brahma is one determined man, and he has the facts and figures at his fingertips.
manmohan singh will eventually be voted the worst prime minister india has had -- and god knows india has had some specimens already who didn't set a very high bar.
he tells the brits he's grateful for them taking $10 trillion away from india and murdering 30 million indians.
he tells the yanks that he's willing to give up india's nuclear assets in return for flattery and vague promises.
the brits had legendary prime minister neville chamberlain who proclaimed "we have peace in our times" immediately after being totally fooled by the nazis.
india can now produce its own legendary prime minister who proclaims "enlightened national interest" immediately after being totally taken to the cleaners by the yanks. and it's not as though the yanks are that smart -- see how they have gotten themselves into a royal mess with the tar baby of iraq. so if manmohan singh is bested by americans with IQs at the rough 100 level (average joe), one wonders about the IQs of the current indian dispensation. or is it that their "inner voices" tell them everything?
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Asian Age, March 11, 2006
Meet Mr. Goalpost Shifter
What does one say about a Prime Minister who makes one solemn promise after another in Parliament, only to break them? A PM who signs an accord with the United States that caps the size of his country's crown jewels ― its nuclear weapons ― and then helps Washington to shift that very deal's goalpost? Meet Manmohan Singh, who justifies both his rush into a July 18, 2005, accord (whose "final draft came to me from the US side" after reaching Washington, as he conceded in Parliament) and his subsequent goalpost-shifting assistance in the name of "enlightened national interest" ― a concept he chooses, like his concessions, to leave wisely unexplained.
Let the enlightened PM's record speak for itself on each key deal-related issue ― through his own words, and those of his American interlocutors. The record brings out in clear relief that while US officials do what they say, the PM says what he doesn't mean to do.
■ PARITY. After returning home from Washington, he vowed in Parliament on July 29, 2005, to "acquire the same benefits and advantages" as the other nuclear powers and "never to accept discrimination". He went on to assure: "Predicated on our obtaining the same benefits and advantages as other nuclear powers is the understanding that we shall undertake the same responsibilities and obligations as such countries, including the United States. Concomitantly, we expect the same rights and benefits". To squelch any scepticism, he replied to the debate in Lok Sabha this way: "Atalji also asked this question. We have not been recognised as a nuclear weapon state … We have, I think, an explicit commitment from the United States that India should get the same benefits of civilian cooperation as advanced country like the United States enjoys".
Today, having accepted second-class status for India on issues ranging from international inspections to fuel supply, he hopes the nation has forgotten his pledge. In fact, to prepare the ground for his acquiescence to inequitable provisions through the elimination of the accord's central plank ― parity ― he admitted in Parliament on February 27, 2006, that it "is true that certain assurances in the July 18 statement remain to be fulfilled … I seek the indulgence of this House not to divulge every single detail of the negotiations at this time". Eight days later, he came clean with the concessions he has made, proving right US officials who had said India wouldn't be treated on par.
For a primer on the naiveté and disingenuousness that characterised India's negotiating goals and claims, look up the July 29, 2005, "backgrounder" issued by his office. Don't expect the PMO to say sorry for having peddled assertions belied by events, such as this statement: "Nuclear-weapons states, including the US, have the right to shift facilities from civilian category to military, and there is no reason why this should not apply to India".
■ RECIPROCITY. The PM poked fun at Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha when she pointed out that although under the July 18 accord India agreed "reciprocally" to its part of the bargain, US official Nick Burns and the State Department had separately laid out preconditions: New Delhi would need to take the first steps and satisfy America before the US Congress could look at any rule change. Said the PM on August 4, 2005: "Sir, several points have been raised here. Sushmaji referred to the statement of a particular American official, Mr. Nicholas Burns. She preferred to believe him rather than me". Who came right finally? The PM or Burns?
The PM had solemnly assured Parliament that, "Indian actions will be contingent at every stage on actions taken by the other side". Yet, without a single step by the other side, India agreed on March 2 to a series of time-bound major restrictions on its nuclear deterrent ― nearly one-third cut in installed weapons-grade plutonium production capacity; severing the military programme's access to two-thirds of the reactor-grade plutonium manufacture; shutting it off from one of its three reprocessing facilities; and limiting tritium supply to it.
