and MPs allowed a free vote on the Indo-US nuclear deal next week, what would be the outcome? A free vote, by the way, is different from a conscience vote. Whereas a conscience vote rests on the beliefs and preferences of the individual MP, a free vote blends personal beliefs with political compulsions on the ground.

It is difficult to prophesy the numerical outcome of such an exercise in the Lok Sabha. However, what can be said with certainty is that there will be a significant amount of cross-voting. Most important, the faultlines will be markedly different from what the recent political crisis has thrown up.

By and large the Left MPs will be faithful to the Prakash Karat line because they genuinely believe that any strategic proximity with the US is bad for India. It can also safely be assumed that most MPs who depend on Muslim votes for victory will be inclined to give the thumbs-down because of post-9/11 complications. This is not because Indian Muslims have an aesthetic or "green" objection to nuclear power but because circumstances have conspired to link India's elevation to the lower high table of the nuclear club to President George W Bush's [Images] foreign policy. For various reasons, Muslims tend to equate the "war on terror" with a war on Islam.

In the normal course those influenced by the civilisational polarisation would include the bulk of the Samajwadi Party, Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal and, at a pinch, the Bahujan Samaj Party (though we can never be sure of the impulses that drive Mayawati). It would also include Congress MPs elected from places such as North Bengal, Assam, Kerala [Images], Maharashtra (particularly Mumbai) and the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. The less-than forthright support of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to the prime minister's initiative can be attributed to the community composition of his Jangipur constituency. Had Mukherjee been elected from, say, South Kolkata or Birbhum (his native place), his attitude may have been markedly different.

Of course, the decision of individual Congress MPs would also be shaped by elements of confused ideology. India's nuclear programme was initiated by Jawaharlal Nehru, given a different turn by Indira Gandhi [Images] and quietly strengthened by Rajiv Gandhi. All three, including Indira, espoused global disarmament but simultaneously kept India away from unequal treaties that imposed a form of nuclear apartheid. This confused inheritance saw Manmohan Singh [Images], K Natwar Singh and the likes of Mani Shankar Aiyar oppose the Pokhran-II test while pragmatists like R Venkatraman supported it enthusiastically.

Manmohan Singh, in particular, has viewed India's nuclear programme not as a strategic asset but as an instrument of economics. He didn't like Pokhran-II because he felt that sanctions would hurt the economy; he wants the nuke deal because he sees colossal economic opportunities coming India's way after the agreement. The prime minister's personal commitment to India's strategic programme is certainly not as pronounced as his faith in the economic spin-offs from the deal. At the same time, it is important to point out that the proposed agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency does not compromise India's strategic interests in any way.

Compared to the Congress's ambivalence on the nuclear question -- a reason why it can swing both ways -- the Bharatiya Janata Party has been unflinching in its belief that India must be at the heart of the N-weapons club. Atal Bihari Vajpayee made this "core belief" of the BJP into national policy in 1998. Although there was a great deal of subsequent faltering -- the BJP hates to be reminded of the generous distance Jaswant Singh was willing to travel to accommodate the Clinton Administration's non-proliferation concerns -- it is safe to assume that any BJP flexibility is dependant almost exclusively on preserving the sanctity of the strategic programme.

The IAEA document suggests that India's N-weapons programme will secure implicit international recognition which is why Advani has been careful to not criticise it. In fact, the BJP's outbursts have been reserved for the Hyde Act and the murky circumstances of India's approach to the IAEA. Advani has stressed the ethical impropriety of the Government approaching IAEA before showing that it still commands a parliamentary majority.

Indeed, on the nuclear deal, the BJP finds itself in the piquant situation of opposing something its core constituency -- unaffected by Muslim angst and shaped by middle class yearnings -- wants. It has become a prisoner of the intemperate positions it took in the early days of the nuke deal.

Like the Akali Dal and Shiv Sena which have endorsed the deal because that is what their social constituencies want, a free vote would see a majority of BJP MPs voting for it. The dissidents would be the maximalists -- those who want India to shun all global agreements because the future belongs to Thorium. This is the ultimate paradox of the N-deal: A majority in the Congress would rather not have the deal and a majority in the BJP would love to have it, now that the military programme has been assured.

