Skip to main content

Australian environmental group opposes proposed N-deal with India, says it will further destabilize region

By Our Representative
Even as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, conservative leader who captured power in the last polls, reaches Delhi, the Aussie anti-nuclear lobby has upped the ante against a possible nuclear deal with India. “Abbott’s deal with Indian PM Narendra Modi to sell Australian uranium to nuclear-armed India will further destabilise the region and damage Australia’s international reputation”, the Australian Conservation Foundation (AFC), a powerful environmental group, said in a statement on September 3.
Abbott reaches Delhi following “failure” of Modi to sign up a nuclear deal with Japan during Modi’s visit to Tokyo hyped to showcase how India and Japan was part of the great Asian revival. Modi went with a high-level business delegation of Indian tycoons to Japan and returned with the “promise” of increasing Japanese investment in India by 400 per cent.
The statement from the top environmental group acquires significance, as it comes close on the heels of reports that the nuclear deal between India and Japan will most likely be struck. The Wall Street Journal has quoted Australian trade minister Andrew Robb to say that “a deal had become possible after India assured Canberra that any uranium it buys would be used only for power-generation and not for nuclear weapons.”
However, the Australian greens have decided not take the proposed deal lying down. “The so-called safeguards are meaningless, because Australian uranium will simply free up India’s existing uranium stockpiles to be used in its nuclear weapons program,” said ACF’s nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney, adding, “Clearly, Australian uranium would boost India’s nuclear weapons capacity.”
“The sale of uranium to India, a nuclear armed nation that is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is not subject to full international nuclear scrutiny but is expanding its nuclear weapons expansion program, is in direct conflict with Australia’s obligations under the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty”, Sweeney said.
“It’s no secret India’s nuclear industry has many unresolved safety and security problems”, the statement stressed, adding, “Just two years ago the Indian Auditor-General warned of ‘a Fukushima or Chernobyl-like disaster if the nuclear safety issue is not addressed’.”
Taking strong exception to the supporters of the deal in Australia who claim Australian uranium is needed to address Indian energy poverty, the statement said, “There is no question poverty in India must be tackled, but there is no evidence to suggest the high cost, high risk nuclear option is the way to do this. Renewable energy sources are faster to deploy, more flexible, safer and cheaper than costly, centralised and dangerous nuclear reactors.”
“Australia’s renewable energy expertise and resources are superbly placed to help keep Indian village lights on while ensuring the Geiger counter stays off. In the shadow of Fukushima – a continuing nuclear crisis directly fuelled by Australian uranium – Abbott has no excuse or mandate to undermine renewable energy at home while pushing long term radioactive risk abroad”, the statement said.
Other sections of opponents of the nuclear deal in Australia have said the move to sign the deal will “prove controversial as India hasn't signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.” The Australian Greens party, for instance, have warned partnering with India's "scandal-prone" nuclear industry was a mistake. "Instead of fuelling this arms race, Australian industry should be partnering with India's vibrant solar sector," Greens senator Scott Ludlum said.
Negotiations for an agreement have been underway since the former Labour government dumped its longstanding opposition to uranium sales to India. The ban was imposed because India was a nuclear-armed nation outside the non-proliferation treaty, but was overturned in late 2011.
Meanwhile, Australian daily “The Sydney Morning Herald” has quoted an expert in India to say why the deal should not go through. "Nuclear security and safety is a pressing concern in this country," said Happymon Jacob, who teaches arms control and disarmament at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.
"India insists that enough security is in place, but my argument is that we need to look deeper, and when you look deeper you see that the regulation of nuclear materials is in the hands of government - and not in the hands of a totally independent regulator," Dr Jacob said.
With India's nuclear capabilities hidden beneath layers of secrecy since its first successful nuclear tests in 1974 and a subsequent round of tests in 1998, Dr Jacob said, there have been several attempts to establish an independent regulator of the nuclear power industry.
"India has been an outlier state for a very long time. It desperately wants to come in from the cold and integrate itself into the international community, and the way to do that is to establish a genuinely autonomous, transparent and accountable institution that is capable of regulating the country's nuclear estate," he said.
"My argument is not that India should say no to nuclear power - it's actually something we desperately need if we are going to be supply the surging demand for electricity - but if we are going to learn the lessons of the nuclear accident in Fukushima, then we have to ensure there is a means for independent verification of what is occurring and of what could go wrong," Dr Jacob said.

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen