[A Milestone in Indo-US Relationship]
The Indo-U.S. Civilian Nuclear Agreement is the name commonly attributed to a bilateral agreement on nuclear co-operation between the United State of America and the Republic of India. On August 1, 2008 the IAEA (International Atomic Energe Agency) approved the safeguards agreement with India. The 45 nations NSG granted the waiver to India on September 6, 2008 allowing it to access civilian nuclear technology and fuel from other countries. The U.S. House of Representative passed bill on 28 September 2008. On October 1, 2008 the US Senate also approved the civilian nuclear agreement allowing India to buy nuclear fuel and technology from the United Status. The Agreement was signed by Indian External Affair Minister Pranav Mukharjee and his counterpart Secretary of State (USA) Condoleezza Rice, on 10 October, 2008.
America amended the section 123 of the US. Atomic Energy Act to permit nuclear cooperation with India and in particular to negotiate a 123 Agreement to operationalize the 2005 Joint Statement.
The 123 agreement defines the terms and conditions for bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation, and requires separate approvals by the US Congress and by Indian cabinet ministers. According to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, the agreement will help India to attain its goal of adding 25000 MW of nuclear power capacity through imports of nuclear reactors and fuel by 2020.
The deal had initial support from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Russia, and Germany. After some initial opposition, there were reports of Australia, Switzerland, and Canada expressing their support for the deal. Selig S. Harrison, a former South Asia bureau chief of The Washington Post, has said the deal may represent a tacit recognition of India as a nuclear weapon state, while former US. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph says the U.S. State Department made it “very clear that we will not recognize India as a nuclear-weapon state”.
Indian PM Manmohan Singh visited Washington D.C on September 26, 2008 to celebrate the conclusion of the agreement with US. President George W. Bush. He also visited France to convey his appreciation for the country’s attitude. India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed his deep appreciation for India’s allies in the NSG, especially the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, Germany, South and Brazil for helping India to achieve NSG’s consensus on the nuclear deal. Former President of India noted Indian scientist, APJ Abdul Kalam, also supported the agreement and remarked that New Delhi may break its ‘Voluntary moratorium” on further nuclear tests in “supreme national interest”.
In response to a growing Chinese nuclear arsenal, India conducted a nuclear test in 1974 (called “peaceful nuclear explosion” and explicitly not for “offensive” first strike military purposes but which could be used as a “peaceful deterrence”).Consequently, India’s nuclear isolation constrained expansion of its civil nuclear program, but left India relatively immune to foreign reactions to a prospective nuclear test. Partly for this reason, but mainly due to continued unchecked covert nuclear and missile proliferation activities among Pakistan, China and North Korea, (India conducted five more nuclear tests in May, 1998 at Pokhran.)
Financially, the U.S. also expects that such a deal could spur India’s economic growth and bring in $150 billion in the next decade for nuclear power plants, of which the US wants a share. It is India’s stated objective to increase the production of nuclear power generation from its present capacity of4000MW to 20,000 MW in the next decade.
Since the end of the Cold War, The Pentagon, along with certain US ambassadors such as Robert Blackwill, has requested increased strategic ties with India and a de-hyphenization of Pakistan with India. Having separate policies toward India and Pakistan rather than just an “India-Pakistan” policy. The United States also sees India as a viable counterweight to the growing influence of China and a potential client for which it must compete with Russia.
On March2, 2006 in New Delhi, George W. Bush and Dr. Manmohan Singh signed a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, following an initiation during the July 2005 summit in Washington between fine two leaders over civilian nuclear cooperation.
Heavily endorsed by the White House, the agreement is thought to be a major victory to George W. Bush’s foreign policy initiative and was described by many lawmakers as a cornerstone of the new strategic partnership between the two countries. The agreement is widely considered to help India to fulfill its soaring energy demands and boost VS. and India into a strategic partnership. The Pentagon speculates this will help ease global demand for crude oil and natural gas.
