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Friday, August 24, 2007

The Voice of (some) People on Nuclear Deal...

Hot Press...just now got to see this Rediff Article by Sandeep Pandey, Medha Patkar and Aruna Roy (read full story at

...The deal is part of a successful attempt by the United States to build a strategic relationship with India, in confronting the rising capitalist challenge from China where India will be used as its client in the region. Directly or indirectly, the US will also enter the Indian subcontinent, to manage intra-regional, inter-country relations. This whole process is likely to escalate the arms race between Pakistan and India, sabotaging the India-Pakistan peace process. How can we ignore that fact the US sells arms to both India and Pakistan? and I add, how can you ignore the fact that unless India were to enter into such an exclusive relationship, how can Pakistan be cajoled to enter into one too and thereby ensure continuous market for nuclear based technology in the sub-continent for the USA.

The agreement also facilitates a full-fledged international exchange of nuclear fuel and technology with insufficient caution and control. There will no doubt be a corporate rush to extract, export and misuse nuclear fuel and technology, and it will be very difficult to prevent misuse even for the arms trade. Highly superficial clauses don't instill any confidence against such a possibility.

However, our basic objections to this deal stem from our opposition to the production and use of both nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The irreversible dangers of radioactivity and its ongoing impact on health, water, and the environment are factors that are being summarily dismissed in an irresponsible manner. The whole cycle of nuclear production beginning with uranium mining, is fraught with catastrophic dangers, and as a nation we cannot use the decisions of another country as justification for our own. Places like Jaduguda in Jharkhand, Kota and Pokhran in Rajasthan, have already demonstrated the ongoing dangers of nuclear use to the common citizen.

We, in India, have inherited rich renewable sources of energy, which are environmentally benign and abundantly available. The solar, wind, and ocean waves along with human power need to be fully tapped and put to use with people's control. Appropriate technology, research and development for production of cheaper equipment and tools, need to be combined with just distribution, for the right priorities. There is no political will for this in the ruling establishment. Estimates show that India can generate far more energy through alternative, environmentally sound sources. The nuclear energy option should be put up for widespread public debate giving citizens a full opportunity to make an informed choice.

This deal, however, raises questions beyond nuclear energy, opening up large spaces for US government and corporate control in India. This, no doubt, is a symbol of imperialism already demonstrated through the Iraq war and the obvious links of US policy with corporate control over resources. With unbound exchange of information, data and material, knowledge and technology the dominant global power is all set to encroach upon Indian reserves and impinge upon our sovereignty. The deal ensures supply of sufficient nuclear material to nuclear reactors in India for the next 40 years, but the precautionary agreements to negotiations and consultations are only promises for the future. All this is subject to approvals and conditions to be monitored by the US Congress, while sidelining Indian Parliament....

Ditto. Though I have little doubt about demanding tall order such as amending constitution. my earlier blog posting...

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