Why is the US suddenly trying to be so nice to India? What is the basis for USA’s new found love for India?
Background tale of NPT
India has not signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which recognizes only those countries that have conducted nuclear test before 1967 as nuclear powers! Every sovereign nation has the right to acquire nuclear weapons and the attempt to eliminate all nuclear weapons out of the world should be a global effort, where as an agreement like NPT only creates an elite nuclear club of few nations that have done tests before 1967! NPT is like saying only 5-6 countries can have nuclear weapons and all other countries should not have them. Utter nonsense and childish. India has rightly maintained that it will not sign NPT. As usual Pakistan has said that it will not sign NPT till India signs it!! There is no other logical basis for Pakistani stand. Like India, even Israel has rejected NPT on similar grounds.
Read my earlier article on Indo-US nuclear deal.
The Uranium resources available in India are not adequate to power our nuclear plants. Since India is not a signatory to NPT, the NSG i.e Nuclear Suppliers Group (a group of nations with natural Uranium resources) will not supply Uranium to India.
So US has gone out of its way and created an act called Hyde Act, to allow US to supply Uranium fuel to even those countries which are not signatories to NPT! All this just to enable US to supply nuclear fuel to India. Hyde Act provides a legal basis to the 123 agreement between India and US. Why is US doing all this?
The reason US gives is that it will help solve India’s rising energy needs! From when did US start having such a great concern for India and its needs?
It was the same US which refused to abide by its contractual obligations of supplying nuclear fuel to India in 1974 after India conducted its first nuclear test. US was then supplying fuel to India’s Tarapur nuclear power plant TAPS, and after the Indian tests it simply refused to supply!! And do we have to trust US again? What is the guarantee that US won’t repeat this in the future? And this time there are also legal provisions in the Hyde Act for US to do so!
US itself generates only about 16% of its power requirements using nuclear fuel. Why? If nuclear power is so viable then why not take it to 40-50%? Depending on nuclear reactors is not a joke. A small accident can leave the entire region uninhabitable to years to come. What about terrorist attacks on nuclear plants?
It was the same US which under Richard Nixon sent arms supplies to Pakistan in 1971 via Iran in direct violation of the US laws that had imposed sanctions on Pakistan then. US sent its aircraft carrier USS enterprise to scare India during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, and when India did not care about any possible US intervention, Nixon called the Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi a witch! The then US national security adviser, Henry Kissinger went even further and called Indira Gandhi a bitch and said the Indians are bastards anyway! See related info about these derogatory comments used by the top US administration against India and Indians here .
Who knows, there might be similar comments used even by the current US administration about India (especially about the left parties of India which are against the deal, or even about BJP/NDA for conducting the 1998 nuclear tests), which might get revealed 2-3 decades later!
It was the same US which encouraged China to sell arms to Pakistan! Note that during the cold war Pakistan was an US ally, and the US could not bear the closeness of Indian ties with USSR. And today the same US is saying that Pakistan cannot be considered for a similar nuclear deal like the one with India? Why? Pakistan on the other hand is justified (from its point of view) in feeling betrayed by the US, in spite of them supporting US in the war on terror and during the cold war. It was for the same Pakistan which was an US ally once, that US officials told after 9/11 attacks that be prepared to be bombed back to stone age!
But again, it was the same US which turned a blind eye towards Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions. And now its making all the hue and cry about the Pakistani run nuclear black market!
In other words, all I am trying to say is that there is no true concern about India in this US-Indo nuclear deal. Its again all about US interests. This is bloody international politics, no place for words like emotions, love, respect here. Its all about safeguarding one’s national interests. So India should not be carried away. US is just redefining the playground of international politics.
US is aware that India is becoming a major world power, a stable democracy of over 1 billion people cannot be ignored, and more than anything else it is the foreign policy and economics that matters.
US wants to contain China which it perceives to be a threat to US interests in the future. So US wants to use democratic India as a base against the communist China, the same way it once used Pakistan against India! It is no surprise that immediately after the 123 agreement was announced, Japanese premier Shinzo Abe visited India, stressing the need for a broader alliance of the democracies of Asia (so obviously excluding China)! US wants a US-Indo-Japanese-Austrialian nexus in the region to contain China.