On August3, 2007, both the countries released the full text of the 123 agreement. Nicholas Burns, the chief negotiator of the India-United States nuclear deal, said the U.S. has the right to terminate the deal if India tests a nuclear weapon and that no part of the agreement recognizes India as a nuclear weapons state. Opposition in Indian Parliament
On July 08, 2008, Prakash Karat announced that the Left Front is with-drawing its support to the government over the decision by the government to go ahead on the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act. The left front had been a staunch advocate of not proceeding with this deal citing national interests.
On 22 July 2008 the UPA faced its first confidence vote in the Lok Sabha after the Communist Party of India (Marxist) led Left Front withdrew support over India approaching the IAEA for Indo-US nuclear deal. The UPA won the confidence vote with275 votes to the opposition’s 256, (10 members abstained from the vote) to record a 19-vote victory
US President George W Bush signed the legislation on the Indo-US nuclear deal into law on October 8,2008. The new law, called the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act, was signed by President Bush at a brief White House function in the presence of the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, Vice-President Dick Cheney and the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Ronen Sen besides a large gathering of other dignitaries. The final administrative aspect of the deal was completed after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee signed the bilateral instruments of the 123 Agreement in Washington on October 10 paving the way for operationalization of the deal between the two countries. Chronology of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal
July 18, 2005: President Bush and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh first announce their intention to enter into a nuclear agreement in Washington.
March 1, 2006: Bush visits India for the first time. March 3, 2006: Bush and Singh issue a joint statement on their growing strategic partnership, emphasizing their agreement on civil nuclear cooperation.
November 16, 2006: The US Senate passes the ‘United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation and US Additional Protocol.
Implementation Act7 to “exempt from certain requirements of the Atomic Energy Act of1954 United States exports of nuclear materials, equipment, and technology to India.”
December 18, 2006: President Bush signs into law congressional legislation on Indian atomic energy.
April 23, 2008: The Indian Government says it will seek the sense of the House on the 123 Agreement before it is taken up for ratification by the American Congress.
June 30, 2008: The Indian Prime Minister says his government is prepared to face Parliament before operationalising the deal.
July 8, 2008: Left parties in India withdraw support to government
July 9, 2008: The draft India-specific safeguards accord with the IAEA circulated to IAEA’s Board of Governors for approval.
July 14, 2008: The IAEA says it will meet on August 1 to consider India-specific safeguards agreement.
July 18, 2008: Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon briefs the IA Board of Governors and some NSG countries in Vienna on the safeguards agreement.
July 22, 2008: The UPA government lead by Dr. Manmohan Singh wins trust vote in the Lok Sabha in India.
July 25, 2008: IAEA secretariat briefs member states on India-specific safe-guards agreement.
Aug 1, 2008: IAEA Board of Governors adopts India- specific safeguards agreement unanimously.
Sept 11, 2008: President Bush sends the text of the 123 Agreement to the US Congress for final approval.
Sept 18, 2008: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee kicks off a crucial hearing on the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Sept 26, 2008: PM Singh meets President Bush at the White House, but was not able to sign the nuclear deal as the Congress did not approve it.
Sept27, 2008: House of Representatives approves the Indo-US nuclear deal. 298 members voted for the Bill while 117 voted against.
Oct 1, 2008: Senate approves the Indo-US civil nuclear deal with 86 votes for and 13 against.
Oct 4, 2008: Secretary of State Rice visits Delhi. India and the US unable to ink the nuclear agreement with New Delhi insisting that it would do so only after President Bush signs it into a law, an occasion when expects certain misgivings to be cleared.
Oct 8, 2008: President Bush signs legislation to enact the landmark US-India civilian nuclear agreement.
Oct 10, 2008: The 123 Agreement between India and US is finally operationalized between the two countries after the deal is signed by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his counterpart Secretary of State (USA) Condoleezza Rice in Washington D C.