From The Daily Pioneer
posted in full since site does not archive
Scientists have mixed reaction
Nuclear scientists and experts have expressed mixed reactions over the nuclear deal between India and the US.
Placcid Rodrigues, president, Indian Nuclear Society and former director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research said that although the draft agreement meets almost all concerns, "In actual practice it is not full civilian nuclear cooperation, as enrichment, reprocessing and heavy water technology are excluded."
"The agreement refers to dual use items which only showed that embargo or the nuclear technology control regime will continue even if the ultimate use is non-nuclear. There is no positive statement that the conclusion will be favourable and that is a cause of concern," he said.
"From Washington, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns has pointed out that once India applies for consent ... the conclusion is possible only on Congressional approval and in the 123 agreement draft it is kept vague," Rodrigues added.
Upset about a clause for verification measures for atomic facilities in case of an IAEA decision on non-applicability of safeguards, Rodrigues said, "this is totally opposed to what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, that India will not allow American inspectors to roam around in India's reactor sites."
Appreciating the 123 draft agreement, S Thakur, Executive Director (Corporate Planning), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, said both US and Indian negotiating and drafting teams have shown high level of professionalism and long-term vision.
"The document is very good and all aspects are covered comprehensively and adequately," Thakur said, adding as a whole the agreement showed mutual respect and maintained the sovereignty of both nations.
Objections to N-deal serious, says SC
The Supreme Court on Friday noted that the objections to the Indo-US nuclear deal were "serious" but refused to interfere at this stage since the matter is to come up in Parliament next week.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Anil Chawla, who cited how the deal, which is based on the US Hyde Act, tends to weaken the country's sovereignty and legislative abilities.
Taking note of the concerns raised by the petition, the Bench headed by Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan said, "We don't say these (objections) are minor things. These are serious matters." Adopting a wait and watch policy, the court said, "You (petitioner) wait till the matter is placed before Parliament," and allowed the petition to be withdrawn at this stage.
Before the Bench arrived at this order the petitioner who was represented by senior advocate PS Mishra and advocate CD Singh argued on why the court's interference is called for at this stage.
The court formed the view that an order directing the deal to be placed before Parliament was not possible since it is a matter of Parliamentary proceeding which is to be regulated by the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.
But the petitioner's counsel urged the court to consider the ramifications of such a deal which compromises India's sovereign interests to test its nuclear weapons, possess nuclear arsenal and to enter into foreign relations with Iran. "We are not aware of what is contained in the 123 Agreement. The nation is entitled to know the Act as the same is yet to be placed in public domain," Mishra said.
The criticism of the deal also emerges from the moratorium it seeks to declare on any further nuclear tests by India, the petitioner said. "We are not remotely suggesting the court to place the matter before Parliament, but judicial review can be called for if there is an attempt to surrender the law making powers of a country as sovereign and independent as India. The Hyde Act 2006 is such it will compromise India's law making power."
Finding strength in the petitioner's contentions the Bench said, "There are constitutional luminaries like the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, the Prime Minister, the Speaker. It is for them to decide to place the matter in Parliament. they are ably advised by many scientists."
Mishra even viewed the issue at hand considering the scope of Article 73 which grants sweeping powers to the executive to enter into any treaty. In the light of a previous judgement of the Supreme Court any treaty which compromises the sovereignty of the country or violates the constitutional provisions is amenable to judicial review.
The Bench, though keen to examine the issue, expressed its helplessness to interfere at this stage. In the same breath, before parting with the matter it added, "We don't want to give an impression that the Supreme Court has considered and rejected the petition. You may wait till the mater is placed before Parliament."