What Are the Implications of the U.S.-India Agreement on Nuclear Energy?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
October 3, 2008
U.S. India Flags

This week, the U.S. Congress approved an agreement that allows for U.S.-India cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The agreement has been described as bringing together the world’s oldest continuous democracy with the world’s largest democracy.

What are the implications (diplomatic or geopolitical) of the U.S.-India agreement on nuclear energy?

Comments

Comments

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 4, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Whereas it concerns US policy towards nations seeking to develop their peaceful use of nuclear power, policy must be talored to fit the country in question.

Not all nations think alike or are as abiding by international law as others may be.

India has a good record of non proliferation , and a mindset that is not geared towards militarism in general and sees nuclear weapons as deterent to war rather than tools of political blackmail or other manifestation of an agressive political mindset.

Any nation's political stability and institutions of governance must be factored into such a decision as well, and in this case those principals of democracy India lives by overcame doubts of this being a dangerous precedent to set with a nation not signatory to the NPT. As they have lived by its principals none the less as their internal policy decisions dictate India's nuclear "face to the world" as part of the UN, abiding by international law.

Now I think they should sign the non-proliferaton treaty to formalize with the other signatories to it a commitment towards nuclear weapons disarmament contained within the text of the treaty. But that will take further and ongoing international diplomatic effort towards universal adherance to the NPT's premis and wording.

India has earned the trust needed to make this agreement viable and passed into law, by it's overall good standing among the family of nations in many other aspects as well. Its stance against terrorism, its trade relations and good reputation as positive influence on regional affairs among its neigbors, including Pakistan, who probably has the most to gain by an Indian government willing to sit at the table to resolve security and territorial issues in a peaceful manner.

All in all I don't see a problem with this agreement so long as other nations don't attempt to use this agreement as precedent to allow less responsible members of the UN with questionable intent, to gain access to nuclear technology.

One size does not fit all.

John
|
Greece
October 6, 2008

John in Greece writes:

Eric's (NM) comment offers an extremely secure, democratic, intelligent and mature approach concerning not only the U.S.-India Agreement on Nuclear Energy, but also all similar issues.

Someone (especially the ones who always tend to create anti-American propaganda) could come up with the following "tricky" questions:

Why India and not Iran?
Why India and not Sudan?
Why India and not N. Korea?

Now, after Eric's comment, all the above questions are "out of the question", since he answers everything in depth and very well substantiated:

"ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL."

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
October 6, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

The implication is of pressure being exerted as Russia is building two nuclear facilities even now with 80 million left the Govt. of India is ready to put out on more energy needs.

Present RF business long instituted in India: http://www.india.mid.ru/71e.html

India has armed its military with Russian Hardware and small arms, from SU 30s in 99 to increasing the order of two to 10 Kilo class sub upgrades which were cost overridden. India is being sought as the Leasing agent for up to 40 Russian Diesel Kilo class subs which can be upgraded. India is having problems with cost on some of the major upgrades, including an aircraft carrier which was due in 2012 from Russia. This agreement is, in all likely hood, a way to negotiate with them via bidding by transposition outside and also maintains and open line to the West.

Russia has purchased the largest aluminum manufacturing facility in the world from India some time ago as well as many other mineral related industries, including steel.

I presume India wants some flexibility outside the Russian influence that has set up shop there; but in no way places them out of harms way of Russian energy resources and pacts they have with them. It also shows that India feels it too is a world power and not under the domination of any single world power.

Win, Win for India, some diplomatic help for us...but the number of jobs transferred to India is a high cost to pay for some loyality.

Anna
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 8, 2008

Anna in Washington, DC writes:

I'm pleased that we are moving our relationship with India forward. I think it is important that we support our fellow democracies. I'm not thrilled, though, that we are doing it with a nuclear energy pact. Maybe we don't have any other options. Maybe it is the best way we can support India in a region that includes China, Pakistan and Russia.

But, why can't the world agree to shut down its nuclear operations? The whole world, with the U.S. and Russia leading the way. Some say it is a cleaner energy option, but at what risk? What cost? I guess there's no use in bemoaning the fact that Pandora's Box has already been opened. We need to be looking at ways to close it.

Bruce S.
|
Ohio, USA
October 8, 2008

Bruce in Ohio writes:

"Win, Win for India, some diplomatic help for us...but the number of jobs transferred to India is a high cost to pay for some loyality."

