INDO - US Nuclear Deal - Online Article

What is the INDO - US Nuclear Deal ?

Indo - US civilian nuclear agreementis the name commonly attributed to a bilateral agreement on nuclear cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of India. The framework for this agreement was a Joint Statement by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President George Bush, under which India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place its civil facilities under IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)safeguards and, in exchange, the United States agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India. According to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, the agreement will help India meet its goal of adding 25,000 MW of nuclear power capacity through imports of nuclear reactors and fuel by 2020.

Advantages of this Deal for India

Today's agreement also means that the hurdles faced by India in procuring nuclear technology and fuel have been removed for good. Moreover, all other current restrictions on India'saccess to America's high and dual technologies will also be withdrawn as aresult. Delhi will be able to do much more business with the US in fields barred to Indians hitherto, with the expectation that the volume of trade between the two countries will double within the next two years from the current US$ 24 billion.

Today's agreement is a win - win situation from the Indian point of view. India will be able to build more nuclear power plants. At present it has 15 functional plants with an additional seven under construction. India stuck to it guns during the course of tough negotiations during the last few months. It did not agree to open all its nuclear facilities to international inspection. Instead, it ingeniously divided its facilities into "civilian" and"military" ones and agreed to open only the former to international inspection.     According to currently available information, India will place 14 out of its 22 plants under the civilian list. Delhi thinks that the nuclear energy is the answer to its ever - growing needs for power. With this deal India will not have to depend totally on foreign oil and gas for its increasing energy needs.

Our PM’s viwe on this Agreement

NEW DELHI: With less than a week to go before a crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday pitched for nuclear energy as a"clean" alternative that would enable India to meet the twin challenges of energy security and climate change - and also end its global nuclear isolation.

"All over the world, there is growing realization of the importance of atomic energy to meet the challenge of energy security and climate change," Manmohan Singh said in his address to the nation from the Red Fort on India's 62nd Independence Day.

"It is a clean, environmental friendly and renewable source of energy," he underlined, with an eye on those countries in the NSG that still have reservations on some aspects of the India - US civil nuclear deal.

Linking the nuclear agreement with national development, the prime minister contended that it would end India's nuclear isolation.

"The nuclear agreement that we are negotiating with developed countries will end India's nuclear isolation," he said in a clear effort to present the deal not just as an agreement with the US but with leading powers of the world.

"It will open up new opportunities for trade in dual - use high technologies and nuclear materials and equipment, opening up new pathways to accelerate industrialization of our country."

Listing the benefits of the nuclear deal for the common man, he said: "It will enable us to provide electricity to meet the needs of our farmers, our artisans, our traders and our industry."

He also lauded India's "world class" atomic scientists andtechnologists for "developing nuclear energy capacities despite heavy odds".

"But there are handicaps which have adversely affected our atomic energyprogramme. We have inadequate production of uranium. The quality of our uraniumresources is not comparable to those of other producers," he said, explaining the reasons why India went for a nuclear deal with the US.

"Many countries have imposed sanctions on trade with India in nuclear materials, nuclear equipment and nuclear technology. As a result, our nuclear energy programme has suffered," he said.

The NSG will meet in Vienna Aug 21 - 22 to decide on amending its guidelines to restore global nuclear trade with India, three decades after such trade was suspended following New Delhi's 1974 nuclear tests.   India hopes the NSG will approve the India - US nuclear deal by consensus, paving the way for the US Congress' nod, likely early next month.

Views of various Political Parties on this Deal


Although many mainstream political parties including the Indian National Congress support the deal along with regional parties like Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Rashtriya Janata Dal its realisation has run into difficulties in the face of stiff political opposition in India. Also, in November 2007, former Indian Military chiefs, bureaucrats and scientists drafted a letter to Members of Parliament expressing their support for the deal. However, opposition and criticism continued at political levels. The Samajwadi Party (SP) which was with the Left Front in opposing the deal changed its stand after discussing with ex - president of India and nuclear scientist Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Now SP is in support of the government and the deal. Indian Government survived a vote of confidence by 275 - 256 after communists withdrew their support to the government over this dispute.


The main opposition party BJP which laid the groundwork for the deal criticized the deal saying that the deal in its present form was unacceptable to BJP and wanted the deal renegotiated. The BJP had asked the government not to accept the deal without a vote in the parliament. However, the government remained stead fast on its commitment to the deal and has refused to back down on the agreement. 81 year old veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, in a statement to the Indian Express newspaper, seemed to indicate willingness to support the government provided some legislative measures. However his party refused to follow that line and stuck to its earlier stand.


