Shri Shripad Naik,
Member of Lok Sabha,
7, Raisina Road ,
New Delhi-110 001
Subject: Concern and Questions over 123 Nuclear Agreement & Hyde Act
I am citizen of Panaji, Goa. I have been greatly concerned about the 123 Nuclear Agreement to be signed as UPA Government. I request you to kindly help me in getting answers to the following questions I have. I hope that as a member of Lok Sabha, and member of Opposition, you can certainly guide and help me with information.
After going through Nuclear 123 Agreement, as a common citizen with my present knowledge, understanding and maturity following are some of my views and questions. (This might change over period of time with more information)
We as a country have to consensus on 3 objectives before we get into this agreement:
- Strategic Alliance-The clear objective that has to be discussed with nation at large is, Is India a threat to US as much as what US Can be threat to India? If US is considered as threat, by consensus, than we must not choose to go ahead with deal for sharing information to such depths. If consensus considers relationship as Ally, then information sharing is good.
- Energy Vision- India has a major energy crisis on cards due to the ever growing Industrialization, exponential demand and regular power cuts in Rural India. Hence, a clear energy gap. As of present, Nuclear Energy is one of the best options to meet this demand or address crisis in the fastest and largest way. As large scale Energy is created in fastest time. But what are the threats we are presently having in India. We have over hundreds of Terrorist Organizations already against India, from Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, to Naxalites. With establishing of several nuclear reactors across India, do we invest more in their security to avert possible long term damage to our fragile environment. Why have developed economies in Europe, moving away from Nuclear Energy to alternative energy such Wind, Tidal etc. Is there some negative experience they have about Nuclear Energy? Since its just one planet we will be using Nuclear Energy, and then dumping nuclear waste on this same sensitive planet or country. Isn't this man-made technology creating more damage compared to existing methods of non polluted power generation? If the present Nuclear Energy vision of present governments backfires in future causing irreparable damage to society and environment, then will these 2 governments be held responsible and subject to prosecution. How much percentage of energy demand will met by Nuclear Energy? Does Nuclear Energy Vision contradict global movements on Climate Change?
- Competitive Scenario- Is the domestic Indian Nuclear companies ready for competition with US or will they be compelled to collaborate rather than compete. What is the FDI Policy for this sector from commissioning of Nuclear Plants to importers / exporters of machinery, technology and raw materials?
The Agreement has its positives and negatives for both countries. Positives for India refers to assistance of technology, management expertise in enrichment, research tie-ups, lifecycle support, IAEA as referee, easier exchange of experts, transparency, greater trust between 2 countries making stronger alliance and policies enabling faster execution of projects to meet the energy demand .
A. Following are some of the Grey areas in the Articles of the 123 Nuclear Agreement:
- Will the information under this article between 2 countries be accessible to private Nuclear Companies?
- The article refers to control of information by both countries which it considers as Restricted Data. What kind of data will be considered as Restricted Data? Can this Restricted Data be very relative in both countries?
- Article refers to sharing of Research Information- But what about possible IP discovered in India or US, isn't that information to be kept confidential?
Article 4-Nuclear Trade-
- Nuclear Trade as such is more viable and profitable to American Companies than Indian. The clause of addressing applications of nuclear companies within 2 month period ensures faster access to Indian energy market. Will the same period of 2 months be given to other nations such as France and Russia?
- Are we ready for exchange of low enrichment uranium & technology for energy needs in return to easier access to market and critical security information?
- If disruption of fuel occurs due to unavoidable circumstances, then both countries will jointly convene a group of friendly supplies from Russia, France and UK. Why jointly and no independence for India to establish supply channels from these nations.
Article 7-Storage & Retransfer- Sharing of list of facilities-
· If Information pertaining to Nuclear Program, locations and research activities are not available to Indian Citizens under Right to Information Act 2005, then how justifiable is it, to make it available to certain departments of another country, whose citizens are not under the jurisdiction or control Indian Administration?
· Which offices private and public in both countries will hold this information?
· Agreement does not refer to trial or compensation relief for any leakage of confidential information.
· With US having strategic alliance with Pakistan, is there possible sharing of sensitive information to our historically violent brother.
· Will US be compelled by Pakistan to offer complimentary arms support and technology, creating another arms race in Indian Sub-Continent?
Article 10-Access to IAEA on all Inventories-
- US have only one visible balancing power that is Russia. Where as India has Pakistan and China. Will such information made to IAEA be considered sensitive to India though it might refer to Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy?
