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Discussing Indo-US nuke deal

Book>> The Indo-US Nuclear Deal, A Reference Compilation Edited by S K Pande Published by the Delhi Union Journalists and its Media Centre, Delhi 2007

 
By Richard Mahapatra
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

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The Indo-us civilian nuclear energy deal is arguably the most debated foreign policy issue in India in recent times. The deal is now on hold, but only after polarizing the political, academic and scientific communities. A lot has been written about the pact. While political parties have criticized it as a threat to India's independent foreign policy, scientists have seen it as a threat to the country's indigenous nuclear programme. But there is no compilation that brings together the range of opinions on the issue.

Indo-US Nuclear Deal--A Reference Compilation tries to plug this gap. It has a diverse collection of articles including a piece on India's nuclear submarine project, an essay on the Americaniza-tion of the Indian economy and a paper on India's shifting stands on disarmament. The editor has included pieces by representatives of almost all major political parties in the country.

A lot of the pieces by party representatives are actually public statements, most of them already in public domain. But the editor of this compilation deserves credit in bringing together almost all the official documents leading to the nuclear deal. The few analytical pieces in the volume have also been drawn from published sources.

But somewhere the volume goes askew. This reviewer is not questioning the choice of pieces here, but their arrangement. The function of a reference compilation such as the one under review is to guide a reader through various facets of an issue. But the pieces in Indo-US Nuclear Down to EarthDeal--A Reference Compilation have been arranged very haphazardly.

The compilation would have been better served if opinions of political parties had been clubbed together, and the analytical pieces put in one bunch. For example, the piece with the frequently asked questions on the Left parties' position on the deal is very interesting. It gives us an insight into the thinking of the most vocal critics of the deal. But then it seems lost within a jumble. Similarly, articles on strategic aspects of the deal could have made an interesting analytical dossier if put together.

The collection could then have taken the debate on the issue further. But instead it has ended up being a hodgepodge of opinions. But at least we have them at one place.

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