Friday, March 17, 2006

brahma chellaney: Capping India's crown jewels

mar 17th

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brahma Chellaney

The Economic Times , March 18, 2006


Capping India's crown jewels


By bowing to the U.S. demand to accept invasive, everlasting international inspections on its entire civilian nuclear programme, India has embarked on a path which, as the Prime Minister admits, is "difficult to predict", writes

Brahma Chellaney



India lives up to George Santayana's saying: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". Wishful thinking, personalised policy-making and disinclination to learn from the past have made India relive history. Take the nuclear deal with the U.S., which was sealed in the final minutes after India agreed to put at least 30 of its existing facilities and all its future civilian reactors under international inspections of a kind that only non-nuclear states accept — invasive, everlasting and legally irrevocable.


             Importing high-priced power reactors dependent on imported enriched-uranium fuel is a path not to energy security but insecurity. India will also be able to import externally determined quantities of natural uranium but only for those indigenous reactors it is placing under outside monitoring. The price it is willing to pay for such dubious benefits is excessive: a cap on its crown jewels (nuclear weapons) in the form of a 30% cut in weapons-grade plutonium and a 65% cut in tritium and reactor-grade plutonium.


Broadly, India cannot correct its current oil reliance on the Gulf region by fashioning a new dependency on a tiny nuclear-supply cartel made up of a few state-guided firms. While oil is freely purchasable on world markets, the global nuclear reactor and fuel business is the most politically regulated commerce in the world, with no sanctity of contract, as New Delhi found out bitterly when America walked out midway through a 30-year nuclear cooperation pact it signed with India in 1963.


Although the 1963 pact had the force of an international treaty, the U.S. amended its domestic law to unilaterally rewrite its obligations and halt all fuel and spare-parts supplies. In spite of such a material breach and the expiry long ago of the 1963 pact, India has continued to exacerbate its spent-fuel problem at the General Electric-built Tarapur plant by granting the U.S. a right it didn't have even if it had honoured the agreement — a veto on any Indian reprocessing of the accumulating fuel waste.


Yet, India has come full circle today, agreeing to separately negotiate a new civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. Just as America succeeded in 1963 to persuade a reluctant India to accept international inspections at Tarapur in return for assured U.S. fuel supply, Washington has again tasted success. This time, however, in return for similarly assured fuel supply, it has influenced India to agree to outside inspections not for a limited period like before, but permanently.


Such is the U.S. accomplishment that the new inspections regime will cover the entire Indian civilian programme and set India apart as the only nuclear power to accept eternal international "safeguards". What U.S.-inspired technology controls against New Delhi could not achieve over the past three decades, Washington has managed to accomplish by offering to open exports to India of uneconomical reactors.


In a repeat of history, the Prime Minister now touts "assured and full access to fuel" for the reactors India will import under the deal. He forgets that the 1963 pact had also linked India's acceptance of outside inspections to the guaranteed U.S. supply of fuel "as needed". The new assurance, ironically, is to be embedded in a fresh Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation accord, which like the 1963 pact will have to be ratified by U.S. Congress.


To underpin America's lynchpin role in holding New Delhi to its legal commitments, the PM has also agreed to enter into a separate "India-specific" trilateral pact involving the International Atomic Energy Agency and the U.S. This is another instance of New Delhi coming full circle: The 1971 "India-specific" trilateral U.S.-India-IAEA agreement did not stop America from breaching its legal commitments. Paradoxically, no sooner the new deal was announced than the U.S. protested Russia's decision to step in again and supply fuel for Tarapur.


India's misbegotten concessions carry far-reaching consequences. India now faces tortuous follow-up negotiations with the U.S., the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers' Club and the IAEA. The IAEA, as an international body operating on the basis of legal instruments, will insist on stringent, enveloping inspections when it negotiates with India a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an "Additional Protocol".


This is more so because, under the deal, India has itself agreed to seek not the voluntary, token safeguards applicable to nuclear powers, but the pervasive, perpetual inspections appropriate to a non-nuclear state. Such inspections will forever pursue by-products like discharged fuel wherever they go.


