Nuclear Power in India

nitesh

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N-arms debate revives
Today, faced with the forthcoming Review Conference of the NPT in 2010, concerned by threats of nuclear terrorism and the potential of further nuclear proliferation to the countries not aligned with the Western powers, there has been a storm of initiatives, mainly from the West and its allies, to promote the goal of a nuclear weapon- free world. Starting with four eminent statesmen from the US — Kissinger, Nunn, Perry and Schultz — followed by the UK’s initiatives and multiple-point programmes and the setting up of yet another Commission on Disarmament by Australia and Japan, the rhetoric of nuclear disarmament has reappeared on the table.
India continues to be in favour of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, including presumably, its own. While this is a perfectly acceptable objective, the question arises whether this position has been reached after examining all the implications of total nuclear disarmament to our security interests, which was the reason in the first place for having weaponised our nuclear technology in the 1990s.

At that time, and presumably even today, the threat identified was of nuclear blackmail, if not a more direct threat of nuclear attack, from the Sino-Pakistani nuclear condominium. There is little to be gained by trying to analyse why China would have taken the risk of not only providing Pakistan with designs, technology and materiel to build a nuclear weapon, but also helping in the first Pakistani “hot test” in 1990. What is important is that Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine is solely India-centric, and Pakistan is today in an unstable situation. If a Taliban government were to take over in Pakistan, India would have to consider its strategic options.
At any rate, the role of nuclear weapons in our military strategy is a deeply held secret, not available even to the strategic community. The last substantive pronouncement on the subject was the adoption of the nuclear doctrine in January 2003.
 

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Great news for the Nuclear Agreement

Great news for the nuclear agreement. Mr Advani has stated that it will not be possible to renegotiate the nuclear deal with the US. He has backed down from his earlier stance that if voted to power, his government will renegotiate the deal with the US.
Also Prakash Karat has softened his stance saying as much that the deal could not be renegotiated now.

So great news for our country. We need to thank our Prime Minister for resolutely pursuing the deal and putting his reputation and office on the line to get the deal through.
 

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http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/...Kumar,+BHAVINI,+PFBR&SectionName=rSY|6QYp3kQ=

CHENNAI: Oxide fuel will be replaced by metallic fuels to power the future reactors of the country.
metallic fuel has a higher breeding ratio compared to the oxide fuel to be used in the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR).
Prabhat Kumar, who informed that the PFBR will go critical in 2011, India would emerge as a world leader in fast breeder reactors. ``Russia is the only other country which is developing FBRs. Several other countries have started developing it. But we will be the world leaders as we are aggressively pursuing the programme.
 

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The Hindu Business Line : Koodankulam sets off chain reaction

Koodankulam sets off chain reaction

A slew of nuclear power parks is being planned across the country, with six to eight reactors proposed to be installed at each park.


Koodankulam-stage II could be vital in terms of pricing and safety benchmarks for all the nuclear capacities that are to come up in the country.

Action is picking up in the Indian nuclear sector. With the opening of the new window of nuclear commerce with other countries, the first on the list of projects to come up in the country is at the Koodankulam site in Tamil Nadu. Two reactors are already being constructed with Russian assistance under an earlier inter-governmental pact, while another four units are being planned.
With Russia cashing in on its first-mover advantage and commencing preparatory work for the proposed additional units at Koodankulam, and the French and the Americans waiting in the wings, some degree of momentum in setting up of new Light Water Reactor-based capacities could be envisaged once a new government takes office at the Centre.

Schedule

Russia has communicated to the Indian side that it plans to wrap up the feasibility study for two of the four units proposed at the Koodankulam nuclear site by mid-2009. This means construction of the project’s new units could possibly begin this year itself.
On the issue of reactor type for new Koodankulam units, the possibility of continuing with the third generation ‘VVER-1000’ reactor being used in the two units currently under construction, or going in for the new generation ‘VVER 1200’ units, is being debated by the Department of Atomic Energy. Currently, state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is preparing the construction site and obtaining necessary clearances for the two new units (Units 3 and 4).
The fourth unit will be built almost simultaneously with the third one, while the construction of a proposed fifth and sixth units at the same site is likely to commence when the third and fourth units are near completion.

