Youth Protest Against Indo-US Nuclear Deal

Arundhati Roy at the protest

“We’re on our 8th day of fasting,” said one of the students from Calicut University, Kerala. “We don’t want nuclear to be a part of our future.” Several students including Abdul Rehman, Saji Mathew, Ramziya Rehmat, Tomy Jecob, Krupa and Divya, inspired by one of their Professors came all the way from Kerala up to the seat of power in Delhi to voice their concerns regarding the long-pending Indo-US nuclear power deal. They are members of the Students Against Nuclear Power (SANP) group and have been protesting at Jantar Mantar.

ProtestThe Indo-US Nuclear deal, also known as the “1, 2, 3 Deal” has been controversial ever since its inception. Though first started by the NDA government in the late 90s and early 2000, it has reached its final stages under the current UPA-led coalition.

The deal is significant for many reasons but mostly for its implications of India finally being deemed a “responsible nuclear power” status by the US–bringing the country out of official isolation on the subject. It is important to note that India has not signed the non-proliferation treaty.

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The deal is being mooted crucial for India in terms of energy security as the nation currently imports 70% of its oil, which is expected to go up to 90% by mid-century if not sooner. India currently lacks supplies of uranium and the deal would allow technology sharing and the ability to buy uranium from the global market for the very first time. India’s plans are to utilize home grown technology, particularly the fast-breeder closed cycle process which involves enriching some thorium (of which India has some 30-odd percent of the global supply) with uranium to start the closed cycle.

If India is to maintain its economic boom, it is expected that it will have to increase its energy production from the 125 gigawatts today to over 250 gigawatts by 2016. It is debatable however, how much of this will actually be achieved by boosting nuclear energy generation. Critics state that nuclear will still play a very small role in the over all energy mix.

Energy aside, controversy also exists around the fact that the agreement might compromise India’s sovereignty over the rights to its own weapons program which technically is a separate entity all together. Regardless, the question of the hour is should India push through the nuclear deal without much debate (as the current administration plans to do especially before President Bush is out of office), will it herald yet another missed opportunity for India to follow a more genuine path towards carbon-neutral growth?

Can a population of 1.03 billion people with really high density accept any form of nuclear melt down like 3-mile island or the one that happened in Japan more recently? Furthermore is nuclear the way we solve our climate challenge?

For the students, the purpose was clear: give the different movements against nuclear from around the country a rallying point. I think they did just that. Many have come out in support. It was on the 8th day of fasting that I finally visited these brave youth. Leading leftist politicians arrived at the scene pleading them to stop the fast in assurance that they would carry forth the battle in Parliament.

“Now that we have had our voices heard and helped unite the movement, we are going back and will carry on our struggle from Kerala,” stated the professor leading the students. I only hope that it is not too late.

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This article has been written by a member of the Delhi Greens Blog's dedicated team of writers and researchers from across Delhi NCR, India and the world.

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4 thoughts on “Youth Protest Against Indo-US Nuclear Deal

  1. Well done to these students for putting themselves on the front line. India has so many crossroads to pass through as it develops rapidly. I hope it does not go down China’s road of chronic pollution.

  2. Thanks for your wishes bud!

    China’s pollution can also be attributed to its authorotarian (or whatever) form of Govt. that would not let even Google…let anything else work or speak in its territory. India, is not only the largest democracy of the world and I think one of the most successful ones as well. While such protests are heard upon and visited by the politicians and leaders back here…it is only the military and the police that is sent to take care of such protests in China.

  3. I hear what you are saying. Need to watch out for that corporate bully though; they have ways of circumnavigating democracy. Greed is their mission and they’ll pay off anyone to get what they want, including local officials.

  4. I wish to see what will be the face value of this waiver & exemptions if India go to do a Nuclear test TOMORROW or ANYTIME or If India decides to go ahead with LPG pipeline project with Iran. Legacy Of Americans tell us they will lick as long as one being obedient to them otherwise they will suck. Also, I hope Manmohan singh would be alive that time.

    As always, Illiterate (Sorry, I meant to say common man is still don”t know what is this deal, they just know their daily life is MISERABLE because of UNAFFORDABLE COST OF LIVING) and comic goons are on the street celebrating beating drums as if they got independence from Americans!!.

    Almost 75% of Indians are still living in utter poverty not because our country didn”t have NSG waiver and Nuclear deal. Now we are forced to believe that India remains the poorest because we didn”t have this deal.They people who are going to prosper by this deal are a group of American businessmen,a section of NRIs acting as middlemen and CROOKED POLITICIANS IN INDIA.That will remain as a truth.

    If this deal is all about ending acute power crisis in this country, the people all the way praising this deal should wait and see whether this will end the electricity appetite of this nation and how it is going to elevate the poor people of this country. A country with no specific and strict protocols to stop the simple technical faults, transmission leaks and THEFT in electrical transmission systems yet. A country where disaster management,planning & coordination is a myth even in this 21st Century. Still millions are left out homeless in floods every year. who care about them???? I am wondering what this deal is all about!.

    “INDIA IS MY COUNTRY AND I AM PROUD OF BEING AN INDIAN” But that words never matched the deeds in this country by its leaders.It is 21st century and India became worst than certain improvished African countries in many aspects if not all.Look at the the utter poverty,Illiteracy,uncontrolled population growth,rampant corruption,bribery,beurocracy,violence,dirty politics,Pseudo-secularism,appeasement politics..WHAT NOT THERE.

    Unless and until you correct the fundamentals and basic needs of this country It is just a fantasy dream that India become a superpower.For that we need is a realistic approach..visionary leaders..national integrity and patriotism. Nuclear deal will not fill the stomach of poor people in this country.It is rubbish and foolishness when someone said Nuclear deal will bring down inflation!!!!.What a pity state of affair!

    What kind of leaders our people choose and send to parliament, and the people shall have to pay the price for it. What a pity situation of my country!.People are being treated as idiots by their own leaders. This what is Indian democracy!. Indians will have to wait for many years and luckly if there is a visionary leader with strong political will and nationalistic agenda, then their dreams can be fullfilled. Otherwise the pockets of polticians are only going to be filled with currencies!

    “PEOPLE GET WHAT THEY DESERVE”

    GOD SAVE THIS COUNTRY.

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