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Nuclear Thread - 2
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Oct 25 2007, 02:57 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Oct 25 2007, 02:57 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>N-deal: Mulford meets Advani; seeks BJP’s support </b><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->New Delhi, Oct 25: With the government virtually putting the nuclear deal in the cold storage, a disappointed US has started reaching out to parties opposing the agreement in an attempt to garner support.

US Ambassador David C Mulford met leader of the opposition L K Advani here and is understood to have sought BJP's support for the deal, which is mired in a political controversy.

Mulford is believed to have attempted to assuage BJP's concerns over the agreement. <b>Advani gave him a patient hearing but made no commitments on support to the deal,</b> sources said.

<b>The BJP, while favouring a closer strategic relationship with the US, is opposed to the deal as it feels it will affect India's indigenous military nuclear programme and independent foreign policy. </b>

comment under this news is also interesting
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Congress has no face to approach BJP for support as they have humiliated them inside and outside the Parliament. They have finally realized that only B J P can save their sinking boat. It is a shame that they should beg BJP support through Mulford . They should have guts to face the Parliament. Why America is so much interested because the 123 Agreement is equal lent to India signing the NPT . - Krishana<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>No consensus on nuclear deal?</b>’ - 5 <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->And what did Manmohan Singh say as the Leader of Opposition in May 1998? He (questioned) the justification for the test, and he (said) you have not taken into account the sanctions which will hurt and ruin our economy. This is what he said on record.

<b>Also, as the Finance Minister, he starved the nuclear programme. </b>
Yes. And now (he says there is a) nuclear renaissance.


<b>But there’s a growing perception that Manmohan Singh wants to give power (as in electricity) to the poor while both the BJP and Left are stopping him. </b>

Let them say (so). We have not yet gone to the people. The debate has not yet started. We are going to go to the people and tell them that the bomb Mr Vajpayee made is being handed over to the Americans. Finish. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Fall of N-deal would affect US outlook on India: Kissinger</b> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Let N-deal go through, Kissinger urges BJP </b>
Kumar Uttam | New Delhi
Not in present form, says Advani
As the US continued its efforts to garner BJP support for the much-opposed civilian nuclear agreement, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and US Ambassador to India David C Mulford met Leader of the Opposition LK Advani and BJP president Rajnath Singh respectively, here on Monday. 

<b>Both the US envoys unsuccessfully tried to assuage the concerns of the BJP, which reiterated its "apprehensions remain in place" and the deal was "not acceptable" in its present form. Mulford had met Advani on Friday also</b>.

<b>"We would oppose the deal if it comes up for discussion in Parliament in its present form," former BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu said. </b>

While the US envoys remain tightlipped about what was discussed in the meeting, BJP sources revealed they wanted to understand the party's concerns as well as its position on the deal.

The US envoys explained to both the BJP leaders in detail the "highlights" of the deal and "provided an overview" of its various clauses. During his meeting, Kissinger is believed to have impressed upon Advani the need for allowing the deal to go through.

<b>In return, the senior BJP leaders, who briefed the US envoys about the party's concerns over India's strategic programme, right to conduct nuclear test and its impact on the country's independent foreign policy in the aftermath of having such an agreement in place, declined any commitment. </b>

The BJP, which clarified there was no shift in its stand vis-à-vis the deal, as being projected by a section of media, also lashed out at the Congress, saying what it was discussing with the Left as also what it proposes to discuss in Parliament was not known to it.

<b>"The Government has bungled at every stage. It has betrayed the nation, Parliament, the Opposition and the common people,"</b> Naidu said, accusing the Congress of mortgaging the sovereignty of the nation.

The BJP, which reiterated it was not "blindly anti-America", unlike the Communists, and wants India to have good relations with Washington, asserted it would re-negotiate the deal after coming to power. Rajnath Singh later called on Advani and briefed him about his meeting with Mulford.

Congress failed country by denying debate in Parliament.
Daily Pioneer October, 31, 07
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Not end of road for N-deal, asserts PM</b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
...as United States mounts pressure

What gives them right to dictate, asks Left

In the midst of intense US pressure to move ahead on the India-US civil nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday indicated the agreement has not been shelved, saying "we have not reached the end of the road," and efforts are on to evolve a broad-based national consensus.

The Prime Minister chose to revive the nuclear deal debate while addressing a joint press conference with the visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel when the entire foreign press was in full strength.

The Prime Minister's word is bound to infuriate the Left parties which have been demanding a categorical assurance from the Government that the deal had been put on hold for all time to come.

Even on Monday night, the Left leaders rejected overtures by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to rethink on their opposition to the deal.

Acknowledging that "some problems" persisted in implementing the deal, the Prime Minister said, "We are committed to see that the process is carried forward and "efforts are on to evolve a broad-based national consensus".

Reflecting on coalition compulsions, Singh said, "we are in a democracy and in a democracy ultimately you have to take along all those who are supporting you."
<b>"I would not like to speculate what would be the consequences if there is some delay. We have not reached the end of the road," he said when asked if he was worried whether the deal would suffer because of the delay.
The Prime Minister's remarks on Tuesday are being seen in contrast to his speech at the Hindustan Times summit where he virtually admitted he was ready to live with the disappointment of seeing his pet dream not fructify. Later, the Prime Minister had also conveyed his helplessness and sadness over being compelled to drop the deal.</b>

<b>Earlier in the day, Washington stepped up pressure for early 'operationalisation' of the nuclear deal and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger held parleys with India's political leaders to overcome resistance.</b>
(Eewww. Kissinger again. Yucko.)

Sources said after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke to Mukherjee on Monday, the Congress leader tried to open a channel with top CPI(M) and CPI leaders and wanted to know if India could go ahead with preliminary talks with the IAEA .

However, both CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury and CPI general secretary AB Bardhan are understood to have told Mukherjee that the Left wanted the deal to remain on hold till its concerns were addressed.

The Left leaders also made it clear to the UPA Government that they considered open lobbying by the US diplomats as "an interference in India's affairs and could not allow India to be dictated to follow a particular course of action.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a top CPI(M) leader said that "we just see this as American interference in our domestic affairs."

"We aren't a banana republic, so we consider their dialogues with Indian politicians to plead for India-US civilian nuclear deal not only uncalled for but as unacceptable interference," CPI leader D Raja said.

RSP leader Abani Roy said, "by now Prime Minister must find out what they are doing when there isn't any official dialogue on this issue."

"How can they resort to pressure tactics and tell New Delhi that India has to finalise the deal before a given deadline when the UPA-Left committee is scheduled to meet on November 16 and Parliament is yet to give its nod to the deal," he asked.
Meanwhile, Kissinger again cautioned India that a delay could impact prospects of such cooperation as the critics would be "better organised" two years later. India must implement the deal "for its own reasons" and not "as a favour to" or "under pressure" from the US, he added.
Speaking at a seminar in New Delhi, Kissinger said if the agreement was not completed during the tenure of the Bush administration, it would be detrimental to the interests of India itself.

"The new administration in 2009 will negotiate a new agreement and submit it for Congress' approval and the same steps would repeat. Those opposed to the deal would be better organised two years from now," he added.

