Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More on Nuclear Suppliers Group

The Financial Times has an editorial supporting the moves by several countries, including New Zealand, to add several conditions to the US-India agreement on sale of uranium to India for nuclear power.

Mr Bush’s allies say it is a pity the international community is dragging its feet in this way. They argue that the deal is strategically smart because it has ended 40 years of hostility between India and the US and balances the rising power of China. But the costs far outweigh any benefits. This deal makes a mockery of the non-proliferation treaty. And it threatens to accelerate the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan. This is because every pound of uranium that India is allowed to import for its power reactors frees up a pound of uranium for its bomb programme.

The NSG will again convene next month and must apply as many conditions as possible to India’s nuclear programme before giving the deal the go-ahead. Better still, the next US president should ditch the entire policy. He should opt for an approach that reforms the rules of the nuclear game both for America’s friends and foes.

While the Fairfax papers in New Zealand report that Indian officials are applying pressure in the other direction. Added safeguards would very likely lead to the collapse of Indian political support for the deal.

India Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar said his nation will not be pushed on the deal.
"The NSG exemption should be clean and there should be no additional condition," Kakodkar said.

"They may want to push, but India can't be pushed. Civil nuclear cooperation is important, but that doesn't mean at any cost....

"Should we allow ourselves to be pushed? Are we not Indians? Are you not proud of yourself and what you are doing?" Kakodkar said.
India's ruling Congress Party is demanding the deal go ahead with a clean waiver.
"Nothing which impinges or seem to impinge on India's national interest will be acceptable," party spokesman Manish Tewari said.

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