July 31, 2021
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'Historic Day'... 'Black Day'... 'Can't Test'... 'No Change'

Predictably, the BJP and the Left cry about a sell-out while the country's top scientists and even the BJP's NSA is clear that the waiver is historic...

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'Historic Day'... 'Black Day'... 'Can't Test'... 'No Change'

Rajnath Singh, President, BJP:  India has lost power to develop minimum nuclear deterrence as it has given up its right to conduct atomic tests.

Yashwant Sinha, vice-president, BJP:  BJP believes that India has fallen into the NPT trap. India has forever lost the right to conduct nuclear tests
The NSG waiver has come after so many deliberations... Obviously there have been give aways by India. NSG had laid down guidelines which are as stiff as the Hyde Act of the US. Far from being a historic day, it is a historic shame for India. Congress says apartheid in the nuclear field has come to an end. But this apartheid came after the 1974 nuclear test. So is the Congress now discarding the legacy of Indira Gandhi?  The electricity to be provided by this nuclear power will be very expensive and be available only after decades. There were many, many hidden deals behind the NSG waiver. India could not discount the need for further nuclear tests. There is a very strong scientific opinion that you need to upgrade technology. Else we will be frozen in that stage of technology. The Indo-US nuclear deal also does not specify whether there would be uninterrupted nuclear fuel supply to Indian reactors. Will the US ensure lifetime fuel supply to a reactor as was being discussed. Each reactor has a lifetime of 40 years. Considering the number of compromises made by India to get this deal, it would have been better had India signed the NPT directly. The deal leaves a whole lot of undecided issues. We are not getting dual use technology or enrichment and reprocessing technology. But still we are giving up our right to test. Had we signed NPT and CTBT it would have been less onerous. The government had promised in Parliament that India will get clean and unconditional" waiver but later "unconditional" was dropped unconditionally. Since India had gone for this deal, it had frittered away any chance of a legislation here to counter the Hyde Act. Doing so now would not be acting in good faith as India has already agreed to the deal. India has deliberately raised the stakes against testing. It is like inviting the death sentence on India.  The US has gone for the deal because it sees India as a lucrative market for nuclear energy.

Sitaram Yechury, Politburo member,  CPI(M): Initially it appears that India has neither got a clean nor an unconditional waiver because the Australian Foreign Minister announcing the NSG decision expressed happiness that the waiver met the international non-proliferation architecture. There was a strong feeling that the waiver met the NPT guidelines. This implies that India has de-facto accepted the NPT. If this is the case, it is yet another surrender. Initially it looks as if India has accepted in perpetuity not to conduct any nuclear test and in perpetuity accepted the NPT. None of the nine assurances given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have been met and we demand immediate convening of the Parliament session to debate the fate of these assurances.

Communist Party: It is a black day and there is a deliberate attempt to hide the adverse amendments incorporated in the final draft of the NSG waiver.  The NSG has accepted External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement as a commitment by India to surrender its right for future R&D in nuclear technology, including the right to have strategic programmes. Besides, it seems that India has given up its claim on transferring dual use technology. President Bush's letter to US Congress made it clear that Washington would never allow sensitive technology for reprocessing and enrichment to be transferred. If this has been accepted for NSG waiver, then it is not a historic day but a Black Day for India as far as our nuclear programme is concerned. This waiver will kill our efforts to develop nuclear technology based on thorium. The government should not proceed with operationalising the 123 agreements till all ramifications of the NSG waiver become clear.

Anil Kakodkar, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission: There is no explicit mention of (nuclear) testing (in the NSG waiver). The exemption granted to India by the 45-nation cartel met all requirements of the Department of Atomic Energy. We have made no legal commitment (on nuclear tests). India has already made a unilateral, voluntary moratorium on conducting atomic tests. Today is an important day as we have achieved a major breakthrough. The waiver to India is unique as it will open the doors for the country to take part in international civil nuclear commerce after 34 years of isolation. There is no specific targeting of India on anything. I think it is clear that people have understood and recognised the importance of this exemption for India from India's track record, behaviour and energy needs," he said when asked what he felt led to the waiver from the guidelines of the cartel that controls international nuclear trade. India's three-stage nuclear programme will continue. There is a good amount of urgency for enlarging the share of nuclear power and the NSG waiver will enable bringing additionalities to the domestic nuclear programme." India will talk to all countries engaged in nuclear trade and certainly with the US. We have been talking about use of nuclear technology for national development and also meeting national requirements while we have the strategic programme which will go on. Our energy requirement is very large and the opening of civil nuclear commerce will enable is to meet both objectives.