Referring to his meeting with Leader of Opposition and BJP veteran LK Advani on Monday, Kissinger said, "Inevitably, this issue figured in our discussions. He (Advani) explained his perception of India's necessities. I did not make any particular attempt to influence."
(Well, of course Kissinger didn't "attempt to influence". He knows who US intends to get 'democratically' elected in India. And it ain't the BJP.)
Kissinger also insisted that the strategic closeness in India-US relations was not to "contain" China.
"I do not think that (US) friendship with China is incompatible with (its) friendship with India or also the otherwise. This is just part of the new approach that current situations have imposed upon us," he said.
<b>Trying to resolve differences</b>
- Efforts are on to evolve a broad national consensus
- We are a democracy and in a democracy you have to take along all those who are supporting you
- I would not like to speculate on what would be the <b>consequences</b> if there is some delay. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->(Was that last a threat? Or is he merely worried about US cutting his pay?)
<b>U.S. desperation is showing</b>

By Brahma Chellaney

In its frantic efforts to salvage the nuclear deal, the United States is sending out a politically incorrect message — that the deal matters more to it than the very survival of the Manmohan Singh government. The deal has not only divided India like no other strategic issue since Independence, but also plunged the world’s largest democracy into a political crisis, with the threat of a mid-term election looming large. Yet the unrelenting US pressure on India to proceed with the deal has only intensified.

An obvious question begging an answer is: What are the compelling interests America aims to advance through this deal that are prompting it to give high priority to getting this arrangement through, even if it results in Singh’s political downfall? Is the venerable Singh so dispensable for the US?

The Congress, holding only 27.5 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats, needs allies to survive in power or to return to office in a new election. With not a single party today willing to help shore up the deal, the Congress does not wish to stake its future on that dicey, divisive issue.

Yet, from the time Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister last month pulled back from the political-precipice edge, the US has piled up pressure on New Delhi, leaving no stone unturned to rescue the deal. Remember how President George W. Bush anxiously sought to reach the Prime Minister by telephone while the latter was travelling in Africa? This week, US secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee to convey the same message — in the words of her spokesperson, "to urge the Indian government to move forward with this deal."

To personally lobby Indian leaders, the White House sent treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson and former secretary of State Henry Kissinger in recent days.

<b>And as if India were a Pakistan, where Washington brokered a Pervez Musharraf-Benazir Bhutto deal to help keep its pet dictator in power, the US is trying to cut a deal between the Congress party and BJP, so as to save another deal dear to it.</b>
By pulling out all the stops, the signs of desperation have become unmistakeable.

In fact, since that famous Bush call to Singh, no day has passed without some senior US official, diplomat or congressman telling India why it should seize the deal as a golden opportunity not to be missed.

The US ambassador to India, for his part, has seemingly returned to his old marketing job, hawking the deal door-to-door — from South Block offices to the homes of important politicians in town.

<b>It is as if a vibrant India is really a dumb India that doesn’t know what is in its own interest and needs counsel from the other party in the deal.</b> Besides prolonging India’s political crisis and keeping alive the spectre of a snap poll, such meddling, along with its unremitting advice, has become increasingly clamorous.

Mr Paulson, for example, counselled his host nation "to implement the agreement as soon as possible," acknowledging that the US has been "encouraging it to go forward as quickly as possible."

Kissinger weighed in with his ominous hints about the effect of the deal’s collapse on India’s credibility. The smooth-talking Nicholas Burns, now making almost a daily statement on the deal, declared from Washington: "We, and many other governments, believe that India should grab this opportunity and enter a new era of relations with the US."

Make no mistake: It is the US which sees the deal as an irresistible opportunity, which, if taken advantage of, would bring lasting strategic benefits. There is thus dismay that Indian politics has stalled what the Bush administration had been savouring as a major foreign-policy accomplishment.

The US got the deal largely on its terms. In addition to the 41 pages of India-specific conditions in the Hyde Act (passed with bipartisan support after closed-door briefings), the US has concluded a so-called 123 Agreement without permitting India upfront to reprocess, or providing for a dispute mechanism (like the arbitral tribunal found in the 123 accord with Tokyo), or explicitly linking perpetual international inspections to perpetual fuel supply. <b>Of all the 123 Agreements the US currently has with partner-states, the one with India stands out for conferring enforceable rights only on the supplier-State.</b>

That is why, as the State department reiterated this week, the US will not accept renegotiation of the deal. Washington indeed wants New Delhi to speedily conclude a safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency because from then on, India would become a mere spectator, watching what additional conditions the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the US Congress may attach to the final deal.

America’s commercial interests in the deal are evident: <b>The tens of billions of dollars worth of arms and reactor contracts it is likely to reap. </b>

Not so obvious is its huge strategic stake, which is two-fold.

First, the deal would open the path to rope in India more than just as a strategic partner.

In a 21st-century world in which the concept of alliance is giving way to nations pursuing multiple partnerships to pursue a variety of interests with different players in diverse settings, the <b>US still fancies bringing in India as a new Japan or Britain — an ally that would faithfully follow the alliance leader.</b>

Mr Burns makes no bones about America’s intent. "I think Americans might be able to say 20 years from now, India is one of our two or three most important partners in the world. That will be a tremendous strategic change for us… You need friends, you need allies," he said in an October 3 interview. At the Council on Foreign Relations on October 23, he amplified: "Twenty or 30 years from now, many Americans would say India is one of the two or three most important global partners — the way Japan and the European Union are today."

Second, the deal is the means to achieve a central US goal since the 1998 Indian tests — <b>to prevent India’s rise as a full-fledged nuclear-weapons State and bring it into the US-led non-proliferation regime (or, what Mr Burns calls, the "non-proliferation mainstream").</b>

Having failed to stop India from going overtly nuclear, <b>the US wants India’s capabilities to stay regionally confined (like Pakistan’s), even if that strategically disadvantages New Delhi vis-à-vis Beijing.</b>

The first and second objectives are linked because, if this deal goes through, <b>India would be saddled with a rudimentary and inadequate deterrent capability that would promote security dependency on the US, including for missile defence. Fostering security dependency is the key to winning and maintaining an ally.</b>

In his 2004 book, Engaging India, Strobe Talbott wrote: <b>"If there is a deal to be done with India, my guess is that it will be a version of the one offered by the Clinton administration and rejected by the BJP-led government. </b>The four US-proposed non-proliferation benchmarks put forward in 1998 — joining the CTBT, making progress on a fissile material treaty, exercising strategic restraint (by that or some other name), and meeting the highest standard of export controls … should remain the basis of the American policy into the future. <b>That means the US government should persist until the four areas of restraint become the basis of the Indian policy."</b>

That is exactly the line US policy has followed. In the Bush deal with India, the second and fourth Clinton-prescribed benchmarks (progress on fissile material treaty and "comprehensive" export controls) find explicit mention in the original July 18, 2005 deal. The other two benchmarks are reflected in the enabling legislation, the Hyde Act, which seeks both to compel India to exercise strategic restraint and to drag it through the backdoor into an international pact rejected by the Senate — the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The test ban also is built into the 123 Agreement implicitly through the incorporation of the US "right of return."

The Bush team indeed managed to secure more: <b>While the Vajpayee government was willing to open two indigenous power reactors at the most to international inspections as part of a deal, the Singh government has agreed to put 35 nuclear facilities, including eight existing indigenous power reactors, under IAEA safeguards of a kind applicable only to non-nuclear states — perpetual and legally irrevocable</b>.

In addition, <b>it has agreed gratuitously to shut down the Cirus research reactor by 2010, an action that would significantly affect India’s rate of production of weapons-grade plutonium</b>. Given that fuel burn-up in power reactors produces plutonium of a quality less desirable for weapons and that the use of power stations for such purposes, in any case, makes little economic sense, India has relied on its Cirus and Dhruva research reactors to derive supergrade plutonium.

