ORISSA SAHITYA AKADEMI GOLDEN JUBILEE ALSO TO BE OBSERVED IN INDIAN CAPITAL

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The ongoing celebration of Orissa Sahitya Akademi’s golden jubilee is scheduled to be observed in the National Headquarters at New Delhi where eminent scholars, national and global, are expected to witness how rich is Oriya language.
osa logo

The vastness of its vocabulary is indicative of its richness. A few overenthusiastic language chauvinists of rival neighborhoods had tried to show their literary heritage as better than that of Orissa when her children were trying to reorganize on language basis their motherland arbitrarily fragmented by the British and forcefully annexed to adjacent provinces of Bengali, Hindi and Telugu tongues. But the world admitted the truth. In the words of Sir George Grier’son in Linguistic Survey of India, “The Oriya language can boast of a rich vocabulary in which respect neither Bengali, nor Hindi nor Telugu can vie with it”.

On the basis of the uniqueness of Oriya language, notwithstanding vigorous conspiracies of the neighboring provinces and their leaders in top positions in the National Congress and notwithstanding arguments of a section of field officers of British that taking Oriya disposition into account it would be difficult to keep them subdued if Oriya speaking tracks were amalgamated, modern Orissa had emerged as a separate province and thus Orissa is the first State of India to have organized on language basis.

But post-independence political limitations coupled with concentration of media in the hands of neighbors, who had, having ingratiated themselves to the British when Oriyas were fighting to expel those trespassers from their soil, acquired administrative influence under the British and had continued in advantageous echelon even in free India, posed such recalcitrant postures that in the national level, the Oriya language has failed to be projected in its proper shape. Even the Central Sahitya Academy has been misused by the Bengali lobby to project Sri Jaya Dev of Orissa as of Bengal!

It is therefore a long felt necessity to project the unique richness of Oriya literature in the national headquarters and before the eyes of the world. Orissa Sahitya Akademi is certainly praiseworthy for having decided to celebrate its golden jubilee at New Delhi.

With a dynamic Secretary in Dr. Hara Prasad Parichha Pattanayak and a befitting President in Dr. Deepak Mishra, and eminent activists of Oriya letters in the governing body as well as in the council, the Orissa Sahitya Akademi has started its golden jubilee with a schedule to involve the general public of Orissa with its activities by organizing the jubilee celebrations in all the districts and in all the Indian metropolises.

We will extend our best of cooperation to the Akademi in this venture as our positive contribution to our letters and we will place all relevant records and reports to the best of our ability under the golden jubilee logo of the Akademi.

EVOLUTION OF INDIAN ELECTRICITY MARKET

Er. Nagendranath Mahapatra

Electricity is a form of energy the ultimate nature of which is unknown.

Electrical Power is endowed with a few strange/ peculiar characteristics. It cannot be seen/visualized. It cannot be stored/warehoused. It can not be measured by conventional Measuring units in Kg, Ltr, Mtr etc. but its parameters like Voltage, Current, Active and Reactive power etc. can be measured in appropriate measuring Unit in an operating band of –106 to + 1012 .

It is indistinguishable as to which type of power is being used at any point of time whether Hydro, Thermal, Nuclear and Renewable energy as it cannot be segregated.

It flows as per Laws of Physics and follows path of least resistance.

Its availability and demand vary every second. The buyer has no control over what the trader supplies and the trader has no control over what the buyer draws from the inevitable Power Pool. Electrical Power is thus a Unique Product.

Go from here to a very enlightening analysis by one of the most brilliant power engineers and consultants of India.

ORISSA ACADEMY OF LETTERS CELEBRATES GOLDEN JUBILEE

With a golden dream to reach Oriyas through out the Country, Orissa’s Academy of Letters, Orissa Sahitya Academy (OSA) commences today its golden jubilee with an avowed aim to bring to lime light unnoticed authors of rural Orissa.

