The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

Comfortably numb

Sir — Although the national security advisor, M.K. Narayanan, has said that the Indo-US nuclear deal is an “all-encompassing agreement”, one cannot be entirely sure of American intentions (“In new draft, a better deal”, Aug 4). There is no guarantee that the United States of America will honour its commitments and not make a U-turn later. Even if one were to believe that the US wants India to be a “unique nation”, it may renege on its promises or be forced to grant similar favours to other nations. In any case, it is too early to celebrate the success of the deal.One only hopes that the much-advertised deal will not harm India’s strategic reserves and defence capabilities in any way.

Yours faithfully,
Arvind K. Pandey, Allahabad

Sir — Now that the nuclear deal has appeared on both Indian and US official websites, it is time for experts, the media and the public to study the deal carefully. Several columnists in the Indian media have already opined that the deal is against India’s interests. Under the circumstances, it is important that the Union government places the text before parliament for discussion and voting. This has become all the more important after the Left’s voicing of its objections to the deal. The National Democratic Alliance alone now can no longer be accused of being prejudiced against or cynical towards the nuclear agreement. Experts, along with the country’s intelligentsia and the media, must put the facts before the public. It is their solemn duty. This action is necessary to preserve India’s sovereignty and stop it from becoming the US’s vassal state.

Yours faithfully,
M.M. Kale, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh

Sir — Manmohan Singh and his team must be congratulated for extracting the maximum possible advantage in the nuclear deal with the US. The present version of the deal confirms that India is on the verge of becoming a world power. The revised 40-year pact, instead of the original 30-year one, indicates that the Indian negotiators have managed to deal with the problems with an iron hand. Since the American economy is not in a very good shape, India could perhaps have bargained for greater benefits.

Yours faithfully,
T.R. Anand, Calcutta

Sir — Since the nuclear deal with the US has been finalized, the government should become pro-active in setting up nuclear power stations. India’s ambition of achieving the target of 20,000 MW by 2020 need investments right now and at current prices, too. Besides ensuring fuel supply and technical help, India will also need financial collaboration. All of which means that India will require a bigger nuclear set-up than it presently has. The hard work of signing the agreement should result in purposeful and fruitful action. It should be kept in mind that deadlines, particularly with regard to project execution, is hardly ever respected in India.

Yours faithfully,
C.R. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta

Sir — India is learning the basics of being a camp follower in the format of the 123 Agreement. And it is America that seems to be taking it through the primer. Despite the modifications muscled in by India in the agreement, India will not find it easy to conduct nuclear tests in the future. On the other hand, its relations with its immediate neighbours might plummet further following the implementation of the agreement. Relations with China continue to be sour, given the dispute over Arunachal Pradesh. And relations with Pakistan, given its internal problems, may not immediately improve.

India’s need for nuclear power is debatable in the light of the costs and problems. There is the ever-present risk of nuclear accidents if nuclear power plants are located near densely populated areas. Also, notwithstanding the euphoria over ‘successful’ negotiations, India has conceded certain compromises already. Take the fact that the treaty will be governed by international law. The part about reprocessing rights of spent fuel is still not clear. Unfortunately, Indians seem to be lulled by the rhetoric emerging from the two governments.

Yours faithfully,
S. Kamat, Alto Betim, Goa

Dropping hints

Sir — With regard to the apology offered by the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to the survivors of the atom bombs, certain unpleasant facts about this matter need to be kept in mind. Tokyo has always avoided answering the question as to why the atom bomb was dropped on Japan. The facts are that after Germany surrendered in the first week of May 1945 and the war in the western theatre ended, the Allied forces’ leaders in the eastern theatre, particularly General Douglas MacArthur, repeatedly asked Japan to follow suit. Tokyo, under pressure from Emperor Hirohito and Field Marshal Tojo, disregarded this advice and continued fighting. When the Allies found to their dismay that better sense would not prevail on the Japanese high command, they had no option but to drop the atom bomb.

However, there can be no denying that a second bomb was unnecessary. But Japan’s ‘suffering in silence’ has distracted attention from its own crimes. The horrific human rights abuses perpetrated by Japanese soldiers on the people of Korea, China, erstwhile Malaya and Burma during World War II will remain etched in the minds of the war survivors of these nations. It was India’s good fortune that the Allies were able to defeat the Japanese forces at the historic Kohima-Imphal battle and turn the tide. The Homfraygunj outrage in the Andaman Islands was an indicator of what would have befallen India had Japan captured our country.

Yours faithfully,
J.K. Dutt, Calcutta

Sir — Somewhat like Germany, which has never mustered the courage to fully comprehend and talk about its horrid past, Japan has never been given the opportunity to know its own imperial past in detail. From imperial blindness and prejudice, Japan had to go straight to guilt, repentance and, paradoxically, even victimhood. In the process, the Japanese have been denied both enlightenment about Japan’s crimes and justice for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yours faithfully,
S.P. Sanyal, Calcutta

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