DR. MANMOHAN SINGH (CONTD.): Understandings in this Separation Plan also provide for contingency of disruption of fuel supplies to India. In such a case, the United States and India would jointly convene a group of friendly supplier countries (Russia, France and the United Kingdom) aimed at restoring fuel supplies to India. An important assurance is the commitment of support for India's right to build strategic reserves of fuel over the lifetime of its nuclear reactors. In the event of disruption of fuel supplies, despite these assurances, India will have a right to take corrective action to ensure the operation of its nuclear reactors.
The fifth issue is, India will work for an FMCT and for nuclear disarmament with all nuclear weapon states, in line with the Rajiv Gandhi Plan or Delhi Declaration in tandem. Is it true or not? What is our response?
Our response is, our support for global nuclear disarmament remains unwavering. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had put forward an Action Plan in the 1988 U.N. General Assembly Special Session on Disarmament. We remain committed to the central goal of that Action Plan, i.e., complete elimination of nuclear weapons leading to global nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework. India has agreed to negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva for a multilateral Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. There has been no change in our position on this matter.
The sixth issue is, in the original deal, there is no provision for US inspectors, only provisions for IAEA inspectors. The draft US Bill contains such provisions for inspectors. What is our response?
My response is, in the Separation Plan, we have agreed to offer for IAEA safeguard nuclear facilities specified in the Separation Plan for that purpose. The nature of safeguards will be determined by an India specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. This will be applied to the safeguard nuclear facilities in India. Therefore, there is no question of accepting other verification measure or third country inspector to visit our nuclear facilities, outside the framework of the India-specific safeguards agreement.
The seventh issue is concerning an India-specific protocol, and not the additional Protocol as per IAEA Standard Modified Protocol. What is our provision now?
Our response is, in the Separation Plan, we have agreed to conclude an India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The question of an Additional Protocol will arise only after the India-specific safeguards agreement is in place. As a country with nuclear weapons, there is no question of India agreeing to a Safeguards Agreement or an Additional protocol applicable to non-nuclear weapon states of the NPT.
The eighth point is, with reference to Iran in the House Bill, what is our response?
My response is, we reject the linkage of any extraneous issues to the nuclear understanding. India's foreign policy will be decided on the basis of Indian national interests only.
The ninth issue is, with reference to proliferation security initiative in the House and Senate Bill, what is our response? Our response is, the Proliferation Security Initiative is an extraneous issue as it is outside the framework of the July 18 Joint Statement. Therefore, we cannot accept it as a condition for implementing the July Statement. Separately, the Government has examined the PSI. We have certain concerns regarding its legal implications and its linkages with the NPT. We also have concerns with amendments to the suppression of Unlawful Activities at Sea Treaty under the International Maritime Organisation.
(Contd. by TMV/5O)
DR. MANMOHAN SINGH (CONTD.): The tenth issue is that the Jackson-Vanik Amendment linking the granting of MFN status to USSR to Jewish emigration is an example relevant to the current debate. What is our stand?
Sir, our response is that we have studied the proposed US legislation very carefully, including the so-called binding and non-binding provisions. The non-binding provisions do not require mandatory action, but at the same time, have a certain weight in the implementation of the legislation as a whole. We have conveyed our concerns to the US Administration in this respect. Jackson-Vanik Amendment was binding on the Administration and cannot be cited as a precedent for non-binding references in the current bills. A more accurate example than the Jackson-Vanik Amendment is the set of provisions accompanying the renewal of MFN status to China, that included references to human rights, political and religious prisoners, protection of Tibetan heritage and freedom of political expression.
The final point is, Sir, the role of Parliament in approving foreign policy. My humble response is that India follows the Parliamentary model, as specified in our Constitution, wherein treaty-making powers rest with the Executive. However, we have kept Parliament fully in the picture regarding various stages of our negotiations with the United States. Broad-based domestic consensus cutting across all sections in Parliament and outside will be necessary. We have a long journey ahead of us. There will be many opportunities for me to keep this House and the other House informed as the situation evolves. We will work towards, therefore, that objective by addressing various concerns as fully as possible. These were the concerns expressed by our left colleagues.
