New Delhi, Nov 15: Former military chiefs, bureaucrats, scientists and some Members of Parliament have said that the July 18, 2005 US-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement is the best that India can hope for.
In an open letter, which has been published in today"s Indian Express, these experts believe that civil nuclear cooperation as stated in the agreement will not only serve the country"s national security interests, but also ensure India"s evolution as a principal power in the global comity of nations.
While welcoming Parliament"s decision to debate the deal during its Winter Session, the experts opined that the one obstacle coming in the way of India exerting a significant influence in the shaping of the modern world, was its lack of access to high technologies, “particularly those related to security needs".
“We will continue to be denied access to such technologies unless the international community agrees to remove the existing sanctions. In opening the way to such an outcome, what is formally a bilateral agreement between us and the USA is actually the basis for agreement with the international community," the paper quotes the experts, as saying in their open letter.
“That community combines to impose crippling constraints not only on our nuclear programme but, by withholding so called dual-use technologies, on a wide range of possibilities for improving the lives of our people," they suggested, adding that “existing constraints can only be removed through an agreement with those who impose them, which this accord (US-India nuclear deal) makes possible."
“Nobody can claim the deal is perfect, or gives us everything we would have liked. But all international agreements require movement away from one"s first preferences. All too often in our history we have suffered by insisting on the ideally desirable and rejecting what is attainable. The agreement has given us as much as it has because of a most particular combination of circumstances which can hardly come again," they said.
We realise that there are many Indians, no less concerned about our security interests than ourselves, who disagree with us. Democracy demands and thrives on differences of opinion. We only urge that opinion be shaped by facts and reality.
“International relationships are shaped by strength, the stronger you are the greater your freedom of action. We believe India is more vulnerable to foreign pressures without this agreement than we would be by increasing our strength through an intelligent use of it to put through various development programmes which currently falter. This agreement should be viewed as an instrument for making us that stronger power, confident of itself and of the respect of others, that counts more and more in the world, and can do more for its people.