Home India Politics IAEA pact undermines India’s strategic autonomy: BJP

IAEA pact undermines India’s strategic autonomy: BJP


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday said that the Congress-led government’s move to go ahead with the India-US nuclear deal will undermine the country’s strategic autonomy.

In his strongest denunciation of the nuclear deal, BJP vice president Yashwant Sinha and Rajya Sabha MP Arun Shourie said in a statement that the betrayal of India’s interests was reflected in the draft safeguards agreement reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the global nuclear watchdog.

The BJP leaders charged the UPA government with “assisting the US in realising its most important foreign policy objective vis-à-vis India in a manner that has undermined India’s strategic autonomy while promising illusory energy security”.

Speaking at a press conference, the BJP leaders said that according to the draft safeguards agreement, India would have none of the rights the five established nuclear-weapons states have vis-à-vis the Vienna-based IAEA.

The prime minister had assured parliament Aug 17 that there was no question of India agreeing to a safeguards pact applicable to non-nuclear-weapon states of NPT, the statement said.

However, it is clear now that the safeguards pact with the IAEA had compromised the country’s interests and the prime minister flouted assurances he gave to parliament on the nuclear deal, it said.

“The PM had assured that the agreement would be less onerous and intrusive than the agreements with the non-nuclear weapon states but the text is largely modelled on IAEA safeguards agreements with non-nuclear-weapons states,” the statement said.

“India will have none of the rights that the five established nuclear weapons states have vis-à-vis the IAEA. Nuclear weapon states accept only voluntary, revocable inspections. Moreover, these five nuclear powers have the sovereign right to terminate their safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

“The India-IAEA safeguards accord comes with perpetual, legally irrevocable obligations, which India cannot suspend or end, even if the supplier-states cut off supply of fuel and replacement parts.

“The draft Agreement is exactly the same – word for word, para by para – what the US administration had wanted.”

While the five established nuclear powers have offered only 11 facilities in total – less than one percent of their total facilities – for IAEA safeguards, India has agreed to place 35 of its facilities under inspection, it added.

These facilities include 14 power reactors, three heavy-water plants at Thal-Vaishet, Hazira and Tuticorin, six installations at the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad, the PREFRE reprocessing plant at Tarapur, and nine research facilities, such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology and Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics.

“In addition, the prime minister has agreed to shut down by 2010 the Cirus research reactor, which is one of the two research reactors in India producing weapons-grade plutonium,” the statement said.

“Speaking in the Lok Sabha on July 29, 2005, the prime minister had said: ‘We shall undertake the same responsibilities and obligations as … the US; we expect the same rights and benefits as the US; and India will never accept discrimination.’

“This assurance has been flouted in the agreement, which does not recognise India as a Nuclear Weapons State on par with the US, Russia, Britain, France and China.”

The statement added: “The PM has broken the consensus (on India’s nuclear policy), which had existed since the time of Indira Gandhi and continued till Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”

While the government had all along said that the deal was exclusively about nuclear energy, the US administration and America’s “bipartisan political class has left no one in doubt that the deal is all about bringing India into the non-proliferation regime”, said the BJP statement.