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MITRAS WEEKLY ESSAY CHALLENGE

May 08 to 14, 2017

 
Write an essay on the following topic in not more than 1000-1200 words:
 

Importance of India-US Nuclear Agreement

  • Deepak Tomar

    In 2005 India US Civil nuclear agreement was signed after signing it carried by The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill to approve the deal on September 28, 2008. It is also called as 123 agreement.
    After all discussion, finally agreement was signed by George Bush and Manmohan Singh in 2008 under all legal laws, India agreed to separate its civilian and military nuclear activity and open up the civilian part to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The basic objective of the deal is to allow the US to have civilian nuclear trade and technology with India besides blazing the trail for the international community to have nuclear cooperation with the country. “It’s an unprecedented deal for India, science and technology fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
    India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and to place all its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and in exchange, the United States agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India. The IAEA Board of Governors approved the safeguards agreement on August 1, 2008, and the 45-state Nuclear Suppliers Group next had to approve a policy allowing nuclear cooperation with India.
    The Act made amendments in the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, allowing private investment in India’s nuclear power program. In case of a nuclear disaster, the Act capped the maximum amount payable by the foreign equipment supplier at a meagre sum of Rupees 1,500 crore, and the remaining amount was to be borne by the Indian taxpayers and the International Atomic Energy Agency. While the license to run the plant was given for 40 years, the supplier was absolved of all liabilities after 10 years of functioning. The document was translated into all languages and copies made available to members of parliament and state legislatures. The media campaign that followed generated adequate public support for the nuclear deal so that every public opinion poll conducted during the period 2006-2008 showed majority opinion supporting the government on the deal.
    It is most beneficial for India and lacking sufficient safeguards to prevent New Delhi from continuing to produce nuclear weapons. “We are going to be sending, or allowing others to send, fresh fuel to India–including yellowcake and lightly enriched uranium–that will free up Indian domestic sources of fuel to be solely dedicated to making many more bombs than they would otherwise have been able to make
    The biggest reason of this deal, because it marked an end to the nuclear apartheid that India was suffering from before this deal was signed. Because we hadn’t signed the NPT, we couldn’t import technology or raw materials required for production of nuclear energy. After this deal and US support to our nuclear programme, we are seen as a responsible nuclear power.
    It released nuclear energy generation was that it would constitute a mere 3.0 per cent of total energy generation at home. In actual fact, in the mid-2000s it was not even 2.0 per cent. Nuclear energy produced with the cooperation of the US would also help to fulfill some of our increasing energy needs. Also, nuclear sources, at present, account for a meagre 2% of electricity generated which warrants increasing its share. India can generate a huge amount of power in this sector, and the dependence on traditional coal and hydel power plants can be reduced to a great extent. Moreover .The Act says the operator of the nuclear plant is liable regardless of the proximate cause of any accident up to an amount of Rupees 1,500 crore on the basis of no-fault liability.
    An important reason why the agreement was projected as an energy initiative was because many in government believed that politically it would be difficult to sell to the public a complex technical agreement without giving it a popular basis. It was for this reason that a document was prepared explaining how the nuclear deal was all about delivering electricity to people, especially power starved rural India.
    And most importantly to improve the relations with China. China’s rise in the region is prompting the United States to seek a strategic relationship with India. “The United States is trying to cement its relationship with the world’s largest democracy in order to counterbalance China,” CFR’s Ferguson says. The Bush administration is “hoping that latching onto India as the rising star of Asia could help them handle China”.
    When the political and business environment is more hospitable for the resumption of a larger civil nuclear energy programme, the U.S.-India agreement, the NSG waiver and the many uranium supply deals India has entered into would all make it easier for new investment to come. In addition to this it brought up the India closer to the United States at a time when the two countries are forging a strategic relationship to pursue common interests in fighting terrorism, spreading democracy, and preventing the domination of Asia by a single power.
    The proponents of the nuclear deal hoped that with easier access to uranium and new nuclear plants, India could try double nuclear generation capacity by 2020. We could thus sign nuclear cooperation deals with other countries, import nuclear raw material, etc.
    The US has agreed to work with India on nuclear issues, because India is a country that is easy to work with, besides being a responsible state and a democracy. The US President is determined to work the agreement and has always been able to get what he wants from the US Congress. The US as the big brother has decided to help India; this would help France and Russia to help India on nuclear energy. We have good chances of gaining membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group and other nuclear regimes as well. AND the nuclear deal was not just nuclear cooperation. “Today we look to the future, a shared future and the partnership to fight against terrorism, to try a new socialist agenda for the 21st century.”

