Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Nuclear Deal - Rejoinder

This blogger is astonished by the intense negativity in the linked post.

The criticism of the Indo-US nuclear deal has become rather personal -- brazenly accusing Dr. Singh of selling out India's security interests. Sample this from the linked post:

Nonetheless, the charges persist that Manmohan Singh might have traded long term national security for immediate commercial benefit.

First, if such an ugly and personal charge is to be made, why not make it directly rather than hiding behind the construct "charges persist".

Second, to cite Yashwant Sinha and Vajpayee ji as voices of dissent here is laughable -- these folks were pretty close to making a similar deal themselves, then suffered an electoral reverse. Now, their protestations sound like "sour grapes". Afterall, what's Vajpayee ji's legacy? Incompetence in Gujarat, cowardice in Kandahar, the irrelevance of BJP.

Debate is good. Mudslinging is not. Many issues that are being raised relate to steps India has not taken (e.g., agreeing to fissile material cutoff, abiding by CTBT, etc.), nor intends to take. Why then all the alarmist talk?

6 comments:

Kaunteya said...

Afterall, what's Vajpayee ji's legacy? Incompetence in Gujarat, cowardice in Kandahar, the irrelevance of BJP.

Such questions are never easy to answer. After all the person gave us a stable government for more than six years , at a time when governments lasting more than a year was considered an achievement.

It is almost like saying - "What was Nehru's legacy?"
Taking Kashmir to UNO, China war, coining the term - The Hindu Growth rate and ensuring that the economy sticks to that rate?

Or for that matter what was Indira - "ji's" legacy ? License quota raj, nationalization of banks, criminalization of politics?

[ I know PR always has Bangladesh war as an answer for Indira 'ji's' achievements]

Such questions are provocative and that i believe is the intent of the one asking. Because to answer such rhetoric will never be easy.

And as far as "irrelevance of BJP" is concerned ask the people of Bihar or Gujarat. No, actually ask the people of Mahrahstra who have not seen governance since last 7 years. While neighbouring Gujarat has power surlplus, the most "advanced state" in country has load-shedding for 4 hours every day.
Ask people of Gujarat how their Chief Minister is targetting 15% growth rate this year? Ask the people of Bihar who voted out the "relevant" secular forces and voted in "irrelevant BJP" to power.

Ask the more than 20% electorate of the nation who still have faith in BJP. No do not ask the media or Arundati Roy, like who you sound, you will always find BJP irrelevant.

As long as we have Arjun Singhs and Mani Shankar Iyers we will have the relevance of the BJP.

BJP may be media's and people like PR's favourite punching bag, but their government was 100 times better than a government led by a PM who does not know what Arjun Singh is upto. Who does not know what his law minister's next move is. Who cannot even fight an election and go to the people directly.
NDA was much much better , atleast it did not wake up the President of India to use him as a rubber stamp, at 3 in the morning to murder democracy.
Atleast it did not have a Super PM who's inner voice has become the nation's biggest joke. Atleast it did not send it's highest officer to help Quotrochi retrive his millions.

Anonymous said...

Come on, PR : I hold you to much higher standards than such a diatribe. Why such ad hominiuem attacks? Shouldn't you be focusing on Vajpayee's opinions on the nuke deal rather than distracting your readers with irrelevant stuff about Gujarat etc? For that matter, I don't think that Jaffan and CN alleged that MM Singh is *personally* benefiting from the nuke deal : my reading of their statement leads me to believe that their argument is more about trading long-term national security interest for short-term economics and commercial trade benefits - an entirely valid line of reasoning.

Why not address the very substantive issues with the Nuke deal raised by Jaffna and CN in their post? Are you serving the interests of India by missing out on how badly India has been out-negotiated by the US? The reality is that the US is using the deal as an instrument to have control over India's military power in future. FMCT, Test Ban, certification by the president, threat of sanctions, yada yada yada are all different levers that they can yank.

Rule #1 of power strategies is to take away the operating freedom of your adversary and create swrods of Damoclese hanging over their heads when they had none before. This is exactly what the US has done. Sit back and think about this for a minute and the US game plan becomes very clear. This is why you will have Condy Rice shouting from the top of her voice to sell this deal to the Senate : the US *doing India a favour* by *agreeing* to sell billions of dollars of low-risk nuclear power plants which will generate profits and jobs in the US AND getting a veto on India's right to test weapons and prodeuce fissile materials? What's not to like? It's an all-around win for the US while it's a lose-lose for India.

Learn from China : they waited until they could negoiate from a position of strength and did not give away an inch! What's the hurry for India to negotiate this deal here and now? NWS status would have fallen into India's lap 20 years from now anyways, once India had become the third largest economy in the world and achieved nuclear power indelpendence by using the Thorium cycle. The US realized this, saw that MM Singh presides over a weak government, *seemingly* threw some carrots to India which ultimately only benefit their industry and outnegotiated India to tie India's hands forever.

Success in diplomacy is to make your adversary *want* to do what is in your own interests. The number of Indians shouting from their rooftops about how much they need to work the US Congress to ensure safe passage of this deal is a testament to how well US has succeeded by this measure. All the while, they are robbing you blind in broad daylight.

Nitin said...

Much of the heartburn (on the Indian side) over the nuclear accord arises from two misperceptions:

1. That the amount of fissile material and tests that India needs for credible deterrence is open ended

2. That the US-India accord is THE solution to India's energy security, nuclear fuel supplies and technology.

I have previously elaborated on the first point.

On the second, it may help matters if we perceive the US-India accord as the opening of a door, or the beginning of a process. The question is not so much what it means in absolute terms, but what it means at the margins. Are marginal benefits worth the marginal costs? I would contend that this is so. It is not sufficient for the critics of the deal to point out the cons (no pun intended :-). They also have to argue how status quo would have been better (not just from a nuclear warheads point of view).

It goes without saying that there are many more diplomatic battles to be fought. The current one at the US Congress is merely the first of those. (As an aside, I think it actually helps that Indian conservatives/hawks are criticising the deal; too triumphal a response would surely be counterproductive, as the theory of lemons would suggest). India will have to fight off obligatory test-bans or fissile material cutoffs (although these are unnecessary in practical terms).

In the end, the best guarantor of nuclear fuel supplies is greater economic integration with the supplier countries. Suppliers will think hard before shutting off fuel supplies if India is a major trading partner. Eg. the Australia-China relationship. Merely being considered 'legitimate' in one or the other form provides insufficient guarantees.

As for the high-cost of the US made reactors in relation to DAE's budget...well, the thing to do is to get DAE out of business (pun intended). Privatise nuclear production, and sort out the mess that is India's power sector regulation. Finding investors willing to invest in the Indian power sector won't be hard.

Anonymous said...

PR,
After all , in comparison ,what is Manmohan Singh's legacy going to be?. Of being the most short sighted Prime Minister the country ever had because of this deal. Pl read this news item to get a better perspective on why the BJP turned against the deal after initially supporting it

http://www.indiareacts.com/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=1376

I think a much wider debate on the pros and cons of the deal has to be held inthe public forum , just as it is happening in the US Congress.

BangaloreGuy said...

shocked, utterly, by the quality of the rejoinder.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see a single new/good "idea for an Indian century" in this post, Primary Red. Live up to the tagline of your blog! Let's see you talk about the nuclear deal itself and how it compromises India's interests. Redirect your outrage to the incompetent nincompoops running India's foreign policy.

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