We Are Against India-US
By Sandeep Pandey,
Aruna Roy & Medha Patkar
24 August, 2007
Much has been said and written
about the India-US Nuclear Deal; beginning with the statement issued
by many eminent nuclear scientists soon after the talks on the deal
began between India and US governments. Public fora and People's organisations
such as Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace called it anti-Sovereignty.
Today when it is seen as an issue of conflict between the UPA and its
Left front allies, we as representatives of people's movements must
re-iterate our stand, which is that the deal is not just anti-democratic
but against peace, and against environmentally sustainable energy generation
and self-reliant economic development.
The Left front is questioning
the fact that such an international deal with significant implications
is imposed on the Indian people and Parliament, with no public debate
and consultation in India. While US Congress took a year and a half
to discuss the proposed change in the US laws, permitting nuclear commerce
with India, the process in India has been totally undemocratic.
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 sub-continent, 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?
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
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 the Indian parliament.
The UPA government is proving
to be increasingly submissive to the exploitation of our resources,
knowledge and cheap labour by commercial interests and corporate interests.
The BJP and its allies are also in the power game, using capitalist
forces for support. The Left has raised an important issue using their
bargaining power. Non-party people's formations may not have the power
in parliament, but we have an important set of issues that need to be
The Indian Constitution which
allows deal such as this, as well as international treaties and agreements
to be reached without democratic consultation, needs an amendment to
make public debate and referendums mandatory and pre-conditional. We
need an approval from the Indian electorate before we agree to sign
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