And given that Dhruva, commissioned in 1985, faced major startup problems that took a long time to rectify, most of India’s cumulative historic production of weapons-grade plutonium has come from Cirus — a point noted by Paul Nelson et al in a 2006 paper funded by the US Department of Energy.

<b>In asking New Delhi to dismantle Cirus, the US has sought to crimp India’s nuclear-deterrent plans.</b> As undersecretary <b>Robert G. Joseph had asserted, deal-related measures "must contribute to our non-proliferation goals."</b>

India could build a replacement reactor. But the long lead time needed to construct and commission such a reactor is bound to leave a major production shortfall.

<b>Yet, no explanation has been offered to the Indian public thus far as to why New Delhi, disregarding the advice of its Department of Atomic Energy, agreed to shut down the 40-MWth Cirus, which had been refurbished at a cost of millions of dollars and reopened only in 2004.</b>

The key point is that if this US-dictated deal falls apart, it will not only deny America the handle it seeks on Indian policy and deterrent posture, but also its one-sidedly magnanimous terms are unlikely to be replicated in any future agreement. That is why Washington today is feverishly delivering the same two-word message: "Hurry up."

Let’s be clear: Time is on India’s side. The real test the deal has to pass is whether it can survive a change of government both in New Delhi and Washington. And the test for Singh, given the upcoming Parliament session, is whether the deal can withstand what he has so far sought to thwart but now ought to allow — close legislative scrutiny.

After all, India should enter into the arrangement, not as a good deed for the US, but for its own good. Every right-thinking Indian would want US-inspired technology controls against his country to go, but that can hardly justify "<b>a deal at any cost" approach or the use of rose-coloured vision to sell Indians a fantasy.</b>

<b>The present deal does not cover high-technology and civilian space controls against India and indeed leaves intact even restrictions on civil enrichment and reprocessing equipment transfers.</b>

The current hold on the deal, forced by domestic political circumstances, underscores the vitality of Indian democracy. It can only help enhance India’s international stature and safeguard national interests.

Nov. 3, 2007


BJP National President Shri Rajnath Singh today questioned the intention of the communist parties in context of the recent claim of the CPM General Secretary Shri Prakash Karat that the strategic alliance between India and the United States was a move to "counter-balance" and "encircle" China. Shri Rajnath Singh said that such outdated remarks and discourses can only appeal to the intellect of Marxist theoreticians.

Shri Rajnath Singh highlighted the fact that implicit in such preposterous claims are the indications of a self created illusionary mindset where the communists appear to believe that China's interests are being impacted. On the one hand, the communists publicly express their concerns for China, but on the other hand, maintain a deafening silence on critical national issues such as the continuing massacres and saga of violence being propagated by the Naxalites and Maoists across an increasing red corridor within the country, or the ruthless crushing of peasants who are fighting to protect their rights and honor in Nandigram.

The BJP President questioned the CPM and other left parties for their stand on various issues. China has developed a deep naval base from Pakistan's Gwader to the Coco Island in Burma and right through Bangladesh and Sri Lanka has established posts to monitor the movement of Indian Navy. The Left Party never looked at it as encircling of India by China. They should also clarify their stand on other series of issues like China making ridiculous claims over Tawang and other parts of Indian territory. What was the stand of the left parties when China refused granting a visa to IAS officers from Arunachal Pradesh a few months ago? Why the communists opposed our Pohkran tests in 1998 when they had previously welcomed the Chinese nuclear tests in 1964? How do the communists explain their supporting the murder of democracy through the imposition of Emergency in 1975? Why did the communist parties refrain from calling China an aggressor in the 1962 war? Can the communists explain their support for partition of India in 1947? Or even their taking the side of the British imperialism during the Quit India Movement in 1942? The nation knows the truth about the historical dual character of the communists, whose postulations have always been diametrically opposed to the national ethos and mainstream, he added.

Shri Rajnath Singh said the so called protectors of the masses, even after 30 years of textbook Marxist rule, which should have converted West Bengal into a "Marxist Paradise", have miserably converted it into a land of gross poverty and even unprecedented food riots. The comparison of one decade of BJP rule in Gujarat alone juxtaposed against the 30 years of Communist misrule in West Bengal singularly exposes the gap between tall claims and ground reality.

The BJP President demanded a clarification from the government about today's news reports that the Central Government had actually issued a circular to prevent Cabinet ministers from attending a felicitation ceremony for the Dalai Lama. Has this circular also been issued under the pressure of the left parties and their concerns towards China, he wondered?

The BJP President said that the nation is totally fatigued by the unending drama of the leftists whether they will permit the UPA government to complete its full term or withdraw support earlier. The Left Party position on this issue is like the shifting sands in a barren desert, a tactical strategy to confuse the nation by constantly changing positions on virtually a daily basis, he said.

Shri Rajnath Singh finally wanted to know whether the entire opposition of the communist parties towards the Indo-US nuclear deal was inspired by Chinese concerns or an echo of the BJP's nationalist concerns about our strategic sovereignty, the right to develop credible nuclear deterrent and our entire nuclear weapons programme.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->UPA has ignored Opp on N-deal

US role in domestic parleys shows Govt didn't do its homework properly, says Rajnath Singh

Exclusive to Pioneer
BJP president Rajnath Singh believes that direct intervention by the US in the form of negotiations with Indian political parties over the civilian nuclear agreement proves the UPA did not bother to do its homework and take Opposition parties into confidence.     

<b>Q. Do you approve of US diplomats' direct negotiations with Indian political leaders? </b>
A. This only proves the Government has failed to convince political circles in India about the deal. It is the Centre's responsibility to convince the Opposition. The UPA undermined the Opposition by not taking it into confidence earlier. The Centre's emissaries are approaching us after the deal has been frozen.

<b>Q. You have dropped demands for a JPC and voting on the parliamentary debate? </b>
A. It will be wrong to say that we have changed our stand. The demand for setting up a JPC has become irrelevant, as not much time is left for its formation, holding its meetings and submitting its report. Still, we will press for a vote on the proposed Parliament debate. We will oppose the deal in its present form. It is not in the country's strategic interest. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&Confusedkull--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/aaskull.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='aaskull.gif' /><!--endemo--> Pak's retaliation threat to US sucks in India
WASHINGTON: Shadow boxing between the United States and Pakistan regarding Islamabad's control over its nuclear weapons is threatening to suck in India after a Pakistani official warned that his country "possesses adequate retaliatory capacity to defend its strategic assets."

The big unanswered question: Retaliate against whom and with what?

The latest spat began after a flurry of reports in the Western media about what unnamed US officials describe as "contingency plans" to take control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons in the event of an imminent jihadist takeover in the country.

The reports have angered and panicked Pakistan's military government, and on Monday, the country's foreign office spokesman lashed out at the "irresponsible conjecture."

In doing so and threatening non-specific retaliation, the spokesman raised new questions about Pakistan's nuclear posture, which has long been seen as unstable and India-specific.

Current Pakistani nuclear doctrine does not even take into account a nuclear confrontation with the United States. In fact, a 2002 elaboration of Pakistan's fledgling nuclear doctrine said its "nuclear weapons are aimed only at India" and identified four triggers which would cause Islamabad to use the weapons.

The triggers included: A. If India attacks and conquers a large part of its territory (space threshold), B. India destroys a large part of either its land or air forces (military threshold), C. India proceeds to the economic strangulation of Pakistan (economic strangling) and D. If India destabilises Pakistan through domestic subversion.

The doctrine did not deal with a situation where the United States is involved in any of these acts.

