By: Narayanan Komerath
July 26, 2005
expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer
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Nuclear issue: Indian media is silent about it
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The U.S. and India agreed
this week to correct a thirty-seven year old mistake – the US asked the
44-member Nuclear Supplier Group to recognize India as a nuclear-armed
power with equal access to fuel and technology, and India would bring its
civilian nuclear facilities under international inspection of safeguards,
and accounting of the fuel cycle.
George Bush lay open the Pandora’s Box of nuclear proliferation? Did India
sell out a proud seventy-five year record of independent research in
nuclear technology, as well as the rightful claim to a seat on the UN
Nukes For Pakistan Treaty
The protests and
concerns from various quarters show how much this long-overdue and common
sense decision has shaken up the dark corners of the nuclear
“non-proliferation” maze. A few points to consider:
It is no
coincidence that the Veto in the present UN Security Council is held
by the P-5 .. . Recognition as a nuclear weapons state is de facto
India appears to have heard the Bush administration plea that this is “not
the right time” to expand the UNSC. Public sentiment in the US favors a
“reorganization” of the UN, but they mean something very different from an
expansion of the UNSC – the nomination of neo-con hatchet man John Bolton
is clear proof of Administration intentions. It is no coincidence that
the Veto in the present UN Security
Council is held by the
P-5. This is just a recognition that no UN decision will stick if
any of these powers feels strongly against it. Thus, admission to the
nuclear club is de facto UNSC veto power – without having to support the
UN. The Bush administration may have persuaded India to exchange the
equivalent of a first-class round-trip ticket on the Titanic for something
meaningful. Recognition as a nuclear weapons state is de facto UNSC
veto power. At the same time, it is “victory” for Pakistan and China, in
that the US is not backing India's UNSC bid
“Non-Proliferation Ayatollahs” are enraged at what they see as a violation
of the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). Established in 1968, the NPT seals
the monopoly of the P-5 on nuclear weapons, and dictates that all
signatories open up all their civilian facilities to IAEA inspection
(military facilities are exempt, but only the P-5 are allowed to have
them). In exchange, other signatories were promised access to fuel and
technology, and the P-5 made some vague mumblings about moving towards
nuclear disarmament. India on principle, Pakistan as imitator and Israel
on pragmatics, did not sign. The NPT was rightly viewed as being racist
and designed to perpetuate dominance of the P-5, while denying legitimate
security imperatives of countries like India and Israel.
NPT is better known today as the “Nukes to Pakistan Treaty”, the P-5
having leaked technology and weapons to their favorites. The promised open
access to advanced technology to the signatories has not materialized very
much either, outside narrow alliances such as NATO. With North Korea
revoking its signature, Iran practising brinkmanship, Saudi Arabia daring
the P-5 to open the Pandora’s Box there, and China and Pakistan making a
mockery of the whole scam, the NPT is essentially dead. It serves mainly
to bully and obstruct India.
Fifteen years after the
wall fell, the US and Russia show no signs of going below 10,000 warheads
each – enough to kill Earth more dead than Mars. Senior officials readily
admit that there is no plan for disarmament. Japan sits on the largest
stockpile of enriched fissile material, one step away from weaponization.
South Korea has had an enrichment program for several years.
the NPT is explained to young people in America today, they are shocked
and angry, and ask who foisted such a scam on the world in America’s name.
This is the NPT’s real problem.
sanctimonious protestations of the Washington Beltway “Non-Proliferation
Ayatollahs” (NPAs) ignore their own record of silence as China coolly sent
nuclear weapons to Pakistan in the 1970s through ‘90s. Is their posturing
and professed concern for the safety and best interests of Indians and all
humans any more credible than their “certifications” under oath? Does the
Tooth Fairy really exist?
Henry Sokolski, executive director of the “Nonproliferation Policy
Education Center” shrilled in an article titled “The India Syndrome”:
“But the fateful step having already been taken, it is imperative that the
administration and Congress make the best of it by insisting that, if
India is to be treated as if it were an NPT nuclear weapons state for the
purpose of transferring nuclear goods, it must at least live up to its
past nonproliferation commitments and behave as other responsible nuclear
weapons states do.”
Sokoloski did not specify exactly what “responsible nuclear weapons states
do” – whether it is to transfer nukes to irresponsible dictators as China
has done with Pakistan and North Korea or France did by helping Saddam,
blow up several islands on the other side of the world, as France did in
Polynesia as recently as 1996, or “certify” year after year before
Congress that Pakistan had no nuclear weapons program, as Sokolski’s State
Department cohorts did in the 1980s to cover the flow of US taxpayer
dollars and advanced weapons to what became the Al Qaeda. It is a
blatantly racist but familiar Non-Pro Ayatollah habit to presume guilty
intentions of India with nary an iota of evidence, while ignoring the
habitual violations of those whom they cannot bully. Sokolski had recently
advised Indians to learn to burn coal rather than use nuclear power, in a
classic “why don’t the peasants eat cake?” re-enaction.
up in Washington
recently advised Indians to learn to burn coal rather than use nuclear
power, in a classic “why don’t the peasants eat cake?” re-enaction.