Of course, there will be no free vote in Lok Sabha. The trust vote next week will not centre on the N-deal alone. It will be a vote on the government's economic record, its internal security lapses and on the collateral benefits that will accrue to those who side with the government.

It is said that Parliament mirrors the national mood. There are, of course, times when it distorts reality hideously. The three-year kerfuffle over the nuke deal will remain a classic case study of reality evading the truth.

Courtesy: The Pioneer, New Delhi

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Re: View: Little to fault in IAEA agreement
by Sanjay Baxi on Jul 11, 2008 10:15 AM  Permalink  | Hide replies

The eight fast breeder reactors which are outside the safeguard, can in principle supply the plutonium for the weapon program, but by doing so those fast breeder reactors will be unviable. The remaining all the power plants which will come under IAEA safeguard will not be able to provide plutonium to the weapon program. Thus this aggrement will practically bring an end to the weaponisation program. I can imagine two possibilities, one, there must be a closed-door agreement between India and US, that US will give future protection against China, something like Japan, second India has already achieved enough Nuclear warheads, as a credible deterence, or may be a mixture of both. However, the fact still remains India officially is still a non-nuclear country.

RE:Re: View: Little to fault in IAEA agreement
by Sanjay Baxi on Jul 11, 2008 11:01 AM Permalink
Yes if you want to harvest plutonium for warheads, you have to take the fuel out the of the reactor very frequently, which reduces the efficiency of the reactor. Since the fast breeder reactors are still under development it should run undisturbed for a long time, may be continuously for four to five years. If it is disturbed frequently, then the developmental program will hinder, and it will be delayed for many decades. But before, since India has many conventinal reactors, and they were not under anyone's surveillance, it was possible to harvest plutonium. The scheduling might have been done in such a way that not all of them are running simultaneously and some of them are under maintainance. Such information are available in plenty in the internet.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Mr Baxi is not fully informed. The eight reactors on the non-civilian side are also PHWRs. And not all eight are for fissile mat production. Some are due to location to keep the IAEA out. Some are due to the need to have feedstock for the FBRs which are not in the Annex1. Maybe two to three at most are for the non-civilian applications.
<!--QuoteBegin-Ramamurthi+Jul 16 2008, 07:14 PM-->QUOTE(Ramamurthi @ Jul 16 2008, 07:14 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->In regards to India signing the nuclear accord, I feel that we should approach the whole problem in an entirely different way. Our past history in getting independence to rule by our own people is achieved in a non violent approach. If violence is always used in getting things, a dictator grabs the whole thing and behaves with a selfish approach. India should destroy all the nuclear weapon and set an example to the world to follow our method. Nuclear weapons have dreadful effects on human beings and it has the potential to kill countless innocent people. Thus, we should make a propaganda that all countries destroy their nuclear weapons. In addition, while using it for peaceful purpose like generating electricity, we should open the whole process for inspection to experts and their suggestions and opinions should be considered seriously for the safety of the people. There should be openness with regard to nuclear accord with any country.

Actually India should take initiative in destroying all nuclear weapons and use the technology for productive purpose. India should not hesitate to take up this initiative. We have made a mistake of exploding Nuclear bombs in the name of Patriotism. Now it is high time to show that we are a peace loving country and open our nuclear technologies to the experts of world scientist.

We have many pressing problems within our country to solve it with great effort instead of wasting our effort and time in the Nuclear Accord with USA.

Those who are in power should approach it by considering the welfare of human beings around the world.

Rama Murthi
World will live ever happily
'N-deal will leave India at mercy of suppliers'</b>

Kolkata (PTI): A group of Indian scientists have come out against the Indo-US civil nuclear deal saying it will leave the country at the "mercy of uranium-rich countries and big corporate houses" for supply and consequently vulnerable to a rise in price of the radioactive metal.

"The deal will have no contribution as a solution to the energy crisis. It will only raise the cost of power and place India at the mercy of uranium-rich nations," Subhendu Mitra, general secretary of Forum of Scientists, Engineers and Technologists on Thursday said.

