Government Exposed -- Prakash Karat

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Press Statement

 Prakash Karat, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

Manmohan Singh Government Exposed

 The Prime Minister has repeatedly assured the Parliament and the people of the following:

  1.Full co-operation on civilian nuclear technology, which would include the complete fuel cycle.

2.We are placing our facilities in perpetuity as reciprocally US is also guaranteeing fuel supply in perpetuity. In case the US defaults on its fuel supply agreement (as it did in Tarapur), it will ensure that other members of the NSG will take over its obligations.

3.Will have the right to build strategic reserves

4.Will not compromise India’s strategic interest

5.Any termination of the agreement will be only after at least a year long process of consultation.


The Answers given by the US State Department to the House Foreign Affairs Committee makes it clear that on all these counts, contrary to what the PM and the UPA Government has said, the 123 Agreement contains provisions that are quite different.

 (1) Answers to Questions 4,5 and 6 makes clear that the US will not give India access to either technology for enrichment & reprocessing (E&R) including the heavy water production or dual use technology. This means India can import reactors and uranium but cannot access any technology that will help in either the fast breeder program or the fuel cycle. Moreover, while India does not get access to such sensitive technology, it will open its fuel cycle and other such facilities for the civilian sector to intrusive IAEA Safeguards. This is nothing but a scheme designed to make India completely dependent on imported equipment and badly damage indigenous nuclear technology development.

 (2) We had earlier stated that the fuel supply assurances that are in the 123 Agreement only covered market failures and did not pertain to a termination of the agreement. Question 15 of the Answers states:

 “It is the understanding of the United Sates Government that the use of the phrase ‘disruption of fuel supplies’ in the article 5.6 of the 123 Agreement is meant to refer to disruptions in supply to India that may result through no fault of its own. Examples include (but are not limited to) a trade war resulting in the cutoff of supply, market disruptions in the global supply of fuel, and the potential failure of an American company to fulfill fuel supply contracts. We believe the Indian government shares our understanding of this provision. “

 It is evident that the Indian Government was fully aware that the fuel supply assurances did not cover a termination of the 123 Agreement and they have deliberately mislead the country. The IAEA Safeguards are in perpetuity while the fuel supply assurances only cover market failures. The answer to Question 17 makes this even clearer. It states that the termination Clause 14 of the Agreement, if invoked, would make Article 5.6 (the so-called fuel supply assurance clause) “inapplicable”.

 (3) On strategic reserves, Answers 19, and 20 makes clear that the US has not agreed to India's building up of strategic reserves.

 (4) Regarding the termination, the Left had stated that the termination clause in the 123 Agreement was not limited to India testing of nuclear weapons, but was an omnibus one allowing the US to immediately stop all nuclear supplies as and when it wants. This is now confirmed by the answers to questions 14, 17, 35 and 36 that the US can immediately stop all supplies and a nuclear test is only one such reason. This means that the US can stop all supplies even on extraneous reasons such as India's attitude to Iran. If India does not fall in line with the US on Iran, it could be construed to be a violation of its non-proliferation responsibilities and the US has the legal right under Article 14 to cease all cooperation. While the formal termination is with one year's notice, the cessation of all supplies is immediate and solely at the discretion of the US.

 NSG Draft

 The New Draft for the waiver on sanctions on nuclear trade placed before the NSG makes it clear that the Hyde Act conditions will be built into this waiver and not “clean” or “unconditional” as the UPA Government has lead the country to believe. The only issue being discussed is how explicit should these conditions be. In any case, unlike IAEA or the 123 Agreement, the NSG is a cartel and operates on its own rules. The inclusion of the 123 Agreement in the NSG draft means that all the above conditions are also built automatically into the NSG waiver.