//New clause in N-deal worries scientists

New clause in N-deal worries scientists

23 Nov, 2006 TIMES NEWS NETWORK

MUMBAI: A new clause, which was introduced by the Senate, in the Indo-US nuclear deal has become a matter of concern for Indian scientists.

Clause in Section 115 of the Bill recommends joint research between India and US in the area of nuclear non-proliferation. Nuclear experts believe that the clause will only facilitate the backdoor entry of US National Nuclear Security Administration (USNNSA), which carries out covert operations at atomic establishments.

The USNNSA is believed to have close links with agencies like CIA, US Defence Intelligence Agency and US National Security Agency. Expressing shock over the inclusion, former atomic energy commission chairman M R Srinivasan said, "It appears to be intrusive and lays down too many obligations. It was certainly not a part of the original understanding between President George Bush and PM Manmohan Singh. It is obvious that the US wants to draw India into some difficult nuclear agreement. Some aspects of the deal goes beyond the original agreement which is not correct."

He hoped that their concerns would be addressed during the forthcoming reconciliation conference before the Bill is placed before the US House of Representatives.

Placid Rodrigues, president of Indian Nuclear Society, and former director of Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, said,"If this clause means only joint research and development, there is nothing wrong with it. But, at a later stage if it becomes intrusive, then it is a matter of concern," he said. Rodrigues agreed with Srinivasan that the clause did not form a part of the original nuclear agreement. "The mood in the US currently is in favour of the deal. Remember, if the US is keen on a nuclear renaissance, the human resources has to go from India."