22 July :As the fate of the UPA government over the nuclear deal hangs in balance, a top Indian nuclear scientist on Monday came out in strong support of the pact, saying it was "critical" for the country’s energy security and economic prosperity.
Rejecting criticism of the deal by nonproliferation advocates, former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission M R Srinivasan said the deal will not pose any non-proliferation danger.
"India’s economy has been growing at 8-9 per cent in the past decade and will continue to do so in the future. It needs adequate quantities of energy to propel the economy", he said.
"The high cost of oil and concern about carbon emissions from coal burning are pushing India to pursue the nuclear energy option vigorously", he said.
Srinivasan, who is now a member of the AEC, said the nuclear technologies will result in a fuller use of available nuclear resources and contribute to sustainable energy both for India and the wider world.
Criticising those who opposed the deal on the ground that it could result in proliferation of nuclear technology , Srinivasan although India has not joined the Nonproliferation Treaty, the country’s commitment to nonproliferation can hardly be in doubt.
"The proposed US-India nuclear deal has become a flashpoint of anxiety over proliferation. It needn’t be. Criticism of the deal stems from an unwillingness to acknowledge that India poses no proliferation danger," he wrote in an article in the Wall Street Journal.
India is committed to the "peaceful use of nuclear energy, both in India and in the rest of the world, to meet the growing global energy demands. The US-India nuclear deal is a critical step in this process", he said.
Some observers have suggested that when India accesses uranium from overseas, it will free up India’s own modest uranium to build a bigger nuclear arsenal. This is a misleading argument, Srinivasan said.
"When India has pursued nuclear technology for military use, it has been as a defensive measure. Geopolitical compulsions such as China’s growing military and economic strength and Pakistan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons forced India to embark on developing a credible minimum deterrent".
"India possesses some 100,000 tons of uranium. There is a temporary crunch between supply and demand, which is a short-term problem. But even a small fraction of the total uranium in India could support a sizeable nuclear weapons programme anyway — if that were India’s intent in the first place," he said.
The top nuclear scientist said India has an exemplary record with the IAEA.
"The Tarapur reactors in Maharashtra and the spent fuel they generate continue to be under IAEA safeguards even though the life of the agreement formally governing that relationship has come to an end."
India never shows up on the list of proliferation problem states. The global network that spreads illicit nuclear weapon technologies is focused in Pakistan, and North Korea, Libya and Iran have been the main customers.
China has actively assisted Pakistan in the latter’s quest for nuclear weapons in the past, and it’s unclear whether such cooperation has actually stopped.
He said India as a mature democracy will not resort to irresponsible behavior of spreading nuclear weapons around the world. courtsey : dd news