Indo-US Nuclear Deal

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The Indo-US Nuclear Deal

The Indo-US Nuclear Deal signed during the recent visit of US President George W. Bush to India is clearly part of a wider strategic partnership into which the US seeks to drag India. The CPI(M) has already noted that the present Government has regrettably allowed itself to be pushed into a slew of agreements in the areas of defence, agricultural research, science and technology, and infrastructure development which seriously damage India’s interests and compromise Indian sovereignty. While the CPI(M) views the nuclear deal within this context, it is also important to take note of the specifics of the deal itself.

In the run up to the Bush visit, the Party had demanded that the separation of civilian and military facilities be phased, voluntary and according to Indian wishes guided by its long-term national interests, that placement of future nuclear facilities under either category be determined by India alone and that Fast Breeders be kept out of safeguards. The Party notes that, due to the strong campaign on these issues by the Left and sections of the scientific community resisting huge US pressure and attempts to shift the goalposts, the Deal has conformed to these positions. It must also be ensured that India’s future energy programme does not become dependent on imported nuclear reactors and imported fuel and must take into account the techno-economics of nuclear energy to determine its quantum in India’s energy basket.

There are still many hurdles to cross even as far as the nuclear deal itself is concerned, and numerous efforts will be made by the US to extract further concessions from India on the nuclear issue as well as on foreign policy matters. The CPI(M) demands that the UPA Government should ensure the following and guarantee the same to the Indian people:

* India’s compliance with the terms of the Nuclear Deal should be fully reciprocal with US compliance, especially no steps on implementing the Deal should be taken by India till the Deal is approved by the US Congress and necessary changes are brought about within the Nuclear Suppliers Group to ensure uninterrupted and unconditional supply of nuclear fuel and nuclear technologies/materials to India

* The UPA government should not accept any further conditionalities or shifting of goalposts by the US, particularly on specious US pleas of “facilitating” the above endorsements by the US Congress

* The India-specific safeguards and Additional Protocol agreement with IAEA should be negotiated ensuring adequate limitations on the inspection access of sites and data, as well as protection of our intellectual property, so that the inspection process does not become an exercise of intrusive evaluation of our indigenous nuclear development programme.

* India must reject the US offer to join their Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) as a ‘client state’ under which, going by the statement of President Bush on February 22, 2006, US and other nations such as Great Britain, France, Japan, and Russia would merely “share nuclear fuel” with India. India has an advanced nuclear energy program and the Government must ensure India’s right to develop and reprocess all nuclear fuels.

* There should be no change in India’s nuclear fuel policy or our three-phase nuclear energy program going upto Breeders and then the thorium cycle.

* all efforts must be made to fully utilize India’s indigenous capability and there should be no large-scale import of nuclear reactors and

* India should not be “boxed-in” to a nuclear energy route for our future energy programme without a detailed examination of the techno-economics of nuclear energy

The CPI(M) warns the UPA government that, in pursuit of the Deal, it should not accept external conditions such as on the Iran nuclear issue, the gas pipeline, or purchases of US military equipment etc. The Government should also renew its commitment towards universal nuclear disarmament as traditionally held by India and enshrined in the New Delhi Declaration, and should initiate measures to convene an International Convention towards this end.