Experts say US-India nuke deal the best India can have

November 15th, 2007 - 10:51 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Nov 15 (ANI): 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 todays Indian Express, these experts believe that civil nuclear cooperation as stated in the agreement will not only serve the countrys national security interests, but also ensure Indias evolution as a principal power in the global comity of nations.
While welcoming Parliaments 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 ones 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.
The following were the signatories:
Marshal of the Air Force Arjun Singh, former Chief of Air Force
Air Chief Marshal O P Mehra, former Chief of Air Force
General V N Sharma, former Chief of Army Staff
General V P Malik, former Chief of Army Staff
Admiral Ram Tahliani, former Chief of Naval Staff
Admiral Madhvendra Singh, former Chief of Naval Staff
Dr M R Srinivasan, former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission
Dr Kasturirangan, former Chairman of Space Commission
K Subrahmanyam, former Founder/Director of IDSA, former Secretary, Defence Production, former Convener, NSAB
Dr Roddam Narsimha, former Director of National Institute of Advanced Studies & Director National Aeronautical Laboratory
Dr R Rajaraman, former Professor of School of Nuclear Sciences, JNU
K Santhanam, former Senior Scientific Advisor to Ministry of Defence
B G Deshmukh, former Cabinet Secretary and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister
Abid Hussain, former Member of Planning Commission, former Commerce Secretary and Ambassador to the US
N N Vohra, former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, former Home Secretary and former Defence Secretary
Naresh Chandra, former Governor of Gujarat, former Cabinet Secretary, former Secretary, Home and Defence
Narendra Sisodia, former Secretary, Defence Production and Ministry of Finance
M K Rasgotra, former High Commissioner to the UK, former Ambassador to France and former Foreign Secretary
K S Bajpai, former Ambassador to Pakistan, China and the US, former Secretary, External Affairs
K Raghunath, former Ambassador to the USSR, former Foreign Secretary
Lalit Mansingh, former Ambassador to the US, former Foreign Secretary
S K Lambah, former Ambassador to Pakistan, Germany, Russia
Arundhati Ghose, former Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament ((ANI)

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