Energy Security, but at what cost?

The historic India-US nuclear deal is finally through. We seem to have won an important victory. It is clear that the US recognizes India as an important global player in the nuclear space. We get access to fuel for our starved civilian(?) nuclear facilities. Also, US companies can now build nuclear power plants in India and supply fuel for these plants. These two steps, if implemented without hitch, guarantee some energy security for India in an oil-starved future.

This deal is very important. Mainly, it finally cuts the frail umbilical cord that has bound a ‘teenage’ India to a tottering old Russia. Koodankulam doesn’t need Russian help anymore. The deal is an affirmation of the strength of our democracy, with the the US implicitly saying ‘we realize India is a responsible nuclear power’.

Also, by opening our civilian nuclear facilities to inspection by the IAEA, we only stand to gain. I am sure our technology is primitive compared to what the US currently possesses. By allowing IAEA to inspect our facilities, we not only gain credibility in the world arena, we also take an important step towards making sure that a Chernobyl or 3 Mile Island doesn’t happen in India.

Yes, the Congress government has seen far into the future and thought about India’s energy needs over the next 50-100 years. No doubt, they were influenced by the Atomic President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Wonder what he has to say about this deal.

So much for energy security. But what cost does this entail for India? In return for all the concessions and plutonium, what does the US want? In other words, what is the US’ biggest worry.

Without a doubt, it is China. In a quest to control Chinese world supremacy, the US wants other surrounding South Asian countries in its debt. When a confrontation emerges with China, the US expects its South Asian boys to gang up against the Chinaman. Therefore, we have a nuclear deal which offers major concessions to India while demanding very little. In fact, India can classify the installations it wants as civilian and allow IAEA to inspect them. Of course, not classifying other installations as civilian makes the CIA’s job easier (lesser places to look).

Another important US concern in Iran. Here, I think India has made a wise choice. To choose between a reactionary oil-rich Iran and a technology-rich democratic USA in a global forum is actually not as simple as it looks. But superficially, it looks like a good choice.

But my worry is this. Will the US put undue pressure on India to become a part of a Iraq-like Coalition of the Willing when it decides to invade Iran? The Iraq coalition of the willing did not find favor in the UN, and ended being a farce. But if India were to become a part of such a coalition, it would have a much better chance of appearing legitimate before the UN, and ergo, would legitimize an invasion of Iran. Will this happen? Maybe.

Pandora’s box is open. The troubles just have to come out.


9 Responses to Energy Security, but at what cost?

  1. Ninad says:

    ..I think India had the capacity to innovate by itself, if the USA wouldnt have given us the technology.

    I think India would surely take the steps, so its not totally dependent on the US if that country backs out sometime in the future.

  2. Nanubhai Desai says:

    I think the concern about being indebted to an overly-aggressive US is legitimate, but very short-sighted. You should keep in mind that even erstwhile US allies like Germany and France avoided being part of Iraq – and, in instances, voiced their outright disapproval. The transatlantic alliance suffered for a little while, but resumed once the Iraq issue wasn’t front-and-center.

    The US cannot and does not expect India to toe its foreign policy line no matter what. The pressure is far more subtle than you imply in your post. Essentially, by raising the ‘costs’ of an outright disagreement or clash with the US, India’s foreign policy calculus changes.

    That doesn’t mean we’ll have to send our troops globetrotting at the US President’s behest. It only means that our alliance with the US will suffer or prosper based on our foreign policy decisions.

    In short, I understand your worries, but I think they are unwarranted.

  3. Ur concern is dead right. We never know wht will happen in future relationship with US coz no deal comes without a price and maybe we will have to pay a hefy price for this.

  4. earth2050 says:

    maybe its a coalition against CHina. While this deal might unlock new doors, bring in new tech, in the end who is responsible is the real question.

  5. maybe its a coalition against CHina. While this deal might unlock new doors, bring in new tech, in the end who is responsible is the real question.

  6. The nuclear apartheid regime will vanish soon after President GW Bush signs it.We next negotiate the 123 agreement.Inthis century China cannot hope to catch up with the U.S.For us it is better to be in concert with free democracies then to be lumped with the loonies of the world!!Do we want another nuclear armed neighbour considering the two we already face whose value systems are far removed from ours.The answer is yes but we are not concluding an arms pact like CENTO/SEATO of the past, this is only a civilian nuclear power agreement!!We need to make economic progress even if we are the 2nd fastest in the world,the world will come to us on our merits as a free democratic nation rather than that based on a defunct ideology.

  7. Ponnarasi.K says:

    Aaaha puthu template, puthu post, puthu look…
    Hm..Blog kala katuthey 😉
    Ipothaku present..Seems 2 b a serious post..So
    Aprama comment’ren! 🙂

  8. AM Aravind says:

    romba naal kazhichu indha pakkam vandhaa ivlo serious post ellam pottu irukka!! ful-aa padikka time illa… aprama padichittu comment panren!

  9. Ponnarasi.K says:

    Earlier we were made 2 wait till Bush’s visit followed by US’s congress version bill and now we r told 2 wait til the NSG countries confirmation of the deal…

    All these makes one 2 suspect, the intention of US govt…
    As u said…. raises big questn as were al these wud lead 2…

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