Search

 

Cablegate: Visa Denials Threaten Credibility of Nssp, Open

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NEW DELHI 007333

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS TO NRC

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG TRGY KNNP PREL ETTC TSPL CVIS FR IN NSSP
SUBJECT: VISA DENIALS THREATEN CREDIBILITY OF NSSP, OPEN
DOORS TO FRENCH AND OTHERS

Reference: NEW DELHI 6833

1. (SBU) Summary: A visit to India's premier atomic energy
establishments by Alain Bugat, Chairman of the French Atomic
Energy Commission, suggests that France is willing to engage
in discussions with India on nuclear matters to a degree
that is inconceivable within the current NSSP framework.
The visa denial of Baldev Raj ironically made it possible
for Raj to host Bugat at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic
Research (IGCAR) in a very high profile visit. The three to
four week delay required by the Mantis Security Advisory
Opinion (SAO) process, together with an apparent increase in
technology transfer related visa denials, gives heart to
critics in India's scientific establishment who claim the
NSSP is void of content. Mission recommends Washington
establish a process that allows all stakeholders to review
recommended Mantis SAO denials. End summary.

Director IGCAR Deemed "Inadmissible" to Travel to the US
--------------------------------------------- -----------

2. (SBU) On November 5, 2004 Dr. Baldev Raj (DOB 09 April
1947), distinguished Scientist and Director of IGCAR, which
PM Singh has just visited in conjunction with the
inauguration of the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (Ref.),
was categorized through the SAO Mantis process as
"inadmissible" under Section 212a3A(i)(II).

3. (SBU) Dr. Raj was to represent IGCAR at the Eighth
Information Exchange Meeting on Actinide and Fission Product
Partitioning and Transmutations that took place in Las
Vegas, Nevada on November 9 to 11, 2004. This information
exchange meeting was the eighth in a series that began in
1990. According to the organizers, the meeting was an open
scientific meeting and not subject to any CFR810 controls
for export of information.

4. (SBU) Dr. Raj had been quite insistent about obtaining
information on the status of his visa. Requests, however,
ceased about two weeks prior to Raj's proposed travel. On
November 5, Dr. Raj's office told SciCouns that Dr. Raj was
traveling and would not be back in the office until November
8.

Chairman Atomic Energy Commission France Visits IGCAR
--------------------------------------------- --------

5. (SBU) Dr. Raj's silence did not last long. Mission
found out that Alain Bugat, Chairman of the Atomic Energy
Commission of France, had visited the Atomic Energy
Commission's Kalpakkam site, 60 kilometers from Chennai, on
November 9. Kalpakkam hosts the IGCAR, which is the
headquarters for the Indian Fast Breeder Reactor program,
the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) and the Nuclear De-
salination Demonstration Plant. At Kalpakkam, in addition
to discussions with Raj, Bugat met T.S. Rajendran, Director
of MAPS and Prabhat Kumar, the Director of the Prototype
Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR).

Renewal of Indo-French Nuclear Links
------------------------------------

6. (SBU) In an interview with T.S. Subramanayan, a reliable
reporter for "The Hindu," Chairman Bugat said that one of
the purposes of this visit to India "is to renew our links
for cooperation in the field of fast nuclear reactors" and
to forge cooperation at the R&D level in scientific topics,
such as fundamental physics, live sciences, reactor safety
in thermal reactors and fast breeder reactors. Bugat ducked
the question on whether France was prepared to sell India
Pressurized Light Water Reactors (PLWRs) without insisting
that India sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
or implement full scope safeguards as demanded by the
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Bugat's response was that
this was the topic on which he could not speak, as "we are
not diplomats. We're technicians, physicists and managers.
So what I want to say is that cooperation between India and
France is perfectly respectful of all international
agreements that India and France have signed."

Are India and France Ready to Hop Into The Sack?
--------------------------------------------- ---

7. (SBU) During his visit, Bugat was reminded that Betram
Goldschmidt, the late pioneer of the French nuclear program,
had remarked in 1992 at Kovalan, near Chennai, that "France
and India were prepared to flirt with each other but not
really go to bed" in nuclear matters. Bugat was asked
whether the time was now ripe for the two countries to "go
to bed" in nuclear matters, especially light water reactors.
The Hindu quotes Bugat as saying, "I cannot say. We can go
to bed if diplomats and politicians come to a new round of
agreements. There are certain ways in which nuclear science
R&D is closer to political affairs than industrial affairs
but we will not decide in the place of politicians." Bugat
concluded by saying that France appreciates the fact that
India's nuclear energy program is "comprehensive and
coherent" as it includes nuclear power reactors, research
reactors and nuclear applications in other fields. Bugat
also said he appreciates that India has not been involved in
any nuclear controversies concluding that, in his
assessment, only India, France and Japan have comprehensive
nuclear programs (to include breeding, reprocessing and a
closed nuclear fuel cycle).

