Decoding Indo US nuke deal
The Indo-us civilian nuclear energy cooperation agreement has created a serious rift between the United Progressive Alliance and its Left Front allies and threatens the stability of the government. The agreement seeks to enable India to access nuclear fuel, reactors and other technology for power generation. The us has similar agreements with countries which have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (npt) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (ctbt), or are recognised as nuclear weapon states. It seems to have made an exception for India.
When was the pact initiated?
To be precise, when India officially tested five nuclear weapons in May 1998. The us realised then that its international nuclear control mechanism had failed.The then National Democratic Alliance government decided to exploit the us predicament: it volunteered to put a few civilian nuclear reactors under international safeguard in exchange for nuclear cooperation. There were long behind-the-screen negotiations. The current United Progressive Alliance regime has conducted matters in the open. It offered to separate civilian and military nuclear facilities and negotiate a safeguard deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea). On July 18, 2005, the us president and the Indian prime minister made a joint declaration on nuclear cooperation.
What is the 123 agreement and what is its relation to the Hyde Act?
Article 123 of the us Atomic Energy Act (1954)'s Article 123 does not allow nuclear cooperation (even civilian) with countries that have not signed the npt and ctbt. The Indo-us agreement derives its name from this article. us laws needed amendment for exempting India. That was done in 2006, following legislation introduced by Senator Henry J Hyde: officially called the Henry Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act, popularly the Hyde Act. us legislatures will now have to vet the Indo- us agreement for compliance with the Hyde Act.
When will the agreement be operationalised?
Before the us legislatures approve the agreement, India has to negotiate with the iaea for the safeguard agreement. Once the us legislatures approve the deal, India can cite the us exemption to seek concessions from the Nuclear Supply Group (nsg)