Sir, I think, a reference has been made in this debate to the statements of some distinguished scientists. I have had the privilege of working with some of them as a Member of the Atomic Energy Commission. Dr. Sethna is a very dear old friend of mine and, therefore, I take very seriously what the members of our scientific community says.
Broadly, as I see, there are four concerns that they have raised. They have welcomed the July 18th statement as a historic document. So, as far as the base is concerned, I think they don't endorse the BJP line of thinking which rejects the July 18th statement as the basis for cooperation with the United States.
Sir, the first issue raised by the nuclear scientists group -- I should read out -- is, "India should continue to be able to hold on to her nuclear option as a strategic requirement in the real world that we live in, and in the ever-changing complexity of the international political system. This means that we can't accede to any restraint in perpetuity on our freedom of action. We have not done this for the last 40 years after the Non-Proliferation Treaty came into being, and there is no reason why we should succumb to this now. Universal nuclear disarmament must be our ultimate aim, and until we see the light at the end of the tunnel on this important issue, we can't accept any agreement in perpetuity."
Sir, my response is that we are very firm in our determination that agreement with the United States on Civil Nuclear Energy in no way affects the requirements of our strategic programme. We are fully conscious of the changing complexity of the international political system. Nuclear weapons are an integral part of our national security and will remain so, pending the global elimination of all nuclear weapons and universal non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament. Our freedom of action with regard to our strategic programmes remains unrestricted. The nuclear agreement will not be allowed to be used as a backdoor method of introducing NPT type restrictions on India. Our offer to put nuclear facilities under safeguards in perpetuity is conditional upon these facilities securing fuel from international sources for their life time. If the fuel supply assurances as enumerated in Separation Plan are disrupted, then India will have the right to take corrective measures to ensure the continued operation of these reactors. (Contd. by RG/5P)
DR. MANMOHAN SINGH (contd.): The second issue that the distinguished scientists have raised, and I read out: "After 1974, when the major powers discontinued cooperation with us, we have built up our capability in many sensitive technological areas, which need not and should not now be subjected to external control. Safeguards are understandable where external assistance for nuclear materials or technologies are involved. We have agreed to this before, and we can continue to agree to this in the future too, but strictly restricted to those facilities and materials imported from external sources." My response is this. Sensitive nuclear technology facilities have not been covered in the Separation Plan. Therefore, there is no question of putting them under safeguards or under external control. Even with regard to nuclear facilities that have been included in the Separation Plan, safeguards will be applied in phases between 2006 and 2014. These safeguarded facilities will be eligible for and will receive fuel materials and technology from international sources. If such supplies cease, then, India will be free to protect its interests through corrective measures. That will be spelt out clearly in the India specific safeguards agreement.
The third issue which the scientists have raised, and I quote: "We find that the Indo-U.S. deal, in the form approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, infringes on our independence for carrying out indigenous research and development in nuclear science and technology. Our R&D should not be hampered by external supervision or control, or, by the need to satisfy any international body. Research and technology development are the sovereign rights of any nation. This is especially true when they concern strategic national defence and energy self-sufficiency." Our response is that our independence for carrying out independent research and development in nuclear science and technology will remain unaffected. There will be no external supervision of our R&D since none of the sensitive R&D facilities, which handle nuclear material, have been included in the Separation Plan. Nothing in the Separation Plan infringes on our sovereign right to conduct research and technology development concerning our national defence and energy self-sufficiency. The Government is committed to preserve the integrity of the three-stage nuclear power programme, including utilisation of our vast thorium resources. Certain nuclear facilities including Centres such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, etc. have been designated as civilian in the Separation Plan. As these facilities will not handle nuclear material, there is no question of safeguards being applied to them. We expect these Centres to participate as full partners in international collaboration projects.
