Saturday, August 18, 2007

Indo-US nuclear agreement

A spokesman of the US State Department, not the President or Secretary of State of that country, makes or is reported to have made a statement about the Indo-US nuclear deal. No body knows what exactly was said, if at all any comment on the agreement was made by the official. And on the basis of that the Prime Minister of India, never mind which party he belongs to, is virtually called a liar. Strange indeed are the ways of the politicians!

Let us have a look at what this is all about. The Government of India presided over by the then Prime Minister moots the idea of the nuclear deal with US. The succeeding government negotiates a treaty after considerable debate at home and claims that the agreement which has been reached is the best in the nation’s interest.

Undoubtedly, such a treaty should be judged dispassionately and objectively, taking into account the country’s sovereignty, energy requirements, technological development India has reportedly achieved so far and those like thorium based operations that are in the pipeline, and economic factors.

The ballyhoo would make one think that we have a nuclear test or two slated for the next few months. Nothing of the sort. The previous government had announced a moratorium on such tests. Only if that self-imposed constraint proves to be ill-advised or intrinsically wrong or irrelevant, the question of further tests arises. In any case, we seem to have reached a stage, like the US, where more tests are not really needed

Now, what happens if we do conduct a test? Will the American Marines storm the beaches of India, pack up all the fuel and equipment they supplied and leave? Or will the US do another Iraq? Not at all. The American Administration at that point of time would handle the situation according to what is best for them. It may be commercially beneficial for them to make some motions of protest and continue business with India as usual.

What if India decides to call off the treaty? We have done that once with Russia. Do the Americans have any recourse? Well, why should we bother? It is their problem.

It would appear that the protesters have no faith in their own country, in its inherent strength, in its people and what its scientists are capable of. India will always be there bright and shining, no matter what an American official is supposed to have said (possibly for home consumption). The US slapped an embargo on us in the past. We carried on nevertheless.

The whole episode reminds me of a story told by Sriman Narayan, a former General Secretary of the Congress Party, decades back. In a once famous East European University, the new generation biology professor was teaching the anatomy of grasshoppers. He had a trained insect in his right palm. When he held up his left palm and ordered, ‘jump’, the grasshopper obeyed.

Now, the next part of the demonstration – The teacher pulled off the legs the insect and repeated the order. The insect didn’t jump. The conclusion given by the professor was that grasshoppers hear through their legs.

Protests and criticisms are fine; that is part of democracy. But warped logic is not.


Also see: India - national symbols


Maddy said...

you are quite right abraham, actions and reactions are not decided by treaties and agreements, but by the circumstances in geopilitics. the treaty is only being made as a temporary CYA (cover your behind) for the business at hand that needs to be concluded, which is a lucriative sale of fuel, rightfully so. i dont see why some stupid party/parties do not see the need to improve the power infrastructure in India!!

Unknown said...

Obviously, some parties follow 'grasshopper' logic.