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Why is India rejoicing?

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posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 07:30 AM

The United States has officially acknowledged that India is a special case when it comes to nuclear proliferation. This happened when Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed on the nuclear separation plan on Thursday.

India's impeccable record in non-proliferation over the last four decades was acknowledged and rewarded in a big way.

The Indian government has been insisting for many months that this separation plan has nothing to do with India's strategic nuclear programme. After Thursday's agreement, nothing stops India from adding strength to her strategic programme.

India and the United States moved one firm step forward to eventually signing the ambitious Indo-US Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement.

Now it is for the United States to go to the US Congress for necessary amendments in US laws. Also, the US will approach members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and thereafter we'll go to the International Atomic Energy Agency for India-specific safeguards.

The negotiations were tough and difficult. A lot of effort was put in to take care of India's worry about the reliability of continuous supply of nuclear fuel and also about future nuclear energy power plants that India may build.

Some highlights:
The US government has accepted India's contention that the Fast Breeder Reactors will be kept out of the civilian list.

Nuclear reactors that generate about 65 percent of India's atomic power will now go on the civilian list and thus be open to international scrutiny.
Of India's 22 nuclear reactors, 14 will have safeguards, which will be negotiated with IAEA exclusively. IAEA Chairman Mohamed El Baradei has already welcomed the developments in New Delhi.

The most impressive advantage for India is on 'India specific' terms and conditions that will take care of India's future nuclear energy projects. The separation plan given to the US is only about current projects. The Indian side has taken care of all future nuclear energy plans.

India is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so Indian negotiators had plenty of issues that could have been possible deal breakers. Even after the deal, if fuel supply to any of nuclear plants is discontinued, India will have the right to help itself out. If one partner is not ready then another partner can help India out. These assurances will be 'in- built' in the final agreement.

In short, India certainly, will not be treated as a non-nuclear power State. The agreement with the US will make an exception for India and it has to be specific to India only. The 'India specific' agreement will also be worked out with the IAEA in which there will be a series of assurances including perennial fuel supply.

But this is not a done deal yet. That will happen only after the US Congress approves it and changes US laws. The new agreement will be valid till 2014.

Now that the Bush administration has found India's separation plan to be workable, India hopes President Bush will put his weight behind it to get it approved by the US Congress.

Some pics here, courtesy

[edit on 3-3-2006 by mikesingh]

[edit on 3-3-2006 by mikesingh]

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