The fourth issue raised by the scientists is this. "While the sequence of actions to implement the cooperation could be left for discussion between the two Governments, the basic principles on which such actions will rest is the right of Parliament and the people to decide. The Prime Minister has already taken up with President Bush the issue of the new clauses recommended by the U.S. House of Representatives. If the U.S. Congress, in its wisdom, passes the Bill in its present form, the 'product' will become unacceptable to India, and diplomatically, it will be very difficult to change it later. Hence, it is important for our Parliament to work out, and insist on the ground rules for the nuclear deal at this stage itself." My answer to that is this. (Continued by 5Q)
DR. MANMOHAN SINGH (CONTD.): I had taken up with President Bush our concerns regarding provisions in the two Bills. It is clear that if the final product is in its current form, India will have grave difficulties in accepting these Bills. The US has been left in no doubt as to our position. The ground rules for our discussion are clear. These are the parameters of the July Statement and the March Separation Plan, and commitments given by me to Parliament in the three suo motu Statements and my reply to Parliament debate in August, 2006 will be the guiding principles of our position. The Parliament has been kept fully informed at every stage of the discussion. In their final form, if the US legislation or the NSG guidelines impose extraneous conditions on India, the Government, as I stated earlier, will draw the necessary conclusions consistent with my commitments to Parliament.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have tried to be as exhaustive as I could. I have set out the framework which will guide our negotiations with the US. I believe, I have tried faithfully to reflect the concerns of all sections of the House. I invite this House to unanimously endorse the stand that I have outlined. (Ends)
MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.
SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Sir, just a minute. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Sir...(Interruptions)...
MR. CHAIRMAN: Let Mr. Yashwant Sinha speak first. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Sir, the Prime Minister has once again given assurances to this House, as he had done in the past. I will not repeat the point that there is a complete divergence between what he has said here today and what the American position is. But, that is up to him to tackle. Sir, there are a number of points which have not been replied to by the Prime Minister. I had, Sir, in my initial, first speech talked about the shift which has already taken place from the July 18, 2005 Agreement, which has not been replied to, Sir. I had asked the question whether the Americans actually opposed the fuel supply to Tarapore. That question has been ducked. I had asked the question, why was...(Interruptions)...
MR. CHAIRMAN: Please be short.
SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Yes, Sir, I will be very short. Why was Cirus included in the Separation Plan? That has not been replied to. Sir, I had said that the Fast Breeder Programme, according to the Separation Plan, is going to be included, according to the statement signed, under the Safeguard Agreement. I would like to have a categorical assurance from the Prime Minister that our Fast Breeder Programme will not be included and that...(Interruptions)...
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SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: I know who are the * leaders.
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SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: I know who are the * leaders.
MR. CHAIRMAN: That word * is expunged. ...(Interruptions)... That word * is expunged. Please take your seats. ...(Interruptions)...
* Expunged as ordered by the Chair.
SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: They only know two things. ...(Interruptions)...
MR. CHAIRMAN: Please take your seats. ...(Interruptions)... This is enough now. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: Sir, we had said that every nuclear weapon state has the right in the Safeguard Agreement with the IAEA to have interchangeability between civilian and military facilities. This is a right which is not being given to India. I would like the Prime Minister to assure the House that this right will be given to India in the Safeguard Agreement that we will negotiate. ...(Interruptions)...
Finally, Sir, an entirely unnecessary and irrelevant remark was made by the Prime Minister when he said that he inherited a bankrupt economy from me. I would like to say...(Interruptions)...
MR. CHAIRMAN: Please take your seat. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI YASHWANT SINHA: ...it was Rajiv Gandhi who bankrupted this economy, and not Yashwant Sinha. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Sir, I would like to thank the Prime Minister, through you, for a very exhaustive reply. I had raised only nine queries in my intervention.
MR. CHAIRMAN: All have been replied to now.
SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: No, no, Sir. I had asked nine, but the Prime Minister chose to reply to 12 of them. I am very happy.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Then, you should be grateful to the Prime Minister.