Costing
The biggest apprehension voiced against imported nuclear reactor-based capacities planned in the country, in the wake of the Indo-US nuclear deal, has been on the pricing front. The fear, essentially, is that the project cost entailed in setting up these new, gargantuan imported reactors could push final retail electricity tariffs to levels that consumers will find difficult to pay, creating an Enron kind of a situation.

For the new ‘VVER 1000’ units being offered by the Russians, the upfront price tag being quoted is $2 billion for each reactor under discussion. Russia has, meanwhile, proposed a sweetener in the form of a 30 per cent discount.
A pact with Larsen & Toubro has been signed by the Russian firm. Factoring in the discount, the cost of construction for each new reactor comes to roughly Rs 7 crore per mega watt (at current exchange rates).
While at these levels, project costing is around 35 per cent higher than for a thermal plant of a similar size, it needs to be borne in mind that the age of a nuclear station is pegged at 60 years, double that for a typical thermal station.
The cost estimates, however, do not include decommissioning costs that have to be borne at the end of the life of a nuclear plant.
The NPCIL expects the first Koodankulam unit, when operational, to be able to sell power at less than Rs 2.50 a unit (kilowatt hour) — ostensibly a very acceptable tariff estimate.
Safety

The ‘VVER 1000’ units currently being installed have special devices that intercept, cool and localise core melt in case of an accident — a kind of concrete trap located under the reactor. Besides, the Russians claim the units are earthquake-, hurricane- and air-crash proof.
The two existing units, located on the Indian Ocean coast, survived the tsunami of 2004, with the waves kept away by a special ‘wave cutter’.
Cost
Koodankulam is important in the way imported Light Water Reactor-based nuclear capacities get added in the future, in probably the same way as the Tarapur project was to the nascent Indian nuclear industry. This is specifically because Koodankulam could well prove to be the benchmark for future projects being developed through foreign participation under inter-governmental pacts.
India is planning to set up a slew of nuclear power parks across the country, with the sites chosen so far being Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Pati Sonapur in Orissa, Haripur in West Bengal, Mithirvirdi in Gujarat, and Kowadi in Andhra Pradesh. Six to eight reactors, of 1,000-1,650 MW, are proposed to be installed at each nuclear park. Negotiations are on with four global suppliers — GE-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse of the US, Areva of France, besides Atomstroyexport.
Koodankulam will prove to be a crucial benchmark in terms of pricing and project implementation experience for all of the drama set to unfold in Act Two of the India nuclear saga.
 
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India to set up nuclear reactors in Kazakhstan

India to set up nuclear reactors in Kazakhstan _English_Xinhua

India to set up nuclear reactors in Kazakhstan
English_Xinhua 2009-05-03 17:00:03


NEW DELHI, May 3 (Xinhua) -- India will set up an unspecified number of nuclear reactors in Kazakhstan under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) reached between the two countries early this year, said the local newspaper Mail Today on Sunday.

The MoU was signed during Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev's visit to India in January, the newspaper quoted unidentified sources as saying.

The two countries have also reached an advanced stage in discussions on nuclear cooperation and Kazakhstan could well be the first foreign destination for India-made reactors, said the report.

Such reactors would be of medium size, with a capacity to generate 200 to 300 megawatt of power each, according to the report.

Kazakhstan has also agreed to supply over 2,000 tons of uranium to India to make fuels for its nuclear plants.

Kazakhstan is the world's second biggest uranium producer and has 15 percent of the global uranium reserves.

India has already signed nuclear cooperation deals with Russia, France and the United
 
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Articles | IndUS Business Journal

GE Hitachi signs two nuclear deals in India

Indus News Wire
WILMINGTON, N.C. – In order to help meet India’s energy production goals, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy recently signed two agreements with the Nuclear Power Corp. of India and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, facilitating the building of multiple nuclear reactors.

Mumbai-based Nuclear Power Corp. is India’s only nuclear utility operating 17 reactors and New Delhi-based Bharat Heavy Electricals is the country’s leading manufacturer and supplier of power generation equipment and components.

Under the preliminary agreements, GE Hitachi will begin planning with Nuclear Power Corp. and Bharat Heavy Electricals for the necessary resources in manufacturing and construction management for a potential multiple-unit advanced boiling water reactor nuclear power station, according to the company.

“We look forward to working closely with Nuclear Power Corp. to expand electricity generation for the people of India. Toward this end, we also look forward to combining the expertise of Bharat Heavy Electricals with GE Hitachi’s experienced, global nuclear power station supply chain capabilities,” said Jack Fuller, president and chief executive officer of GE Hitachi.