IAEA inspections fall in three classes: INFCIRC/66, INFCIRC/153 and "voluntary" or titular, dispensable safeguards. After the July 18, 2005, accord said India would "voluntarily" accept IAEA inspections, the PM vowed in Parliament to acquire the "same rights and benefits" as the other nuclear powers and to "never accept discrimination". Yet that solemn assurance now lies in tatters.


To rationalise this cave-in, official rhetoric has sought to sway public opinion through the meretricious argument that the "India-specific" inspections in perpetuity are linked to lasting fuel supply. Fuel supply can cover only the average 25-year lifespan of a reactor, but the binding IAEA inspections will remain in place even after the plant has been decommissioned, perpetually chasing its by-products.


In effect, India has undercut its own case to sign an Additional Protocol granting the IAEA only the nominal, non-interventionist responsibilities it has in the five established nuclear powers. Indeed, India has embarked on a safeguards path which, as the PM concedes, is "difficult to predict". By acquiescing to a status less than that of a nuclear-weapons state even as it retains a nuclear military programme, India can expect the IAEA to enforce fail-safe, verifiable civil-military "firewalls" and maximize its inspectors' intrusive ability to detect the smallest possible diversion from the civilian sector.


More significantly, the deal ensures India will stay a second-rate nuclear power, with its stunted capability unable to aid its world-power ambitions.




Kalyani said...

So sad! Rajeev did make a sagacious observation that the "kimono" must have been opened wider......!!

Kalyani said...

Neither off nor on but the most balanced and an important one from KPS Gill:-

"Pinning hope on Musharraf?

KPS Gill

For decades, the world has struggled to create a system to deal with the worst criminal excesses by national leaders, and the creation of an 'international court of justice' with global powers, has been passionately advocated by many.

It is, however, an idea that has equally been resisted, and it is not difficult to understand why this is the case. The politicisation of such a body would be inevitable, and this is dramatically illustrated by the contrast visible in the international approach to, and treatment of, two contemporary figures: Slobodan Miloševic and General Pervez Musharraf.

Miloševic is a figure reviled by history. He died in ignominy on March 11, 2006, in a UN prison at The Hague, while being tried by the 'International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia', for 'crimes against humanity', genocide and other war crimes.

At the time of his death, his defence was still incomplete after nearly five years of trial, but there is reason to believe that the charges against him were deliberately exaggerated, that he was not, in fact, responsible for ethnic cleansing against Croat, Bosnian Muslim and ethnic Albanian minorities.

Notwithstanding the arguable truth, it is the case that the Tribunal explicitly barred crucial evidence that would demonstrate that, at worst, Miloševic's record was comparable to that of the crimes of the Croats or the Bosnian and Albanian Muslims. Further, after hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, thousands of videocassettes of 'evidence' and tens of thousands of pages of trial transcripts, the prosecution 'failed to present significant or compelling evidence of any criminal act or intention of President Miloševic'.

Indeed, the Tribunal's record of judicial bias is startling, as large bodies of evidence, for instance, regarding the NATO support to terrorists of the Kosovo Liberation Army were 'disallowed', and Miloševic was barred from questioning senior NATO officials along this crucial line, which could have exposed significant NATO and US involvement in fomenting disorders and terrorist activities, and parallel legal processes for their 'crimes against humanity'.

At the other extreme, we find Pakistan's dictator, Pervez Musharraf, with an abysmal record of support to terrorism, of widespread war crimes and atrocities in his own country and across the border, of active participation in nuclear proliferation, of the suppression of democracy and human rights among his country's citizens, being lionised by the international community, feted by the international media and hailed as a messiah of peace, while the truth is, he far more clearly deserves to be tried for 'crimes against humanity' than Miloševic possibly did.

It is useful to review the highlights of Gen Musharraf's 'career' in this regard. Gen Musharraf was 'picked up' by the then military dictator of Pakistan, Gen Zia-ul-Haq, as a young Brigadier in 1987 on strong recommendations from the Jamaat-e-Islami, in part of the Zia gameplan to 'Islamise' the Pakistani Army. Gen Musharraf - despite his more recent advocacy of 'moderate enlightenment' - was perceived as a 'devout Deobandi', who could be trusted to mobilise and train 'jihadis' for the Afghan campaigns against the Soviet Union (at that time vigorously backed by the US, in addition to a gaggle of other unlikely countries, amazingly including China and Israel).

