Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Group Discussion Topic 3: “WILL THE NUCLEAR DEAL HELP INDIA TO DEVLOP FASTER?”

The Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement is the name commonly attributed to a bilateral agreement on nuclear cooperation between the United States of America and India. The framework for this agreement was a joint statement by the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his U.S counterpart Mr. George. W. Bush, under which India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place civil facilities under international atomic energy agency (IAEA) safeguards and in exchange, the United States agreed to work towards full civil nuclear cooperation with India.
On August 1, 2008, the IAEA approved the safeguards agreement with India, after which the United States approached the nuclear suppliers group (NSG) to grant a waiver to India to commence civilian nuclear trade. The 45-nation NSG granted the waiver to India on September 6, 2008, allowing it to access civilian nuclear technology and fuel from other countries. The implementation of this waiver makes India the only known country with nuclear weapons which is not a party to the non proliferation treaty (NPT) but is still allowed to carry out nuclear commerce with the rest of the world.

Arguments against the topic
· Despite the best of the technical efforts the per unit energy produced by nuclear resources continues to be the costliest at close to Rs. 3.35 per unit energy compared to its other counter parts such as coal and hydro forms which cost us close to Rs.1.25 and Rs.2.5 per unit energy respectively. So, as of now, the nuclear deal is not something to go “high” about.
· The nuclear deal does not pave off instant development because even if the deal is okayed it will take nearly 8 years to get implemented and that’s an official verdict. Looking at the Indian scenario it might very well take a decade.
· The nuclear deal has been signed under the 123 agreement which clearly states as per the official norms that any “party” (word used with reference to the country) signing the deal cannot use the nuclear resources for defence purposes either directly or indirectly, which means that India cannot do any more nuclear tests.
· Even if the ‘by product’ of the deal (official word used for nuclear resources by the United States in the 123 agreement) gets available to us cheaply the biggest hurdle would be to get rid of the radioactive waste which would be left after the utilization of nuclear resources, unfortunately few have got the infrastructure to get rid of it.
· Looking at the current security status of our country “the biggest challenge would be to make sure the nuclear resources do not get into the wrong hands” which might not only prove to be the biggest security threat for our country but for the whole world as well.


Arguments in favor of the topic
· Looking at the way the population is increasing along with the effort of the Indian government to push the “LPG” reforms post 1991, the concerns of energy security cannot be neglected. The best way to secure the massive needs of infrastructure development is to shift to the next level of energy sufficiency, and nuclear energy is surely the way ahead.
· The ever expanding energy demand is expected to increase by 7 folds in the coming 15 years if we want to achieve the target set by the planning commission in the form of “vision 2025” it is a must to get rid of the dependence on non-renewable source of energy such as coal, and the “deal” surely will help us reach that higher level of self dependence.
· India has always advocated the fact that it firmly stands by its commitment of “nonproliferation” of nuclear arms and armaments, so the “deal” will send a positive signal to the international community which will further help us to increase international cooperation along the lines to international trade and hence developing the economy.
· The biggest competitor that India has faced in the race of development comes in the form of the neighbouring country, China, nuclear energy will surely help us compete neck-toneck with China, and the stiff rivalries will indirectly benefit the consumers counting on the development of our economy as a whole.
· The deal will play a crucial role in the growth of employment in the infrastructure and the manufacturing sector, as massive infrastructure will be required for setting up nuclear power plants. With various other technical requirements, surely the Indian manufacturing, engineering and the real estate companies will be in for moolah.

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