For over three decades, only the heroism and sacrifice of
India’s soldiers, and the
tireless efforts of Indian nuclear scientists, have kept the barbarians at
bay. Faced with invasion every time a Pakistani dictator feels shaky, and
ever under the shadow of nuclear blackmail – always from China, and most
shockingly from the US itself in 1971 – India finally weaponized in 1998.
Barely in time, as the deterrent defeated General Musharraf’s backup plan
when Indian soldiers started wiping out his Northern Light Infantry
occupying the heights of Kargil in 1999. China showed no interest in
challenging a nuclear power. The veto was working.
1998, amidst the mindless clamoring to “punish” India, neo-conservative
pioneer Newt Gingrich stood alone to tell the truth: that India needed
nuclear weapons to survive in its neighborhood. Meanwhile, China and its
clients Pakistan and North Korea have reduced the NPT to a complete farce.
Serious thinkers today recognize the need for a new treaty that has a
serious hope of controlling and eliminating weapons of mass destruction,
based on something better than the NPT’s arrogant “because we who can nuke
you, tell you so”. This month the White House took a big step down that
sensible path by bringing India on board.
India “Gets” the U.S.
concern is not about any Indian threat. If anything, Indian missiles
controlled by democratically elected leaders, are the best reassurance
that America’s enemies will not overrun the sea-lanes and fuel sources of
the Eastern Hemisphere,
nor will the “Caliphate” or the Communists sweep the Indian subcontinent.
The larger U.S. interests are to help ensure that Indian nuclear fuel does
not fall into the wrong hands, and that the US nuclear industry gets a
much-needed boost from the energy business in India.
this is where India
showed last week that the government had “got it”.
Indian Sell-Out? Or Win-win?
oil prices doubling in the past year, the writing is on the wall – India
has to replace hydrocarbon imports or see the economy destroyed. Nuclear
energy is the only option to generate enough power without falling into
the coming carbon trap of the Kyoto Protocol and attendant economic
sanctions from the Europeans. Thus it has become imperative to end the
standoff on nuclear fuel supplies and technology.
real issue in nuclear nonproliferation is accounting for every gram of
highly-enriched fissile material (roughly more than 90% U-235), and any
plutonium by-product, to keep them out of the wrong hands. Power reactor
technologies are minimizing the need for enrichment. Meanwhile, India must
put false pride aside and recognize that American sensor technology can
greatly enhance the tracking and safety of the fuel cycle. The terrorists
are getting smarter. So must those who must stop them.
It’s all about
“separation” of the military and civilian establishments, so that the
letter of the law regarding non-proliferation is followed, without
hindering legitimate (as now agreed) defense needs. It is about
transparency and uncompromising excellence of the civilian operation,
allowing others to collaborate in the confidence that they are not
contributing to mass death.
The British, whose
only claim to either P-6 or UNSC membership is that of hanging on
American coat-tails, acted out of haughty habit: posted the “No Dogs
or Indians” sign.
The US-India Space collaboration agreement of last year set the stage for
understanding and confidence-building. The US and France separate military
and civilian establishments in their space and nuclear enterprises,
allowing relatively open collaboration in the latter while allowing the
former to operate quietly. So can
compromising pride, freedom or national security. The short-term cost of
building separate military facilities is tiny compared to the scope of the
civilian nuclear energy business required to climb from today’s 3% of
total power generation to a projected 25% of a vastly increased national
power generation total. India’s Fast Breeder reactors will pose a
difficulty. In the short term, these may have to be hidden away behind
military fences. Once
is a P-6 member, there is no need to claim that all research at all
facilities is “peaceful”, after all.
the Marxists, meanwhile, can take comfort that military nuclear facilities
will soak up a good deal of that cash which they fear would go towards
military purchases from
In fact, the tone and wording of the Official Statement of the Communist
Party (Marxist) of India this week, was surprisingly mellow, once stripped
of the usual garbage coating. The CPM’s US-located camp followers the
FOIL, however, did not disappoint: they came up with the usual
condemnation – this time perceiving a slight to Communist China in the
British, whose only claim to either P-6 or UNSC membership is that of
hanging on American coat-tails, acted out of habit: posted the equivalent
of their haughty “No Dogs or Indians” sign. Perhaps they hesitate to
displease the Al Qaida any more after they experienced the kindness of
what the BBC usually describes as “separatist militants”, right under
London. The Russians, to their credit, told the Chinese to quit prattling
about “responsible” nuclear powers, given the Chinese record. France had
not commented in public.
Ambassador Robert Blackwill said it best on a radio talk show, when a
Pakistani declared that
was “so unstable”. “Sixty years of democracy with a billion people: what
could be more stable than that?” slam-dunked the Ambassador.
and a Prime Minister and a President completing what their respective
political opponents started” he might have added.
Texan in the Oval Office is in no mood to indulge the obsolete fantasies
of the Nonprollotullahs, or the UN. He has agreed with India that
“Satyam Eva Jayate”
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