Article 11-Environmental Protection
- There is No mention of compensation to society in case of any damage to environment or citizens. Our learning from Bhopal Gas Tragedy has to be understood by Policy makers. Where senior management of Union Carbide / Dow Chemicals are still liable for punishment, will senior management of companies and governments be held responsible for any possible further such cases.
- If there is 2 month period for addressing grievances of companies doing business, why no time period fixed for compensation or punishment?
Article 14- Termination & Cessation of Agreement
- Agreement applies for a period of 40 years, with one year advance notice for termination and possible withdrawal of technology, raw materials and end products.
- If India develops its Research Strength in next 20-40 years, is it in strategic benefit to choose to share research information. Similarly is it benefit to US to do the same?
Some other questions un-answered are:
· What percentage of energy demand in next 25 years is going to be met with Nuclear Energy? What is number of Nuclear Reactors planned by Indian Government to be established in next 25 years. A control over number of reactors is needed to maintain the balance of dependency on nuclear energy due to its high environment problems. Free market attitude will create over production pushing our natural resources to its limits.
· Present Policy doesn't cover measures to tackle Kickbacks. As India has been very susceptible and many times compromised on several areas such as licenses, health and safety etc. Policy must ensure transparency in dealings and faster trial processes with both countries such as extradition treaty, freezing bank accounts of suspects, etc.
· Since the pool of Nuclear Scientists in India is limited, same pool of scientists might be playing dual role or later be involved in nuclear defense related work. Information regarding such profiles is usually considered confidential for security purposes. Present Agreement enables disclosure of such profiles in form of meetings, exchange visits etc. to private and public offices. Where there is possibility of leakage of information again.
· Agreement fails to address details of Nuclear Waste Management and Rehabilitation measures. If there join commissions to establish implementation of this agreement a necessary body has to be developed whose officers will be held accountable for nuclear waste disposal, management and rehabilitation.
B. Following are certain controversial sections within Hyde Act which needs National Debate:
A. Indian Sovereignty in deciding its foreign policy is debatable:
As per Hyde Act,
- SEC. 103. STATEMENTS OF POLICY.
(b) WITH RESPECT TO SOUTH ASIA.—The following shall be the policies of the United States with respect to South Asia:
4) Secure India’s full and active participation in United States efforts to dissuade, isolate, and, if necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear weapons capability and the capability to enrich uranium or reprocess nuclear fuel, and the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction.
- SEC. 104. WAIVER AUTHORITY AND CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL.
(c) SUBMISSION TO CONGRESS.—
(2) INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED.—
(G) A description and assessment of the specific measures that India has taken to fully and actively participate in United States and international efforts to dissuade, isolate, and, if necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear weapons capability and the capability to enrich uranium or reprocess nuclear fuel
- SEC. 104. WAIVER AUTHORITY AND CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL.
(E)(i) REPORTING TO CONGRESS.—
(2) IMPLEMENTATION AND COMPLIANCE REPORT.—
(E)(i) an assessment of whether India is fully and actively participating in United States and international
efforts to dissuade, isolate, and, if necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear weapons capability (including the capability to enrich uranium or reprocess nuclear fuel), and the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction, including a description of the specific measures that India has taken in this regard; and (ii) if India is not assessed to be fully and actively participating in such efforts, a description of—
(I) the measures the United States Government has taken to secure India’s full and active participation
in such efforts;
(II) the responses of the Government of India to such measures; and
(III) the measures the United States Government plans to take in the coming year to secure India’s full and active participation;
B) Based on the above, following are the questions I have:
- If US is arm twisting our foreign policy to disarm Iran. Why cannot we, as the second largest energy market, ask US to take similar steps to disarm Pakistan as for terrorists to acquire Nuclear weapons Pakistan is more vulnerable than Iran.
- What happens to cultural ties with Iran, and days of Non Alignment Movement? Has the Indian Government taken into confidence the large Indian Muslim population who sympathize with Iran?
- Section 103, b.1 “(1) Achieve, at the earliest possible date, a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear explosive purposes by India, Pakistan, and the People’s Republic of China.” I would like to know what the Indian Government’s opinion on this.
Sir, kindly help me, in getting these questions answered. I feel these legislations can impact the future of our country, and I hope there is a national consensus on them.
Dr. A B Road,
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