Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Mother of the Indo-Us Nuclear Deal (123 Agreement)

The Indo-Us Nuclear Deal is, the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Monmohan Singh pointed out, the logical outcome of the fallout of the next steps towards strategic partnership initiated by the NDA government and the US President Mr. George W. Bush. Besides, the contemporary geo-political reality and the urgency to place India on the global power architecture, numerous other factors pushed the two governments into signing he deal which in reality is a strategic agreement under the guise of an energy deal.

India signed the deal for the under-mentioned reasons:

  • As Dr. Singh came into power, he ordered a comprehensive foreign policy review by a group of strategic experts. This group recommended a closer interaction with the sole superpower of the world in view of the changing global reality. After the Pokhran I nuclear explosions in 1974, India came under heavy US sanctions. The United Nations created a global non-proliferation regime. The sanctions became even more stringent after India conducted Pokhran II nuclear explosions which included a thermo-nuclear test explosion. Restrictions were imposed on space, nuclear and dual use technologies. Scientific, technological and industrial researches and developments in India were badly hampered. In an era when the developing countries were striving hard to progress and India was struggling to become a science superpower, it needed the US help.
  • China’s rapid military modernisation, spectacular economic rise and astounding progress in science and technology compounded with its disturbing presence in Myanmar, its forays into Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Srilanka and Nepal worried the Indian government.
  • Besides, Pakistan became a safe haven of anti-India Islamic terrorists. But it was not easy to contain a Nuclear-armed Pakistan. Its unsafe nuclear arsenal, the terror camps and its anti-India designs became serious causes of concern India calculated, the US in post 9/11 world, could be of immense help to India.
  • India, a developing country, whose economy was growing at almost 9% needed uninterrupted supply of fuel. But the conventional sources of energy being limited and the imported fuel from the gulf being dependent on the whims of the foreign countries coupled with the vulnerability of the sea-lanes, India looked to the nuclear energy route. India’s uranium is of inferior quality. Besides, the sources are extremely limited. Added to this was the anti-uranium mining agitation by the environmentalists. India needed uranium to build N-warheads for nuclear weaponisation programme. But the indigenous sources were not adequate enough to address these two requirements—weaponisation and energy. And India could not import uranium without the IAEA and NSG approval.
  • In the field of oil and gas exploration India was facing stiff competition from China and the world over including Africa, Central Asia and Latin America. India lost the ground to China in Burma too.
  • India despite having a billion-plus population with a commendable multicultural, multiethnic and democratic tradition, was not being counted as a global power. The UN Security Council was being dominated by the P-5 states. India felt the need to get its voice hard in the world arena. This was not possible without the company of the sole superpower.
  • India took into consideration the defence factor too. In the wake of being surrounded by two nuclear power states, it needed sophisticated missile defence items to save itself from the enemy missiles. Though it could not join the US missile defence bandwagon, it could benefit from Israeli assistance, for which the US approval is a must. Besides, it needed the US help in the field of special forces equipment, heavy transport aircraft, long-range navy reconnaissance aircraft, amphibious vessels, anti-submarine systems, electronic warfare items like radars and air-defence items and so on.
  • The disturbing forays of the Chinese in the Indian Ocean Region, necessitated the drift towards the US.

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