Great point, well said.

John
|
Greece
October 8, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Anna in Washington, DC -- Thank God, Pandora's Box has not been opened yet! However, it's rather unexpected to be closed. Due to game concept? Tough game! I know?

Your question: "But, why can't the world agree to shut down its nuclear operations?", is very easy to be answered:

WHO WILL BE THE LAST ONE TO CLOSE THE "DOOR", AND HOW CAN WE BE SURE THAT HE WILL?

I will be cruel and I know that plenty of the co-bloggers may attack my thesis, but as long as this "door" was opened, there is no END -- until the Pandora's Box will be open. (I hope not, though)

Of course, it's up to us to make this opening procedure last for "ever"? Then, we can expect to live long enough? But it's nor easy to change the "game's" concept.

Note this: (Eric's in NM)

Quote: One will find the game has a variety of openings, a very short "midgame" and quickly arrives at a end game. One will take note that pawns (like people) don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of surviving long. I did it as table top excercise to convince a friend that nuclear war was not winnable. Most of the games ended in stalemate. I remember one end game where he had only his king left, and so did I, + a knight and a rook. I checkmated him, but there was an N under his king , so he survived with a stalemate, not able to move. And another where he wiped me out taking his own king and mine. Another "draw" ! End quote

P.S.: The use of nuclear energy is FINE with me and especially now days with the new technologies, extremely SECURE!
I would worry about the nuclear guns!

Susan
|
Florida, USA
October 9, 2008

Susan in Florida writes:

Albert Einstein said that he would have rather not split the atom than have it used for the destruction of the world. It is not the "discoveries" that mankind has made that are dangerous but how we decide to use them. How will India decide to use this power and how will we, the United States, be able to "influence" their decisions? Is it better that we partner with India then allow Russia/Iran to be her greatest influence? Yes, of course, but we need to remember that India's main concern is India. She will go the way that most benefits her. Is that not true of any nation?

Susan
|
Florida, USA
October 10, 2008

Susan in Florida writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- Are you okay? We are missing your insightful comments. I thought for sure that you would "correct" me on my Einstein splitting the atom comment on the "Question of the Week" site. Hope everything is all right. Let us know. Best regards.

John
|
Greece
October 10, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Susan in Florida -- I do not blame Einstein. Even if he had not split the atom, somebody else would have done it, since "it's" science. Besides, Einstein's E=MC2 saved and keeps on saving millions of people globally.

That's why I also do not blame the "atomic theory" or the "nuclear applications", as long as they are used for good purposes. We cannot stop science? And we are obliged to use it for making our civilization better.

This is the strange component about "nuclear use": it can destroy the universe, but at the same time it can offer handreds of applications (medicine, industry, energy) that save human lifes on a daily basis.

Always a coin is double sided. For example, the same with petreleum. Everybody blames oil for the envirnmental problems of the planet, but if you sobbery flip side this argumentation you easily find out that it moves ambulances, flies planes, produces huge food supplies etc. otherwise you could not easily had without using gas and oil, at least today. I mean that everything has 2 sides. The important is to use the good one.

I think that the U.S.A.-India agreement works on that "Good-purpose" perspective. Although it uses a scientific method (nuclear) that theoretically can kill, it makes it on a humanitarian basis in order to "offer" and "save".

P.S.: I think that I also understood that you implied something very intellectual through your post: When a scientist stops -- Especially if he thinks that his scientific "invention" or wrong applications of his "theory" can lead to a rather dangerous use of his initial intention?

You are absolutely right Susan! Tough question! I know that this question is based on a "liberal arts" school of thinking that would prefer "practical scientists" to have an "ethical" perspective on what they are about to crate or invent.

Nevertheless, I think that this is an utopia. According to my opinion, science cannot have brain boundaries. Otherwise it will become even more dangerous for the world.

Susan
|
Florida, USA
October 10, 2008

Susan in Florida writes:

@ John in Greece -- John, I don't blame Einstein. He is my favorite scientist because he had a sense of the importance of the universe. He had a "moral" code. He also had a sense of humor and was eccentric, in a good way. On the whole, I agree with your comments but I do believe that inventors/scientists/doctors should take into consideration what their "discoveries" may be used for. Of course, just like Einstein, they may not be able to even imagine what their work will be used or misused for! Even Einstein with all his genius could not foresee the atomic bomb. I always appreciate your thoughts and comments.

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