In fact, Pakistan simply lacks both the range and capacity to retaliate militarily against mainland United States, although there are plenty of US interests within reach (Afghanistan and Iraq, for example). Current proliferation concerns also include smuggling into the US of nuclear weapons or fissile material by Pakistan-based Al-Qaida and other rogue elements.

But the latest Pakistani statement left it unclear who and how Islamabad would retaliate against, and if the retaliation would be nuclear or otherwise.

"Suffice it to say that Pakistan possesses adequate retaliatory capacity to defend its strategic assets and sovereignty," it said, while insisting, "Our strategic assets are as safe as that of any other nuclear weapons state."

US and Indian officials would not respond on record to the comments, but on background dismissed it as sabre-rattling. One analyst suggested recently that Pakistan had perfected as a national survival strategy a routine of blackmail through suicide threats.

Officially, neither US nor India nor Israel (the third party attributed with a role in any plans to neutralise Pakistan's nuclear weapons) have ever spoken about the issue. Most reports in the media have been based on background briefings by unnamed officials and analysts.
<b>INDO-US Nuclear Deal (Or No Deal): Unraveling The Confusion</b>
<i>By: Seshachalam Dutta & Shreekumar Vinekar </i>

Tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/yrh6a8

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->UNPA has two tunes on n-deal
New Delhi, Nov. 29: Was there a Reliance Energy angle to the mellowed tone adopted by the Samajwadi Party during Wednesday’s debate on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal? The Telugu Desam, the SP’s partner in the United National Progressive Alliance, too passed up an attempt to attack the deal in Parliament.

<b>The SP, a voficerous critic of the deal, did not criticse it in the Lok Sabha. SP senior leader Ramgopal Yadav only sought certain “clarifications” from the UPA government, surprising political observers.
“SP supremo Mulayam Singh is not too bothered about the deal since his turf is Uttar Pradesh and the man running the show is Amar Singh,” </b>said a source.

<b>“It is likely that Reliance Energy persuaded him to support the deal.” Mr Amar Singh is close friends with Mr Anil Ambani of Reliance Energy. According to the source, Reliance Energy and other companies would enter the nuclear energy sector and buy US nuclear reactors if the deal goes through. Underlining the party’s new stance, SP general secretary, Mr Shahed Siddiqui, said on Thursday that the SP is “not anti-America.”</b> The TD which did not put up a vociferous opposition to the deal in Parliament tried to control the damage by restating its stand on Thursday in Hyderabad. The politburo reiterated that the nuclear deal was not in the interest of the nation. <b>TD leader Yanamala Ramakrishnudu who met mediapersons at the NTR Bhavan denied that there was any change in the UNPA stance on the deal. “The UNPA meeting in Vijayawada was categorical that the nuclear agreement would affect India badly,” </b>the politburo said.

It turns out that the TD allowed the opportunity to attack the deal to lapse. Three of its four MPs were absent during the debate: TDP leader K. Yerrannaidu is busy with municipal polls in Palasa and deputy leader Manda Jagannnath is making arrangements for his son’s wedding.

Here comes hafta politicians who are now ruling India. <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
THINKING ALOUD Fighting terror, but not like Bush
Sudheendra KulkarniPosted online: Sunday, September 02, 2007 at 0000 hrs Print Email
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Presidential politics of cynicism

A shaming, and enduring, image from TV news bulletins last week was that of a policeman in Bhagalpur, Bihar, dragging a petty criminal chained to his motorcycle. Most viewers must have wondered in shock: “How can our police be so brutal? How can they take the law in their own hands?”

They should spare a thought for what is happening in the world, including in India’s own neighbourhood, and how the self-appointed global policeman, US President George Bush, has been behaving. Is his conduct less brutal? Is it less illegal? Decide for yourselves.

In March 2003, the commander-in-chief of the world’s mightiest military force ordered the invasion of Iraq without even caring to get the sanction of the UN Security Council. The invading army carried with it crews of American TV channels for a live telecast of the “Shock and Awe” strategy, which in plain terms meant terrorising and killing innocent civilians.

Bush’s ‘justification’ for the invasion? “Iraq has amassed weapons of mass destruction”. However, not a single WMD was found. “Iraq is a haven for al-Qa’ida terrorists.” This claim, again, was a lie. True, Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator, but who authorised Bush to effect a “regime change” in Baghdad? More than 70,000 Iraqis have been killed in the four-and-a-half years of US occupation, many of them in terrorist attacks triggered by the occupation itself, whose cost so far is nearly 500 billion dollars (Rs 22,50,000 crore).

America’s overall military spending is close to $ 2 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) a day. This, when the living standards of the poor and middle classes in the world’s richest country are worsening by the day.

Now, reportedly, Bush has all but made up its mind to attack Iran. In a speech last week, he raised the spectre of a “nuclear holocaust” in West Asia if Iran gets atomic weapons. He accused Tehran of “exporting terror”, and said, “We will confront this danger before it is too late.” Nearer home, in Afghanistan, the US has been at war for seven years, with no end in sight. Obviously, national sovereignty of smaller countries means little to the rulers in Washington, just as it meant little to the communist rulers of the now-extinct Soviet Union.

Norman Solomon, an American critic of his own country’s military-industrial complex and author of the forthcoming book Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State, writes: “The grisly commerce of killing — whether through carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan or through the deadly shredding of social safety-nets at home — thrives on aggressive war and on the perverse realpolitik of ‘national security’ that brandishes the Pentagon’s weaponry against the world.”

Why have I, who began by mentioning the outrageous behaviour of a Bihar constable, digressed into the conduct of the self-styled global policeman? It’s because, in India, there isn’t sufficient outrage at how he is running amok. Our prime minister has praised him as “the friendliest US President”. Quite a few Hindus think that Bush is fighting ‘jihadi’ terrorism and, therefore, deserves our support. The question is: Is he fighting it, or aiding and abetting it? Does it have less sympathisers and recruits around the world, including in India, after the American invasion of Iraq, or more? Osama bin Laden and his fascist ideology of Islamic domination of the world are undoubtedly a grave threat to everything that India holds dear — religious freedom and plurality, secularism, democracy and the ideal of a non-violent and just order for humanity. But is Bush anywhere close to ending Laden’s power and influence? Or is he pursuing his own imperial agenda? And in the process, is he making America and the rest of the world safer, or more vulnerable?

If you need some more stimuli to think about these questions, read a landmark essay titled The Age of Terror, by Robert Fisk, one of the world’s most acclaimed war correspondents (http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk). His latest book, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, an international bestseller, holds a mirror to all that is going wrong in that explosive part of the world, and whose hot winds are now reaching India. Fisk writes: “It’s always been my view that the people of this part of the Earth . . . want freedom. But they want another kind of freedom — freedom from us. And this we do not intend to give them. Which is why our Middle East presence is heading into further darkness. Which is why I sit on my balcony and wonder where the next explosion is going to be. For, be sure, it will happen. Bin Laden doesn’t matter any more, alive or dead. Because, like nuclear scientists, he has invented the ‘bomb’. You can arrest all of the world’s nuclear scientists but the bomb has been made. Bin Laden created al-Qaeda amid the matchwood of the Middle East. It exists. His presence is no longer necessary.”

After the bomb blasts in Hyderabad and in a dozen different places earlier, as we agonisingly ponder over ‘who’, ‘why’ and ‘how to end this menace’, the one conclusion we should unanimously and urgently come to, in our own national interest, is: Let’s delink India’s war on terror from Bush’s dangerous and counterproductive war on terror.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>CPM issues fresh ultimatum to Cong </b>
Santanu Banerjee | New Delhi
<b>'Finish talks with IAEA by December-end or face poll'</b>
At last, the cat comes out of bag. The CPI(M) has said that it allowed the UPA Government to approach the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discuss for India-specific safeguards only because it did not want to create political turmoil at the Centre ahead of the Gujarat poll. 