When the Sun shall be starting his campaign for awakening the other part of the glove, the OSA agendas for the next twelve months would start shining from Bhanja Kala Mandap, the auditorium dedicated to the immortal Lord of Letters Kavi Samrat Upendra Bhanja, in the campus of the Academy.

The agendas include compilation of post-independence Oriya Novels, Short Stories, Essays, Poetries as well as Translation works of representative type authored by writers of Orissa to be published in fifty volumes matching the number of springs the Academy has spent in cause of Oriya literature since 1957.

The Jubilee celebrations shall be observed in all the thirty districts of the State through out the year even as the Oriya speaking tracks in neighboring Provinces of West Bengal, Jhadkhand, Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh would be involved in its programs. It would also draw in cities like Delhi, Surat, Bangalore and Kolkata where Oriya speaking peoples are quite big in numbers, for participation in the jubilee celebrations.

A comprehensive history of Oriya Literature as well as of the Academy would also be brought out, says academician and eminent poet Dr. H. P.Parichha Pattnaik, who has taken over as Secretary of the Academy on 4th September. (SCP)

NUKE DEAL: COMMUNISTS HAVE SAVED US SO FAR

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

As a citizen of India I thank the Communists because it is they who so far have saved my motherland from the mischief of the nuke deal that Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh (Congress) following footprints of ex-Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (BJP) has clandestinely weaved with US President George Bush.

In a convention in Delhi on September 10, 2007 the Committee on India’s Independent Foreign Policy has also held it as a mischief as the deal so designed that our sovereignty would be jeopardized if it is honored.

The massiveness of this mischief can be effortlessly assessed from the fact that the Bush administration is putting pressure on Indian government for its prompt implementation. Its Ambassador to India, David Mulford, in expressing American anxiety has said, “Now we must take the final step. Time is of essence.” (IBNlive, Sept.19, 2007)

Why it is so much eager for implementation of the agreement? The answer has already been provided by Senator Joe Lieberman of USA when he said that he was sure of his country’s congressional support to this agreement as “it is so clearly in the interests of the United States” (Reuters, August 12, 2007). It is a “bonanza for U.S. firms”, said another authority of USA, reported Reuters on August 25, 2007, quoting the source that for U.S. nuclear firms, “it opens up the Indian market, estimated to be worth $100 billion”.

But this is not the real whole. In reality, Bush wants to convert India into a repository of her nuclear waste. It is a very serious design engineered against India, initially with the help of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now is advancing it by using its stooge Dr. Man Mohan Singh.

Vajpayee’s role, which has ultimately culminated in this controversial agreement, was quite conspiratorial against India. His 2001 joint statement for nuclear cooperation with the States was meant to help reduce its load of nuclear waste there. Due to nuclear waste deposit the ecology and internal security in the States had become so much alarming that executive actions having failed to control the menace, her House of Representatives had finally passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act 2000 that had aimed at seeking repositories elsewhere. Vajpayee, leader of a rabid rightist party, had gladly offered India to be one. Had the Act under esoteric exigencies not been vetoed, Vajpayee could have done his tenure what Singh has done today.

Singh knows what he has done is incorrect. This sense of guilt, refurbished by his fear that the Communists cannot be hoodwinked, had fidgeted him so much that an astute man like him had not been able to control his infamous utterances, “I told them (the Left) to do whatever they want to do, if they want to withdraw support, so be it….”

Maintaining his stance he had to assert in an informal conversation with the Press during oath taking of Vice President Hamid Ansari on August 11, 2007 that whatever be the force of resistance from the Left, his government will go by the deal. “The deal is signed and sealed, and it is non-negotiable,” he had declared.

He had no authority to make the deal “signed, sealed and non-negotiable”. Executive powers vested in him as the Prime Minister does not give him any carte blanche to have such superiority over the sovereign powers of Indan Parliament that whatever agreement he enters into with any foreign country should be deemed to have been agreed to by the parliament. On the other hand, the agreement with USA that he has made “signed, sealed and non-negotiable” is an instrument created under Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954 that has made it mandatory that consents of Indian Parliament must be a prerequisite for execution of the agreement.

As records further show, the ‘Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006’ adopted after a series of revisions in US Senate under which President George Bush and Prime Minister Manhohan Singh signed an initial agreement in July 2005, stipulates that after it becomes a law with President Bush signing the document, the USA must conclude an agreement with India on nuclear cooperation in terms of Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act, 1954. The Indian parliament must agree to the text.

When the text of the 123 Agreements has never been agreed to by the Parliament of India, how could Prime Minister Singh “signed and sealed” it and made it “non-negotiable”? Has the Bush-Singh nexus, knowing for sure that Indian Parliament would never agree to the text, has mutually decided to suppress or to do away with the necessity of Indian Parliament giving its consent to the Agreement? If yes, then it is a killer fraud played on us Indians by our Prime Minister Mr. Singh and the American President Mr. Bush.

Bush administration is sitting on alarming accumulation of nuclear waste, reprocessing of which is also considered harmful. An authentic report presents a picture that says, “US policy since 1977 has been to forbid reprocessing of used fuel and to treat it all as high-level waste which the government is responsible for finally disposing of in a deep geological repository. Utilities have paid over $18 billion into the Nuclear Waste Fund for this mostly through a 0.1 cent/kWh levy towards final disposal, so that by mid 2007 it stood at almost $30 billion, including interest. The fund is growing by some $1 billion per year, including interest.

“It is the responsibility of utilities to store this used fuel on site until it is taken over by the federal Department of Energy for final disposal in a geological repository. Such a repository is not yet available and the DoE defaulted on its 1998 deadline to start accepting used fuel, which has put pressure on storage space at some power plants”.

This report further says, “A 70,000 tonne high-level waste repository is envisaged at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, originally envisaged as operating from about 2010. This would take 63,000 t of used reactor fuel, 2333 t of naval and DoE used fuel and 4667 t of other high-level wastes, all from 126 sites in 39 US states. As of early 2004, there was some 50,000 tonnes of civil used fuel awaiting disposal and about 8000 tonnes of government used fuel and separated high-level wastes”. But public tension is so much in the rise, an estimation putting emission of CO2 from energy use at 5.9 billion tones in 2005 alone, that, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) had to conduct a survey and come forward with a statement that the repository capacity set by US Congress at 70,000 tonnes in 1982 was “arbitrary” and it could hold at least 286,000 tonnes and possibly 628,000 tonnes of used fuel and high-level wastes.

It should not escape attention that despite official concentration in development of waste repository since 1977, following Three Mile Island accident in 1979, nuclear development in the States had suffered “a major setback” inasmuch as “many orders and projects were canceled or suspended and the nuclear construction industry went into the doldrums for two decades”. But notwithstanding this debacle, profit had allured commissioning of over a hundred of commercial power reactors by 1990, most of which have reached retirement age, their utility life being 40 years. Despite repair, they need to be discarded. It is reported that nearly 30 civil prototype and commercial reactors are being or have been decommissioned in the USA. A few have been totally dismantled so that the site is released for unrestricted use, notably Fort St Vrain, Big Rock Point and Shoreham. The majority is in various stages of dismantling or safe store. (Ibid). To manage the scenario, administration has enhanced reactor lifetime from 40 to 60 years. But can any administration through legislation or any technologist through reparation inject life into the dead? No. So, despite all out endeavors, it is getting only 19% of its electricity from nuclear reactors vis-a-vis 55% from coal-fired plants, 19% from gas and 7% from hydro. Unless nuclear capacity is substantially increased by 2020, the existing reactors having dismantled or being unmanageable by then, the energy debacle would push it into an insurmountable jeopardy. Therefore it has decided to adopt newer nuke technology for which the last generation reactors need be replaced with next generation reactors.

The American nuclear industry has managed to fetch reprieve by putting administration to enhance lifespan of reactors from 40 to 60 years and by managing the show through the EPRI survey that the presently contemplated repository capacity is much more than that estimated in 1982. But hoodwinking has its own limit.

National Academies’ report 2005, on security of interim storage of used fuel at its reactors, says that some pool storages at reactors may pose a risk due to possible high temperature combustion of fuel cladding in the event that water is drained due to terrorist attack. Though it was asserted that the “likelihood of terrorists using spent fuel for a ‘dirty bomb’ is very low”, the report strongly favored dry cask storage on security grounds.

This being the position, Bush wants two things to be done urgently. One, reduction of volume of nuclear waste and elimination of last generation reactors. The 123 Agreement is engineered to do these two things. Under this agreement, his country will sale its outdated last generation reactors to India to get space for next generation reactors and to sale its used fuel to India so that it gets rid of dangerous nuclear waste, which Prime Minister Singh has agreed to, touting a plea of power generation through reprocessing. What a shame for us Indians!

More shameful is the fact that our Prime Minister has agreed to legally accept the 123 deal as a cooperation deal even though in reality it is a business deal designed to provide US Firms with a “bonanza”. The word “cooperation” is meaningless in business. But then why all emphasis is put on this particular word in this agreement?

It is because, in the name of cooperation, when time comes, US administration will seek supply of thorium that Mother Nature has given to India in abundance. Having been excluded from the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) due to our achievement in nuclear weapons capability, and thus isolated in international trade, disadvantaged further by lack of indigenous uranium, we have developed our very own nuclear fuel cycle with thorium as the medium. We have massive stock of thorium in our land and our expertise to obtain nuclear fuel therefrom has given us a unique position as a nuclear power with our head high in international arena. But nuclear source material there is in the decline. It had a great deal of uranium mining in the 1950s. This reached the pick at 16,800 tU in 1980 when there were over 250 mines in operation. But this number abruptly dropped to 50 in 1984 when 5700 tU was produced, and then there was steady decline to 2003, with most of uranium requirements being imported. By 2003 there were only two small operations producing a total of less than 1000 tU/yr. Hence, despite commissioning next generation reactors, it is likely to face fuel shortage due to paucity of uranium. It has therefore put its eyes on the abundant stock of thorium in India and on the technology our country has uniquely developed to produce nuclear fuel from thorium. This is the reason for which the trade agreement organized under section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act, 1954 has been attired as a “nuclear cooperation agreement”.

This agreement “is clearly in the interest of United Sates” as claimed by Senator Joe Lieberman and is absolutely against the interest of India as has been shown in the foregoing paragraphs.

Communists have acted as the best sentinel of Indian interest by obstructing implementation of the agreement. Through senior leaders like Basu and Buddhadev, they have made it clear that they do not oppose use of nuclear fuel in power generation. That is even needed, they have said. But when we have our own unique technology supported by our own vast stock of thorium, there is no necessity of approving the hybrid agreement propelled by the Hyde Act targeted unuttered at our thorium stock.

Anil Kakodkar, representing India in the International Atomic Energy Agency assembly at Vienna on Sept.20 has strategically avoided to mention of the agreement. But, even there, he has said that we are “the only country now able to wheel out small pressurised heavy water reactors particularly suited to developing nations with small grids interested in nuclear energy with modest investments and infrastructure”.

We have come to this position all by our own efforts, by developing our own technology, by using our own thorium in our unique way. The so-called cooperation pact will strangulate all this while reducing our land to a repository of radioactive waste.

Man Mohan Singh should not be allowed to do this harm to our country.

We all should support the Communists in stymieing him so that the nation can get time to evaluate the deal from every aspect and take an informed decision.

Nuclear Deal Compromises Our Sovereignty

Subhanil Chowdhury and Vineet Kohli

[This report is so much in Indian interest, as it carries views of India’s most respected thinkers on the nuke deal, I consider it be of immense referral value for whosoever is keenly interested in the matter. I acknowledge with thanks its source: People’s Democracy, Vol.XXXI, No.37, of September 16, 2007]

THE Committee on India’s Independent Foreign Policy organised a convention in Delhi on September 10, 2007 on ‘Indo-US Nuclear Deal and India’s Sovereignty’. The venue of the convention, Mavlankar auditorium, was completely packed and people from all walks of life participated enthusiastically.

An unambiguous message emerged from the convention: the Indo-US nuclear deal, in the form of the 123 Agreement with the US, cannot be allowed to proceed. Among the speakers in the convention were eminent nuclear scientists – Dr A G Gopalakrishnan, Dr A N Prasad and Dr A Damodaran – who were joined by former Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice P B Sawant, Shri S P Shukla, former Planning commission member, and political leaders such as V P Singh, Ramgopal Yadav, Yerran Naidu along with Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan. The speakers pointed out the need to examine the deal in the larger context of a dangerous shift in Indian foreign policy that seeks to subjugate the country’s interests to the military, political and economic hegemony of the world’s most predatory imperial power – the United States. The 123 Agreement constitutes the pivot in India’s strategic alliance with the US. It signifies a paradigm shift in India’s foreign policy from the earlier unequivocal Non-Aligned stance on global issues to becoming a junior partner of US imperialism. It was also stressed in the convention by eminent nuclear scientists that the 123 Agreement with the US, will seriously undermine the self-reliance achieved by India in the field of nuclear technology and jeopardise years of painstaking research that Indian scientists undertook to develop indigenous nuclear technology in the face of nuclear isolation.

The convention was presided over by eminent economist Professor Prabhat Patnaik. In his inaugural speech Patnaik said that the Indo-US nuclear deal signifies a paradigm shift in India’s relationship with imperialism. At a time when even the British government headed by Gordon Brown is moving away from the US, we are moving closer to the Bush administration. In the haste to be an ally of US imperialism, no objective cost-benefit analysis has been made of the nuclear deal. Moreover, India has also abandoned its long-standing demand for complete nuclear disarmament in the process. Professor Patnaik opined that the support for the nuclear deal comes from the same section of the media and the elites, who were clamouring for a Shining India during the NDA rule. It is in the interest of a small minority of the Indian elite to make India into a close ally of US imperialism and the interests of the majority of the Indian people would not be served by such a strategic alliance, he said. Even within the parliament, the deal does not enjoy majority support. He criticised the UPA government for trying to push the deal in an undemocratic manner.

Former prime minister V P Singh said that the Hyde Act will adversely affect our independent foreign policy. Whether we are bound by the Hyde Act or not is immaterial since the US president is bound by it. Moreover, the imported nuclear energy is a much costlier option compared to thermal energy. The more important question, according to V P Singh, is of democratic propriety. The principles of democracy require that the legislature will prevail over the executive. The UPA government, by going ahead with an agreement, which does not enjoy majority support within the parliament, would be committing an improper act. V P Singh called upon the prime minister, as the leader of the House, to convey to the US president that the 123 Agreement does not enjoy majority support in parliament and thus cannot be operationalised, rather than conveying Mr. Bush’s message to the Indian parliament.

Former Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar pointed out four main areas of interest for the US to enter into the nuclear cooperation agreement with India. Firstly, this will generate over $150 billion worth of business opportunities to companies producing nuclear reactors, which would in turn be financed by US based transnational banks. Secondly, the Defence Cooperation Agreement, which preceded the nuclear cooperation agreement, would pave the way for the sale of sophisticated weaponry to India creating a huge market for the military industrial complex of the US. Thirdly, this would enable the US to draw India into the National Missile Defence System, which symbolises the hegemonic design of the US to dominate the entire world. Fourthly, the US wants India to become its strategic ally in Asia, especially in the backdrop of the ASEAN taking a position against the Iraq War and the strengthening of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization comprising of Russia, China and other Central Asian republics. The provisions in the Hyde Act clearly point towards these strategic goals of the US. Nuclear cooperation would provide the leverage to the US to make India fall in line, he said.

Dr A G Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, argued that there are ample alternative energy sources like coal and hydel power to generate electricity in India. He pointed out that the government has withheld a proposal to upgrade coal energy in the country. Nothing has been done to promote hydel power either. In the nuclear energy field, post-1974 (Pokharan-I), Indian scientists had to develop nuclear technology indigenously solely through their own efforts. The government is now belittling this effort by suddenly embarking upon nuclear cooperation with the US. Dr Gopalakrishnan also said that the nuclear deal with the US will harm the indigenous three stage nuclear programme, which seeks to develop nuclear energy from Thorium, which is in abundant supply in India. He said that the government’s claim of wanting to improve the energy situation in the country is not a sincere one.

Justice P B Sawant, former Supreme Court judge, dwelled upon the legal aspects of the nuclear deal and questioned the claim that the 123 Agreement does not require ratification by the Indian parliament. He said that the union Executive has no authority to enter into any binding treaty unless it is ratified by parliament. In support of this assertion, Justice Sawant quoted three articles from the Indian constitution: Articles 53, 73 and 253 along with entry numbers 6 and 30 from the union list. On the basis of these he concluded that to go ahead with the nuclear deal without ratification of parliament is not only undemocratic but also unconstitutional. He also brought out that how the national laws of the US are already embedded in the 123 Agreement and how the spokespersons for the government cannot deny that Hyde Act will apply to the deal.

Dr A N Prasad, former director of Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, said that our chief weakness regarding nuclear energy is a limited supply of uranium which can be expanded by more mining or going for the thorium cycle. The government without doing any of this has suddenly pushed us into a 123 Agreement with the US, when India today is on the threshold of completing the Thorium cycle, he said. Dr Prasad also said that contrary to the assurance made by the prime minister, the nuclear deal has not assured “full” nuclear cooperation. Technology would continue to be denied to India in crucial areas.

S P Shukla, former member of the Planning commission, said that the 123 agreement cannot be seen in isolation and has to be seen in the context of the Hyde Act and the strategic interlocking with the US. This process of interlocking started as early as 1991. Now it has reached an intolerable level where an agreement is being made without parliamentary approval, he said. This 123 Agreement and the interlocking with the US would seriously jeopardise the basic concepts of equality, self-reliance and solidarity with the oppressed people all over the world, which formed the basis of India’s foreign policy in the post-independence period. In order to defend these concepts, all right thinking people should be mobilised against the nuclear deal.

Senior journalist Seema Mustafa argued that the Indo-US nuclear deal is not acceptable since it compromises on India’s sovereignty. She said that the India-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline has been shelved because of American diktats. Three aspects of the deal are most worrying according to her: Firstly, it has been the US side which has given most of the information on the deal, with Nicholas Burns contradicting the Indian interpretation of the 123 Agreement.

Secondly, the executive seems to be desperate in pushing through the deal with scant regard for the legislature. Ronen Sen’s statement about “headless chicken” reflects a contempt towards the parliamentarians. Thirdly, a section of the Indian media have abandoned all journalistic principles and ethics while reporting on the deal, and indulging in vivacious attacks against the critics of the deal. She lamented that very few people in the media have actually taken the trouble of providing solid arguments for or against the deal and have rather chosen to create a hysteria around it. The distinction between news reports and editorials and opinion columns have got blurred on this issue, she said.

Dr A D Damodaran, formerly of Nuclear Fuels Complex, stressed on the point that nuclear technology in India has been developed with great pain and effort, and the independent development of science and technology in India has been a counterpart of our Non-Aligned foreign policy. The Indo-US nuclear deal jeopardises our independent research as well as our commitment to the NAM, he said.

Prabir Purkayastha, power sector analyst from the Delhi Science Forum, made two basic points. Firstly, he said that in the last 15 years there has not been a single official document, which states the importance of nuclear energy. Now, a hue and cry has suddenly been created around nuclear energy being crucial to India’s future. This itself exposes the hollowness of the propaganda, which is nothing but an post facto justification for an alliance with the US. Secondly, over the successive plan periods since the seventh five-year plan, the installed capacity for power generation in India during a plan period, has continued to decline, exposing the non-seriousness of the central government to ensure sufficient electricity for the people. There is nothing else to suggest from the policies of the UPA government that it is different from its predecessors.

Ram Gopal Yadav, leader of the Samajwadi Party and Yerran Naidu, leader of the TDP expressed unequivocal opposition to the nuclear deal on behalf of their parties. They said that the presentations by the various experts in the convention have only strengthened their resolve to oppose the deal. Ram Gopal Yadav also said that the Hyde Act seriously infringes upon India’s independent foreign policy, which would mean that India has to support US’ policy on Iran. This is totally unacceptable, he said. Yerran Naidu criticised those who questioned the patriotism of the critics to the deal and said that those who are saying that the Left is acting on behalf of China themselves have sinister motivations.

A B Bardhan, general secretary, CPI, said that the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA has a clear commitment towards following an independent foreign policy, opposing unilateralism and promoting multipolarity in world affairs. A strategic alliance with the US, which is the harbinger of unilateralism in the world, is therefore contrary to the letter and spirit of the CMP. Bardhan pointed towards the ploys of the US to attack Iran and the devastation it has caused in Iraq. “How can India’s foreign policy be congruent to that of the US,” he asked. He said that the UPA government is trying to thrust a new foreign policy paradigm through the Indo-US nuclear deal, drifting away from the consensus that prevailed earlier. He made it clear that the issue is not that of a standoff between the Left and the UPA government, but one concerning our supreme national interest. He said that the future generation would not forgive the political leadership if they compromise India’s sovereignty in the 60th year of India’s independence.

As the final speaker of the convention, Prakash Karat, general secretary, CPI (M), countered the misconceptions regarding the Left’s position on the nuclear deal. He said that the section of the media and Congress leadership, which is alleging that the Left is speaking at China’s behest, are “politically illiterate”. The Left in India, while advocating disarmament, has always opposed signing discriminatory treaties like the NPT, which China as a member of the P-5 has always wanted India to sign. Even if China lends support for the 123 Agreement with India at the NSG, the Left in India would continue to oppose it, since the Indian Left is concerned about India’s sovereignty and the interests of our people, which would be harmed if there is a strategic alliance with the US. Karat also refuted the charge that the Left’s opposition to the nuclear deal has not been consistent. He said that in August 2006, the Left parties had raised nine points regarding the Indo-US nuclear deal, which were addressed through concrete assurances made by the prime minister in parliament on August 17, 2006. However, after that the Hyde Act was passed in December 2006, the CPI (M) and the Left parties had stated that the Hyde Act provisions were grossly violative of the assurances made by the prime minister in parliament. The Left parties had asked the government not to proceed with the negotiations on the bilateral agreement. Four such statements were issued since December 2006, he said. After the experience of the Defence framework agreement, which was surreptitiously signed by Pranab Mukherjee in Washington in June 2005, the Left cannot trust the government anymore. Karat called for a nationwide movement to educate the people about the adverse effects of the nuclear deal and the strategic alliance with the US. He also said that if the UPA government still decides to ignore the majority opinion in parliament and the voice of the people, it will have to bear the consequences.

Karat also lambasted the BJP for not allowing a debate on the nuclear deal in parliament, which would have clearly shown that the deal does not have majority support.

The convention ended with a clarion call for launching a countrywide campaign movement against the Indo-US strategic alliance and the nuclear deal. One couldn’t miss the steely resolve reflected in mood of the participants at the end of the convention.