The slow and deliberately choreographed movement towards revealing the text of the Indo-US 123 Agreement has now reached it’s penultimate stage. Next week, in all likelihood, it will be made available to all. The Indian government has worked to build up opinion across the board through selective briefings (voluntary disclosure: I was in one of them). Two important public briefings have also taken place in New Delhi ( you will have to look in the press briefings for July 27, 07 for the text) and Washington DC. In New Delhi, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Department of Atomic Energy Chief Anil Kakodkar and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon were the briefers, in Washington DC it was US Undersecretary of State Nick Burns.
They are targeting the political class which has been largely ignorant of the issues involved. The Markey riposte was par for the course for the "non-proliferation ayatollahs" in the US. In India, the Left’s reaction has been muted, because it knows that only by bringing down the government can the agreement be blocked. The BJP’s ‘sensible’ wing is for the agreement, though as of now they have merely commended the government’s negotiating prowess. But it has been equally important to get the Congress party on board, and that has been done in Congress-style, by a briefing to the Congress Working Committee and a congratulatory resolution hailing the PM.
There is still a great deal of confusion about the nature of the deal. Let us take up the issues one by one.
Prior Consent for reprocessing: The
Towards this end,
The fact is that such a situation remains in the realm of the future as of now.
Termination of cooperation: The
Fallback safeguards: This has been a contentious issue between the two parties. The US Congress which is asked to cough up funds for various world bodies is worried that if the IAEA goes broke, it may suspend inspections on Indian facilities. So there were calls for “fallback” safeguards, possibly by the
Some larger issues:
Some larger issues:
By and large the
It is our fortune that the geopolitical trends impelled the
But many, especially the old scientists who had borne the brunt of the
Fortunately, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his officials realized that a “need- based” approach works better than a “rights- based” one, especially since the rest of the world doesn’t feel we have the right to anything as non-signatories to the NPT. It is this need-based approach that finally persuaded the