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Editorial - Peace Now, March 2009

by Peace Now, 26 February 2009

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Peace Now, March 2009, Bulletin of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) journal

The interregnum since the last issue, brought out in early August, has been a truly eventful one.

First of all, the spirited battle waged by the anti-nuclear peace movements, at both national and international levels, against the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, under way since July 18 2005, has suffered a decisive setback despite intermittent moments of considerable hopes. The India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been inked in Vienna on the 2nd instant by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and Indian Ambassador Saurabh Kumar. However, India is further to “ratify” the agreement. The clinching of the agreement with the IAEA comes in the wake of the eventual clearance by the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on September 26 last year at the culmination of two rounds of stormy and protracted deliberations, to be followed by the US President Bush signing legislation to enact the landmark US-India civilian nuclear agreement on Oct 8 2008 after due approval by the US Congress. This was further followed by the signing of the enabling framework agreement between India and the US on October 10. By now, as follow up measures, India has reportedly signed actual purchase orders for nuclear fuel supply on France’s Areva (on Feb. 4) and Russia’s TVEL (on Feb. 11). A draft accord has been signed with the French group Areva for supply of two to six European Pressurised Reactors (EPR), with estimated cost four to six billion euros (5.2-7.8 billion dollars) each. Framework agreement with Russia has been signed for supply of additional nuclear reactors for the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu and with Kazakhstan for uranium. Placing of any specific commercial order (for nuclear reactors in particular) on the US companies will, however, have to cross additional, and uncertain, barriers. (Quite contrary to loud predictions made by the mainstream opposition in India.) We have carried four articles covering the issue in depth and details, from different angles, including an exclusive contribution by an internationally known scholar, Peter Custers.

On the last 26th November, Mumbai came under a gory and spectacular terrorist attack stretching over sixty hours or so. Four locations mainly, all in south Mumbai, bore the brunt of the ensuing mayhem. The event as a spectacle, with the gorgeous and iconic Taj Hotel by the seaside as the main focus, was brought live into Indian households by the electronic media adding further elements of melodrama and jingoistic hype in the cutthroat race for the TRP. As an immediate consequence not only the meeting scheduled between the visiting Pakistan Foreign Minister and his Indian counterpart got cancelled, but also the prospects of escalating armed conflicts between the two nuclear neighbours started looking too real. While the peace activists across the border joined hands for peace and sanity, international, a.k.a American, pressure helped in keeping simmering tensions contained and kept from boiling over with possible horrendous consequences. Here we have three articles dealing with the issue, its various aspects.

From December 27 to January 17, Israel carried out a brutal explicit war on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip turning the volatile situation in the Middle East even more volatile. In the one-sided war about 1300 Palestinians got killed apart from thousands being injured and dishoused. The casualty figure on the side of Israel stands at 13. Here we carry a time-line on Israel’s (not so) clandestine nuclear programme. It bears mention that Israel, like India and Pakistan, is a non-signatory to the NPT - to which 189 of total 192 members of the UN appended their signatures. (North Korea (DPRK), however, withdrew in 2003 and is currently negotiating its comeback.)

With the NPT Review Conference in 2010 coming closer, the peace movements all across the globe are for quite a while pulling up socks to push for global nuclear disarmament focussing on the upcoming event. With the removal of George W. Bush, a huge negative presence by all accounts, from the global scene and Barack Hussein Obama replacing him as the US President, hopes have been further stirred up. Here we carry a few articles/speeches (mainly) by high officials, including one by the serving chief of the IAEA, to give an idea about the changing flavour of the times.

The issue of nuclear power and the struggle against its dangerous dimensions and implications have become all the more important, and in fact urgent, in India against the backdrop of the nuclear deal materialising. But this is also very much a global issue. Here we carry the CNDP position on the issue of nuclear energy in the specific (unfolding) Indian context and also a report on global efforts towards alternative energy.

Before we conclude, on February 2, the day India and the IAEA inked the India-specific safeguards agreement; a leading activist of the CNDP – an indefatigable fighter for global and regional peace – Sri Pranab Ghosh breathed his last. Perhaps that was his ultimate protest. The ‘Peace Now’ deeply condoles his death and re-commits itself to carry the fight for regional and global nuclear disarmament forward on this sombre occasion.

END

Peace Now
- Volume 7 : Issue 1, March 2009 The Bulletin of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace

Contents

EDITORIAL / 1

A. Indo-US Nuclear Deal / 3

I. The Real Story Behind the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal
- Subrata Ghoshroy

II. A Secondary Role for U.S. in India’s Nuclear Future
- Rama Lakshmi

III. New Energy: Nuclear Deals Mushroom in India

IV. The US-India Nuclear Deal and Its Backside: An
Additional Critique
- Peter Custers

B. INDO-PAK RELATIONS / 19

I. Next Terror Strike: Endgame for India and Pakistan
- Mazher Hussain

II. South Asian Prisoner’s Dilemma of Disarmament
- Rabia Akhtar

III. Mystery of an Indian Missile Test Flop /
- J. Sri Raman

C. MIDDLE-EAST TURMOIL / 25

Israel: Nuclear Time Line

D. GLOBAL NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT / 29

I. A Recipe for Survival / Mohamed ElBaradei

II. Lifting the Nuclear Shadow / David Miliband

III. The Logic of Zero: Toward a World without

Nuclear Weapons / Ivo Daalder and Jan Lodal

IV. Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Future of Nuclear Weapons: Is Zero Possible? / Mayankote Kelath Narayanan

V. Revitalising High-level Non-Proliferation and Disarmament talks / Gareth Evans

E. NUCLEAR POWER / 47

I. CNDP Charter of Demands on Nuclear Power in India

II. Energy: Clean and Green Gets a New Champion / Nastassja Hoffet

[For copies of Peace Now write to: cndpindia(AT)gmail.com]