The 1,350-MW water reactor technology is the world’s only commercially proven Generation III reactor design, with the first two of four units entering service in 1996 and 1997 and four additional units under construction, said the company.

The new agreements lay the foundation for cooperation between GE Hitachi and the two Indian companies as additional steps are taken by the Indian and U.S. governments to implement the agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation they signed in October 2008.

Nuclear energy is important in GE Hitachi’s long-standing ties with India. The General Electric Company built India’s first nuclear plant, the Tarapur 1 and 2 boiling water reactor stations, during the 1960s, said GE. GE’s revenue in India is approximately $2.6 billion, and the company employs more than 14,500 people across the country.
 

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What kind of news about Thorium reactors in India?
Do you want news or you want information about thorium reactors?
 

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The Hindu Business Line : N-reactors: Kazakhstan likely to be first customer

New Delhi, May 14 India’s efforts to develop an export market for the indigenous 220 MWe Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) could take-off soon, with Kazakhstan possibly the first overseas market for Indian-made reactors.

Discussions between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the central Asian nation’s nuclear utility Kazatomprom are at an advanced stage and a feasibility study on using Indian PHWR designs is in the works for an unspecified number of nuclear reactors.

According to Government sources, while feelers have also been received from ASEAN countries, Kazakhstan is likely to be the first breakthrough.
“Currently, India is perhaps the only country to have an actively working technology, design and infrastructure for manufacture of small reactors with a unit capacity of 220 MWe. These units have a great potential for exports, particularly to nations with small grids that are planning nuclear forays with relatively lower investment levels,” an official said.

Globally, the major developers of nuclear reactors in the EU and North America have moved on to larger reactor sizes of 700 MWe or 1,000 MWe and above. India stands out in having an active nuclear power programme using 220 MWe reactors, which is based on proven technology in a number of domestic atomic stations. In all, 12 such 220 MWe PHWR reactors are in operation currently while three more are under construction.
 

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http://www.indianexpress.com/news/when-the-buddha-first-smiled/459656/0


BY the start of May 1974, India was in the grip of a scorching summer of discontent though worse was to follow a year hence. The afterglow of Indira Gandhi’s tremendous triumph in the 1971 general election and the country’s brilliant victory in the Bangladesh war the same year had vanished. Monsoons had failed again. The economy was in a shambles. However, it was the corruption and arrogance of her inner circle that had fed popular anger. Gujarat’s Nav Nirman, followed by the more formidable J.P. movement (so named after its sponsor, the highly respected Gandhian, Jayaprakash Narayan), was climaxed by a nationwide railway strike with the avowed objective — in the words of its leader, maverick Socialist George Fernandes — of “starving the country”. Indira Gandhi decided to crush it ruthlessly.

It was in this sombre atmosphere that in the city of Bombay (now Mumbai) on May 18 something startling happened. A huge, restive crowd at a bus stop, vainly waiting for transport of any kind, suddenly burst into cheers. News had just come in that India had conducted an underground nuclear test that morning at a place called Pokhran in distant Rajasthan. This reaction was symptomatic of the ecstatic welcome most Indians gave their country’s entry into the Nuclear Club.

The sensational news was a complete surprise to everyone, including the peeved nuclear powers that had failed to detect the underground explosion. India insisted that the event at Pokhran was a peaceful nuclear explosion (PNE) — both the United States and the Soviet Union had been conducting several of these — although there is no difference in the PNE technology and that for exploding a nuclear weapon.

Two separate and interconnected reasons led to Indira Gandhi’s resolve to conduct the test although its roots really went back to her father, Jawaharlal Nehru’s time. It is difficult to think of another person so thoroughly opposed to nuclear weapons as he. Yet all through his life — since 1946 indeed — he also held steadfastly to the policy that India must develop the technology to build these weapons, should the need arise, especially if others refused to abjure them. (With the solitary exception of Morarji Desai in 1977, all Nehru’s successors have broadly shared this approach.).

