Debate Over India-US Nuclear Deal

For the past few months there has been a heated debate in India about its its nuclear deal with the USA. This is an issue for which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has lobbied hard and tried to get political consensus. In fact, some analysts and observers point out Mr. Singh was ready to go for snap national poll, if required.

The Left Party led by Comrade Prakash Karat, which is an important coalition member of the current government in power has not been in favor of the nuclear agreement with USA. The Indian Political Blog writes:

And then, suddenly, like a Jack in the Box suddenly popping out, the Congress and the Prime Minister appear to have outsmarted the Left.

Where does this leave the Left ? It has an alltime high of 59 MP’s, but Kerala is famous for changing its political mind quickly, and the Left suffered some major reversals in West Bengal local elections, thus ensuring that early next elections could see a much reduced Left MP count. Even now, it could almost seem like that they are no longer relevant.

This past week the government was able to garner the necessary votes and support in spite of the Left Party's opposition.

Touchbase has a succinct post that demystifies the US-India Nuclear deal right from the 123 agreement to the Indian Left party's opposition to the deal. He writes:

So the deal contains many loopholes when it comes to national security. But at the same time helps to satisfy India's growing need for power. So its going to be a tough time for this minority government to finalise a decision regarding the deal.

Prof. T. T. Ram Mohan of Big Picture writes that the India-US nuclear deal has been reduced to a test of patriotism. He goes on to present two contrarian views about the nuclear deal and concludes:

Chellaney is right. This deal is about a strategic alliance with the US to counter the rise of China, it is merely being presented as an energy proposition for political and diplomatic reasons. The real worth of the strategic alliance lies in the transfer of a whole range of advanced dual-use technologies- these technologies cannot be transferred unless India's status as a nuclear power changes.

There are a couple more steps before this deal can be ratified by the US Congress. These steps include getting approvals from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Supplier's Group.


  • …Who is Chellaney in the quoted paragragh? Brahma Chellaney?

  • Sanjoy Das

    Nuclear weapons are a means of advertising a nation’s military prowess. If a nuclear arsenal had no benefits, why is it that the so called P-5 possess it?

    Why must a country of 1.2 billion people (a sixth of humanity), be deprived of all the benefits that come from possessing a nuclear arsenal when much smaller nations, who live in much more secure regions of the world, get away with owning them?

    Why must a nation that never proliferated be penalized for possessing 70 warheads, while another nation, which proliferated to Pakistan, get away scot-free?

    India should never capitulate to international pressure, deal or no deal.

  • Jay

    There are some serious lingering questions for which UPA doesn’t have answers:
    – Analysis of how much the price of Uranium can rise over 40 years?
    – Does ‘corrective measures’ include signing Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty?
    etc have to be addressed. Otherwise we are being coaxed into deep trouble brother. I feel the UPA headed by Congress needs to be more transparent and discuss the questions and find satisfactory answers to themselves before any further move like signing IAEA safeguards.

    Following are the key questions put forth by the Left parties:
    • In case the U.S. or other countries in the NSG renege on fuel supply assurances for imported reactors, will we have the ability to withdraw these reactors from IAEA safeguards?

    • If U.S./NSG countries renege on fuel supply assurances, can we withdraw our indigenous civilian reactors from IAEA Safeguards?

    • If we have to bring nuclear fuel from the non-safeguarded part of our nuclear programme for these reactors in case of fuel supply assurances not being fulfilled, will we have the ability to take it back again?

    • What are the corrective steps that India can take if fuel supplies are interrupted by the U.S./NSG countries?

    • What are the conditions that India will have to fulfill if the corrective steps are to be put into operation? Once the text of the Safeguards Agreement is approved by the IAEA Board of Governors, which is what the UPA Government seeks to do now, the subsequent steps require no participation at all by the Government of India. It is the U.S. Government that takes the next steps – moving the NSG countries for the waiver and then placing the 123 Agreement before the U.S. Congress.

  • […] truth to it. But the problem is that a Global Voices post doesn’t reveal what, for example, Indians have to say about the India-US nuclear deal. Rather, it reveals what three Indian bloggers have to say about it. Are those three bloggers […]

  • Himanshu

    Definitely this deal is not in the interests of india as this will create our dependency over US for Nuclear energy and thwarts our progress in carrying out cut edge thorium research already going.Also it will hamper our deal with iran for a pipeline carrying gas.India has to vote against Iran in Un security council against IRAN.Building nuclear reactors will cost us very more and all our nuclear reactors come under IAEA safeguards.US will come to know abiout our nuclear reactors which are civilian or non-civilian.fissionable material cannot be used in non-civilian reators without US consent.Treaty can be abondoned any time by US if it wants.It can demand all the supplies from India also. Nuclear energy only contributes about 5% of indias security needs and even if we get full nuclear energy from US wecan only utilize some % of it because we donot have the material goods to use nuclear energy as we cannot have cars,buses running on nuclear enery,we cannot have full MW electricity generated form nuclear energy as it needs reactor to build and reactors right now are only at some places . we need to build new reactors but that will take time also it has security aspects related to it.
    The only +ve aspects of deal is that in the future we donot have to import any nuclear energy as we already have full reserves of it in INDIA itself.

    But intead of this if we will develop our own indigenous technology in India regarding Nuclear energy then it will be great. also we can sell it to other nations(only civilian nuclear energy) and get some profit.

  • ibrahim

    There is heat and dust over the nuclear deal between india and us all over india.Indian government itself is hangin on a balance and various political fractions in india have started debate over this issue.But most of the indian people are unaware or even misleaded about this issue by the politicians for their own self interests.But it is a fact that india is on the verge of power shortage and being an emerging economic power,indias demand for power supply is increasing day by day.we can any more depend on hydro electric project only for power generation.

  • ibrahim

    According to various expert nuclear is the most dependable source , cheaper and abundant,for power generation in future.The deal recgnise india as a nuclear power and help india buy nuclear meterials from the countries like Russia, France,Australia besides US.It is not a submission of rights to US as some political parties propogate but a bilateral cooperation between the nuclear producing the deal is a necessity and a step forward to the growth of the country which is an emergin economic power in the world.

  • India is experiencing acute shortage of energy. Use of nuclear energy is economical and environmentally safe option. US-India nuclear deal will help India to meet energy needs, improve economy, accelerate industrial growth, make irrigation affordable. The situation remind me of the struggle for power supply described in the novel “Overload” by Arthur Hiely.
    No other source of energy has the capability to meet India’s present and future demands.
    My detailed blog on the subject is on environmental engineer and responsible citizen I feel it my duty to help government in solving energy crises.

  • […] not time yet, for the ruling party to gloat over their sensational yet marginal victory over the ‘Indo –US Nuclear Deal Issue’ which has long haunted their very existence. But they have emerged as the winners nonetheless. Lok […]

  • […] indiano non può certo esultare per la clamorosa vittoria conseguita, seppur con numeri risicati, sull'accordo nucleare USA-India, intorno al quale ruota ormai la sua stessa esistenza. Eppure è riuscito a vincere a dispetto di […]

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