India's nuclear dilemma


The recent drama in the G-8 declaration that unless India signs the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) it will not get any nuclear enrichment and reprocessing plants as per the Indo-US nuclear treaty has demonstrated the unrealistic approach adopted by India. The unrealistic expectation of India was that by signing the treaty India can somehow avoid the restriction imposed by the IAEA and NSG against proliferations of nuclear weapons.

However, both IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) do not recognise India as a legitimate nuclear weapons state, as they made it clear to India in the treaty that India has signed already as a non-nuclear weapons state. Another unrealistic expectation is that USA wants to set up India as a bulwark against China and in future it would protect India against possible invasion from China.
USA now being financially bankrupt depends on China to revive its economy and the new President Obama, guided by arch-enemies of India like Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Carter, and Madeline Albright, foreign secretary to President Clinton, has already declared the strategic partnership between USA and China.

The nuclear drama
The correct situation is that USA, even the George Bush administration has not offered anything at all to India, but has forced every members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, about 44 countries of the world including Russia, not to supply anything at all to India regarding nuclear energy and related matters.

Russia after India’s nuclear tests in 1974 was the only country for India as a source of materials for the nuclear energy including weapons and nuclear power plants. Russia so far has supplied India heavy water plants, reprocessing plants, Fast Breeder Reactors and two fresh nuclear power plants with the excuse that the contracts for these were signed between India and the Soviet Union, which Russia has to oblige.

However, other member countries particularly USA would not listen to that argument any more and have practically forced Russia to stop supplying any new nuclear power plants or any new supplies for the India’s nuclear industries, unless India would allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). That would practically mean that India has no choice but to abandon nuclear weapons programme and to accept full-scale safeguard from the IAEA so that in future India would not be able to produce any weapons grade nuclear materials either. Due to the objections raised by USA, Russia is disinterested to continue to supply nuclear materials or power plants to India any more.

The nuclear offer of the US was never a friendly gesture to India as the Indian media had tried to portray but a process of surrender for India regarding its nuclear energy and weapons programme. That process was indicated by President Clinton in 1998 when he declared openly that he loathed to even think that India-Pakistan can have nuclear weapons and the objective of the US will be to roll back, curtail and eliminate India’s nuclear weapons programme. George Bush has followed that up using his charm and sweet talks, but the purpose was the same.

USA is not offering India any advanced weapons system or aircrafts. The F-16 or F-18 aircraft, which USA has offered India is equivalent to Russian Mig-29, which India already got about 10 years ago and is under production in HAL factories in India.

India’s nuclear plants
For India, even the supply of adequate amounts of nuclear materials for weapons development is in doubt. The proposed new reactors in Kudankulam cannot be built by Russia any more because of American objections. In Kudankulam Russia already built two reactors and provided low interest loans of $1.5 billion.

The realistic option for India is too wait for the completion in 2010 of Kalapakkam Fast Breeder Reactor, built by Russia to provide India enriched uranium for the nuclear weapons. However, that route also can be closed by USA who is increasing pressure on Russia through the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Unless India abandons its nuclear weapons, it cannot be a member of the NSG either.

The reality is that by accepting American pseudo-friendship India has become weaker than even Pakistan, who has long-range missiles fitted with nuclear weapons imported from China and can be used against India at any time.

India’s policy-makers, mainly diplomats from the Indian Foreign Service, have excelled at surrender. The then India’s ambassador to USA Ronen Sen and the national security adviser Narayanan, had advised the government to surrender to the American demand and to accept the control of the IAEA on the nuclear facilities in India. They have failed to understand and still do not understand, as obvious from the statement made by Pranab Mukherjee that G-8 Declaration against India does not matter.

The nuclear co-operation with USA would start the second phase of surrender to abolish nuclear weapons in India, but Pakistan, as an ally of both NATO and China, would still have nuclear weapons. It is unfortunate that the India’s so-called experts of foreign policy cannot see the reality but have decided to live in a fool’s paradise.

(The writer is a professor in International Economics, Nagasaki University, Japan)

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