Against this backdrop, the first reason for Pokhran-I burst into the open within five months of Nehru’s death. On October 16, 1964 China’s first nuclear bomb went up at Lop Nor. Coincidentally, Nikita Khrushchev, who had denied China a nuclear weapon design, went down in Moscow on the same day. In New Delhi, K. Subrahmanyam, the country’s premier security analyst, then a deputy secretary in the defence ministry, sent a top-secret note to the defence secretary suggesting that a committee, headed by the legendary Homi Bhabha, should devise India’s response to the Chinese challenge. In the ministry of external affairs, K. R. Narayanan, then director, China (later President) also advised the government to “exercise the nuclear option”. If a personal note is permissible, a week ahead of them, in The Statesman (October 9) I had pleaded for an Indian nuclear weapons programme because the “mushroom cloud was about to appear on the Himalayas.”

For his part, Bhabha made no secret of his conviction that India could produce a nuclear bomb in 18 months at no more than Rs. 30 lakhs each. Nehru’s successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and other political leaders were not yet prepared to go that far even though pressure within the Congress party to go nuclear was on the increase. K. C. Pant, later defence minister, and Krishan Kant, later vice-president, were principal advocates of nuclear weapons.

What Shastri did authorise, however, was a Subterranean Nuclear Exploration Project (SNEP). It did not make headway because of deaths in quick succession of both Shastri and Bhabha. Like Shastri, Indira Gandhi also wasted some time in the meaningless search for a “nuclear security umbrella” by the two superpowers.

Profound foreign policy and security developments during 1971 — Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to China and his subsequent warning that in case China became involved in the crisis in Bangladesh, India should not expect American support; the signing of the Indo-Soviet treaty Indira Gandhi wasn’t enthusiastic about until then; and above all, America’s dispatch of the Enterprise-led nuclear task force to the Bay of Bengal during the Bangladesh War — became the second and clinching reason for taking the plunge. Indira Gandhi’s numerous critics have roundly blamed her for conducting the test for purely political reasons. Nothing cam be farther from the truth. At the time of Pokhran-I she was doubtless beleaguered. But she had authorised the test in September 1972 when her popularity was at its peak.

As the news of detonation spread, in distant Washington, Denis Kux, officer in change of the India desk at the state department, prepared a scathing draft criticising the “Indian test”. But Kissinger, then in the Middle East, toned it down, arguing that the Indian explosion was an “accomplished fact” and “public scolding” would only “add to US-India bilateral problems”. However, this did not prevent the US from imposing the harshest sanctions on this country.

Details of the long and secret decision-making process cannot be discussed in available space. But a crucial meeting just before the PNE deserves a mention. The issue was whether to go ahead and “push the button”. According to an account by Raja Ramanna, the mastermind of the venture, two of Indira Gandhi’s top advisers, P. N. Haksar and P. N. Dhar, were opposed to it, and wanted it postponed. Homi Sethna, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, offered no opinion. D. Nag Chaudhuri, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister started weighing pros and cons but was cut short by the prime minister. “Dr. Ramanna,” she said. turning to him, “please go ahead. It would be good for the country”. The next morning “the Buddha smiled”.:2guns:

Her critics have a point when they say that, faced with furious international reaction, especially from the US and Canada (the latter had provided the Cirus reactor at Trombay), she “developed cold feet” and did not follow up on Pokhran-I. Consequently, there was a gap of 24 years between Pokhran-I and Pokhran-II. But that’s a different story.

The writer is a Delhi-based political commentator
 

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http://www.ptinews.com/pti\ptisite.nsf/0/E5348B0ADFC572E4652575B70031752F?OpenDocument

Some more steps from India needed to implement N-deal: Blake



Lalit K Jha
Washington, May 15 (PTI) India needs to take a "couple of steps" to fully implement the landmark Indo-US civil nuclear deal which has changed the architecture of the global non-proliferation regime, a top American diplomat has said.

"It (nuclear deal) is going very well ... There is still a couple of steps that the Indians have to take to fully implement that agreement," Ambassador Robert Blake, President Barack Obama's nominee for the post of Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said.

His remarks came in response to a question at his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Blake, who was till recently US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, said that first of all India has to bring the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement into force.

Then they also have to file with the IAEA a declaration of their nuclear facilities, he informed the Senators, who wanted to know the latest status of the historic nuclear deal, which consumed much of the time of the Congress in the last couple of years. PTI
 

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Kissinger and India’s Bomb

Kissinger and India’s Bomb

A.G. NOORANI

After Pokhran-I, in 1974, Henry Kissinger’s formulations on the nuclear question fully accorded with India’s interests and claims.

THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

May 1974: Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the Pokhran nuclear test site.

AFTER the Pokhran explosion on May 18, 1974, United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger not only accepted realistically the possibility of India going for the Bomb but also made a constructive proposal to India’s Ambassador, T.N. Kaul, which might have radically altered the course of events. It was, however, ignored. Rebuffed, the U.S. refused to grant its consent to the reprocessing of spent fuel at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, reneged on its promise of a regular supply of enriched uranium for TAPS, set up the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and imposed certain sanctions.

Kissinger plugged the loopholes in the non-proliferation regime. The Zangger Committee of 20 States, committed to coordinating export restrictions on key materials and technologies, met to upgrade the rules. On August 22, 1974, 10 of the states filed identical memoranda with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to establish a “trigger list” of crucial material. In April 1975, Kissinger convened a secret meeting in London of what became the NSG. By then relations with India had deteriorated. Kissinger had excellent relations with Kaul. He was one of the few Ambassadors whose invitations Kissinger would accept.

On February 24, 1975, President Gerald Ford lifted the arms embargo against Pakistan, signalling a new arms relationship with that country. External Affairs Minister Y.B. Chavan cancelled his trip to the U.S. Breaching diplomatic etiquette, Kaul publicly attacked the decision. Kissinger replied: “The comments of the Indian Foreign Minister are restrained and statesmanlike but those of the Indian Ambassador are unacceptable.” Not one to leave well alone and keep quiet, Kaul went on churlishly to retort that Kissinger’s remarks were unacceptable to him. He lost his privileged access to the U.S. Secretary of State. Kissinger declined private meetings and invitations to tandoori chicken dinners. Kaul became ineffectual but fancied that he had won brownie points with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had an intense, irrational dislike for Kissinger. She wantonly snubbed him when he visited India in October 1974.

Kaul was more a family retainer than a professional. In 1959, when Indira Gandhi became Congress president, he advised her, with crass impropriety and utter lack of sense, to split the Congress on ideological lines, as if, with Nehru still alive, the party was hers to split. His letters, years later, on jobs for himself make pathetic reading. But it is his post-Pokhran reports to New Delhi on his talks with Kissinger that merit careful study. They had met in New Delhi in July 1971 when Kaul was Foreign Secretary. Kissinger made little secret of his assessment that India had decided to intervene militarily in the then East Pakistan. Kaul noted that Kissinger “tried to drop an indirect hint about the possible normalisation of relations with Peking [Beijing]”. He added “under no circumstances shall we cooperate with China, directly or indirectly, in any move which is directed against India, and any military move by China against India would retard our political relationship with China”. He added, “India is a Great Power. Pakistan is a regional power.” He criticised bureaucrats and “suggested that we should open a channel of direct contact with him bypassing the State Department”.

On July 7, 1971, Kissinger met Vikram Sarabhai, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and P.N. Haksar, the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, at lunch at the Ashoka Hotel. Haksar arrived late and spoke little. Haksar, incidentally, always tried hard to conceal his poor opinion of Kaul. From New Delhi, Kissinger went to Islamabad and thence to Beijing. On his return, he summoned Ambassador L.K. Jha to the Western White House, in San Clemente, on July 16, to warn him that India could not count on American help in the event of China intervening in an India-Pakistan war. In New York on December 10, 1971, he vigorously prodded Ambassador Huang Hua to intervene in the Bangladesh war by taking military action against India. In 1974, Kissinger came to terms with the realities. Hence, the relevance of his talks with Kaul. Why would he have befriended this voluble man if he did not seek to make amends to his country?

U.S.’ mild statement


On December 27, 2007, the U.S. State Department published the volume on South Asia in its series Foreign Relations of the United States, covering the years 1969-76. Kissinger was in Syria on his shuttle diplomacy when he learnt of Pokhran. He promptly issued orders for a “low-key” response by the U.S. Kenneth Rush, the Deputy Secretary of State, acknowledged the orders and repeated it to the missions abroad. A draft “strong statement” was rejected.