Sounding a clear warning to the Government and setting a definite deadline to shelve the deal, party general secretary Prakash Karat told members of the Delhi State Conference on Saturday that "permitting UPA to go to IAEA" was a part of understanding as the CPI(M) leadership did not want to disturb the UPA before the Gujarat election.

According to Left sources, Karat said, "We want to defeat the BJP in Gujarat. At the same time, our stand remains clear that by the end of December, the Government should wind up the deal or get ready for a mid-term election."

Incidentally, the Delhi State Conference assumed importance because the meet deliberated on the CPI(M) Party Congress slated for the next March.

Insiders believe that Karat, whose leadership had come under attack over reported softening of party stand on the nuclear deal, had to show to the State leaders that the CPI(M) will go to any extent to oppose the deal. 

That is why BJP should win election in Gujarat to save country from traitors and fascist force who are ruling India.
Hello folks,

Looks like this is another forum where "PM is a traitor" is the refrain ... no doubt everyone with such a view is deeply informed on the details of what is in the mind of the PM ...

even so, if a Babu decides, well within his constitutional right, to align with america, why is it treason?

<b>Please check your facts, Mr Minister</b> <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->By Brahma Chellaney

No issue continues to divide India more than the nuclear deal with the United States. Yet the first debate of 2007 in Parliament on the subject — which showed the deal backers in an abject minority — took place recently without the Prime Minister caring to reply to the concerns expressed by lawmakers. <b>Manmohan Singh also had not responded to the previous debate in December 2006 after the conditions-laden Hyde Act was passed by the US Congress. But at least then he had a reason to proffer: "a throat problem."</b>

As on that occasion, the external affairs minister was entrusted to reply to the latest debate. Speaking first in the Lok Sabha on November 29 after the Opposition had walked out to protest the PM’s refusal to reply, and then in the Rajya Sabha on December 5 — a speech that triggered the Left to stage a walkout with the entire Opposition — Pranab Mukherjee distinguished himself for a meandering response short on specifics but long on hyperbole.

<b>Mukherjee had it all: From self-deprecating remarks ("I am a small fry", and "I am a small man, sir, of less than average intelligence"); to mocking the Opposition ("Why are these people making noise? What type of people they are?"); and to open defiance of the majority will of Parliament ("Sir, in respect of the sense of the House, we have never said that we will take the sense of the House"). </b> <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->

But whenever he dared to go into specifics, he displayed a woeful ignorance of basic facts or even naïveté. Consider the following samples from the transcript of his speeches posted on the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha websites:

* "As per the 1954 Atomic Energy Act of USA — which has been subsequently amended — the US cannot enter into any civilian nuclear cooperation with any country which is not a signatory to the NPT. Therefore, the administration does not have the authority.

A waiver is required under that Act…" (Rajya Sabha).

In the 568-page voluminous text of the US Atomic Energy Act (AEC), the word "NPT" or its full official form, "The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," does not appear even once. By spreading such a fallacy — that US law prohibits "civilian nuclear cooperation with any country which is not a signatory to the NPT" — the minister is only lending credence to the widely disseminated myth that by entering into a deal with India, America is rewarding a country that has not signed the NPT.

The fact is that the NPT does not prohibit civilian nuclear assistance to a non-signatory provided such transfers are subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. In fact, the NPT encourages nuclear technology’s peaceful use and interstate civilian cooperation. If there is any restriction on civilian nuclear cooperation, it is outside the framework of international law and the United Nations, in the form of a US-led cartel — the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, which has episodically changed its guidelines since it was secretly formed in response to India’s 1974 test. Even the NSG, however, conditions civil nuclear exports today not to NPT membership but to the recipient state’s opening of all its nuclear facilities to external inspection. As far as US law is concerned, civil nuclear cooperation with any country or group of nations requires a bilateral accord (the so-called 123 Agreement). But out of the nine conditions (none related to NPT) under the AEC Section 123 applicable to such cooperation, the US Congress has waived only one for India — the requirement for comprehensive IAEA inspections on all facilities.

* The government will "enter into an India-specific safeguard arrangement with IAEA, which is the supreme international body to supervise all matters related to international atomic energy. India is one of the founders of this body in the early 1950s and has contributed in its own way in strengthening this most important and vital regulatory body of international atomic energy" (Lok Sabha).

The IAEA was set up only in 1957, so India could not have been "one of the founders of this body in the early 1950s." The idea to set up such an agency, and its structure and statute, were conceived by an eight-nation group comprising the US, Britain, France, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Belgium and Portugal. As the official IAEA history states, "The structure that the eight-nation group foresaw for the IAEA and several other provisions of the draft that emerged from its discussions were quite close to the final (1957) text of the IAEA’s statute." It was the need to bring in the Soviet Union that forced the group’s expansion to 12 in 1956, with the USSR and Czechoslovakia brought in to represent the socialist bloc and India and Brazil the developing world.

During 1956-57, India tried hard to impede the IAEA’s establishment, and although eventually it joined the agency, it continued its fight from within to prevent a discriminatory system of inspections (safeguards) that would divide the world between nuclear haves and have-nots. Homi Bhabha publicly contended that a safeguards regime would only widen the gap between the developed and developing nations.

Ironically, the first country asked by the US to accept IAEA inspections was India — through a 123 Agreement signed in 1963. So reluctant was India to accept even safeguards at one facility — Tarapur — that it persuaded the US to insert several riders into that 123 Agreement: (i) The IAEA’s safeguards role will "not be implemented until the station has reached reliable full-power operation;" (ii) if New Delhi later declined to accept IAEA inspections, the US will not exercise its right to terminate the agreement "unless there has been widespread acceptance, by those nations with whom it has bilateral agreements, of the implementation of safeguards by the Agency or of provisions similar to those contained" in the accord with India; and (iii) the Tarapur safeguards are a quid pro quo for an exclusive fuel-supply arrangement, with the US required to provide fuel "as needed" by India. Yet in 1978 America broke its 1963 agreement with India by enacting a new domestic law that retroactively rewrote the terms of that bilateral accord.

Today, an economically rising, nuclear-armed India has initialled a new 123 Agreement with built-in discrimination. The accord provides for IAEA safeguards of a type applicable only to non-nuclear states — permanent and legally irrevocable — with the inspections to extend not just to prospective facilities with foreign components or materials, but also to eight indigenous power reactors and a host of other locally built heavy-water and fuel-fabrication plants. With the longstanding critic of the safeguards regime now becoming its cheerleader, Bhabha must be turning in his grave.

* "Yes, as per the Hyde Act, there will be a requirement of presidential determination. To have the presidential determination, the President will have to report to Congress. But, most respectfully, I would like to submit through you, sir, that this is one-time" (Rajya Sabha).

The Hyde Act splits the presidential-determination requirement into two parts. Under Section 104(b), the US President is to certify to Congress that all the listed preconditions have been met to begin nuclear cooperation with India, including that New Delhi has with the IAEA "concluded all legal steps required prior to signature."

Once the 123 Agreement takes effect, the Hyde Act requires the President to certify cyclically that India is meeting all the good-behaviour conditions post-implementation. As the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the Act states, such presidential "certification" has been designed to enforce "India’s continued implementation" of prescribed obligations. In fact, within 180 days of the Agreement’s entry-into-force, the President has to submit a comprehensive "implementation and compliance report" detailing India’s nuclear military activities and its observance of the post-implementation conditions, including on Iran.

