Rohit Mishra

Thoughts which don’t fit in 140 characters.

Time to Know 123 of the Nuclear Deal

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One of the things that has changed a lot in India is the media – both electronic and print. I can’t remember any other national policy getting so much media coverage than the Indo-US nuclear deal. But the problem with our media is that it doesn’t take a stand. Maybe it is not supposed to, it has to remain objective. But I think it needs more men like Karan Thapar and Vinod Dua who can put up the tough questions straight to our leaders and don’t accept useless replies. (Check out “Devil’s Advocate” on CNN-IBN to see Karan Thapar making our leaders realize the power of media.) This is not a post on India’s new generation media (it deserves a complete post, for sure), it is a post on the much debated Indo-US nuclear deal. I have read and seen a lot about the nuclear deal like many of you and I support it, for various reasons (even if you don’t, read the post and tell me why you do so?) – I have no problem with India being a US partner until she retains her own conscience. But the daily banter on the deal irritated me. How can India not come to a consensus on such an important issue? Our politics is in general very disheartening, but seeing our leaders compromise with national interests to satisfy their personal motives was a first for me. Sometimes, a distinguished person like a former BARC president came out to oppose the deal and I became little skeptical. (I have as high a respect for BARC and ISRO as anger at DRDO- we keep ordering weapons worth billions, while DRDO takes decades to come out with an obsolete product) My doldrums were finally settled after reading Shashi Tharoor’s (India’s candidate for UN Secretary General post, extraordinary diplomat and a brilliant writer.) views in his Sunday column in “The Times of India”.

Nuclear energy is a clean source of power and will solve a lot of our energy woes in the long run. Though it has high initial costs, but the power production cost is much lower. Also, I don’t think that since we are developing later than USA, Europe and China, we need to damage our environment as much as they did by using thermal power sources. Alas, few in the country have taken notice of this important advantage of nuclear power. All the discussion is focused on one over - ambitious legislation by a US Congressman – the Hyde Act which has provisions like

  1. US govt. has to certify that India’s foreign policy is congruent with its own. Opposition’s interpretation - we have to follow US policy on Iran, North Korea etc. What about our sovereignty (and precious minority votes)? Govt. response – Hyde Act is non-binding on India.

  2. Annual review of nuclear fuel and technology supplies. Opposition’s interpretation – US Prez. will switch off India’s power supply on his whims.

Govt. response – Nuclear power is needed to keep our lights on anyways, (I agree)


My view: Hyde Act is like a pious, strict, non-compromising Indian constitution. As with our constitution, only the practical parts will really get implemented. You will know why?

Hyde Act is the opposition area. Govt. uses the 123 Agreement (as complex as it sounds simple) is the real thing. It is the best anyone in the world has got from USA. Americans are thinking: did they give India too much? Shashi Tharoor says it really is awesome and I agree with him. A year or 2 back, this deal would have been branded as frivolous imagination. Take a bow for our PM and diplomats.

I love Einstein’s work. (Though I seldom understand it) What a beautiful theory: “Everything is relative”

No, I am not deluding. You see, this deal is relative.

  • India doesn’t want China to dominate Asia. It has real energy needs and would love to use USA’s influence on Pakistan, USA’s advanced technology and wants to put a final end on the nuclear apartheid that it has been facing for decades. The deal recognizes India as a nuclear weapons nation(without signing the discriminatory Non-Proliferation Theory)

  • USA desperately needs a partner in South Asia. Pakistan was a bad experience (like funding Osama against Soviets).

  • Left – with its cold war thinking – finds this another “Western imperialist policy”. The poor old guys have done only 1 thing in their lives, oppose everything tooth and nail. They underestimate India’s power -> which irritates me. Conclusion: They Need to retire.

  • BJP and others – would have launched “India Shining” Part II if they had clinched it. They have taken a shockingly callous attitude towards the deal. Don’t want to concede a point to arch-rivals Congress.

  • Public: Most hate left, are fascinated about US partnership (I too, what is wrong about this?) Few with Leftist mindset are wearing their cold war era glasses and find strange points about the deal.


I love watching movies and so I was attracted to hold back the most important aspect just like a movie’s climax. All this debate is due to one shady process, which neither India nor USA wants to admit for obvious reasons – the certification under Hyde Act. The American administration can certify anything which it wishes. When Pakistan was in better books of USA, successive US presidents certified that Pak was not developing nuclear weapons, when everyone knew it was doing so. When the relationship soured, the certifications stopped. (Surprised, so was I) The certification will always come till something drastic happens. (like Left coming to absolute majority!!) India and USA face common problems, have common long-term interests and suit each others strategic plans. Though, USA must have its own motives behind the deal, but (so do I behind writing this blog) there is no reason for USA to harm India’s interests in any way. The odds of the deal falling through after some years are very low. (The 123 Agreement goes as far as to consider India’s geopolitical situation under which it conducted nuclear tests, before withdrawing the deal)

Moreover, I trust our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. He was the person to liberate India from its deep economic problems and put it on fast-track of economic development. This development only has allowed India to negotiate on such deals. We must have faith in the Doctor.