Kissinger and Kaul met alone at lunch at the State Department for over an hour on June 7, 1974. Kaul reported to Foreign Secretary Kewal Singh: “I told him I had been rereading his book on Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy published in 1957. He had predicted therein that secondary powers would be able to acquire nuclear device within a few years. He said: ‘I am not surprised that India has exploded a nuclear device. I was sure India would do so sooner or later. State Department wanted to launch a campaign against India, but I had to firmly put it down and authorised issue of only a mild statement. I do not mind if India makes nuclear weapons. In fact, I am sure India will do so. Why should India not make them if she has the capability, when we and other nuclear powers make them?’ I felt he was deliberately leading me on. I therefore categorically rejected any idea of India going in for nuclear weapons, firstly because we could not afford the luxury and secondly, because we did not feel the necessity for it as it was inconceivable that any nuclear weapon power would dare to use nuclear weapons in any future conflict. He said he was glad to hear this because he had to answer a lot of questions in the Congress where he had been for the last two days and today pleading for the aid packet.…

“In the end Kissinger said: ‘India is a Great Power. We want to deal with India as a Great Power. Please rest assured that we want to maintain and further strengthen the improvement that has already taken place. I am greatly looking forward to my visit to India.’”

Kaul hosted a dinner on July 16 and sent a report of the talks not only to the Foreign Secretary but also to the Prime Minister: “I told Kissinger I was glad to see that the two Super Powers had expressly recognised the difference between peaceful and military purposes of underground nuclear explosions in the latest agreement signed in Moscow. He replied: ‘I knew that you would use this to justify your own explosion. I have taken a very sober and realistic view of your explosion and I would not be surprised even if you went in for nuclear weapons.’ I told him that we had no such intention and we would much rather see an international agreement applicable to all countries including nuclear weapon countries to regulate underground nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes. That would be a real step towards non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. He replied that it would be difficult if not impossible to distinguish between explosions for peaceful and military purposes unless there was some machinery for on-site inspections. According to him Soviets were not willing to allow such inspections.

“He then said: ‘Even if we and the Soviets agreed, you are unlikely to agree unless France and China also agreed. That is why perhaps you are making the suggestion because you know that all nuclear weapon powers will not agree.’ He then asked me: ‘Would you sign such an international agreement if USA and USSR [Union of Soviet Socialist Republics] agree to do so?’ I told him that I could put it to my government and we might consider it if it was a real step towards nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament without any discrimination against the nuclear non-weapon powers. He admitted that such an agreement was unrealistic at the present moment but may be a possibility in the future.”

Meanwhile, Kewal Singh had met U.S. Ambassador Daniel P. Moynihan, who “confirmed what Kissinger had told us, namely, that the latter would like to have confidential talks with Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on proliferation. Americans, according to Moynihan, are certain that Pakistan would go all out to acquire processing technology and plant for conducting her own nuclear explosions and Iran too will eventually do the same. This would begin a nuclear arms race in the Middle East [West Asia]. However, he agreed that ‘India had a point in objecting to discriminatory nature of NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] and that the suggestion that a country like India should depend on another power for PNEs [peaceful nuclear explosions] was an absurd one. Moynihan also revealed that a study group had been established on 15th July to look into proliferation problems resulting from India’s PNE and the group would submit its report’” to Kissinger before his visit to India.

Kaul was advised by a good friend from India who had known Kissinger: “I would suggest that we start some studies on the hint that Kissinger threw when you saw him that he wished to discuss some kind of an agreement between the nuclear powers, in which he included India, regarding non-proliferation. We are trying to study it here, but we do not have all the facts. If you wish any particular information on the subject, I shall be glad to get what I can. I would, however, suggest that you ask Dr. Homi Sethna, P.N. Haksar, yourself and one or two others to get together and clear our own thinking on the subject. I should be grateful for any guidance that you can give me so that I may try to probe Henry accordingly.

“He [Kissinger] also asked me to give him some points for his talks and discussions in Delhi. I thought he was joking, but he told me he was serious and respected my judgment. I would also appreciate if you could kindly send me some points that you wish him to bear in mind when he talks both at Sapru House, on the TV and radio as well as in his discussions with FM and PM.”

At a dinner on October 10, 1974, in honour of the Finance Minister, Kissinger gave a concrete shape to his thoughts. Kaul reported to Kewal Singh: “Kissinger would like to enter into a confidential bilateral or multilateral understanding with us that no nuclear country would transfer nuclear technology including underground nuclear explosive technology to any other (non-nuclear?) country except under adequate safeguards. He said if some suitable formula could be worked out he would then be able to meet criticism in the Congress and elsewhere and India’s position as a nuclear power would be recognised by the whole world. He did not think China would join any such understanding, but France and other nuclear powers would” (emphasis added throughout). That surely was not a gain to be sniffed at.