* "We are not bound by the Hyde Act" (Rajya Sabha). "How can it be binding on us? As a law passed by the Indian Parliament is not binding (on) US congressmen, similarly a law passed by US congressmen may be binding on the US administration but not on India" (Lok Sabha).

The Hyde Act cannot bind India but it surely obligates the US government to enforce the legislative conditions. By affecting the terms (and fate) of cooperation with India, it impinges on Indian leeway and interests.

Equally important is that Congress, in denying the President the authority he sought to permanently waive relevant sections of the AEC in relation to India, has carved out a conditional waiver authority subject to congressional oversight.

The US has 24 separate 123 Agreements today, but only the one with India is governed by such a country-specific law. The Indian national security adviser indeed is on record as saying that the Indo-US 123 Agreement was negotiated keeping in mind the Hyde Act. "As far as we are concerned, we haven’t breached the Hyde Act… We have seen to (it) that no law is broken," M.K. Narayanan said.

Nothing better illustrates how India has deferred to the primacy of the Hyde Act than the 123 Agreement itself, which does not incorporate the principle that neither party will invoke its internal law as justification for a failure to honour the accord, or provide for an international arbitral tribunal in case of any dispute. Further, to help Washington enforce Indian compliance with the Hyde Act’s conditions, it empowers the US to suspend all cooperation forthwith, without having to assign any reason or bring in an alternative supplier.

Washington’s consistent legal position has been that a 123 Agreement with any state is a requirement under American law and that such an accord lacks treaty status under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which the US hasn’t even ratified. Against this background, the 123 Agreement stands out for India securing the right to worthless "consultations" in return for putting itself at the mercy of the supplier.

The minister shied away from answering troubling questions even about the 123 Agreement, including the lack of an enforceable link between perpetual international inspections and perpetual fuel supply, or why America granted Japan and EURATOM the actual right to reprocess upfront but India is to negotiate a separate accord on reprocessing in the years ahead under Section 131 of AEC. The minister’s refrain was, "I am not an expert, I am a layman like you;" and "I am not a practicing lawyer, I am a humble teacher."

<b>The more one hears the official defence of the deal, the more it sounds like the tale of the blind men examining an elephant. Mukherjee indeed showed he is a cut above the rest: He neatly demolished the PM’s raison d’être for pushing the deal — nuclear energy. "Yes, it is proved, everybody admits that the nuclear energy (from) reactors is definitely costly… nuclear energy if it appears to be too costly today, perhaps, it will not appear that costly tomorrow," he declared.</b>

With the elephant still being scrutinised, "these men of Indostan" will continue to:
<i>"Rail on in utter ignorance
"Of what each other mean,
"And prate about an Elephant
"Not one of them has seen!"</i>
<b>Pro-Deal but Anti-Deterrent</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pro-Deal but Anti-Deterrent

Brahma Chellaney

With the Indian team now in Vienna for further safeguards-related negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency, one remarkable fact has escaped attention in the national debate over the divisive nuclear deal with the United States. Those in the political establishment and outside who are stridently pushing the deal may be a varied lot but share one common trait: None had advocated or desired that India go overtly nuclear. This lot thus is unabashedly blasé about the deal’s fetters on a still-nascent deterrent whose development they didn’t support.

Check their backgrounds and you will find that the deal pushers — whether they are political leaders, bureaucrats, analysts or simply drum-beaters — did not favour testing in the period between 1994 and 1998 when a succession of five Indian governments wrestled with the issue of whether the window of opportunity was closing for India to exercise its long-held nuclear option. In fact, today’s most-ardent deal peddlers — without exception — worked hard within the government or outside in those critical years to stop India from breaking out of its nuclear straitjacket.

A fresh reminder that those for the deal remain against a credible deterrent came during the recent Parliament debate on the subject when the external affairs minister, speaking in place of a loath-to-reply Prime Minister, repeatedly castigated the predecessor government for crossing the nuclear Rubicon, saying that action breached the long-standing official policy to retain the nuclear option, not to exercise it. As Pranab Mukherjee put it, "We used to have a pledge from 1974 till 1998, almost quarter of a century, that we shall keep our options open."

Given the growing conventional military asymmetry with China, India’s need for a reliable nuclear deterrent that can survive a first strike has never been greater. Not only are conventional weapons far more expensive, but India is also heavily dependent on their imports. Yet, through the insidious deal with the US, New Delhi is accepting constraints on its indigenous deterrent’s development, with Mukherjee bluntly telling Parliament that his government and party were a "strong believer in total nuclear disarmament" and did not want India to emerge as a major nuclear power. "That is the foreign policy, that is the philosophy," he proclaimed.

Oddly, such an assertion comes when India has yet to build and deploy even a barely minimal deterrent against China. No government leader has claimed, or can assert, that the country today can effectively deter China, its primary challenge. Indeed, the key task India faces today is to build a stout deterrent, however small, that can help deter an increasingly assertive China that has gone from preaching the gospel of its "peaceful rise" to taking its gloves off.

From provocatively demolishing some unmanned Indian forward posts at the Tibet-Bhutan-Sikkim tri-junction, to aggressively asserting its jurisdiction over islets claimed by Vietnam in the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos, and to sparking diplomatic spats with Germany, Canada and America over the official hospitality or honour they extended the Dalai Lama, Beijing of late has shown an increasing propensity to flex its muscles.

By sheltering behind calcinatory and delusional rhetoric, New Delhi overlooks a central reality: In today’s world, a country can impose its demands on another not necessarily by employing direct force but by building such asymmetric capabilities that a credible threat crimps the other side’s room for manoeuvre. Nothing better illustrates this danger than New Delhi’s own action in pulling the wool over public eyes by denying the Chinese demolition of the Indian forward posts, lest questions be asked at home as to what it has done in response to the provocation. It even goes to the extent of needlessly downplaying the increasing cross-border Chinese military incursions.

The more India falls behind its minimum-deterrence needs, the more likely it will pursue a feckless China policy.

Unlike conventional weapons, systems of nuclear deterrence have to be developed indigenously and without the lure of illicit kickbacks. A decade after declaring itself a nuclear-weapons state, India’s primary focus today is more on buying high-priced conventional weapons from overseas (reflected in its emergence as a top arms importer in the world) than on plugging gaps in its deterrence. Consequently, India’s goal of erecting a credible and survivable nuclear deterrent, as the private intelligence service Stratfor put it, is at least a decade away.

Yet the government pooh-poohs the deal-related implications but flaunts its "firm commitment on disarmament, firm commitment on non-proliferation, which (is) embedded in our civilisation and in our history," to quote the irrepressible Mukherjee. Only powers with surplus or obsolescent weapons needing disposal trumpet their interest in arms control and disarmament, not a nation dependent on others to meet its basic defence needs.

To concerns that the deal impeded India’s deterrent plans and eliminated the leeway the country enjoyed in 1974 and 1998 to test, the minister responded with derision. "Shri Advani also pointed out that there will be no tests. Do you not want Programme III (Pokhran III)?" he taunted the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha who had walked out with his party MPs before the speech.

In the other House, a less-mocking Mukherjee had this to say: "If India considers it necessary, it will undertake the test. As we did it in 1974, as we did in 1998, and the consequences will also follow. It is as simple as that." The minister did not elaborate on what those consequences would be, although they have been spelled out unambiguously by America — the termination of all cooperation, the right to seek the return of what has been supplied, and getting other supplier-states to also cut off cooperation.