Mitra said the cost of power produced by a modern nuclear plant running on imported uranium is Rs 5.5 per unit as compared to the current rate of Rs 4 per unit offered by indigenous nuclear plants at present even as an unit of Indian thermal power comes at a cost of Rs 2.5.

"Once the costly nuclear plants find their way to the country, it will become compulsively dependent on foreign fuel as suppliers of the Uranium-238 isotope play havoc with its price ala the crude petroleum suppliers," he said.

Implementation of the deal and addition of 40,000 MW plants will only raise the percentage of nuclear power produced in the country to a meagre eight per cent, Mitra said, which is "practically no improvement at all."
The forum accused the UPA government of not taking into account scientists and technologists' opinions on the matter. "That scientists' voices were ignored strengthens the suspicion that it is really not in the interest of self-reliance in science and technology," Mitra said.</b>

France wants global mechanism to allow India to have N-coop</b>

New Delhi (PTI): Ahead of the meeting of IAEA Board of Governors to discuss safeguards agreement, France today advocated the need for a global mechanism to enable India start civil nuclear cooperation with the other nations.

French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont said his country was ready to have large-scale nuclear cooperation in civilian areas with India once New Delhi enters into an agreement with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

India and IAEA have finalised the safeguards agreement which is now to be approved by the IAEA Board of Governors on August one.

Bonnafont, whose country is a key member of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, backed New Delhi's case for exemption to allow India have civil nuclear trade with the world.

"We need to have an international mechanism through which India can start civilian nuclear cooperation with rest of the world," he said.

Bonnafont also reiterated his country's support for India's permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council.

The French envoy favoured increase in strategic cooperation with India in the field of education and development of human network between the two countries.

<b>Doesn't mind voting with BJP, concerned only about n-deal: CPI(M)</b>

New Delhi (PTI): Facing criticism over its decision to vote against the UPA along with the BJP during the trial of strength in the Lok Sabha, the CPI(M) has said it cannot abandon its objective of preventing India from becoming a subordinate of the US just because the saffron party is opposed to the Government.

The party said the BJP is opposing the Government in the July 22 confidence vote for enforcing early elections which may give them electoral benefits, but it cannot be a reason for the Left to reconsider its stand.

"As a passenger in a train, one cannot determine or choose who the other co-passengers are. However, because of the co-passengers, one cannot abandon the objective of reaching one's destination.

"The Left is clear. It shall work to achieve its objective of upholding our national interests and preventing India from becoming a subordinate ally of US imperialism," the CPI(M) said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of party mouthpiece 'People's Democracy'.

The editorial said the Left seeks to defeat the UPA in the trust vote for protecting the country from consequences of the nuclear deal that could affect the country's sovereignty, independent foreign policy and independence to tackle security concerns.

Countering Congress' allegations that the Left parties were allowing the return of the communal forces, the party accused the ruling party of being primarily responsible for giving an opportunity to the NDA government to return to power.
Manmohan Singh should step down says CPI leader</b>

Hyderabad (PTI): CPI deputy General Secretary and MP Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy on Wednesday suggested that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should tender his resignation to protect his and Congress party's image.

Accusing the Congress party of indulging in horse trading to garner support of MPs to save the government, Reddy said the Prime Minister should step down immediately to protect moral values he believes and save his image and also of his party.

"The Congress party has no majority in Parliament on the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal and Manmohan Singh government would be defeated during the vote of confidence," CPI MP told reporters.

Lashing out the Congress party for trying to create an atmosphere that Left parties are against nuclear energy, the CPI leader clarified that "Left parties are not against nuclear energy, we are against the deal which was against the interest of the people of the country".

No doubt that nuclear power was pollution free, but neither Congress leaders nor those who were supporting Indo-US deal were able to give exact figures of investment it needed, he said.

It was estimated that the country needs about Rs 15,00,000 crore to produce nuclear energy in near future, he said.

Parrying questions on the reported co-operation with BJP to take on the UPA government, the CPI leader said, "If the government wins the vote of confidence it would be detrimental for the country and if defeated it is good for the country".

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