Strongly ruling out the possibility of accepting anything that undermines the country's nuclear programme, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday allayed concerns of the members of the Opposition, the Left parties and the nuclear scientists.
The Prime Minister gave following response to some of the points raised by the Left.
Whether the deal will give full civilian N-technology and lift all existing sanctions on dual use technology imposed on India.
Response: Full civil nuclear cooperation can be realized when current restrictions on nuclear trade with India are fully lifted... the US has initiated steps to amend its legislation and to approach the Nuclear Suppliers group (NSG) to adapt its guidelines. We seek the removal of restrictions on all aspects of cooperation and technology transfers pertaining to civil nuclear energy.
Cannot accept restrictions to be imposed on Indian foreign policy, irrespective of whether it is in the policy section or in the sense of the House section of the legislation.
Response: Our commitments are only those that are contained in the July Joint Statement and in the Separation Plan. We cannot accept introduction of extraneous issues on foreign policy. Any prescriptive suggestions in this regard are not acceptable to us...No legislation enacted in a foreign country can take away from us this sovereign right.
Signing of IAEA safeguards in perpetuity for the civilian programme to take place after the US Congress had approved a “123 Nuclear Cooperation Agreement”. All restrictions on India to be lifted before we sign the IAEA safeguards.
Response: Before placing any of our nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, we will ensure all restrictions on India have been lifted. Under the Separation Plan, India has offered to place under IAEA safeguards 14 of its reactors...They will be offered for safeguards only after all nuclear restrictions have been lifted on India. This would include suitable amendments to the US legislation to allow for such cooperation, the passing of the bilateral agreement with India and the adaption of the NSG guidelines.
Guarantees on fuel as agreed in the March 2006 statement. In case the US reneges on supply of fuel, they will ensure continuity through other members of the NSG.
Response: Separation Plan includes elaborate fuel supply assurances given by the US. The plan also provides for contingency of disruption of fuel supplies...In such a case, the US and India would jointly convene a group of friendly supplier countries (Russia, France and United Kingdom) aimed at restoring fuel supplies to India. In the event of disruption, India will have a right to take corrective measure.
In the original deal, there is no provision for US inspectors, only provision for IAEA inspectors. The draft US Bills contains such provisions.
Response: In the Separation Plan, we have agreed to offer for IAEA safeguards nuclear facilities specified for that purpose. The nature of safeguards will be determined by an India specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA. This will be applied to the safeguarded nuclear facilities in India.
Reference to Proliferation Security Initiative in the House and Senate Bills.
Response: The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is an extraneous issue as it is outside the framework of the July 18 Joint Statement. Therefore, we cannot accept it as a condition for implementing the July Statement. We have certain concerns regarding PSI’s legal implications and its linkages with the NPT. We have concerns with amendments to the suppression of Unlawful Activities at Sea Treaty under the International Maritime Organisation.
The Jackson-Vanik Amendment linking the granting of MFN status to USSR to Jewish emigration is an example relevant to the current debate.
Response: We have studied the proposed US legislation including the so-called binding and non-binding provisions. The non-binding provisions do not require mandatory action, but at the same time, have a certain weight in the implementation of the legislation as a whole. We have conveyed our concerns to the US Administration in this respect...A more accurate example than the Jackson-Vanik Amendment is the set of provisions accompanying the renewal of MFN status to China, that included references to China's human rights, China's political and religious prisoners.
Parliament role in approving foreign policy.
Response: Treaty making powers rest with the Executive. However, we have kept Parliament fully in the picture regarding various stages of our negotiations with the US...We will work towards that objective by addressing various concerns as fully as possible.
Prime Minister’s response to some of the points raised by nuclear scientists.
India should continue to be able to hold on to her nuclear option as a strategic requirement.This means that we cannot accede to any restraint in perpetuity on our freedom of action...Universal nuclear disarmament must be our ultimate aim.
Response: We are very firm in our determination that agreement with the US on Civil Nuclear Energy in no way affects the requirements of our strategic programme...The nuclear agreement will not be allowed to be used as a backdoor method of introducing NPT type restrictions on India. Our offer to put nuclear facilities under safeguards in perpetuity is conditional upon these facilities securing fuel from international sources for their life time. If the fuel supply assurances are disrupted, then India will have the right to take corrective measures.
After 1974, we have built up our capability in many areas, which need not and should not now be subjected to external control.
Response: Sensitive nuclear technology facilities have not been covered in the Separation Plan. Therefore, there is no question of putting them under safeguards or under external controls. Even with regard to nuclear facilities that have been included in Separation Plan, safeguards will be applied in phases between 2006 and 2014. These safeguarded facilities will be eligible for and will receive fuel materials and technology from international sources. If such supplies cease, then India will be free to protect its interests through corrective measures. That will be spelt out clearly in the India specific safeguards agreement.
The deal infringes on our Independence for carrying out indigenous research and development in nuclear science and technology. Our R&D should not be hampered by external supervision or control, or by the need to satisfy any international body.
Response: There will be no external supervision of our R&D since none of the sensitive R&D facilities have been included in the Separation Plan...Government is committed to preserve the integrity of the three stage nuclear power programme, including utilization of our vast thorium resources.