IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 14th November, 2016
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
India Japan – Civil Nuclear Deal
India has signed a historic civil nuclear deal with Japan during the annual bilateral summit held in Tokyo.
The negotiations have been underway for six years but were strengthened during the 2015 visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India when the principles of the agreement were decided upon.
Earlier, the negotiations were stuck because of political resistance in Japan after the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
India is the first non-member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to have signed such a deal with Japan.
Japan has earlier had issues regarding liability of Japanese companies for nuclear accidents, reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and future testing of nuclear weapons by India
India has declared a moratorium on nuclear testing since 1998. However, due to concerns about other emerging and neighbouring nations being equipped with nuclear arms, it has not signed the NPT, contending that it is discriminatory.
India’s Nuclear Deals
The list of countries with which India has already signed a bilateral civil nuclear deal are Canada, USA, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, Namibia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, South Korea and Australia.
Importance for India
The deal will allow Japan to supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology to India which was earlier prohibited.
It is important for India’s renewable energy plans especially considering the target of 175 gigawatts (GW) of energy generation by 2022 and the target of nuclear capacity of 63GW by 2032.
Since this is the first time that Japan has signed a nuclear deal with a non-member of NPT, it adds credibility to the India’s prudent behaviour with respect to use of nuclear technology.
It is indeed a much-needed moral boost for India’s aspirations of getting membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
The signing of the deal will boost the low volume and dipping bilateral trade.
It will also give an impetus to the strategic military and defence relationship.
The deal can be instrumental in countering China’s growing regional influence and in dealing with the uncertainty of US foreign policy after the US election outcome.
From a Japanese point of view, negotiations with US-based Westinghouse Electric are in advanced stages and they have agreed to build six nuclear reactors in India. Japanese companies, such as Toshiba, have significant holdings in Westinghouse and other U.S. and French partners negotiating for nuclear reactors now. Signing of this deal makes it easier for such deals to materialise.
There are still certain hurdles which have to be overcome to ensure that both nations can bear maximum fruits from this deal.
The nuclear deal has to be approved by Japan’s Parliament. The parliament will have its own concerns in the light of India’s reference to re-thinking of the no-first-use policy.
Critics in Japan may feel that enough assurances have not been obtained from India on a nuclear test ban.
India may be criticised for giving in too much because as per the agreement it allows Japan a chance suspend the deal in case India tests a nuclear weapon. Also, Japan has the option to notify India of the termination of the pact with one year’s notice.
There is also ambiguity with respect to the ‘nullification clause’ according to which if India conducts a nuclear test, Japan shall stop its cooperation and cancel the agreement. There is ambiguity whether the clause is legally binding or not. India claims it to be not legally binding whereas Japan considers it otherwise.
It is important that the agreement goes forward in a smooth manner. With the changing geopolitics around the world this emerging partnership holds a lot of importance.
This deal opens the door for collaboration between the industries of two countries and would bolster bilateral ties. This will also be help in building a clean energy partnership between the two nations. This partnership will also come handy in tackling the China factor. India and Japan need to be very cautious of the impact on China due to this agreement. China has been preparing to tackle the influence of growing Japan-India ties in Asia by building upon a relationship with Russia and Pakistan.
This deal brings a lot of positives for India which can be used to its advantage in campaigning for the NSG membership. However, the only major question that prevails is how India plans to go ahead with its nuclear testing.
Connecting the dots
Critically analyse India’s civil nuclear deal with Japan and discuss the benefits that India can obtain in contemporary geopolitics as a result of this deal.
TOPIC:General Studies 2
Separation of powers between various organs , dispute redressal mechanisms and institution
Structure, organization and functioning of Executive and Judiciary.
Satluj Yamuna Link Canal- Water sharing disputes continue in India
In news: Supreme Court verdict on SYL canal was passed which said that it was unconstitutional for the Punjab state government to terminate a water sharing agreement with other states.
At an inter-state meeting convened by the central government in 1955, the total water of the Ravi and Beas — 15.85 million acre feet (MAF) — had been divided among Rajasthan (8 MAF), undivided Punjab (7.20 MAF) and Jammu and Kashmir (0.65 MAF).
The creation of Haryana from the undivided Punjab in 1966 began the problem of giving Haryana its share of river waters.
Punjab opposed to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles.
In March 1976, a decade after the Punjab Reorganisation Act was implemented, the Centre issued a notification allocating to Haryana 3.5 MAF out of undivided Punjab’s 7.2 MAF.
To enable Haryana to use its share of the waters of the Sutlej and its tributary Beas, a canal linking the Sutlej with the Yamuna, cutting across the state, was planned.
