Monday, August 13, 2007

Indian PM Claims US Nuke Deal Doesn't Ban Testing

By Cernig

If there ever was a smoking gun to point at the Bush administration's abject failure in nuclear non-proliferation, this is it.
India is free to test nuclear weapons under a nuclear deal with the United States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday as lawmakers opposed to the pact noisily demanded that it be scrapped.

The civilian nuclear cooperation agreement reverses three decades of U.S. policy by allowing the United States to send nuclear fuel and technology to India, which has never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and has tested atomic weapons in the past.

Since it was first announced in July 2005, the deal has been praised as a cornerstone of an emerging partnership between India and the United States after decades of differences during the Cold War. But it has also drawn criticism in both countries.

In India, many critics oppose closer U.S. ties, and some say the pact undermines the cherished nuclear weapons program. Singh insisted that was not the case in a speech to lawmakers Monday.

"The agreement does not in any way affect India's right to undertake future nuclear tests if it is necessary in India's national interest," he said.

...Singh's speech followed the sealing of a technical pact that details how nuclear cooperation between New Delhi and Washington is to work. India got nearly everything it wanted in the agreement, including the right to stockpile and reprocess atomic fuel.

The deal does not ban weapons testing, and some clauses have been interpreted to mean that an Indian test would not automatically scuttle the deal if the move followed tests by Pakistan or China. But the U.S. Congress included a test ban last year when it granted an exception to India from U.S. laws that prohibit civilian nuclear cooperation with countries that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
When the US asks for steadfast and united action on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, is it any wonder half the world laughs?

Note too the utter contempt for Congress' wishes involved. Joe Lieberman, who loves this deal, should hang his head in shame at being a shill for such criminal neglect of international and domestic law. Meanwhile, Congress should be ensuring that the White house observes the law or pays the price for ignoring it.

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