Agreement on Civil nuclear Co-operation between the US and India On the eve of his state visit to India on March1st, the US President George. W. Bush spoke his mind in brief to the Indian Official media. In not in so many words he made it clear that it is in the international relations interest to have a civilian nuclear programme supported by the United States and India. He was explicit that what is envisaged is a civilian nuclear programme that is separate from a military programme. Mr. Bush did not hide the fact that the heads of both these great democracies has a tough time ahead convincing their respective people to compromise on the intricacies involved in such an understanding. The delicate distinction between civilian nuclear programme and military programme has been a matter of grave concern for the US. There is, however, every reason for optimism since the agreement signed in July 2005 itself was as a result of the acceptance that India had emerged as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology. The former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India Mr. M. R. Srinivasan has in an interview to the press (reported in The Hindu of 25th Feb, 2006) advocated extreme caution during the on going India-US nuclear negotiations. He had drawn attention to the position that other advanced nuclear weapons states have not put their respective R&D facilities under international safeguards.
India being a state that has built Developmental and prototype Fast Breeder Reactors based on its own indigenous technology cannot be expected to agree for international monitoring of safeguards with respect to such reactors. India can also not agree for any international safeguards on breeder reactors using own designs and own unsafe guarded plutonium. And this is where both the sides will have the problem of striking a balance. The solution lies in recognizing India as a responsible nuclear state and admitting the reality, driven to a corner without any other options, India is quite competent to develop its own full-fledged nuclear technology, though the process may turnout to be a long drawn one considering the constraints of infrastructure and financial leverage. The entire civilized world over, no doubt, will agree, that India is not a state, which will enter into clandestine deals to develop its nuclear capabilities. It is saddening to note that in the very same interview Mr. Bush has equated its relations with India and Pakistan. Would Mr. Bush convince, the intelligent US citizens the sanctity of such a parity