Goof Up in EUMA

The Indian diplomacy is making faux paus after faux pas in its policies. After the confusion in Sharm-e-Sheikh in Egypt over the dealing with Pakistan regarding terrorism they have done another blunder. This time regarding the End User Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) with America regarding the operation of US provided nuclear technologies. This can be brushed aside like other things if luck continues to be with India. Otherwise it has to pay heavy price when the American started bullying it with this pact. Let us wish a good luck in this regard.

The Times of India writes (2 July 2009)

Even as the UPA government was reeling under the charge of compromising national interests by initialling the Indo-Pak joint statement in
Egypt, more grief came its way on Tuesday. The charge this time was that it has “mortgaged Indian sovereignty to the US” by signing an End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) which would allow American inspectors to verify the end use of US sourced high tech equipment of dual use.

The issue erupted in Parliament with the opposition claiming that this was the thin end of the wedge ^ after “giving in” to the US, India would now be required to make its sensitive military equipment available for inspection to not just the Americans, but all foreign suppliers. The government insisted that this was far from the truth and the EUMA allowed nothing of the sort, but a disatisfied Opposition walked out of the two Houses.

Foreign minister S M Krishna said, “Nobody should have anxiety about national interests being surrendered.” He said the agreement only “systemises ad-hoc arrangements for individual defence procurements from the US entered into by previous governments.”

The EUMA is designed to facilitate high-end dual use technology transfer to India. Under US laws no country can get access to high technology of dual use with an EUMA agreement. Since 1984, Indian companies had had to sign stand-alone end-use monitoring pacts to source American high tech. Now the EUMA, signed in the presence of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s presence on Monday, has become an umbrella agreement that covers the trade of all cutting-edge technology from the US for a whole range of applications.

This EUMA is seen by the government seen as a good bargain because while it allows the US to carry out inspections, it gives India the prerogative to decide on the time and venue of the scrutiny. This way, it feels that it won’t disclose the exact locational and strategic use of military equipment to American inspectors.
The Opposition, however, refused to see it in this light, arguing that the agreement would cover even technologies obtained from other sources. The tone for the skirmish was set right in the morning, within hours of the agreement being signed with Clinton. As Lok Sabha met, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha stood up to accuse the government of buckling under US pressure.

Sinha said the pact would allow US inspection even for supplies from third countries if they had used American technology. He further said that inspectors would visit sensitive installations to inspect “immoveables” which could not be put at a safe site for scrutiny.

Sharad Yadav of JD(U) added the frisking of former President A P J Abdul Kalam by a US airline was a sign of American abrasiveness. “Remember when Clinton came to India, sniffer dogs were sent to Rajghat,” he said. Arun Jaitley said in Rajya Sabha, “Today we have friendly relations (with US) but we cannot forget a situation where the 7th Fleet had entered the Indian Ocean.” He added that US also has “very friendly relationship” with Pakistan.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav reminded Congress that Nehru had refused to accept foreign interference. “You have forgotten not only Gandhi but even Nehru,” he said. CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta called it a “Himalayan blunder”. The rhetoric climaxed when RJD chief Lalu Prasad said, “UN inspectors did not find any weapons of mass destruction or chemical weapons but Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was hung. This was a message to the world that those who fail to toe the US line will meet the same fate.”

Krishna responded to all this with a bland statement that gave a factual account of the pacts signed with Hillary Clinton. Saying that Clinton’s visit would help “broaden and deepn bilateral relationship”, the minister said, “We have also agreed to a new bilateral dialogue architecture within which we will continue discussions between our two countries on a wide range of issues.”

As the Opposition walked out, Krishna said, “I am surprised by the interpretation sought to be given to the bilateral pact between two sovereign countries.” He said the end-use monitoring of high-end defence purchases always existed and the fresh pact only generalised them. “We do it for other countries also. It is all straight and it is in the larger interest of the country.”

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