Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nuclear Deal - Our Delhi Circus

We are witnessing the “Delhi Circus” being played out everyday and is being brought to us with special comments from a biased media, biased political players, biased scientific establishment and lastly the industry lobby which has its own axe to grind.

The nuclear deal, political brinkmanship, deceit…. are all perfect ingredients to a racy thriller and we have not yet seen or heard the last on this.

What is, however, very surprising is that right from the beginning there is no attempt to examine what is involved in this deal, what are its strategic implications, what are the potential benefits of such an arrangement to us, what could go wrong and how well are we insulated from any such eventuality and in case the eventuality does happen do we have a Plan-B in place.

I understand that it makes no sense to publicly declare all those nuclear sites, which are being used for military purposes, or to discuss the quantum of plutonium we require as a strategic reserve or to debate on the number of nuclear weapons that should form part of the armoury.

It is, however, imperative to discuss threadbare the civilian part of the nuclear deal. It is also important that a clear policy is declared on what happens to the unique Fast Breeder Reactor program, which we have so doggedly pursued over the years and are probably near achieving important breakthroughs.

There are certain perspectives, which I want to lay out and examine.

First the nuclear deal.

a. The Indo-US deal or 1-2-3 Agreement is expected to permit civil nuclear commerce in exchange for full IAEA safeguards only on the civilian nuclear assets,

b. India would be permitted to identify assets used for military purposes and keep them away from international safeguards along with existing stock piles of re-processed uranium, plutonium and _ _ _ number of bombs that we may have,

c. There is the strategic angle of flexibility we will have on nuclear bomb testing and weaponisation,

d. Linked to this is the question of reliability of fuel supplies and whether this could be constantly linked to how well we “behave” (vis-à-vis our nuclear ambitions).

These four broad areas pretty much sum up the nuclear deal on which there seems to be so much hullabaloo. Everything else is incidental to the core. I wonder if these issues can ever be examined dispassionately in detail and we understand how this deal can impact us favourably or otherwise.

Sadly, emotional outbursts seem to be the order of the day and a rational evaluation seems remote.

The moot question is - Are we incapable of ever conducting a rational, organised and a strategic thought process? Overwhelming evidence suggests that we are not, but I am still hopeful.


Krishnan said...

Hi, I happened to visit your blog today and read some of your posts. Quite interesting. I too started blogging from this year on. Do visit when you find time.

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