Consider this: Those in office today are willing to enter into nuclear cooperation with the US on the explicit understanding that if a future government tested, fuel and spare-part supplies and other cooperation would cease. They are also willing to saddle the country with a host of legally irrevocable obligations — from accepting permanent international inspections on all its civilian facilities to adhering to US-led cartels from which India has been excluded.

There were no such conditions, not even an implied test ban, when India first entered into civil nuclear cooperation with the US in 1963, at a time when it had been militarily humiliated by China and was strapped for cash. Generous low-interest US credit persuaded India to drop its preference for a natural uranium-fuelled power plant and accept a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) station dependent on external fuel supply, in keeping with US policy to sell only such leverage-gaining reactors. Yet when America unilaterally walked out of its 123 Agreement with India in 1978, why did New Delhi not exercise its right to terminate IAEA inspections at Tarapur, the sole plant set up under the accord?

Declassified US documents show that the CIA had correctly assessed that India would not end its obligations even after America had broken its word, but instead would seek US help to find a substitute fuel supplier to keep electricity flowing to the Bombay region. That is exactly what happened. But in return, to this day, India has exacerbated its spent-fuel problem at Tarapur by granting the US a right it didn’t have even if it had not walked out of that accord — a veto on Indian reprocessing of the accumulating discharged fuel.

In that light, ask yourself: Having invested tens of billions of dollars in importing several new nuclear-power plants and having created electricity dependency, would India be able to test, when the basis of new cooperation is an explicit test prohibition written into Hyde Act’s Section 106, an unequivocal US "right of return" enshrined in the 123 Agreement’s Article 14(4), and the recourse to an alternative fuel supplier foreclosed by US law? Even Mukherjee could only waffle.

Still, Mukherjee turned India’s publicly enunciated doctrine of a "credible minimal deterrent" on its head by calling it "minimum credible deterrent," which implies that the deterrent’s credibility would be kept to a minimum — as it has been. "We want minimum credible deterrent, from our security perspective," he declared in the Rajya Sabha. This came after he confessed, "I was a little confused when Shri Yashwant Sinha tried to play with the words ‘credible minimum deterrent,’ whether it is minimal or whether it is minimum or whether it is credible. I then asked my officers to brief me on this."

As defence minister, Mukherjee was down-to-earth and focused on national interest. But as EAM, he risks becoming external to national interests, unless he chooses his briefers more carefully.

This was underlined during the debate not only by the factually incorrect statements he made (highlighted in my last column) but also by the troubling sense of history he articulated: "When in 1974 Shrimati Indira Gandhi went for the nuclear explosion, it was not for indulging in weaponisation… She categorically mentioned, ‘I wanted to have the technology. I wanted to test the competence of the Indian scientists, Indian technicians and Indian engineers’." Here is a senior minister telling the Lok Sabha in earnest that the onerous technology sanctions India still confronts were triggered by a test whose sole purpose was the then PM’s itching but aimless desire to test the competence of scientists and engineers!

Indira Gandhi, India’s only strategically minded PM, was definitely not part of the sizable constituency opposed to nuclear weaponisation that the country has had for long. This constituency has always comprised two groups — those anti-nuclear on honest ideological grounds, including many Gandhians and leftists; and those disingenuously citing pragmatism but being rank ideologues in giving primacy to economics over larger strategic considerations or wanting a nuclear policy that paid obeisance to the nuclear Pope, the US.

Faced with a fait accompli following the surprise 1998 tests, many in the second group were quick to embrace the new reality and some to even welcome it. That matched the nimbleness with which American policy shifted its own goal — from dissuading India from crossing the nuclear threshold to preventing its emergence as a full-fledged nuclear-weapons state by bringing it into the US-fashioned non-proliferation regime. It is that revised goal that today serves as the foundation of a deal whose embedded constraints, in the words of Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joseph Biden, "will limit the size and sophistication of India’s nuclear-weapons programme."

Yet there has been no dearth of reminders since the abortive 1999-2000 attempt to get India into the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that the powerful anti-deterrent lobby has not fully reconciled to the country’s overt nuclearisation. Unable to undo India’s nuclear-weapons-state status, this lot has sought to do the next best it can: Sell India’s nuclear soul. The deal, whose vaunted energy benefits now stand thoroughly discredited, mortgages India’s future security at the altar of US non-proliferation interests.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->From The Sunday Times
January 6, 2008

<b>For sale: West's deadly nuclear secrets</b>
A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.

Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency's Washington field office.

She approached The Sunday Times last month after reading about an Al-Qaeda terrorist who had revealed his role in training some of the 9/11 hijackers while he was in Turkey.

Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.

The name of the official – who has held a series of top government posts – is known to The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the claims.

However, Edmonds said: "He was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives."

She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents.

"If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials," she said.

Her story shows just how much the West was infiltrated by foreign states seeking nuclear secrets. It illustrates how western government officials turned a blind eye to, or were even helping, countries such as Pakistan acquire bomb technology.

The wider nuclear network has been monitored for many years by a joint Anglo-American intelligence effort. But rather than shut it down, investigations by law enforcement bodies such as the FBI and Britain's Revenue & Customs have been aborted to preserve diplomatic relations.

Edmonds, a fluent speaker of Turkish and Farsi, was recruited by the FBI in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Her previous claims about incompetence inside the FBI have been well documented in America.

She has given evidence to closed sessions of Congress and the 9/11 commission, but many of the key points of her testimony have remained secret. She has now decided to divulge some of that information after becoming disillusioned with the US authorities' failure to act.

One of Edmonds's main roles in the FBI was to translate thousands of hours of conversations by Turkish diplomatic and political targets that had been covertly recorded by the agency.

A backlog of tapes had built up, dating back to 1997, which were needed for an FBI investigation into links between the Turks and Pakistani, Israeli and US targets. Before she left the FBI in 2002 she heard evidence that pointed to money laundering, drug imports and attempts to acquire nuclear and conventional weapons technology.

"What I found was damning," she said. "While the FBI was investigating, several arms of the government were shielding what was going on."

The Turks and Israelis had planted "moles" in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. "The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States," she said.

They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking State Department official who provided some of their moles – mainly PhD students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent.

In one conversation Edmonds heard the official arranging to pick up a $15,000 cash bribe. The package was to be dropped off at an agreed location by someone in the Turkish diplomatic community who was working for the network.

The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion. Venues such as the American Turkish Council in Washington were used to drop off the cash, which was picked up by the official.

Edmonds said: "I heard at least three transactions like this over a period of 2½ years. There are almost certainly more."

The Pakistani operation was led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief.

Intercepted communications showed Ahmad and his colleagues stationed in Washington were in constant contact with attach�s in the Turkish embassy.

Intelligence analysts say that members of the ISI were close to Al-Qaeda before and after 9/11. Indeed, Ahmad was accused of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.

The results of the espionage were almost certainly passed to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist.

Khan was close to Ahmad and the ISI. While running Pakistan's nuclear programme, he became a millionaire by selling atomic secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea. He also used a network of companies in America and Britain to obtain components for a nuclear programme.

Khan caused an alert among western intelligence agencies when his aides met Osama Bin Laden. "We were aware of contact between A Q Khan's people and Al-Qaeda," a former CIA officer said last week. "There was absolute panic when we initially discovered this, but it kind of panned out in the end."

It is likely that the nuclear secrets stolen from the United States would have been sold to a number of rogue states by Khan.

