INDIA – A NEW COLONY OF RUSSIA? ITS THIRST FOR ENERGY COULD MAKE IT SO.
21 Oct 2011
DURING THE BRITISH COLONIAL PERIOD(1858 to 1918), the people of India found that in return for a stable government, they were required to subordinate themselves to a foreign power. This meant (among other things) that they had to sell their raw product(industrial goods) to the British at their prices; and worse yet, to buy all finished goods exclusively from them (at their prices); in addition to providing 600,000 soldiers to defend British interests worldwide. Unfortunately, the Indian “caste system” resonated well with Monarchic British “class separation” views, and so an uneasy bond was created in which most Indians subordinated themselves to the British (with consequential/growing resentment), eventually culminating in a forced British withdrawal from India, and its affairs in 1918.
MODERN INDIA IS A COLORFUL MIXTURE OF THE OLD AND THE NEW. To better understand Countries like India, it is necessary to look at its present needs/aspirations, as well as its political and economical climate. India is the world’s second most populous country, and like China, it is an economically, and educationally rapidly ascending country, struggling mightily to overcome its infrastructure deficiencies in potable water, and energy delivery; However, there persist great needs for sanitary human waste-water treatment facilities, and even a notable lack of sanitary toilets for the greater part of its population. Its politics and economic ascendancy ambitions are perceived as highly dependent upon its apparently insatiable need for energy; This is so, because like it or not, energy is central to satisfying human needs, sanitation, hygiene, and comfort. Let us first look at India’s politics as an instrument for modernization, specially in a country with such a rich and diverse cultural heritage.
POLITICALLY, INDIA IS A REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY AND A REPUBLIC with an Upper and a Lower chamber, and with two(2) prominent parties; So, it follows the same political framework/guidelines as the USA, and many other democratic republics. INDIA’S GOVERNMENT (from Wikipedia) is officially known as the “Union Government”, also as the “Central Government”, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven(union) Territories, collectively called the Republic of India. Its capital is New Delhi. The Central government comprises three (3)branches: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.
THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH is headed by the President (the Head of State), and exercises power directly, or through subordinate officers.
THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH (the Parliament) consists of the “lower house” (The Lok Sabha) and the upper house(The Rajya Sabha), as well as the President.
THE JUDICIAL BRANCH has the Supreme Court at its apex, 21 High Courts, and numerous Civil, Criminal and Family courts at the District level. The legal system as applicable to the federal and individual state governments is based on the “English Common” and, The basic Civil and Criminal Laws governing the citizens of India, as set down by major parliamentary legislation, such as the Civil Procedure Code, the Indian Penal Code, and the Criminal Procedure Code. Both the Central, and individual State governments consist of Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.
INDIA’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY – The “Indian National Congress (INC)” Party, commonly known as “The Congress” is one of the two(2) major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It is the largest and the oldest(1885) democratic political party in India. The party’s “modern liberal platform” is largely considered “center-left” in the Indian political spectrum. The INC party became the leader of the Indian Independence Movement in its struggle against British rule in India. After independence in 1947, it became the nation’s dominant political party, led by the Nehru-Gandhi family for the most part; In the 2009 general elections, the INC emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha, with 205 of its candidates getting elected to the 543-member house. Consequently it, along with a coalition of allies, formed a coalition with the “United Progressive Alliance (UPA), was able to gain a majority and form the government. The INC’s platform is very similar to that of the USA’s – Democratic Party.
INDIA’S GOP – The Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) – Indian People’s Party; established in 1980, is India’s second largest political party in terms of representation in the parliament. The BJP traditionally has supported “Indian Nationalism” and strongly advocates conservative social policies, self-reliance, “Free-Market Capitalistic” policy. Its foreign policy is driven by a nationalist agenda, and strong national defense. The BJP’s Political platform is generally considered “Right of Center” in the Indian political spectrum. India’s BJP platform is very similar to the USA’s – Republican (GOP). Strange how in the Ying/Yang of modern democracies, the “conservatives” wish to conserve their gains, while “liberals” wish to “spread the wealth” more uniformly among its citizens; hence, their political polarization.
SO MUCH FOR INDIA’S MODERN BACKGROUND…
NOW THEN, REEL FORWARD TO 2001. Having a contractual, or political agreement, that gives a foreign country exclusivity in providing technology and nuclear fuels for the life of a Nuclear Power Plant(NPP), constitutes a “colonial like” dependency which may not be broken. Such is the case with Russian Nuclear Technology to create, and support NPPs in several countries of the world. Case in point: Please refer to our 16 Sep 2011 article titled: IN INDIA, ANTI NUKE DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST A SIX NUKE “ENERGY PARK”
ANTI-NUCLEAR DEMONSTRATION IN INDIA’S SOUTH-MOST STATE. A massive public demonstration spearheaded by various religious and anti-nuclear activists, protested against the 1000 Megawatt (MW) “Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP)” located in Tirunelveli, India. The plant is one of two(2) being built (next to each other) on the site, by the “Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)”. The first Nuclear Power Plant is expected to go start producing commercial electricity in Oct 2011(next month) offering some relief to the power starved Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The second unit of KNPP will start providing power to the national grid in June 2112. Hectic activities are underway at the plants for the timely commissioning of the first two (2) plants; However, an additional four(4) NPP are planned on the same site.
THE RUSSIAN DESIGNED NPPs were built under technical collaboration with Russia (But have not yet been activated). The Russian government has expressed its willingness to help India build four (4) more reactors of 1200 MW each at the Tirunelveli site, which would then be converted into an “energy park”.