In 1981, there was a tripartite agreement between Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan which was negotiated by PM Indira Gandhi.
In 1982, the construction of the 214-km Sutlej-Yamuna Link (or SYL) canal began in which 122 km was in Punjab and 92 km in Haryana.
The available waters of Ravi and Beas were recalculated to be 17.17 MAF and the states were given revised water — Punjab (4.22 MAF), Haryana (3.5 MAF) and Rajasthan (8.6 MAF).
However, a political party- Akali Dal- opposed this agreement and started with Kapoori morcha to oppose the construction of the SYL canal.
In 1985, Punjab Accord was signed between PM Rajiv Gandhi and Akali Dal leader. In this, it was agreed that a tribunal would verify the claims of both Punjab and Haryana on river waters.
In 1987, the Eradi Tribunal headed by SC judge Eradi recommended an increase in the shares of Punjab (5 MAF) and Haryana (3.83 MAF), while taking into account utilisable supplies of surplus water at base stations.
Key developments since the tribunal recommendation
The tribunal’s decision was not notified.
Meanwhile, Punjab experienced militancy in that period and continued reigning terror in process of canal construction by attacking senior canal staffers.
In 1990, Haryana requested central government to take up the issue with a central agency but it made no progress.
Finally, Supreme Court was approached in 1996 where it directed Punjab to complete the canal work. In 2002, SC ordered Punjab to complete the canal in a year.
In 2004, the Punjab Assembly passed The Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, terminating its 1981 water-sharing agreement, and thus jeopardising the construction of SYL in Punjab, just after SC directed it to form ‘central agency’ to complete canal work.
Apprehending trouble, then President A.P.J Kalam sought the Supreme Court’s opinion on the 2004 Act under Article 143 (1) of the Constitution.
Art 143 confers in the President of India the power to consult Supreme Court at any time it appears to the President that a question of law or fact has arisen, or is likely to arise, which is of such a nature and of such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court upon it.
It is discretionary for the Supreme Court to answer or not to answer the questions put to it under Art 143 (1) but it is bound to give advice if it comes under Art 143 (2).
Internationally, India has been embroiled in water disputes with three of its neighbours: Pakistan (Indus river), China (Brahmaputra river) and Bangladesh (Teesta river).
Internally, the recent Cauvery river water dispute saw similar action of passing legislative assembly resolution by the state government to not share Cauvery water with Tamil Nadu. This was also violation of Supreme Court Order to release certain cusecs of water for a certain time period.
Other disputes intermittently cropping up and yet not solved are Mullaperiyar dispute between Tamil Nadu and Kerala; Mhadeyi dispute between Karnataka and Goa and the never ending Krishna and Godavari river water dispute.
This shows that there is a need of permanent and regular independent body which looks after inter-state water disputes in India under Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 which is enacted under Art 262 of Indian constitution which provides a role for the Central government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the state/regional governments.
Punjab’s legislative adventurism and impact
There was no doubt that Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 would not have survived judicial scrutiny as it defaulted the 1981 agreement.
The SC has given reasons from previous verdicts relating to the Cauvery and Mullaperiyar disputes by reiterating the principle‘a State cannot, through legislation, do an act in conflict with the judgment of the highest court which has attained finality’.
The verdict re-imposes the fact that it would be destructive of the rule of law and federalism if a State were to be allowed to overpower judicial powers by nullifying a verdict that is based both on fact and law.
Such disputes on water issues creates a competition among major political parties on who among them is the best protector of the State’s interests.
This attitude leads to creation of a disturbing tendency among States to be judges in their own cause, especially in water issues.
It has recently been regularly observed that political parties have resorted to legislations or assembly resolutions rather than negotiations. Even the opposition parties collaborate in such issues with equal zest so that they are also visible in support of the cause.
Hence, now is the need to take up the path of negotiation and conciliation and not take actions unilaterally where more than one state is involved.
85% of the canal work is already completed in the Satluj Yamuna Link Canal. Just as Haryana can get access to waters of Satluj river, even Punjab can get access to Yamuna waters. The states have to talk, negotiate and decide mutually and not abrogate agreements. It is a fact that India’s experiments with water imports through canals have not always been successful. But in the era of climate change, when India faces drought and flood challenges in same year, it requires the solution to long pending demand of connecting rivers.
Connecting the dots:
It is being increasingly witnessed that states are defying court orders in disputes. What is the fallout of such acts by states and what are the possible actions that can be taken by courts so that their relevance is never compromised?
What is the meaning of ‘judge in their own cause’? What should the states do to solve their inter-state disputes?