Edmonds was later to see the scope of the Pakistani connections when it was revealed that one of her fellow translators at the FBI was the daughter of a Pakistani embassy official who worked for Ahmad. The translator was given top secret clearance despite protests from FBI investigators.

Edmonds says packages containing nuclear secrets were delivered by Turkish operatives, using their cover as members of the diplomatic and military community, to contacts at the Pakistani embassy in Washington.

Following 9/11, a number of the foreign operatives were taken in for questioning by the FBI on suspicion that they knew about or somehow aided the attacks.

Edmonds said the State Department official once again proved useful. "A primary target would call the official and point to names on the list and say, 'We need to get them out of the US because we can't afford for them to spill the beans'," she said. "The official said that he would 'take care of it'."

The four suspects on the list were released from interrogation and extradited.

Edmonds also claims that a number of senior officials in the Pentagon had helped Israeli and Turkish agents.

"The people provided lists of potential moles from Pentagon-related institutions who had access to databases concerning this information," she said.

"The handlers, who were part of the diplomatic community, would then try to recruit those people to become moles for the network. The lists contained all their 'hooking points', which could be financial or sexual pressure points, their exact job in the Pentagon and what stuff they had access to."

One of the Pentagon figures under investigation was Lawrence Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst, who was jailed in 2006 for passing US defence information to lobbyists and sharing classified information with an Israeli diplomat.

"He was one of the top people providing information and packages during 2000 and 2001," she said.

Once acquired, the nuclear secrets could have gone anywhere. The FBI monitored Turkish diplomats who were selling copies of the information to the highest bidder.

Edmonds said: "Certain greedy Turkish operators would make copies of the material and look around for buyers. They had agents who would find potential buyers."

In summer 2000, Edmonds says the FBI monitored one of the agents as he met two Saudi Arabian businessmen in Detroit to sell nuclear information that had been stolen from an air force base in Alabama. She overheard the agent saying: "We have a package and we're going to sell it for $250,000."

Edmonds's employment with the FBI lasted for just six months. In March 2002 she was dismissed after accusing a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving Turkish nationals.

She has always claimed that she was victimised for being outspoken and was vindicated by an Office of the Inspector General review of her case three years later. It found that one of the contributory reasons for her sacking was that she had made valid complaints.

The US attorney-general has imposed a state secrets privilege order on her, which prevents her revealing more details of the FBI's methods and current investigations.

Her allegations were heard in a closed session of Congress, but no action has been taken and she continues to campaign for a public hearing.

She was able to discuss the case with The Sunday Times because, by the end of January 2002, the justice department had shut down the programme.

The senior official in the State Department no longer works there. Last week he denied all of Edmonds's allegations: "If you are calling me to say somebody said that I took money, that's outrageous . . . I do not have anything to say about such stupid ridiculous things as this."

In researching this article, The Sunday Times has talked to two FBI officers (one serving, one former) and two former CIA sources who worked on nuclear proliferation. While none was aware of specific allegations against officials she names, they did provide overlapping corroboration of Edmonds's story.

One of the CIA sources confirmed that the Turks had acquired nuclear secrets from the United States and shared the information with Pakistan and Israel. "We have no indication that Turkey has its own nuclear ambitions. But the Turks are traders. To my knowledge they became big players in the late 1990s," the source said.

How Pakistan got the bomb, then sold it to the highest bidders

1965 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan's foreign minister, says: "If India builds the bomb we will eat grass . . . but we will get one of our own"

1974 Nuclear programme becomes increased priority as India tests a nuclear device

1976 Abdul Qadeer Khan, a scientist, steals secrets from Dutch uranium plant. Made head of his nation's nuclear programme by Bhutto, now prime minister

1976 onwards Clandestine network established to obtain materials and technology for uranium enrichment from the West

1985 Pakistan produces weapons-grade uranium for the first time

1989-91 Khan's network sells Iran nuclear weapons information and technology

1991-97 Khan sells weapons technology to North Korea and Libya

1998 India tests nuclear bomb and Pakistan follows with a series of nuclear tests. Khan says: "I never had any doubts I was building a bomb. We had to do it"

2001 CIA chief George Tenet gathers officials for crisis summit on the proliferation of nuclear technology from Pakistan to other countries

2001 Weeks before 9/11, Khan's aides meet Osama Bin Laden to discuss an Al-Qaeda nuclear device

2001 After 9/11 proliferation crisis becomes secondary as Pakistan is seen as important ally in war on terror

2003 Libya abandons nuclear weapons programme and admits acquiring components through Pakistani nuclear scientists

2004 Khan placed under house arrest and confesses to supplying Iran, Libya and North Korea with weapons technology. He is pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf

2006 North Korea tests a nuclear bomb

2007 Renewed fears that bomb may fall into hands of Islamic extremists as killing of Benazir Bhutto throws country into turmoil

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Australia scraps offer to supply uranium to India  </b>
Natasha Chaku | New Delhi
India's hopes of getting uranium from Australia were dashed on Tuesday with its new Labour Government reversing the previous Howard regime's decision since New Delhi is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith conveyed his country's turnaround to Shyam Saran, special envoy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during talks held in Perth.

<b>"We went into the election with a strong policy commitment we would not export uranium to nation states who are not members of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,"</b> Smith told newspersons after the meeting.

John Howard's Conservative Government had in August 2007 decided to start negotiating uranium trade with India before it lost power in last November's election.

"India is a nation state that is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. I don't think there's any expectation in the international community that it will become a member," Smith said. Australia has the world's largest known reserves of uranium.

Smith described his talks with Saran as a "good and friendly meeting," which included discussions on bilateral trade and the recent cricket dispute between the two nations.

Saran did not comment after the neeting but Smith said the Indian official was not "surprised by the position."
Here goes Moron Singh's last feather.

<b>Russia ready to sign N-plants deal </b>

New Delhi, Jan. 16: <b>In a complete contradiction of the stated Indian position</b>, Russia has confirmed that it was ready to sign the agreement for the construction of four additional nuclear reactors at the Kudankulam power plant and was ready to pursue, "as far as India was willing and ready", civilian nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that "nothing had prevented Russia and India from signing a four reactor accord within the framework of their international obligations". He did not refer to the official government explanation — that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had not been able to sign the agreement for the four nuclear reactors during his visit to Moscow as the necessary IAEA and NSG clearances were required. This ran counter to the Russian position that the four additional reactors were part of the ongoing agreement between Moscow and New Delhi and did not require fresh clearances at all.

Russian Prime Minister Vikor Zubkov is scheduled to visit New Delhi next month and, although according to the news agencies Mr Lavrov avoided a question on whether the nuclear agreement would be signed during his visit, there are no indications from the government here that it has changed its mind and is willing to go ahead. The refusal of Prime Minister Singh to sign the nuclear reactor deal had come in for sharp criticism here from analysts, politicians and former diplomats who wanted to know why India was being denied the benefits of the Russian offer.

<b>It was pointed out that this agreement came without the shackles of the Hyde Act and the 123 Agreement, with sources maintaining at the time that the agreement was not dependent on the waiver from the IAEA and the NSG. </b>

<b>Mr Lavrov has confirmed this view and is the first Russian leader to point out, since the Prime Minister’s visit to Moscow, that Russia had been more than ready to supply the nuclear reactors and could do so without violating international obligations. </b>It now appears that even the initial media briefings by the senior officials accompanying the Prime Minister to China were off the mark on the nuclear issue. Dr Singh, on the way back, had to admit to reporters that China had not actually said it would support India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
<b>Bush happy as Burns agrees to work on N-deal</b>

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