Hon. Barbara Lee / US Congress & Paul Garwood / Associated Press – 2006-07-28 23:46:20
Exception Should Not Be the Rule for India Nuclear Deal
Barbara Lee / US House of Representatives
WASHINGTON (July 25, 2006) — As the crises related to the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea mount, one might assume that the Bush administration and Congress would want to rally international support for established nonproliferation efforts. Instead, they have chosen this moment to throw them out the window with the proposed India-US nuclear deal pending in Congress.
Proponents of the deal stress the strategic importance of the US-India bilateral relationship and suggest that India can be trusted as a responsible steward of its nuclear weapons. They fail to answer how, if we make exceptions to the nuclear rules for this one country, we can expect that other countries will feel bound by those rules.
Indeed, more than a strengthened relationship with India, the long-term legacy of the US-India nuclear deal may be the damage it does to the international framework for nuclear nonproliferation safeguards and controls.
The draft proposal makes an unacceptable exception to these rules for India, thereby sending the wrong message to the world. It makes a mockery of formal US commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The proposal does not require India to stop producing nuclear material for weapons, as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Russia have done (it is widely believed that China has also ceased producing such materials, although they stopped short of a formal declaration). It does not even require certification that India will not increase its production of enriched uranium for weapons.
India is not required to place all of its power reactors under international inspection. In short, it gives India all of the benefits of being a recognized nuclear weapon state with none of the responsibilities that a state party to the treaty would have. One potential result is that countries such as South Korea and Brazil will revaluate their nonproliferation commitments, perceiving that they can get a better deal without it.
We would also need to prepare for the likelihood that Pakistan and China will pursue a similar deal. In explaining Beijing’s rationale for potentially pursuing a deal with Pakistan, Shen Dingli, a professor of international relations at China’s Fudan University has already argued, “If the US can violate [the nuclear rules], then we can violate them.”
The Bush administration has been openly hostile to a multilateral, diplomatic approach to arms control, but the fact is that treaties such as the nonproliferation treaty have been remarkably effective. One very real danger of quietly abandoning the nonproliferation treaty in this way is that with it we discard the basis for the international consensus in opposing the unconstrained nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran, potentially opening the door to a nuclear weapons free-for-all.
While virtually everyone agrees that it is in our country’s interest to strengthen our relationship with India, to suggest that we can do so only at the expense of the international nonproliferation standards is both dishonest and dangerous. We need to go back to the drawing board and make sure the proposed nuclear cooperation agreement maintains international nonproliferation goals.
The most desirable scenario would be for India to formally commit to the goals and restrictions on the international nonproliferation framework and sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Short of that, we must insist on specific nonproliferation safeguards.
India must prove that the materials and technology provided by the United States for civilian purposes will not be used in India’s military facilities and that all reactors that supply electricity to the civilian sector in India are declared and come under a regime of international inspections. India must also be required to undertake a binding obligation, just as nuclear weapon states under the nonproliferation treaty do, not to assist, encourage or induce non-nuclear weapon states to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons.
Finally, India must commit to taking concrete steps toward disarmament, including commitments to stop fissile-material production for weapons, reduce its nuclear stockpile and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons. Without these commitments, Congress should reject the proposed India nuclear deal.
US Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, is a member of the House International Relations Committee.
US Urges Pakistan to Not Expand Nukes
Paul Garwood / Associated Press
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (July 24, 2006) — The Bush administration urged Pakistan not to expand its nuclear weapons program Monday after a US think tank said Islamabad was building a reactor that could generate plutonium for up to 50 atomic bombs a year.
The Foreign Ministry did not deny the report by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, which said Pakistan was expanding its atomic arms capabilities.
“We have been aware of these plans and we discourage any use of that facility for military purposes, such as weapons development,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said.
He noted that Pakistan has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Monday it opposes a regional nuclear arms race.
Asked if Washington had sought Pakistani assurances that it wouldn’t use the new reactor to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, Snow said, “Not that I’m aware of.”
The institute report said satellite photos of Pakistan’s Khushab atomic site, about 105 miles southwest of the capital, Islamabad, showed what appeared to be construction of a reactor capable of producing enough plutonium for 40 to 50 nuclear weapons a year.
The move could signal an acceleration of regional nuclear proliferation and the new reactor could be finished within a few years, the report said.
“South Asia may be heading for a nuclear arms race that could lead to arsenals growing into the hundreds of nuclear weapons, or at a minimum vastly expanded stockpiles of military fissile material,” said the report, which was first described by The Washington Post.
It concluded that the expansion plans would represent a 20-fold increase of Pakistan’s existing capabilities.
Tasnim Aslam, spokeswoman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, did not directly answer questions on the report. “This ought to be no revelation to anyone because Pakistan is a nuclear weapon state.” Aslam said. “I have no specific comments on Pakistan’s facilities.”
Aslam said Pakistan was not the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into South Asia. Pakistan conducted its only nuclear tests in May 1998 after Indian nuclear tests earlier that month. India detonated its first nuclear explosion in 1974.
“We were not the first to test nuclear weapons in this region and that remains our position,” Aslam said during a news conference. “We do not want an arms race in this region.”
Nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India came close to open conflict in 2002 after terrorists attacked India’s parliament. New Delhi accused Islamabad-backed militants of carrying out the attack, but Pakistan denied the claims. Both countries have since embarked on a stop-start peace process.
In February 2004, Abdul Qadeer Khan, considered to be the father of Pakistan’s atomic program, confessed to giving nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has pardoned Khan.
A pending nuclear cooperation agreement between the Bush administration and India would give New Delhi access to sensitive U.S. nuclear technology in exchange for agreeing to more stringent safeguards over its civilian nuclear reactors.
Pakistan has criticized the deal, which Congress must still approve, as one-sided, and demanded similar access to American atomic technology.
On the Net:
• Institute for Science and International Security report,
Associated Press writer Sadaqat Jan in Islamabad contributed to this report.
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