The primary opposition to the Nuclear deal in India, however, comes from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its parliamentary allies (CPI, RSP, AIFB) November 17 the left parties had provisionally agreed to let the government initiate talks with the IAEA for India specific safeguards which indicated that they may support. The CPI (M), an external parliamentary supporter of government as it stipulates conditions that in some areas are more severe than the clauses in either the NPT or the CTBT. The left front formally removed the support to UPA - led government on July 8.


In 2006, some Indian ex - nuclear scientists had written an appeal to Indian Members of Parliament to ensure that "decisions taken today do not inhibit India's future ability to develop and pursue nuclear technologies for the benefit of the nation".


The UNPA was divided over support of the nuclear deal. While the SP supported it after consultations with Abdul Kalam, the other members of the UNPA led by the TDP opposed it saying that the deal is against India's interest. The SP was eventually suspended from the UNPA  Bahujan Samaj Party. The BSP also opposed the nuclear deal, saying that it was anti - muslim. The party joined hands with the Left Front and the TDP invoting against the government in Parliament on the nuclear deal.

Requirement of Power

The most important requirement for India’s Economic Growth in the coming years will be the power & infrastructure. The argument put forth favouring the 123 Agreement says that - "we need Nuclear Power Production to be increased to meet the demand."

Power Production in India

Presently following are the figures: "Thermal Power 66%,    Hydel Power 26%,    Solar & WindPower 5% "- Presently Rs.600 Crores are spent for producing this power.    Nuclear Power 3% - If this is to be increased to 6%, it requires additional Rs.50,000 Crores.  Naturally it will be wise to increase other 3 modes of power production rather than the expensive & dangerous Nuclear Power. Isn’t ??


We used to import Uranium from various other countries. After the Pokran Test, we are not getting it. To augment the supply, we need to sign the 123 Agreement to get Uranium from USA. But we will have to  declare to USA from which power plant India takes raw material for producing Atom Bomb. Why should we disclose our internal secrets to those rascals ? Willany one allow an outsider to continuously monitor  what’s happening in your Hall & Kitchen of your house ? Other study reveals that Uranium is available in India a plenty. Only hurdle is the acquisition of land. To produce Atomic Power & Bomb in the next 40years, the requirement of Uranium is 25,000 MT whereas the availability is78,000 MT across India.


Presently 35% of Plutoniumis used to produce Atomic Bombs. After signing the Agreement, we will be allowed to use only 10%. Who are those rascals to restrict the usage of our natural resource ? That is though you are capable of cooking & eating 10idlis as your breakfast, you are allowed only 3 idlis henceforth. How can it be ? Why should we accept this ?


As told by Dr. A. P. J., we have abundant Thorium. In fact we are the 2nd largest producer of Thorium next only to Australia. India has to explore this further for producing power. For your information, inSouth India - particularly around Kanyakumari, the availability of Thorium is abundant.

Why it is called as 123 Deal

What is 123Agreement ?

This is called 123 Agreement because this comes under USA’s Atomic Power Act Section 123.Let’s see how India’s (Indians ?) Sovereinty & Independence are pledged.

  1. After this Agreement USA will supply all fuel, machinery / equipment & technology to India for producing Nuclear Power.
  3. All these days from about 22 Nuclear Power Plants, India is producing power as well as Atom. It’s a high security / secret that from where which is produced, how much is produced, where it is supplied, what research is being done with that, etc. to anybody. But if we sign this Agreement, we have to disclose these secrets and also agree to 14 of our Nuclear Power Plants to be under the scanner of International Atomic Power Organisation.
  5. The fuel utilised toproduce Atomic Power can be recycled for reuseand this plant will be underdirect supervision of IAPO.

If India does nuclear test, this agreement gets cancelled. But

  1. USA will take back allthe machinery / equipments / technology supplied to India thus far.
  3. Those 14 plants will continue to be under scanner irrespective of the status of the agreement.

On the other hand, if any of the commitments given by USA is breached by them, then there is no clause for cancelling this agreement. The agreement is apparently like this. USA can either hug India or slap India. India will not ask why are we hugged or why are we slapped. On the other hand, India cannot hug or slap USA for breach of agreement.

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