Indira Gandhi’s fears

The New York Times of September 13, 1974, published a report by Seymour M. Hersh from Washington, based on a leak of Moynihan’s dispatch to the State Department on Indira Gandhi’s fears about the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency in India. It was in delightful prose, to Kissinger’s great annoyance: “Her concern is whether the United States accepts the Indian regime. She is not sure but that we would be content to see others like her overthrown. She knows full well that we have done our share and more of bloody and dishonourable deeds.”

“The ambassador said Mrs. Gandhi was not worried about being overthrown, and added: ‘It is precisely because she is not innocent, not squeamish and not a moraliser that her concern about American intentions is real and immediate.’

“And of course the news from the United States, as printed in the Indian press, repeatedly confirms her worst suspicions and genuine fears. ‘Nothing will change her unless she is satisfied that the United States accepts her India. She does not now think we do. She thinks we are a profoundly selfish and cynical counter-revolutionary power.’

“Because of that belief Mr. Moynihan noted: ‘She will accordingly proceed to develop nuclear weapons and a missile delivery system, preaching non-violence all the way.’”

Soon thereafter, Kissinger and Kaul met alone when the Secretary of State referred to his Ambassador’s “hysterical” cable. This time, Kaul reported directly to the Prime Minister. Kissinger ridiculed Moynihan’s remarks on the Indian Bomb. “I know that it will take India 10 or 15 years to develop means of delivery, and it is presumptuous of Moynihan to have said that India is going for means of delivery in nuclear weapons.”

By then, the dates for Kissinger’s trip to Delhi were fixed. He was to arrive on October 27. Kaul reported to the Prime Minister: “I asked him about what sort of discussions on nuclear questions he wanted to have in Delhi. He replied as follows.” The points Kissinger made are extremely important:

“a) We recognise India as a nuclear power and would like to deal with you as such;

“b) India has a nuclear weapons capability but we do not wish to split hairs or argue as to whether you are going to use such capability or not;

“c) We are only anxious that other countries like Pakistan should not develop nuclear weapons. That would not only upset the present military balance on the subcontinent but encourage others to go in for nuclear weapons;

“(d) We are not going to ask India to do anything that we are not prepared to do ourselves;

“(e) It may be advisable for India and U.S., either bilaterally or jointly with other nuclear powers, to agree that they will not transfer nuclear explosive technology to non-nuclear countries or other nuclear technology except under strict safeguards. (He hoped that India would agree to this.)

“I told him that while we could not make a public declaration unilaterally that we would not transfer the benefits of such technology to other countries, however, if there was a consensus among the nuclear powers, then we might consider joining such a consensus. I expressed this as my personal opinion but told him that I would convey his views to my government.” Kissinger’s formulations fully accorded with India’s interests and its claims. One fails to understand Kaul’s precondition of a nuclear power consensus. It was a sensible offer which India should have enthusiastically welcomed. Kissinger pursued the idea in Delhi. It went nowhere. A good opportunity was missed. Had it been seized, India might have avoided the travails it underwent later.

Indira Gandhi’s ire was a purely personal one. She was “friendly” with Moynihan. Hers was the imperial style of an inordinately vain person, which fawning civil servants and journalists encouraged. She harmed the national interest. For Kissinger came prepared to accept India as “a nuclear power”. He had not only asked the State Department to react to Pokhran in “low key”, but in another cable, had sent his “preliminary weekend assessment”. He wrote: “The Nth power has finally come forward…. The challenge is no longer keeping India from going nuclear; it is stabilising a new nuclear ‘power’ within the international framework and trying to dissuade others from following suit.”

His proposal ensured both. India’s status as a nuclear power was accepted provided that it would not help others attain that status. The proposal was sensible, fair and expedient. Thirty years later, India gave the very same pledge, more than once. Instead of grandstanding for an international “consensus”, had India responded to this manifestly fair offer – especially in view of Kissinger’s explicit formulations to Kaul – unequivocally and even warmly, it would have deflected the U.S. from doing a lot it did later. After Pokhran-II, in 1998, the U.S. refused even to think of those formulations.

Neither for the first nor for the last time was India’s national interest sacrificed at the altar of its leader’s vanity and ineptness. The national mood of chauvinism was fostered by such leaders.
 

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