Bugat Visits the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)
--------------------------------------------- --------

8. (SBU) During his trip, on November 10, Chairman Bugat
visited BARC at Trombay holding discussions with Dr. Anil
Kakodkar, Chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission,
Dr. S. Banerjee, Director of BARC, and Dr. R. B. Grover, the
Director of Strategic Planning for the Department of Atomic
Energy.

The Visa Mantis SAO Program
---------------------------

9. (SBU) The three to four week wait required to obtain
Mantis SAO response for executives in Indian nuclear and
space organizations together with the fact that approvals
often come at the last minute or too late for Indian
travelers to accomplish their missions in the United States
is having an adverse impact on our relations with the Indian
scientific community. Specific examples are the visas for
Kasturirangan KRISHNASWAMY (DOB 24 October 1940) and for
Prem Shanker GOEL (DOB 20 April 1947) who were granted
approval to travel to the U.S. on the very same day they
planned to hold a meeting at Boeing Satellite System
Divisions, and the visa for Sridhara Murthi Kuppam RAMAIYER
(DOB 7 September 1950) which was approved on the day when
traveler was already supposed to be in the United States.

10. (SBU) There have been cases when travelers proposing to
attend open meetings in the U.S. related to nuclear power
were found "inadmissible." In particular, Atal Kumar GUPTA
(DOB 27 AUG 1953), the Technical Service Superintendent in
charge of Engineering Support at the Kakrapar Atomic Power
Station and Pramod Kumar SHARDA (DOB 7 JAN 1951), the Chief
Superintendent at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant were
supposed to attend peer review training at the World
Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) in Atlanta in
preparation for an annual WANO experts visit to nuclear
power stations in India. The goal of such visits is to
promote nuclear power station operational safety. Gupta and
Sharda were categorized as "inadmissible" under Section
212a3A(i)(II) on 8 October 2004.

11. (SBU) As WANO training in nuclear safety is not subject
to CFR810 controls for export of information, and relates to
a USG policy objective to promote bi-lateral cooperation in
safe operation of nuclear power plants, prima facie it would
appear that this denial runs counter to USG policy
objectives.

The Cupboard is Not Entirely Bare
---------------------------------
12. (SBU) Mission acknowledges and appreciates the
Department's support in expediting some Mantis SAO
processing. We also understand that in some cases the
problem of delays is due to late applications by Indian
scientists, a problem we are seeking to address with the
GOI. The fast approval for Dr. Prem Shanker GOEL (DOB 20
April 1947) and Janardhana EDDYA (DOB 1 November 1945) to
attend a NASA workshop on "Creating New and Sustainable
Space Exploration" is one example. Another is the approval
for Nuclear Power Corporation of India Chairman Shreyans
Kumar JAIN (DOB 8 May 1948) to attend a WANO conference in
Atlanta on November 2 and 3, 2004. In Mission's view, the
rapid processing of this Mantis SAO is a solid demonstration
of USG good will in light of the recent determination of
Section 212a3A(i)(II) inadmissibility for Gupta and Sharda
above.

Comment: Giving Ammunition to NSSP Doubters
--------------------------------------------

13. (SBU) It is ironic that Raj held such discussions with
the Chairman of the French Atomic Energy Commission, at the
time he was denied access to the United States to
participate in an open conference which is not subject to
export controls. Such denials give ammunition to Indian
nuclear and space scientists who firmly believe that the
NSSP is nothing but a sham, and therefore oppose efforts by
political players like NSA Dixit to move ahead on our export
control benchmarks and the NSSP process as a whole.

14. (SBU) A high profile case of ineligibility such as the
Raj case points to the need for an inter-agency process that
allows the SA bureau and other stakeholders to participate
in the Mantis SAO process and review any recommended Mantis
SAO denials before the decision is communicated to post. It
is also important that the Embassy fully understand the
reasons for any denials and has a mechanism to provide
additional input if a decision appears to impact other
established policy objectives, such as the NSSP process or
nuclear safety cooperation.

15. (SBU) We recognize that it will be necessary to deny
visits, even for high-profile applicants, when serious
technology transfer concerns exist. When this happens, we
need to be in a position to fully understand the reasons for
the decision and to be able to put it in context for our
Indian interlocutors. Mission appreciates Washington
consideration of this issue.

BLAKE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Myanmar: UN Condemns Escalating Violence In Deadliest Day Of Protests So Far

In response to the killing of at least 18 protesters demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Sunday together with the UN chief, strongly condemned the “escalating violence” and called for an immediate end to the use of force... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>