INDIA’S ACADEMIA LIKES THE PROJECT. Prof AJA, Ranjit Singh, principal, Sri Parama Kalyani, College of environmental Science, said there is something suspicious about the way the agitation has been organized. Dr Anil Kakodkar, former chairman, Department of Atomic Energy, said that the KNPP would be the safest of all nuclear reactors in the world (naturally). NOTHING IS SAID ABOUT THE TYPE OF REACTORS USED, BUT GEN-II, BWRs are a good bet.
From a DNA 14 Sep 2011 article
It is now clear, the Nuclear Industry follows the same Modus Operandi (MO) worldwide. Japan was the first to recognize the desirability of exporting technology only with a binding contract to grant them exclusive rights to maintain the NPPs for life, and to provide the specially shaped, and coated uranium fuel pellets to be used (also for the life of the unit). It is clear Russia has also welcomed “a piece of the action” in India 2001… HERE IS HOW THEY NORMALLY DO IT:
No. 1. The Indian Stakeholders(An “Anonymous Society” or SA) colluded with the Local authorities for permits to carry out their plans, even without consulting with the locals. Remember these folks were making an initial investment of about $10 billion(per power plant); so “greasing palms” with a few $ millions (and the promise of more to come), made permit acquisition faster/easier. BUT FOLKS: THAT IS CALLED GRAFT AND CORRUPTION AT ALL GOVERNMENT LEVELS. That is the way in which the Nuclear Industry corrupts our societies and bends our politics out of shape worldwide.
No. 2. They sought and obtained engineering, technical, and other logistical support from Russia(we do not know the details, because they are a corporate secret, but The Russian technology exchange would probably include life-long monopoly on nuclear fuel provisioning, and “technical support” for the life of the NPP…You see, that way NPPs become: “The gift that keeps on giving”. It must be made clear that the Russian Government was involved only in “Permit Granting”, and that it was a Russian free-market Nuclear Industry, that was working with the Indian stakeholders. Such a deal is precisely what the Premier Japanese Nuclear Industry was contemplating to sell the world (Until 12 March 2011).
No. 3. They got Academia to agree to say how great this project would be (if faced with opposition as it is now). We are talking of bribing a few prominent national scientists to “sing their song”. Scientist can be very subtle, and even persuasive liars, when it fits their financial interests.
No. 4. Finally, they paid-off the press for “good coverage”. They continue to do so by buying lots of publicity, at unknown prices, as a way to “launder” their contributions. HOW SWEET IT IS! – India’s press is clearly, and unabashedly biased pro-Nuclear Energy.
NOT SO FAST! Everybody involved was economically set-up for life, after all the stakeholders are very generous, but then… on 12 March 2011 Fukushima exploded in their faces; FUKUSHIMA CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR THE URANIUM NUCLEAR INDUSTRY WORLDWIDE! – THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY IS NOW IN A STEEP DIVE.
NIMBY! Now that the people of Tirunelvely, India have had the chance to see, and read about the demise of Japan and its Fukushima Dai No.1 NPP complex, and everyone says: NOT IN MY BACK-YARD(NIMBY), AND RIGHTLY SO!. That is exactly what the demonstrators are trying to tell the NPP builders.
The people of Tirumelvely are not alone in their concern. India’s “THE PIONEER” reported on 09 OCTOBER 2011, that The Kudankulam NPP is not an issue confined to the Tamil Nadu boundaries anymore. Protesters are also fuming in Kerala against the Central(government)s decision to go ahead with the project. Scientists and environmentalists are pointing out that Kerala is bound to suffer tragedies if any eventuality occurs at the Kundakulam NPP, and that close to a quarter of the Kerala population will suffer in the case of a serious accident at the Kudankulam NPP facility as five(5) densely populated districts come within a radius of 200 km – the minimum (estimated)aerial distance fallout can reach; In this sense. Keralites say they need to be as concerned about the Kudankulam NPP, as the people of Tamil Nadu are,” said an office-bearer of the “Solidarity Council” which supports the anti-nuclear protests at Idinthakarai in Tamil Nadu. The council had taken out a vehicle march to Idinthakarai last week, to declare solidarity with the protestors there.
Protestors in Kerala want their State Government to take a stand on the Kudankulam NPP as the Tamil Nadu Government has done. Their concern is that in case of a nuclear accident at the Kudankulam NPP, the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta, districts of Kerala could be directly affected. Radiation carried by winds could affect Idukki and Kottayam districts as well.
The residents of all areas adjacent to the Kundakulum NPP (and follow-on four(4) more NPPs euphemistically called an “ENERGY PARK”), are understandingly alarmed about their presence in their “Backyard”, and have every right to say NIMBY! They look to the Fukushima Dai No.1 unfolding triple-meltdown tragedy, and see their future likewise threatened by the Kundakulum NPP plans approved by their Central government. The Central government is showing signs of “back-pedaling” on the project, and now have expressed concern for the financial loss faced by the “Stakeholders”. Does this mean the Central government would bail them out to stop the project dead ? We are talking about $20 Billions; It could happen! And yet, please consider my greatest concern, particularly for the people of India, and their still fresh experience with Colonization by foreign powers.
INDIA COULD BECOME A NEW COLONY OF RUSSIA. ITS ENERGY THIRST COULD MAKE IT SO. It may be a very worrisome revelation to most ant-nuclear groups in India, that accepting Russian Technology under such terms (see MY TAKE item no. 2) makes India a “Colony” of Russia; After all, Russia could “pull the switch off” at any time. A modern refinement of their former British Colony Times. What would M.K. Gandhi say about it ?… Probably: “I would rather do without it”. Just like British loomed cloth and salt; THE SAME CONCERNS APPLY TO OTHER ON-GOING NPP PROJECTS IN COLLABORATION WITH FRANCE’S “AREVA”. Beware of strangers bearing gifts! Look for strings attached.
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