Praful Bidwai in _Daily Star_.

After signing the "New Framework" defence deal, which virtually turns
India into the United States’ subordinate ally, New Delhi has reached
a nuclear cooperation agreement with Washington, which mocks India’s
stated policy. The UPA’s Common Minimum Programme explicitly said
India would take  "leadership" in "promoting universal nuclear
disarmament." Instead, India has joined the Nuclear Club, and
abandoned disarmament.For decades, India condemned the present Club-dominated global
nuclear order as "atomic apartheid." It has joined that very
apartheid regime. This knocks India’s credibility and exposes her
colossal hypocrisy in hiding her nuclear ambitions behind high
moral posturing — at least since 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi
made a thoughtful global disarmament proposal.

It’s a terrible irony that Dr Manmohan led India’s descent into
nuclear cynicism. He himself had spiritedly criticised the Vajpayee
government for conducting the Pokharan-II tests. Dr Singh accused it of reducing national security to its "military dimension," and launching an "uncontrollable" arms race. He warned of  threats to "social cohesion" and insecurities "arising out of  ill-health, illiteracy, ignorance, and disease. If we do not attend  to these threats, you will have WMDs like the Soviet
Union, but the  Soviet Union still withered away. Therefore, think
before you weaponise."

The latest agreement seeks to "normalise" an India that has weaponised its nuclear capability and wants to preserve it indefinitely. Under the deal, Mr Bush has promised to "adjust US laws and policies" and help "adjust international regimes" to enable civil nuclear  transactions with India. In return, India would "assume the same responsibilities" and "benefits" as the five nuclear weapons-states. This involves "identifying and separating civilian and military nuclear  facilities;" declaring "civilians facilities" to the International  Atomic Energy Agency, "voluntarily" placing them under its  inspections; continuing the nuclear-testing moratorium;
and "working with the US" for a "Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty."
India would also "secure nuclear materials through export control"
and through "adherence to Missile Technology Control
Regime and  Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) Guidelines," although
it’s not a  member of either. Contrary to the BJP’s claims, the agreement won’t cap India’s fissile-material production or its nuclear arsenal’s size. Nor will
it permit blatant IAEA "interference." The choice of designating
nuclear facilities as civilian/military is entirely India’s.
However, the agreement is problematic. First, it leaves the global  nuclear order unreformed, making a one-time exception for India. Once  India legitimises that order, it cannot demand its radical reform  leading to disarmament.

Second, the bargain reflects Washington’s unilateralism. It’s restructuring the global nuclear order without consulting others. "Multilaterist" India has legitimised unilateralism.

Third, many fear the deal will undermine the entire global nuclear regime.
Former US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott argues it  "will work to the detriment of the UN." Many nuclear have-nots will "regard the NPT as an anachronism" and "reconsider their self-restraint" — like India did.
Besides finding a market for America’s crisis-ridden nuclear-equipment industry, Washington’s motives are to build India  into a counterweight to China, and use India to "embed" itself in  Asia. With this strategic embrace, India risks losing its policy  independence and undermining improved relations with China. This bargain assumes that India desperately needs
nuclear power for  "energy security" and to lower greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions. The sudden euphoria for nuclear power calls for some

Globally, nuclear power is a failure. US energy consultant Amory
Lovins says it has "suffered the greatest collapse of any enterprise
in the [world’s] industrial history. It achieved less than 1/10 the
capacity and 1/100 the new orders officially forecast a
quarter-century ago."
The US pioneered nuclear power. But it has ordered no new nuclear reactor
since 1973. Nuclear power has failed the market test. The US  is an inappropriate nuclear source for India. India’s main reactor technology
uses natural uranium. The US only makes enriched-uranium  reactors.
Importing these means perpetual external dependence.
Two-thirds of the world’s 440 operating power reactors are in North
America and Western Europe. By 2030, most of them will be closed.
Countries that opted for nuclear power early are phasing it out,
including Germany, Sweden, Italy, and Belgium. Even France, 78 percent
of whose electricity is nuclear, has closed 11 reactors, including the world’s largest fast-breeder.
In the 1990s, global nuclear capability annually grew by one percent,
while renewables like solar and wind rose by 17 and  24
percent  respectively.

Nuclear power research has claimed a huge $159 billion in OECD between 1974 and 1998. US taxpayers have subsidised nuclear power by  a trillion dollars. Despite subsidies, nuclear power remains twice as expensive as electricity from burning gas/coal. Nuclear power poses serious safety and occupational
health problems  owing to that unique but invisible, intangible poison
— radiation.  All reactor types are liable to undergo serious
accidents including  radiation releases and a core meltdown like Chernobyl,
which caused  Text of _Farmer Organizations_
Response to the G-20 _Delhi Declaration__an estimated 50,000-plus deaths.

Nuclear plants produce high-level wastes, which remain hazardous
20-fold longer than the oldest human structure. This problem has
defied solution. Nuclear power is being touted as a cure for global
warming. It’s not.  Electricity generation accounts for only 9 percent of
global GHG emissions. Nuclear power accounts for only 16 percent
of electricity globally, and just 3 percent in India. So its
potential for reducing  GHGs is insignificant. Nuclear power certainly
produces more GHGs than renewables like wind and solar.

Nuclear power doesn’t lead to reduced carbon-dioxide emissions in the
long run. Japan’s nuclear capacity rose between 1965 and 1995 by 40,000
MW. But carbon-dioxide emissions tripled! There may be a ray of hope,
though. The agreement will probably face  stiff resistance in the
US and NSG states. Last fortnight, a US  Congressional Committee
torpedoed nuclear exports to India. NSG  members like Japan,
South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, and Sweden,  which forswore
nuclear weapons, could oppose dilution of the Group’s Guidelines.
In India, the DAE will be reluctant to execute the  agreement.

The "grand bargain" could turn out hollow.