Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Crux - The Nuclear Fiasco

Though India managed to survive the nuclear embargo imposed and perpetuated by the US via the IAEA and performed creditably, the shortage of nuclear fuel was proving detrimental to the country’s nuclear power program. Nuclear power plants in the country presently contribute a meager 3% of India’s total power and with 8 more reactors planned in addition to the 14 already operational we had to find better means to procure nuclear fuel. Fully aware of this requirement we were intensifying our efforts to scrounge for nuclear fuel within India and were already in talks with many a country of the erstwhile USSR which were beginning to see coherence in India’s demand for fuel especially when the country showed exemplary restraint and maturity when it came to handling and wielding its nuclear capabilities. A headway was definitely on the anvil.

In the midst of this battle for nuclear supremacy and central to this discussion is the stance of the United States towards India with respect to the country’s nuclear weapons program. US, notorious for its bigotry and nepotism, as evident in its support for Chinese communism as against USSR’s socialistic ideology and more recently its acknowledgement of Pakistan’s dictatorship while forcefully excising Iraq of its potentate, Saddam Hussein, was ruthless in its incrimination of India as a potential hazard to the world. A chesty nation characterized by a haughty attitude, America is never known to have rescinded its international policies towards any country but to pursue its vested interests or appropriate valuable resources, the Afghanistan-Iraq fiasco being a good example. Though the current nuclear deal (yet to become formal) appears to be a blessing in disguise to the nuclear fuel strapped India, especially at a time when the Indo-American relationship in the information technology sphere is touching new heights, I am skeptical. America seems to have killed two birds with a single pact, firstly creating overwhelming goodwill in India as being the savior angel to alleviate India’s nuclear woes but more importantly and stealthily gaining the long coveted access to India’s nuclear fortress once thought impregnable. Though the pact allows only selective nuclear reactors, those which India plans to use wholly for the generation of nuclear power for civilian purposes to be under IAEA observation, it doesn’t take too much thinking for me to be convinced that India’s vulnerable bureaucracy and corrupt scientific machinery are too inveigling for tactful America to engage in their recce missions to obtain key secrets about India’s nuclear weapons program to be fueled by the fast-breeder nuclear reactors not under IAEA supervision. Furthering my apprehension is the fact that it is not America but France which is most likely to be benefited by the pact in terms of technology transfer. Also Australia and Kazakhstan will be the biggest gainers as a nuclear fuel trade partners. I have something screaming inside of me which says that there sure is more than what meets eye.

The current situation reminds me of the canine sniffer force that is an integral part of the American president’s security arrangements. Each dog is allotted a separate room in a five star hotel and is to be strictly adverted to as sergeant only. The dogs themselves may feel special despite the fact that they are leashed, thinking the officer who accompanies them has his hand latched to the leash after all, making him as much fettered as they are. But doesn’t everyone in the camp know, who the lieutenant is and who the Labrador!! As the American president takes off on his Air Force 1, overjoyed by his latest triumph do I see one more canine in his sniffer squad, "Sergeant India"?

No comments: