It’s good but don’t uncork the champagne yet, say some of the former chieftains of India’s nuclear programme. Responding cautiously, they say that the devil of interference was hidden in the small print of the deal that was approved by the Senate on Friday and only the final version reconciled by both legislatures on the Hill will reveal the full extent of the burden on India.
Former AEC chairman P K Iyengar said: “The real question is whether it is acceptable to India. No, I do not think it is still a time for celebration. We can celebrate only after seeing the end product which should conform to the July 18, 2005, agreement between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George Bush.”
Former Barc director A N Prasad said what the Senate approved appeared to be a little more stringent compared to the one presented by the House of Representatives. Therefore, it may not be really in India’s interests. “Both the versions have to be reconciled and conform to the assurances given in the July 18 statement.”
Talking from Singapore, defence analyst Bharat Karnad said the deal may have crossed a major obstacle, “But a number of wrinkles have to be ironed out.” .“The moratorium on any further nuclear testing has been incorporated in the July 18 agreement which is unfortunate. We should be free to test,” he added.