All this has happened despite the PM's assurance that "all our commitments are reciprocal commitments". "We will not do anything unless the United States' side honours its commitment", he declared in Lok Sabha on August 3, 2005. He even reminded Rajya Sabha the next day that the very "starting sentence" on India in the July 18 accord states that "all these commitments are to be interpreted in reciprocity". Having proceeded unilaterally, he now claims his actions will not "adversely" affect national security.
■ SOVEREIGN DETERMINATION. While the July 18 accord merely stated that India will begin "identifying and separating civilian and military nuclear facilities and programmes in a phased manner", the PM set out to do what the accord did not mandate ― prepare a civil-military separation plan acceptable to Washington. He told the Lok Sabha on August 3, 2004 "that this separation is not imposed. This separation will be decided voluntarily, solely on the basis of our own judgement. Nobody can, from outside, say: 'Well, this is civilian, this is nuclear'. That determination will be made by the people of India, by our Government, by our atomic energy establishment…" [Interruptions]
Next day, he was equally emphatic in Rajya Sabha: "It will be an autonomous Indian decision as to what is 'civilian' and what is 'military'. Nobody outside will tell us what is 'civilian' and what is 'military'".
Yet, no sooner had he given his word than US officials began making demands on specific facilities ― from the Cirus research reactor to heavy-water plants to future power reactors. After the first draft of the separation plan was presented to Washington in December, the US ambassador thundered that it failed to meet the US "test of credibility" and demanded that the "great majority" of nuclear sites be opened to international inspections. In February, India presented a second separation plan for US approval ― and received more US feedback on what additionally to declare 'civilian'. As US National Security Adviser Steve Hadley admitted on February 24, 2006, "In this latest round, the Indians provided a document about a week ago; we provided some additional ideas and response".
It took a third Indian draft before the Americans got more or less what they wanted. As Burns disclosed on March 2, 2006, India has finalized, with US help, "a very complex" separation plan ― certified by Washington to be "transparent" and "credible". The PM has now presented Parliament an apparent outline of this "very complex" separation plan, dressing it up to minimise its long-term implications. For example, it contains an extraneous comparative chart on nuclear-generated electricity in the five established nuclear powers plus India.
But it hides the real comparative significance of what India is undertaking ― that while only a total of 11 facilities in all these five powers are currently subjected to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, New Delhi has assembled a plan to open 30 installations, sites or institutions to outside monitoring, plus some unspecified nuclear-fuel facilities. This represents major success for US diplomacy: the majority of nuclear facilities operating worldwide outside the NPT nuclear club without IAEA inspections will now come under such "safeguards".
■ FAST-BREEDER REACTORS. The PM vowed not to compromise the integrity of India's three-stage nuclear energy programme and then set out to do just that. He declared in Lok Sabha on February 27, 2006, "We have made it clear that we cannot accept safeguards on our indigenous fast-breeder programme". Yet three days later, he sealed a deal with President George W. Bush under which, as he now admits, "We have agreed, however, that future civilian thermal power reactors and civilian fast-breeder reactors would be placed under safeguards, but the determination of what is civilian is solely an Indian decision".
The PM had given no indication in his February 27 statement that only the tiny experimental breeder currently in operation and the prototype breeder under construction (which together, according to Hadley, have "very limited capability") would be excluded from IAEA inspections but that any subsequent breeders classified as civilian would be placed under external monitoring. The breeder programme is linked to both national security and energy security. If India is going to open all its future civilian reactors, including fast breeders, to IAEA inspections, can the military side of its breeder programme realistically support both the strategic and energy-security requirements?
■ INTERNATIONAL INSPECTIONS. In his July 29, 2005, pledge to Parliament, the PM averred India would "place voluntarily its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. India will never accept discrimination". Yet, on March 7, 2006, without referring to that solemn undertaking, he announced that India has agreed to accept not the "voluntary", nominal IAEA inspections applicable to nuclear powers, but the eternally pervasive and immutable safeguards appropriate only for non-nuclear states.