Next US wants India to play second fiddle to its foreign policies like that on Iran. US is at unease with Indian relations with Iran, and wants to use deals like these to dictate Indian foreign policy in tune with its own.
And finally the economic boom of India. Who doesn’t wants money. The Indo US nuclear deal will allow legal framework for contract worth over 150 billion US dollars to american companies! Look at the amount of money India will be spending on American companies. Can’t we save this huge amount of money? A lot of money India is earning due to its economic boom is going back to these countries in this way! Just yesterday India has invited RFP for a global defence tender worth over 42000 crore rupees!!
Every time India buys a commercial aircraft from Boeing or Airbus, every time India buys fighter aircrafts like F-16s, Sukhois, etc spending billions of dollars on them, I would be wondering can’t we build these things on our own and save the huge money and use it for other developmental activities within the country? These spendings are like, not cooking food at home, and instead going to hotel everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, both waste of money and spoiled health :)
The Nuclear Way
I strongly believe that nuclear energy based on fission elements should NOT be a major source of power generation for the world in the future, because of the resulting radioactive pollution and waste problem. We should concentrate on renewable energy resources like solar, water, wind, lava/magma, etc. Instead of depending on one single source as an answer to all our energy requirements, we should follow a distributed and localized approach, like the example mentioned here .
But more importantly nuclear fusion based technology when invented could provide a better answer to world power shortage. Fusion does not leave long term radioactive waste unlike nuclear fission. India is already a member of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project to build an experimental reactor based on nuclear fusion, along with the EU, US, Japan, Russia, China and South Korea. Look at the roles of each country in this project here .
Having said this, India has world’s second largest reserves of Thorium and efforts are on to develop Thorium based fast breeder reactors in India. India would not have required the nuclear deal if we had enough Uranium available. Now that we have Thorium, why not concentrate on it instead and develop Thorium based reactors?
Indian Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) went critical (i.e started power generation) in 1995. FBTR uses indigenously developed plutonium-uranium mixed carbide fuel. All that is left is to succeed in, using depleted Thorium (available abundantly in India) to create Uranium-233, i.e India can still produce Uranium using its available Thorium resources, even if Uranium is not available naturally in India in large amounts! Once we are able to convert our Thorium into Uranium, why do we need this nuclear deal at all? Remember that from an Indian point of view, nuclear deal is all about getting Uranium to be used as fuel to power its nuclear plants.
If people are thinking that the Indo-US nuclear deal is going to solve all our power problems, let there be no illusion about it. Even if we implement the Indo-US nuclear deal today, by 2020 we will be at the most generating 20000 Mega Watt of power using nuclear power, where as the power requirement of India by then would be about 2,50,000 Mega Watt. What a massive compromise for less than 10% of our power needs!! India will become just another country playing second fiddle to the US if we go ahead with this deal. And US foreign policy will dictate what Indian foreign policy would be.
So all I am saying is, lets be practical. There is no rediscovered great friendship and love of US to India here. US is just continuing to play and redefine the game and re-identify its partners and adversaries based on its national interests. India should also look only at its national interests.
Remember that, when US refused to sell Supercomputers to India in the 1980s, Rajiv Gandhi setup C-DAC to build our own indigenous super computers. The result is that today India with its PARAM series of super computers developed by C-DAC, is among the only three countries in the world which have developed their own teraflop super computers (The other two are US and Japan, the Indian version being lot more cheaper in terms of manufacturing cost than those of US and Japan). So India has the proven track records not just in software, but also in hardware. Moser baer is another Indian success story in the hardware field.
If we are to become a future super power, we should remove all kind of dependencies which would come on the way of our independent foreign policies, we should become technologically self sufficient, concentrate on emerging as a third alternative to US and China instead of playing second fiddle to US. That’s the way ahead for a super power India. When I say super power India, I dont mean a super power like USA, I mean much more and much beyond than that! A world leader which treats all other countries on par with it, a world leader which other countries look at not out of fear, but with a feeling of trust.