  • Ashish

    IMPORTANCE OF INDIA-US NUCLEAR AGREEMENT
    India is having abundant amount of thorium reserves in the form of monazite sands of Kerala’s coasts.
    India is a tropical country having sunshine year round offering bountiful opportunities for solar development.
    It has more than 7500 kms of coastline which can help reap wind energy and tidal energy.
    With this background one question which lingers in the minds of a layman is that why India signed Indo-US civil nuclear deal in 2008 for which it has to make many sacrifices. Some of them being-
    The CIRUS research reactor located in BARC had been dismantled under the terms of the agreement.
    India has a three stage plan towards developing its civilian nuclear program. The first stage is based on uranium as fuel second stage will use plutonium and the third stage is envisaged to use Thorium, which is found in plenty in India. While the first stage is already up and running a 500 MW reactor, based on second stage is running successfully in Kalpakkam near Chennai. Research on Advanced reactors for the third stage has already started. Once the mastery over third stage is achieved we would be self-sufficient.
    India has agreed to share with US authorities the data on the usage of the nuclear materials over their life cycle. This has been insisted upon by US in order to ensure that enriched material is not diverted for military purposes.

    The Deal
    As envisaged in the nuclear deal India will be provided with advanced nuclear reactors and the fissile materials to operate them upon. While Indian firms will operate the power plants their designing will be done by the US firms. It is also called as the 123 agreement as it amends the Act 123 of the US congress which prohibits the US from having trade in nuclear materials with a country which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty [NPT]. That India managed to pull this off despite not having signed NPT speaks volumes about the importance of this agreement and India’s historical past. India has not signed NPT citing its discriminatory clauses but it has a declared No first use Policy.
    It has already declared that these weapons have been built in order to develop minimum deterrence in view of the hostile neighborhood.
    Now why the US agreed to do so?
    It was not for nothing. One of the reasons often cited is commercial considerations. The deal is expected to create a good number of jobs in addition to the revenues in US on account of the design and manufacturing of reactors. Not only United States but also countries like Canada & Australia which possess abundant Uranium ore deposits shall gain due to mining. However 9 years have passed and a single plant is yet to be started under this agreement that is, the deal’s accomplishments have yet to be seen on the ground.
    The cost of solar power is falling at such a rapid pace while cost of electricity produced from nuclear power plants constructed under the deal is expected to be much higher around three-four times more than solar energy.On the flip side, Westinghouse, which is to develop Kovvada nuclear plant in Andhra Pradesh has filed for bankruptcy.
    In the backdrop of Fukushima many supporters of nuclear power have turned skeptics like Japan has said that it will shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2030.
    Does it mean that so much of political and diplomatic energy expended in this has gone waste? A deeper scrutiny reveals otherwise. Nuclear deal will not just provide electricity but also strategic leverage on the back of big commercial contracts
    Support of US and many other countries ensured that India received one time NSG waiver in 2008. Similarly India received the membership of Missile Technology Control Regime last year with the support of US and other like minded countries. This facilitates not just removal of the cap on some of our missiles but also opens up the potentially lucrative defence market to us. And with defence exports come the strategic projections, much needed in times of increasing protectionism to protect our national interests. We have increased the range of BrahMos missile, which is being jointly developed in partnership with Russia, beyond 300 km.
    Countries like Vietnam have evinced interest in purchasing BrahMos. This not only opened market for India but also for the sanctions hit Russia. It is not just the defence market which may receive a boost other related sectors too are expected to benefit.
    Though oil prices in the International market has started declining but it needs to be kept in mind that the trend may not continue forever. As soon as the global economy recovers oil prices too are expected to follow the suit. This in turn will put upward pressure on our Current Account Deficit in addition to making domestic items costlier in our country. This is corroborated by the fact that with Saudi Arabia putting sanctions on Qatar along with 4 other Nations oil prices suddenly saw an upturn. So to predicate our Energy security on West Asian geo-politics would not be correct. This call for looking at other sources of energy, nuclear being one of them to diversify our energy basket.
    India has started training officials from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in nuclear power. This is based on the anticipation that India will be allowed to trade the nuclear technology with others and that these countries will need nuclear power to fulfill their developmental needs
    Due to non-emission of any Greenhouse gases nuclear power is environment-friendly and it will help India meet its commitments to Paris Agreement. Unlike solar and wind power plants nuclear power plants help in Grid stability. Back in 2008 when the deal was signed cheaper technology for solar power plants had not yet developed.
    On the technology front we are expected to gain a lot. The sophisticated technology is expected to add to learning experience of our public and private institutions which shall be engaged in developing the projects. The number of direct and indirect jobs created on account of the projects and ancillary industries will be immense which will spur growth and development in those regions
    As France voted in favor of India’s UNSC Permanent membership on the back of Rafael orders it is hoped that in future US too may change its stance.
    How much we are able to make out of this deal depends on the political, social and economic environment. Also, people need to be educated about the nuclear energy. The state needs to make the regulatory institutions truly independent so that people start trusting the state. For instance the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board can include some international experts and be granted more autonomy. Displaced people’s livelihood and security concerns need to be factored into account.
    Moreover, companies need to start investing in their employees to acquaint them with the requirements of new technology. It is time to hit the ground and start working early so as to reap maximum benefits.