Such inspections are bound to create serious problems for India. The PM has capriciously decided to put the country in an unenviable situation where it will embrace invasive inspections in perpetuity like a non-nuclear state and yet maintain a nuclear military capability. This will only encourage IAEA inspectors to use their wide, intrusive powers to subject the Indian civilian programme to tough scrutiny because of a parallel military programme not found in any other state governed by a broad-based, perpetually enforceable regime. That the March 2 deal was as hastily concluded as the July 18 accord is manifest from the acknowledgement by both sides that the clinching issue ― India's acceptance of the US demand for discriminatory, everlasting international inspections ― was sealed at the last minute.
Having given in to US pressure, the PM now tells Parliament that because "a safeguards agreement is yet to be negotiated, it will be difficult to predict its content". This is the perilous, "India-specific" course that is now sought to be speciously linked to US assurances of uninterrupted fuel supply, ignoring the egregious way America cut off all fuel supply for Tarapur in the 1970s in material breach of both its 1963 civil nuclear pact with India and 1971 trilateral agreement with the IAEA. Creating a US-monitored energy dependency through imported reactors dependent on imported fuel is to contract a disease by choice and then, citing unenforceable fuel-supply assurances, say that one is going in for a cure
Once India signs legally binding agreements with the IAEA, the "pursuit" and "perpetuity" clauses would irreversibly come into play. Because inspections cover by-products, including the irradiated fuel, India will have no right to lift safeguards even if fuel supply were disrupted on intent. The IAEA's upgraded INFCIRC/66.Rev.2 inspections standard will also preclude India from ever withdrawing any of the designated civilian facilities from safeguards for national security purposes.
An ominous consequence of the cave-in is that India will not be able to sign an "Additional Protocol" with the IAEA that treats it as a nuclear-weapons state or allows it to make the sweeping national-security exemptions that the other nuclear powers have built into their Additional Protocol. As Hadley has made clear on India, "It's going to be a safeguards arrangement negotiated by the IAEA, and they're going to have to be comfortable with it. And they have a set of procedures and agreements that they use…" An Additional Protocol, with its onerous obligations encompassing sites, activities and personnel, will bring India's entire civil nuclear fuel cycle and its workforce under international monitoring.
■ NUCLEAR DETERRENT. The PM has chanted the mantra that he is not "limiting or inhibiting our strategic nuclear-weapons programme". Yet the deal's impact on the still-nascent deterrent is conspicuous. It will reduce to one-third the number of Indian facilities yielding fissile material outside IAEA safeguards and help put a quantifiable ceiling on the deterrent's size, as sought by the US.
Although the PM pledged on July 29, 2005, that "our autonomy of decision-making will not be circumscribed in any manner whatsoever", the US-influenced decisions on certain facilities tell a different story. Indeed, the decisions to shut the refurbished Cirus and rip down Apsara, Asia's first research reactor, compromise national dignity, underlining how the US is forcing India decades later to make amends for benefiting from facilities belonging to the pre-safeguards era. The chilling message it sends out is that the US does not forgive and forget.
Similar concessions on national dignity and capability come from the decision to open to outside inspections a number of entities slapped with US sanctions on November 19, 1998 ― five research institutions (such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology and Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics), three heavy-water plants at Thal-Vaishet, Hazira and Tuticorin, and the PREFRE reprocessing plant at Tarapur. These decisions will put under international monitoring three of the Department of Atomic Energy's seven heavy-water plants, a third of its reprocessing capability, one of its five core research establishments (Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre) and two-thirds of its affiliated institutions.
When the need was to build national consensus, the PM has sprung one surprise after another. Significantly, he confessed in Lok Sabha on August 3, 2005, that he was "very clear in my mind that there may be uncertainties in the US Congress" over this deal. Yet the very next day he defended his actions as part of "calculated risks". Instead of the DAE getting on with its unfinished business of building a credible minimal deterrent, the PM's risk-taking promises to tie up the Department in knots for years as it segregates facilities, materials and personnel and builds foreign-scrutinized firewalls between its civilian and military programmes.