(Contd. by kls/5r)
SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Sir, I am grateful for that. Sir, this being the case, there are certain valid apprehensions that we have. The Prime Minister has stated very clearly that if in the final version the US Bills are not in consonance with the July agreement and the March Separation Plan, then, India will draw its own conclusions. If that is right, Sir, I apprehend that at this particular moment, since much of these issues that have been raised, on them I have been assured by the Prime Minister. The first point I would like to suggest is that at this present point of time let us all accept these assurances as the sense of this House. ...(Interruptions)... And Let that be approved as safeguards at the moment. ...(Interruptions)... Okay, that is my proposal. The second thing why I am saying, 'at the moment' is that as the Prime Minister himself in the reply has stated that we do not really know what will come and how it will come, so at a later stage whenever such issues come up, we would only request the Prime Minister to give an assurance that he will come back to us before any such type of thing happens...(Interruptions)...
MR. CHAIRMAN: He has already given that. ...(Interruptions)...
SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: There is no harm in my seeking reassurance. ...(Interruptions)... I understand your anxiety in saying that the Prime Minister has already assured. You understand our anxiety in getting a reassurance on that assurance. ...(Interruptions)... So, what I would request the Prime Minister on these two points is to clarify, then, I think we can all accept all these conditions as the sense of this House. .
RE: APPOINTMENT OF A JOINT COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE THE CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL POSITION RELATING TO OFFICE OF PROFIT
SECRETARY-GENERAL: Sir, I have to report to the House the following message received from the Lok Sabha, signed Secretary-General, Lok Sabha:
"I am directed to inform you that Lok Sabha, at its sitting held on Thursday, the 17th August, 2006, adopted the annexed motion regarding appointment of a Joint Committee to examine the constitutional and legal position relating to Office of Profit."
I am to request that the concurrence of Rajya Sabha in the said motion, and also the names of the members of Rajya Sabha appointed to the Joint Committee, may be communicated to this House."
1. That a Joint Committee of Houses to be called the Joint Committee to examine the constitutional and legal position relating to Office of Profit be constituted consisting of fifteen Members, ten members from this House to be nominated by the Speaker including the Chairperson of the Joint Committee and five Members from the Rajya Sabha to be nominated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha.
2. That the terms of reference of the Joint Committee shall be -
(i) to examine, in the context of settled interpretation of the expression "Office of Profit" in article 102 of the Constitution and the underlying constitutional principles therein, and to suggest a comprehensive definition of "Office of Profit";
(ii) to recommend, in relation to "Office of Profit", the evolution of generic and comprehensive criteria which are just, fair and reasonable and can be applied to all States and Union territories;
(iii) to examine the feasibility of adoption of system of law relating to prevention of disqualification of Members of Parliament as existing in the United Kingdom and considered by the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment Act, 1976; and
(iv) to examine any other matter incidental to the above."
3. That in order to constitute a sitting of the Joint Committee, the quorum shall be one-third of the total number of members of the Joint Committee.
4. That the Joint Committee shall make a report to this House by the first day of the last week of the next session of Parliament.
5. That in other respects, the Rules of Procedure of this House relating to the Parliamentary Committees shall apply with such variations and modifications as the Speaker may make.
6. That this House recommends to the Rajya Sabha that the Rajya Sabha do join the said Joint Committee and communicate to this House the names of the Members nominated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha to the Joint Committee."
The above motion was adopted by Lok Sabha at its sitting held on Thursday, the 17th August, 2006. (ENDS)
MR. CHAIRMAN: Before the House is adjourned, I would like to record my appreciation for the highest standard of debate in this House today. I wish to congratulate all the Members for their constructive participation in this House on the matter of national importance.
The House is adjourned to meet at 11.00 a.m. tomorrow.
The House then adjourned at twenty-two minutes
past eight of the clock till eleven of the clock
on Friday, the 18th August, 2006.