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Former chiefs, top bureaucrats and scientists vote for Indo-US nuclear deal
17 November 2007

New Delhi: A caucus of influential former military chiefs, bureaucrats, scientists along with some members of parliament, have come out in support of the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying that the 2005 US-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement is the best that India can hope for.

In an open letter, published in the national daily Indian Express, these experts say they believe that the civil nuclear cooperation, as stated in the agreement, will not only serve the country's national security interests, but also ensure India's evolution as a principal power in the global comity of nations.

While welcoming Parliament's decision to debate the deal during its winter session, the experts expressed the opinion that the one obstacle coming in the way of India exerting a significant influence in the shaping of the modern world, was its lack of access to high technologies, "particularly those related to security needs".

 

"We will continue to be denied access to such technologies unless the international community agrees to remove the existing sanctions. In opening the way to such an outcome, what is formally a bilateral agreement between us and the USA is actually the basis for agreement with the international community," the paper quotes the experts, as saying in their open letter.

"That community combines to impose crippling constraints not only on our nuclear programme but, by withholding so called dual-use technologies, on a wide range of possibilities for improving the lives of our people," they suggested, adding that "existing constraints can only be removed through an agreement with those who impose them, which this accord (US-India nuclear deal) makes possible."

"Nobody can claim the deal is perfect, or gives us everything we would have liked. But all international agreements require movement away from one's first preferences. All too often in our history we have suffered by insisting on the ideally desirable and rejecting what is attainable. The agreement has given us as much as it has because of a most particular combination of circumstances which can hardly come again," they said.

We realise that there are many Indians, no less concerned about our security interests than ourselves, who disagree with us. Democracy demands and thrives on differences of opinion. We only urge that opinion be shaped by facts and reality.

"International relationships are shaped by strength, the stronger you are the greater your freedom of action. We believe India is more vulnerable to foreign pressures without this agreement than we would be by increasing our strength through an intelligent use of it to put through various development programmes, which currently falter. This agreement should be viewed as an instrument for making us that stronger power, confident of itself and of the respect of others that counts more and more in the world, and can do more for its people."

The signatories include:

Marshal of the Air Force, Arjun Singh, former chief of the Indian Air Force
Air Chief Marshal OP Mehra, former chief of the Indian Air Force
General VN Sharma, former chief of Army Staff
General VP Malik, former chief of Army Staff
Admiral Ram Tahliani, former chief of Naval Staff
Admiral Madhvendra Singh, former chief of Naval Staff
Dr MR Srinivasan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission
Dr Kasturirangan, former chairman of the Space Commission
K Subrahmanyam, former founder/director of IDSA, former secretary, defence production, former convener, NSAB
Dr Roddam Narsimha, former director of National Institute of Advanced Studies and director, National Aeronautical Laboratory
Dr R Rajaraman, former professor of School of Nuclear Sciences, JNU
K Santhanam, former senior scientific advisor to Ministry of Defence
BG Deshmukh, former cabinet secretary and principal secretary to the prime minister
Abid Hussain, former member of the Planning Commission, former commerce secretary and ambassador to the US
NN Vohra, former principal secretary to the prime minister, former home secretary and former defence secretary
Naresh Chandra, former governor of Gujarat, former cabinet secretary, former secretary, home and defence
Narendra Sisodia, former secretary, defence production and ministry of finance
MK Rasgotra, former high commissioner to the UK, former ambassador to France and former foreign secretary
send this article to a friendKS Bajpai, former ambassador to Pakistan, China and the US, former secretary, external affairs
K Raghunath, former ambassador to the USSR, former foreign secretary
Lalit Mansingh, former ambassador to the US, former foreign secretary
SK Lambah, former ambassador to Pakistan, Germany, Russia
Arundhati Ghose, former ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament.


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Former chiefs, top bureaucrats and scientists vote for Indo-US nuclear deal