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Monday, May 22, 2006

Will the US and India resume nuclear cooperation? RESEARCH NOTES

"In April [2006], India rejected a proposed addition to the draft agreement offered by Washington, stipulating that the deal would be canceled if India detonated another nuclear bomb" (Kapisthalam ATol May 16 06).

Asia Times online and Bolton Watch speculate that Under Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation Robert Joseph, David Addington from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, and John Rood, the non-proliferation specialist at the National Security Council have attempted to undermine Congressional approval of the deal. Joseph is known to be an ally of his predecessor and current US representative at the United Nations, John Bolton.

Members of the Nuclear Supplier Group have notified the US they will not act until Congress changes US laws. During the March 22-23 NSG meeting in Vienna, several countries, including China, Japan and Sweden, and New Zealand questioned the wisdom of the deal.

Kaushik Kapisthalam is a freelance defense and strategic affairs analyst based in the United States. He can be reached at

Two researchers from the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, Chua Hearn Yuit and Yeo Lay Hwee, argue in "The Demise of the NPT: New Players in the Proliferation Game," (Japan Focus and the Nautilus Institute's Policy Forum, April 20, 2006) that the deal is a "passport for continued nuclear weapons production under non-NPT status."

ATol has a number of articles on the US-India nuclear deal:

The Arms Control Association (February 15, 2006) and Institute for Science and International Security have also produced responses to the deal. ACA also has a "Resource Page" on the issue with links to an extensive body of information.

Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association points out that "The US-India deal would create a precedent that other countries might attempt to exploit. The United States may not advocate a similar initiative for Pakistan, but China might. China and Pakistan have a history of nuclear cooperation and have reportedly discussed ways to expand this relationship. China is a member of the 45-member NSG [Nuclear Suppliers Group], which operates by consensus, and could tie its consent to the U.S.-India deal to a similar exception for Pakistan."

Hari Sud, "India-US nuclear deal - the benefits," South Asia Analysis Group, April 20, 2006. and "United States - India Civil Nuclear Deal Reviewed," SAAG.

Atoms for Peace, was based on the now-discredited idea that a civilian nuclear energy program could not be used to develop nuclear weapons. India demonstrated the folly of that particular delusion.

Canada's role

Joseph Cirincione, "Let's not help India build more nuclear weapons," Globe and Mail, March 11, 2006 is cited in "Canada: the true mother of the Indian bomb" at the blog, No BMD, eh? which is a good place to start.

Resumed nuclear cooperation with India is controversial both domestically and abroad.

The Conservative Party Policy Declaration of March 19, 2006 does not address nuclear policy directly, but Policy 105 does say that "A Conservative Government will make Parliament responsible for exercising effective oversight over the conduct of Canadian foreign policy."

On November 22, 2005, the Simons Centre for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Research (UBC) convened a one-day conference on ”Nuclear Cooperation with India.“ A volume of proceedings, which includes an introduction, texts of each presentation, a summary of the ensuing discussions, and a concluding essay, is availabe as a 119-page PDF: Nuclear Cooperation with India: New Challenges, New Opportunities

"In 1970, the NPT came into force. This treaty enshrined the goal of global nuclear disarmament, but also allowed continued possession of nuclear weapons by the five countries that had tested a nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967. India was not one of these countries, and could therefore only join the treaty as a non-nuclear state. Four years later, India conducted a ‘peaceful nuclear explosion’ using knowledge and materials developed with the benefit of imported civilian technologies. This alienated many in the international community, especially Canada and the US, which had provided India with nuclear technology under the expectation it would be used only for civilian power generation. India, for its part, maintained a rhetorical commitment to global disarmament but refused to join the NPT as a non-nuclear state. This tension has defined India’s relationship with the global nonproliferation regime ever since" (Huntley).

"In 1998, in the context of the growing momentum toward a global CTBT, India conducted a series of nuclear weapons tests, establishing itself as a de facto NWS. When Pakistan quickly followed with nuclear tests of its own, many feared the onset of a new era of nuclear insecurity in South Asia" (Huntley)

After the nuclear test in 1998, Canada imposed a moratorium on nuclear cooperation with India, leading the charge against India's nuclear behaviour in the G-8 and in the Security Council, while also demanding that India sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

At the Simons Centre conference (Nov 05), Ross Neil (Former Nuclear Non-proliferation Officer, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) surveyed Canadian government policies, procedures and actions vis-à-vis its nuclear dealings with India (and Pakistan) in the years leading up to the NPT entry-into-force in 1970 and India’s first nuclear explosive test in 1974, and extended his analysis to Canada’s options in the post-1974 period.

Ron Stansfield (Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament Division, Foreign Affairs Canada) cautioned that the rehabilitation of India in the nuclear field poses a number of conundrums to traditional nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament approaches. He observed that Canada seeks strengthened economic and political ties with India (International Policy Statement 2005), and that Canada’s 26 September 2005 [Pettigrew's] statement on nuclear engagement with India sought to credit India’s non-proliferation efforts, but did not relax existing nuclear trade restrictions or mark a substantive change in current Canadian nuclear non-proliferation policy.

Pervez Hoodbhoy, the professor of nuclear and high-energy physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, "By proceeding with the nuclear deal with India, the US may destabilize South Asia. It will also wreck the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, take the heat off Iran and North Korea, open the door for Japan to convert its plutonium stocks into bombs, and bring about global nuclear anarchy" (Hoodbhoy ATol Apr 25 06).

Does it seem that the US-India nuclear deal is about to blow over? That time is running out? Don't be so sure.Recommend this Post

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