It was during this phase that Gen Musharraf developed contacts with Osama bin Laden, and played an active role in the evolution of the Al Qaeda into an international terrorist organisation. These connections extended right up to the involvement of Pakistani agencies, at least in financial transaction, with the 9/11 conspirators, at a time when Gen Musharraf had already assumed control of Pakistan as its dictator, and a full three years after he had assumed control of the army, and consequently of its intelligence wing, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), which coordinated the overwhelming proportion of terrorist activities in South Asia - including much of what the Al Qaeda did.

In 1988, as a Brigadier charged with suppressing a Shia revolt in Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan, Gen Musharraf used Islamist 'irregulars' from the North West Frontier Province, allegedly under the command of Osama bin Laden, to execute a campaign of pillage, arson, rape and slaughter, in which hundreds of Shia were killed.

Thereafter, Gen Musharraf was intrinsic to the 'demographic re-engineering' of the illegally occupied region, through which large numbers of Pashtun and Punjabi 'outsiders' were forcibly settled there, to alter the existing demographic balance that overwhelmingly favoured the Shias. After decades of this policy, while Shias continue to maintain a slim - though diminishing - majority, the proportions have been altered from 1:4 in their favour, to 3:4.

In 1999, with Mr Pervez Musharraf as its chief, the Pakistan army invaded the Kargil sector of the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir with military formations - particularly the Gilgit Scouts - posing as 'irregulars' or 'mujahideen'. Apart from the gratuitous loss of life on both sides in this failed campaign, Pakistani forces were also guilty of a number of instances of extraordinary torture and mutilation of captured Indian officers and soldiers - offences that have gone unpunished, and must consequently be presumed to have been condoned by the then Chief of Army Staff, Gen Musharraf.

On October 12, 1999, Gen Musharraf overthrew Pakistan's elected government in a bloodless coup - an action that attracted muted international censure and sanctions. Most of these sanctions and punitive measures were withdrawn after 9/11, when Pakistan was elevated to the status of America's preferred ally and partner in the 'global war on terrorism', and Gen Musharraf was personally rehabilitate as a 'friend' of President George Bush.

There is overwhelming evidence that the Pakistani state continues to support and deploy Islamist terrorist organisations even after 9/11, and into the present, despite fitful action against certain groups perceived as threatening Pakistani or US interests, including, apparently, the Al Qaeda.

Since 1999 (Gen Musharraf took over as Army Chief in October 1998), and up to March 13, 2006, Pakistan-backed Islamist terrorists have been responsible for a total of 5,291 civilian deaths in Jammu and Kashmir, in a conflict that has inflicted a total of 19,607 fatalities over the same period. All the groups involved in the 'Kashmir jihad' are essentially sarkari (state sponsored and controlled) Islamist extremist formations working under the direct command of the ISI, and consequently of the Pakistani army and its dictator, Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Under his dictatorship, Gen Musharraf has initiated brutal campaigns of repression and indiscriminate violence against civilians in Gilgit-Baltistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas - particularly Waziristan - the North West Frontier Province, and Balochistan. Year 2005 alone saw at least 648 persons, including 430 civilians and 137 terrorists, killed in Pakistan; by March 13, year 2006 had already recorded 528 dead, including 250 civilians and 225 terrorists.

Given the Governmental efforts to suppress information flows from Pakistan's widening regions of violence, and the indiscriminate and excessive use of force, including widespread use of helicopter gunships, the total number of fatalities, and the number of civilian fatalities included in the 'terrorist' category, may be significantly higher.

Even after 9/11, it remains the case that the overwhelming proportion of international acts of terrorism, as well as the large numbers of Islamist terrorist arrests across the world, have an inevitable 'Pakistani footprint'. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly protested against continued Pakistani support to terrorist groups - including surviving elements of the Taliban - executing a relentless campaign of murder in Afghanistan that cost at least 1,500 lives in year 2005 alone, including 99 US coalition forces.

Inexplicably, this principal sponsor of international terrorism remains the 'great hope' of the war against terrorism, not only in the West in general, but in the US and, amazingly, India as well. Who, then, will vest any confidence in the collective wisdom of the fiction of an 'international community'?"