The Koodankulam Mystery (2): Russian Officials’ Anxiety
May 24, 2013
The periodic interventions of the Russian diplomats in India in defense of the Indian nuclear authorities are very intriguing and puzzling. Lauding the Tamil Nadu government’s decision on the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) as “correct” but “long overdue,” the Russian Ambassador to India, Mr. Alexander M. Kadakin, said in March 2012: “From October to March, it is not Russia, it was India which was losing $1 million a day. Can we welcome the loss of the money that Indian people had put aside for construction?”
But the Russian ambassador did not explain how that loss exactly happened, or what his involvement in the Koodankulam transaction was, or how he calculated that $1 million loss per day. Most importantly, who was he to do the calculation? Though Mr. Kadakin was in close touch with the Indian government on the KKNPP issue, he said in February 2012 that he had not contacted the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu saying “It may look a bit odd. I don’t like to bypass the Centre.”
Throwing all the diplomatic norms and values to the wind, Mr. Kadakin has been interfering in the internal affairs of our country. He commented in an interview in March 2012: “We have been suspecting it all along, and, I was openly saying this, because it was very strange. Six months after the Fukushima tragedy, all those protesters raise their voices. They were sleeping for six months, and then, all of sudden, they raise their voices against the most secure, the best and the safest (nuclear power) station in the world.” He added further: “We were perplexed, but now we stand vindicated.” Without directly naming the United States, Mr. Kadakin said some strategic friends of India who were not doing anything for its energy sector, did not like the idea of India becoming strong, and therefore, were stalling the Kudankulam project through proxies (Business Line, March 26, 2012).
A year later in February 2013, Mr. Kadakin said, “I think these (protests) are sponsored. They work in such a way that when money ends they stop and when they get another portion of money they resume their protests.” He asserted: “Yes, there are NGOs from outside who are feeding these protest organisation. India is a democratic country, people are free to protest if they feel some danger is coming.”
In May 2013, the Russian Ambassador accused anti-nuclear protesters of “playing games” as India moves to launch the country’s biggest nuclear power project. He said: “The unit number one is almost ready and second one will be ready within six months. But as regards pressure from protesters and from other people, these are all gimmicks and games. The games by those who don’t want to see India strong, who don’t want India and Tamil Nadu to have really much (needed) power.”
Mr. Kadakin had said “[Koodankulam] is the safest nuclear unit in the world which has been recognised by specialists and scientists in the West and the East.” If it is indeed the safest plant, why aren’t the Russians willing to offer any liability whatsoever? In December 2012, however, Mr. Kadakin said that negotiations on issues relating to civil nuclear liability law were still going on and stressed that if India insisted on liability, the price of Kudankulam units III and IV would go up. According to him, the two units were “grandsons of the original agreement” on Kudankulam units I and II which came into effect much before the civil nuclear liability law.
Joining the fray with his Ambassador, Mr. Nikolay Listopadov, the Russian Consul General in south India, has assured full commitment to all the Koodankulam units and said “the ties in this regard between the two nations…were guided by mutual interest” (The New Indian Express, May 19, 2013). What indeed is the “mutual interest” that tends to work up the Russian officials in India? Why are the Russian officials nervous about the Koodankulam project and want an immediate commissioning? What are they trying to hide? Who are they trying to protect? The inter-governmental skeletons will start tumbling out of the Koodankulam closet one by one soon.
The Struggle Committee
People’s Movemenmt Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai 627 104
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 May 2013.
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