  • Ashish

    IMPORTANCE OF INDIA-US NUCLEAR AGREEMENT
    India is having abundant amount of thorium reserves in the form of monazite sands of Kerala’s coasts.
    India is a tropical country having sunshine year round offering bountiful opportunities for solar development.
    It has more than 7500 kms of coastline which can help reap wind energy and tidal energy.
    With this background one question which lingers in the minds of a layman is that why India signed Indo-US civil nuclear deal in 2008 for which it has to make many sacrifices. Some of them being-
    The CIRUS research reactor located in BARC had been dismantled under the terms of the agreement.
    India has a three stage plan towards developing its civilian nuclear program. The first stage is based on uranium as fuel second stage will use plutonium and the third stage is envisaged to use Thorium, which is found in plenty in India. While the first stage is already up and running a 500 MW reactor, based on second stage is running successfully in Kalpakkam near Chennai. Research on Advanced reactors for the third stage has already started. Once the mastery over third stage is achieved we would be self-sufficient.
    India has agreed to share with US authorities the data on the usage of the nuclear materials over their life cycle. This has been insisted upon by US in order to ensure that enriched material is not diverted for military purposes.

    The Deal
    As envisaged in the nuclear deal India will be provided with advanced nuclear reactors and the fissile materials to operate them upon. While Indian firms will operate the power plants their designing will be done by the US firms. It is also called as the 123 agreement as it amends the Act 123 of the US congress which prohibits the US from having trade in nuclear materials with a country which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty [NPT]. That India managed to pull this off despite not having signed NPT speaks volumes about the importance of this agreement and India’s historical past. India has not signed NPT citing its discriminatory clauses but it has a declared No first use Policy.
    It has already declared that these weapons have been built in order to develop minimum deterrence in view of the hostile neighborhood.
    Now why the US agreed to do so?
    It was not for nothing. One of the reasons often cited is commercial considerations. The deal is expected to create a good number of jobs in addition to the revenues in US on account of the design and manufacturing of reactors. Not only United States but also countries like Canada & Australia which possess abundant Uranium ore deposits shall gain due to mining. However 9 years have passed and a single plant is yet to be started under this agreement that is, the deal’s accomplishments have yet to be seen on the ground.
    The cost of solar power is falling at such a rapid pace while cost of electricity produced from nuclear power plants constructed under the deal is expected to be much higher around three-four times more than solar energy.On the flip side, Westinghouse, which is to develop Kovvada nuclear plant in Andhra Pradesh has filed for bankruptcy.
    In the backdrop of Fukushima many supporters of nuclear power have turned skeptics like Japan has said that it will shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2030.
    Does it mean that so much of political and diplomatic energy expended in this has gone waste? A deeper scrutiny reveals otherwise. Nuclear deal will not just provide electricity but also strategic leverage on the back of big commercial contracts
    Support of US and many other countries ensured that India received one time NSG waiver in 2008. Similarly India received the membership of Missile Technology Control Regime last year with the support of US and other like minded countries. This facilitates not just removal of the cap on some of our missiles but also opens up the potentially lucrative defence market to us. And with defence exports come the strategic projections, much needed in times of increasing protectionism to protect our national interests. We have increased the range of BrahMos missile, which is being jointly developed in partnership with Russia, beyond 300 km.
    Countries like Vietnam have evinced interest in purchasing BrahMos. This not only opened market for India but also for the sanctions hit Russia. It is not just the defence market which may receive a boost other related sectors too are expected to benefit.
    Though oil prices in the International market has started declining but it needs to be kept in mind that the trend may not continue forever. As soon as the global economy recovers oil prices too are expected to follow the suit. This in turn will put upward pressure on our Current Account Deficit in addition to making domestic items costlier in our country. This is corroborated by the fact that with Saudi Arabia putting sanctions on Qatar along with 4 other Nations oil prices suddenly saw an upturn. So to predicate our Energy security on West Asian geo-politics would not be correct. This call for looking at other sources of energy, nuclear being one of them to diversify our energy basket.
    India has started training officials from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in nuclear power. This is based on the anticipation that India will be allowed to trade the nuclear technology with others and that these countries will need nuclear power to fulfill their developmental needs
    Due to non-emission of any Greenhouse gases nuclear power is environment-friendly and it will help India meet its commitments to Paris Agreement. Unlike solar and wind power plants nuclear power plants help in Grid stability. Back in 2008 when the deal was signed cheaper technology for solar power plants had not yet developed.
    On the technology front we are expected to gain a lot. The sophisticated technology is expected to add to learning experience of our public and private institutions which shall be engaged in developing the projects. The number of direct and indirect jobs created on account of the projects and ancillary industries will be immense which will spur growth and development in those regions
    As France voted in favor of India’s UNSC Permanent membership on the back of Rafael orders it is hoped that in future US too may change its stance.
    How much we are able to make out of this deal depends on the political, social and economic environment. Also, people need to be educated about the nuclear energy. The state needs to make the regulatory institutions truly independent so that people start trusting the state. For instance the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board can include some international experts and be granted more autonomy. Displaced people’s livelihood and security concerns need to be factored into account.
    Moreover, companies need to start investing in their employees to acquaint them with the requirements of new technology. It is time to hit the ground and start working early so as to reap maximum benefits.