Friday, February 10, 2006


Outside View: India And Nonproliferation
09 February 2006

UPI (PHILADELPHIA) - Nonproliferation advocates in Washington argue that recent U.S. efforts extending civilian nuclear cooperation with India would undercut global nonproliferation. One argument is that many states like Japan and Brazil either had nuclear bombs or the ability to make them but gave up that ability in return for the civilian nuclear cooperation guaranteed by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). If India now gets the same benefits outside the NPT and without being forced to give up its weapons, detractors argue, some of these countries could rethink their NPT commitments.

Another idea postulated against the US-Indian nuclear deal is that such an important deal with a NPT non-member would undermine the normative international nuclear set up. However, this argument is based on the wrong notion that the current NPT-based nuclear setup is totally rules-based without exceptions. In fact, the NPT-system by itself is defined by different treatment for different nations, largely based on global geopolitical concerns. For example, when Iraq was found to be in violation of its NPT pledge to not develop nuclear weapons following the first Gulf war in 1991, the world community came down hard on Baghdad with a tough sanctions regime. However, when China was clearly in violation of its NPT obligations when it was caught selling weapons related "ring magnets" to Pakistan in 1995, the U.S. buried the violation in order not to jeopardize the Clinton administration's efforts to forge better U.S.-China relations. Even recently, when investigations pertaining to the A.Q.Khan nuclear scandal revealed that China may have leaked a nuclear warhead design that was found in Libya, the Bush administration refused to bring China to account and went ahead with proposed nuclear reactor sales to China.

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