Brajesh Mishra, former National Security Advisor: Of course, BJP has the right to protest, but I think it is good for us for two reasons. One, it opens up nuclear commerce with so many countries which has been prohibited since the last few decades ... Second, it brings India and US close to each other which is what the NDA government was trying to do ... This is one step in that direction. It would open nuclear commerce with several countries and also strengthen Indo-US ties. India needs supplies from outside to sustain its civilian nuclear programme at least for a few more years till it has its own enriched uranium as they are all underground at the moment  I am sure that after the waiver, the 123 Agreement will be approved by the US Congress. The deal is good both for India and the US. BJP have the right to say it and they must exercise that right. However, I feel the BJP criticism of losing the right to conduct future nuclear tests is misplaced. My own view is India is unlikely to undertake any tests in future unless some other country undertakes a test. In that case, the government of the day will have to sit down and have a balance with national security on one side and nuclear civilian cooperation on the other side and it will have to decide. With no other country undertaking any tests, I doubt very much whether the government of today or any other future government will undertake it (nulcear tests). Nuclear testing is not prohibited either under the 123 agreement or by the waiver granted today. Of course you have the consequences ... And those consequences are there even if you don't have the 123 agreement and cooperation with NSG countries.

M.K. Narayanan, National Security Advisor: I am happy. We had asked for a waiver and we have got it. We were a little surprised about China. Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that they would never be a part of the problem and never create difficulties for India. However, we are not a one issue government and just because China did not support India we are not going to have problems with them. The (Chinese) Foreign Minister will come here and we will of course express some kind of disappointment ... Saying that we expected more from them. We cannot choose our neighbours. We have China and Pakistan as neighbours and with both of them we desire to have the best of relations. The US was aware of India's stand on non-proliferation, disarmament and related issues and to a large extent, Britain, France and Russia too were in the know about New Delhi's position on the issues. But many of them (NSG countries) did not have a definitive interaction with us. I think it (Mukherjee's statement) had an electrifying effect on the people who were not sure. It had an effect on the sceptics and straightaway two or three (countries) of them agreed. These were the countries who had stronger views on non-proliferation, disarmament and other related issues and had to be pursued. India still has concerns over fuel supply assurances with us. [On the letter released by the Washington Post]: There were many times during the last 48 hours that the deal may not come through. We are very grateful to the US for the outstanding job they did in Vienna. I think that letter contains certain issue which we will take up with the US.  We have the 123 Agreement with the US, which is awaiting signature. Now the NSG waiver is through we will go through the signature procedure

Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary, I thank friendly countries of the NSG who made significant and positive contribution to the adoption of the waiver. As India was doing something new it was not expecting it to be a very smooth affair. But there was common interest of achieving the goal of opening civil nuclear cooperation on terms which are acceptable to all of us and the commitment to common interests of energy security and clean environment. Doing something new and creative takes some effort. Certain countries had their own positions on the issue and we all worked together to reach a consensus by finding a common ground. There was a huge diplomatic effort by all of us including the US

Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State: It would be good to get everything finalised. I hope we can get it through Congress. The main thing is that the international work is now done. I certainly hope we can get it through. It'd be a huge step for the US-India relationship. This is an important step forward. This is really a very good step forward for the nonproliferation framework. The India deal is landmark. It's no secret that India has been outside the nonproliferation regime for the entire history of its programme. 

Sonia Gandhi, Congress President: I congratulate Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his conviction and commitment to pursue with determination India's integration with the global mainstream to meet the requirements of our energy security.  The NSG waiver marks the culmination of enormous efforts and skillful negotiations by our diplomats and nuclear scientists. Three decades of isolation have ended.  With this decisive step, India will also work along with other countries towards ensuring global energy security and addressing the issue of climate change. This is a tribute to India's impeccable credentials and genuine quest for energy security.

Gordon Johndroe, Spokesman, US National Security:  This is a historic achievement that strengthens global nonproliferation principles while assisting India to meet its energy requirements in an environmentally friendly manner. The agreement is the product of an unprecedented three-year effort by the United States and India and is an important step in strengthening the strategic partnership envisioned by President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The United States thanks the participating governments in the NSG for their outstanding efforts and cooperation to welcome India into the global nonproliferation community. We especially appreciate the role Germany played as chair to move this process forward.

Cheng Jingye, Head, Chinese delegation at Vienna: We hope that the decision made would stand the test of time and contribute to the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear power. It is also China's hope that the NSG would equally address the aspirations of all parties for the peaceful use of nuclear power while adhering to the nuclear non-proliferation mechanism. China would cooperate with all parties on the peaceful use of nuclear power in accordance with its international obligations and on the basis of equality and mutual benefit,

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