Thursday, October 18, 2007


As the left tightens its grip on the Indian government over the Indo-US nuclear deal it would be worth while to take a look at what the leftists in campuses have to say on the issue. One view that has emerged from the leftist campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University is that energy security is being used as an alibi for aligning with the US. This obviously smells of the left’s outdated imperialist fears and their inherent distaste for anything that is remotely connected with the US. What is wrong in being aligned with the US? Does it harm our National Interest? Perhaps, it is time that the communists in India debate their own relevance in today’s world and whether they should reinvent themselves akin to the Chinese.

Another view that is being propagated by the left is that instead of investing in purchase of nuclear technology India should invest in its own R&D and develop its own technology. Sounds like the familiar inward looking technological self reliance mantra. Something that is no more relevant in today’s globalised world. We all know how the Japanese and the Koreans initially acquired technology from the West and are now in the frontiers of technological prowess in innumerous sectors.

Do we really need to reinvent the wheel when mature, commercially tested nuclear technology already exists and is available for a fraction of the price of carrying out R&D. Technology acquisition would allow us to leap frog to new generation of mature technologies besides saving valuable time. We should realize that there is a big gap between technology developed in R&D labs and mature technology that has weathered the market forces and is commercially successful. Also, India need not depend on US alone for nuclear technology. The French who have a very successful nuclear energy sector can be a source of cost effective nuclear technology. Or, for that matter, any other nation that has mature nuclear technology can be a source for India. In any case, the nuclear deal will only provide another option for our energy needs, whether we actually go ahead and build nuclear power plants is a matter which can be considered much latter based on cost and other considerations. What’s wrong with having another option?

Remember, while we paralyze ourselves with excessive analysis, China is quietly building capacities for energy security - nuclear and other wise. Today, China is our biggest competitor not the US and by missing the nuclear bus we will further trail behind the Chinese. The detractor’s of nuclear deal are actually facilitating Chinese supremacy in the new world order. Sadly, they are doing this at the cost of India. These are the same people who remain silent when China claims the North-Eastern part of India to be theirs.

Manoj Tirkey