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India N-powered
Amid the debate on the Indo-US nuke deal, not many people are thinking about the benefits India will reap with its implementation. India's geo-political position is set to change with the pact.
EVER SINCE PRIME Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush started the coveted talks on the historic nuclear deal, there has been a huge public debate on it. The media did its bit by catapulting the issue. Meanwhile, Americans who till now could not locate India on the map, started wondering about the threats to the world peace and US supremacy. In India too, the deal faced severe criticism from different sections.
 
But contrary to the fears on both sides, this deal will change the existing world order for our good. India, hopefully, will become a superpower and one of the strongest allies of the US. The US considers China to be a serious threat as the country continues to march on with its nuclear and space programs. To top it all, China doest not follow democracy. Although the country has embraced capitalism in a certain way, the decisions that rule the country are largely autocratic. Not only this, the country’s support to Pakistan’s nuclear program and indiscriminate arms’ sale to various other countries are considered as a serious threats to world peace.
 
Although Pakistan has been trying to gratify US whenever it can, the fact remains that it is one of the largest breeding grounds for Islamic terrorists who are a constant threat to the US and the western world along with India. And the US knows this too well. In a power equation so skewed, India, as a good friend will be of great use to negate the Chinese threat and gain supremacy over the Indian Ocean and South East Asia.
 
It’s for those in the opposition to know that India, the largest democracy in the world, has never been led by selfish interests. The Kashmir issue may well be something that the world can point out. But even with their point of view, if a country can leave Tibet in Chinese hands and have a sound sleep, then Kashmir was always an integral part of India. India had always showed restraint to go the nuclear way, with not even threatening to employ its nuke capabilities during the Kargil war.
 
Another point in the argument against the deal is that it will solely benefit the US. But, nobody is willing to understand that not only US, India too has a lot to gain from this pact. Through the deal, the US, strategically, accepts India’s nuclear prowess, thus strengthening India’s geopolitical position. Not only this, the deal is also bound to boost India’s chances to make it to the United Nations Security Council. Although the deal does not embody such expectations, it can become an issue to discuss at a later date, of course. The catch is if you trust someone with nuclear weapons then trust them on everything. India will also gain leverage while discussing border issues with its neighbours, especially China.
 
Apart from these strategic advantages, the deal will help India to reap a lot of economic benefits. India’s power need depends highly on conventional sources like coal. India has two available options. First, substandard coal which creates huge pollution and which will eventually get used up. Second, imports of high quality coal, which comes at a high price. None of them are viable as a long-term plan. According to the Planning Commission, India needs to increase its power supply five to seven times to sustain a steady growth of eight per cent per annum till 2031. It is reasonably unlikely that the options available will see India through. The nuclear deal that will help India import Uranium ore and civilian nuclear technology from the developed countries, including the US, can just solve the puzzle of "How to meet India’s growing power needs?”
 
Once the power infrastructure of the country is firmly in place, there will be no looking back for India on the economic front.
 
Now the question is: If everything is so nice about the nuclear deal then why are the opposition parties so worried? Apparently, the Opposition is not clear about its duties in the running of the country. The Opposition has misunderstood that its prime duty is to oppose anything that the government does or undertakes to do. If we closely examine the foreign policies of the erstwhile BJP government, it would be hard to imagine that the same party is opposing the nuclear deal. Mr Jaswant Singh was ready to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Mr Brajesh Mishra used to preach that India could do well if it puts nuclear facilities under safeguard (subject to inspection from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog) in return of Uranium ores. The present deal puts 16 of India’s 22 nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguard and an unprecedented pledge to let India import uranium and state-of-the-art nuclear technology for civilian uses. Undeniably, Mr Manmohan Singh has clinched a better Deal. Is it really a matter of distress?
 
Even the Left, prime ally at the Centre, is up in arms against the deal. For the Left, it seems more of its long-time political line of an undying opposition for anything that is American. As Communists in a democratic set-up they attach scepticism to all things American. Recently in a press conference, Mr Jyoti Basu, the octogenarian leader and member of the CPM politburo, said that US is a “killer state”. If the war in Iraq led him to make that comment, then definitely Mr Basu and his comrades missed out on Russia (then Soviet Union) when it occupied Afghanistan or was fighting a bloody battle in Chechnya. Pakistan, with all its terrorist activities failed to gain the ’title’.
 
The time is ripe for India to come to the forefront of the world political order and raise the bar for economic independence. It will be for their own good if all major political parties overcome their narrow political motivations and come together to create an environment that will make the nation’s future perfect.

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Anti-nuclearist
<p>Indranil, it is a well-written article, but the argument is not sound on all counts. First, you have tried to address the question of pollution arising out of the conventional ways of producting electricity. But, you are silent on nuclear pollution. Please make a categorical answer to the following questions: <b>does the generation of nuclear energy create pollution or not? Does it create more dangerous pollution than the generation of thermal energy does?</b></p> <p>Second, it will be interesting to know why the West, including the US, is not trying to produce nuclear energy on a big scale? The whole middle east is in a mess, because the West, led by the US, wants to control the sources of petroleum energy present there. Why don't they simply shift to nuclear energy in their own countries? The US finds it easier to thurst a war on Iraq than install a new nuclear reactor in the US. It stopped installing nuclear reactors in the 1970s, because it found that not only it is expensive to generate power this way, it is polluting as well. The story in Europe is just the same.</p> <p>Why then they want India to generate power through nuclear means? This is nothing more tha technolgy dumping in the Third World, through which the First World makes money and transfers hazards to the Third World</p> <p>Your opinion about US-China relations is also off the mark. Remember that the economy of China is export driven, and its most-traded partner is the US. If it wants to balance the 'rise' of China by promoting India then it should start importing more from India. But, remember IBM has gone to Lenovo, not to HCL. When in 1980s China decided to attract foreign capital from the US and Europe, there was opposition within the Communist Party of China. But, the US PR machinery gave the same spiel to Chinese middle class as it does to the Indian one today. That how China would be a global leader, how it will be the biggest thing in Asia, how it can overtake Japan economically and technologically and how it can fill the space left vacant by the USSR politically.</p>
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