Siddharth Varadarajan

Journalist | Writer | Analyst

Krepon gets it

In his op-ed in today’s Washington Times, Michael Krepon of the Stimson Center succinctly states the core issue involved in the IAEA and NSG decisions as far as India is concerned:

One critical protection against proliferation is the IAEA’s principle that safeguards are to be placed in perpetuity on nuclear facilities subject to inspection. Another is the NSG’s principle that nuclear suppliers should operate by consensus before changing the rules of nuclear commerce. The consensus rule has made the NSG the world’s most unusual cartel, designed to prevent profit taking when proliferation would likely result.

The Bush administration has bent these fundamental principles out of shape in lobbying the IAEA and the NSG to change the rules on India’s behalf. There is no mention of the word “perpetuity” for safeguards in India, and New Delhi has consistently asserted that safeguards would be lifted if there are disruptions in foreign fuel supplies at power plants. The primary reason for disruption would be a resumption of nuclear testing by India. Moreover, the Bush administration has stood the NSG’s consensus rule on its head: Now consensus will be required to stop nuclear commerce with India.

If only the Left and Right in India would grasp this point, stop carping about the IAEA and NSG, and ask the government to put operationalisation of the 123 Agreement on hold pending the sorting out of serious differences which have emerged between the two sides over the meaning of its key provisions. Now that would be a real contribution.

5 comments on “Krepon gets it

  1. Anonymous
    October 5, 2008

    alankrit: we are only fooling ourselves, not the world, by leaving things unsaid. MMS and every GoI spokesman has stated time and again – inside and outside Parliament – that safeguards in perpetuity are directly linked to fuel supply in perpetuity. The US has clearly stated that this is not so. The US has also asserted that IAEA has determined that this is not so.Are we afraid of facing reality?We don’t need this safeguards agreement to import a few measly reactors from Russia or France — those can go under INFCIRC66 safeguards identical to the two Koodankulam reactors.

  2. Alankrit
    October 5, 2008

    Darn right… better to leave some things unsaid

  3. Anonymous
    October 4, 2008

    Anonymous 1 thank god is not our chief negotiator:)

  4. Anonymous
    October 3, 2008

    ON NSG and Consensus: when New Zealand et al were creating problems at NSG, Amb Blackwill on a visit to India had suggested that the US should jettison the consensus rule and go for majority voting in NSG. Whatever did he mean by it? Under what circumstances can the US get rid of the NSG rule?

  5. Anonymous
    October 3, 2008

    Siddharth,1. Let an Indian Jekyll Act lay down as the law of the land that GoI will automatically take out any facility under IAEA safeguards if fuel supply to that facility is disrupted for any reason.2. Let India cite this law and provide a detailed list of other “corrective actions” it can take in a note to IAEA which also informs IAEA that India is ready for the safeguards agreement to enter into force.3. If IAEA then allows the safeguards agreement to enter into force, everything is ok.Remember, the US Govt has asserted to its Congress that “the US and IAEA have determined” that the safeguards are in perpetuity, no ifs or buts. And when there is a difference in interpretation between two parties, the stronger party wins. Do we need an “India file” making the UNSC rounds in the future, like the “Iran file” does now? Have we not learned aything from Nehru’s Kashmir reference to UNSC?Similarly, are you sure that the NSG cannot amend the consensus rule at some point in the future?

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2008 by in Nuclear Issues.



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