Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The very predictable slippery slope of the US-India deal

Reports that Pakistan and China are discussing the prospects for a nuclear deal similar to the one that the Bush administration has negotiated with India comes as no surprise to those familiar with how the global non-proliferation regime works. It further highlights how harmful the US-India nuclear initiative is for nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

Already last fall, only days after the Senate approved changes to U.S. law to allow an exception for India, China expressed its intention to follow suit.

The United States seems to have opened the floodgates with this deal as France, Australia, and now Japan, are also leaping at the opportunity to sell their nuclear goods to India as the United States is pushing for an exception for India in international guidelines.

France signed an agreement with India in February 2006, and Australia recently announced its intent to sell uranium to India, reversing its long-standing policy not to sell uranium to non-NPT countries. Japan is also jumping into the fray as the heads of Japanese nuclear companies Toshiba, Hitachi and Mitsubishi are traveling to India this week with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to seek nuclear business opportunities. A senior Japanese official prefaced the trip with the comment, “The US has lost the technological edge for nuclear power plants. The world leaders in this technology now are Japan and France."

With international competition lining up to take advantage of the new rules, it remains uncertain whether U.S. businesses will benefit from this deal either in the nuclear arena or non-nuclear defense technologies.

This agreement is a bad deal for the United States on all fronts, and dangerously undermines international security by jeopardizing non-proliferation rules thirty years in the making.

1 comment:

  1. India is a “sovereign democratic Republic” and, as in any Republic, one needs debate for any venture. What has happened, is that, due to a small quirk in the Indian Constitution, the Government is railroading a treaty without a needed parliamentary debate.
    However, the noise created, both by the Indian parliamentarians and this column have generated more heat than light.

    At the end of the day, there would remain two unchanging truths..

    a: Nuclear Power would always remain, “not ready for prime time”. It will always have more bureaucracy than science. It will only make talent shy away from this discipline.

    b: The two worlds largest democratic republics, both regained independence from its colonial past, both successfully solving historical social injustices and both working towards creating a platform where Man is Born Free and shall never ever be in chains; shall remain ever distrustful and estranged, if not antagonistic.