India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement
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US India nuclear accord
[ 18 Nov, 2006 0229hrs IST TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
WASHINGTON: A Congresional conference is a place where a bill goes in looking like a duck and comes out like a chicken, a critic of the American legislative process once said.
Though the US Senate has cleared the nuclear deal by a thumping margin, New Delhi is justifiably cautious because there is still some distance to go before the Bill becomes law. And the 'conference' is one of the most dynamic steps.
At the 'conference', the Senate Bill must be matched with the House version, which passed in July by a vote of 359 to 68. Representatives from both chambers will meet — most likely in December — to approve that final language before it is sent to the President for his signature, after which it becomes law.
Expect lots of deal-making and compromises. For instance, in the Senate bill there are several sections which are not entirely to India's liking.
The Senate legislation prescribes at least eight "Certifications" including one which saysPresident shall keep the appropriate Congresional committees fully and currently informed of the facts and implications of any significant nuclear activities of India, including the construction of a nuclear facility in India after the date of the enactment of this Act;Significant changes in the production by India of nuclear weapons or in the types or amounts of fissile material produced; changes in the purpose or operational status of any unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle activities in India.
The Senate Bill also enjoins the President to provide a detailed description of:US efforts to promote national or regional progress by India and Pakistan in disclosing, securing, capping, and reducing their fissile material stockpiles, pending creation of a world-wide fissile material cut-off regime, including the institution of a Fissile
Material Cut-off Treaty;The reactions of India and Pakistan to such efforts New Delhi could find some of these provisions intrusive or unwarranted and might strive to have this deleted at the conference stage.
While the Bill moves to the conference, the administration has to notify lawmakers about the specifics of an enabling bilateral 123 Agreement with India. India also has to sign a safeguards agreement and Additional Protocol with the IAEA.
Then there is a small matter of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group which has to agree with the US move to enable nuclear commerce with India.
Since the nuclear group operates by consensus, objections by even countries such as Sweden and Ireland, would stymie the deal, not to speak of the shadow of China (which is also a member of NSG) hanging over the deal.
Impact over 10 years: 2015
The Times of India, Jul 26 2015
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar
The 10th anniversary of the BushManmohan Singh nuclear deal has been a low-key affair. Obama and Narendra Modi did not rejoice from the rooftops. The respective ambassadors of the two countries wrote a joint op-ed hailing the improvement in bilateral ties. Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment declared with enthusiasm, “What a deal!“ Yes, the deal has indeed brought positive changes, and some run deep. Yet the glass is just half full. The deal's highlight was supposed to be massive foreign investment in Indian nuclear power in India, with 10,000 MW each from the US, France, Japan and Russia. Alas, just 2,000 MW has been signed with Russia, and absolutely zero with the others. India's nuclear legislation capped liabilities of suppliers. In there is an accident, the liability mostly falls on the operator--the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). But international lawyers say one clause of the law enables individuals to demand massive damages from equipment suppliers using tort law, enough to bankrupt any supplier. Although the Indian government and Attorney General have sought to assuage their fears, foreign companies remain fearful, and with good reason. Indian courts have gone activist, and will probably award massive damages on the ground of natural justice, regardless of formal laws. The Russians alone are go ing ahead since their supplier is government-owned and cannot go bust.
On the positive side, the lifting of nuclear sanctions has enabled India to stockpile imported uranium. Back in 2005, some Indian reactors were running at just 50% capacity (domestic uranium supply was insufficient).They are now running at 82%. Moreover, India has been able to commission new 500 MW reactors, and a 750 MW reactor is coming. They are guaranteed ample imported fuel.
Before 2005, many sensitive technologies were withheld from India. After the Bush-Singh deal, those are increasingly available. India has struck several defence deals for the most sophisticated US armaments. In 2014, the US held more military exercises with India than any other country .
The terms of engagement have been transformed, says Tellis. Earlier India was the main target of US nu clear sanctions. Today it is increasingly seen as a natural US partner, though not a natural ally . Strategically, a strong India is seen by the US as a natural check on China, with out implying any specific military issues or Indo-US deals.
This explains why the US has backed India's bid for the UN Security Council.
These are unquestionably significant developments.
Yet their impact should not be exaggerated. Despite major military exercises, India will never ally with the US in the South China Sea or Middle East. Obama's pivot to the East has by no means focused on India. When the US had max imum leverage in Pakistan, it could have insisted that Pakistan allow goods to pass seamlessly from India to Af ghanistan. This would have helped Afghanistan as well as India. Yet the US failed to overcome Pakistan's objections to this. It is ridiculous that India has to ship goods to Af ghanistan via Iran. As the crow flies, Kabul is closer to Delhi than Mumbai, but is a very distant trade destination.
The 2005 nuclear deal was supposed to do much more than lift nuclear sanctions. The US was supposed to help integrate India into the complete global arms and nu clear networks through membership of four pacts--the Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenar Arrage ment, Australia Group and Nuclear Suppliers' Group. But the 10th anniversary has come and gone and India is not yet a member of any of these four groups. Progress has been too slow. The US seems reluctant to spend the political capital needed to force India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers“ Group. This will allow In dia to export nuclear reactors.
Officials say Indo-USA trade is up from $30 billion in 2005 to almost $100 billion; most Fortune 500 companies are already invested in India; one lakh Indian students go to the US every year while a million Ameri cans visit India; and the Indian di aspora now occupies top positions in every US walk of life. True, but many of these trends were strong even before the nuclear deal. The Indian diaspora had galloped upward in numbers and clout long before 2005.
Indians had become a major force s and Silicon Valley well before 2005. in US universities and Silicon Valley well before 2005.
The US was India's top export destination (over 15% of exports) even during the Cold War. Its share is now 12 13%, and exports to the UAE have in some years over taken exports to the US.
So, the glass is half full. The main thing, as Tellis says, is that the terms of engagement have changed. The short term gains have been limited, but the long