Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Bush's Nuclear Deal with India

If you suspected that Bush was up to no good with his recent nuclear deal with India, you would be correct.

A Worrisome Nuclear Deal, by Laurent Zecchini
LE MONDE | 07.04.06 | 13h30

A mix of good intentions, cynicism and adventurism can be found in the determination of Jacques Chirac and George Bush to permit India to don the cloak of respectability by becoming an official nuclear power. In the service of this aim, the French and US presidents followed one another to New Delhi. An “historic” American-Indian partnership was signed but ratification by Congress and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is all but assured. The Bush Administration will attempt to convince both parties that the reasons justifying the imposition of sanctions on India after its 1974 “peaceful nuclear explosion”, when New Delhi diverted its civilian nuclear program to build the bomb, are no longer relevant.

Like Iran today, India lied to the international community. But unlike Iran and North Korea, India has always refused to become a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which it views as discriminatory. The difference is one of size and because of it, Iran has become an international pariah, while India has been invited to membership, with her head held high, in the club of the five legitimately recognized nuclear nations –the United States, Russia, China, France and the UK – as the sixth global nuclear power. This policy of double standard is disturbing.

Is building an atomic weapon clandestinely then clawing at nebulous international opprobrium all it takes to be rewarded in the end? A vexing example…In its deal with Washington, India got both the butter and the bread: civilian and military nuclear capabilities. Fourteen of India’s twenty-four reactors have been classified as civilian, opening them up to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In return, the US and France will supply India with the nuclear power generation plants and the fuel it requires to satisfy the energy needs of it bulimic growth.

The other reactors, including two breeder-reactors, are part of India’s military program and will not at all be subject to monitoring. By producing more fissile material than they consume, the fast neutron reactors will produce an unlimited quantity of fuel for power generation or nuclear weapons. The fact of having guaranteed imports of uranium frees India from the obligation of having to share its meager domestic production between its civilian and military programs.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington speculates that this ability will allow India to build up to 50 bombs a year, compared with the 6 to 10 which it currently has in its arsenal. Is this a Cassandra prophecy? Perhaps, but now it will be necessary to distill the over-angelic India the Responsible Power, as Mr. Chirac goes about repeating, from Peaceful, Democratic India, as the White House assures us it is? India is a parliamentary democracy, but is that equivalent with “peaceful”?

The India-Pakistan wars of 1947-1978, 1965 and 1971 compel one to view India’s peacefulness through a relative lens, especially after the two countries twice failed in bringing themselves into a fourth conflict after the 1999 Kargil incident in Kashmir and the 2001 bombing of Parliament in New Delhi. Since they both became nuclear powers, the pair has been involved in an arms race which culminated in simultaneous atomic tests in 1998. But the missile race is not subsiding, and in 2002 until 2004, India placed second behind China in worldwide conventional weapons purchasing.

Despite its policy of normalization with Beijing, it knows that over the long term its strategic enemy is China and India is preparing itself for this. What other purpose could there be in the development of the Surya intercontinental ballistic missile, with a range of over 5,000 miles? The tacit agreement by Washington is dictated by Realpolitik: America wishes to contain the growing military power of China by making India into a counterbalance.

France and the United States have their reasons for granting exceptional status to India. Beyond the display of altruism – to help India to respond to its developmental needs – the two countries explain that it is urgent go remove India from the nuclear doghouse so that it can be assisted in reducing its dependence on oil, which will relieve the pressure on the petroleum market.


Last but not least, the US and French nuclear industries are impatient to cash in on lucrative export opportunities. Despite the fact that France and the US have united in an effort to obtain the modification of NSG directives, there is no doubt that sharp competition will immediately ensue between Westinghouse and Areva. The Number 1 French nuclear contender insists that thus far it has had no direct talks with New Delhi, but the psychological war has begun. French technicians underscore that their large-capacity nuclear reactors will interest India. Areva’s European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) has a capacity of 1,600 mw vs. the 1,000-megawatt AP1000 reactor by Westinghouse....

Within the NSG, its 45 members have coalesced into two camps. On the one side are the USA, France, Russia and the UK, who wish to sell their nuclear technology to India. On the other are the countries which have their doubts. For them, the architecture of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will be further undermined if India gets favored treatment.

The NPT us a kind of “nuclear Yalta Agreement”: states which have had the ability to seek nuclear weapons have renounced them in exchange for civilian nuclear cooperation and the guarantee that the Club of Five would accept no additional members. Because of the recent nuclear trade in which Pakistan has engaged, Washington has refused to grant it the same advantages as India. This slap-in-the-face to an ally in the war on al-Qaeda will inevitably drive it into the arms of China, which will hasten to increase its nuclear cooperation to the Land of the Pure.

The “historic” Indian-American pact threatens to ignite an arms race in Asia. If this proves to be the case, then it will be not far to go before the letter and the spirit of a non-proliferation agreement, steadily undermined in the last thirty-eight years, gives way to the law of a nuclear jungle.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article by Laurent Zecchini could help some serious revision. For starters, Cashmere is a sweater; Kashmir is a geographical area.
Although the author may believe in putting forth the other cheek when slapped on one, generally, the same policy does not work when a country is attacked by its neighbor.
Islamic terrorism was born in Pakistan - the so called "ally" in the war on terror. This is the very reason why Pakistan has now been forced into co-operation by the US.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

You seem to be unaware that Cashmere and its variant, Kashmir, are both acceptable. So get off that high horse and walk.

I don't believe in "Islamic" terrorism any more than in "Christian" terrorism. Terror has be rationalized in the 20th century by secular revolutionaires from nominally Christian nations: Russia, Ireland, Germany, Spain etc. and proven to work. Now some fringe Islamic operators use it too.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Pisces Iscariot said...

As if any more proof be need of the empires repeating the same tactics over and over.
Much of what Pakistan is being blamed for can be traced back to Nixon/Kissenger preferring to work with the military government there rather that the woman premier of India at the time.
What will become of India after this particular Faustian pact? What monsters will be born to haunt the future.
The problems of the sub-continent can be traced directly back to the British Empire's divide and rule tactics.
The American Empire continues to meddle with dangerous substances.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

United States though is a super power cannot dictate its terms on the rest of the world. The war mongering nature of the current regime has created a new hollow land in Iraq and new problems to be faced by US and its allies. The so-called 'weapons of mass destruction' were never to be found with Saddam. The U.S and rest of the world is conveniently ignoring this and are now ready to strike on Iran. Afterall, does non-proliferation mean that all the other countries should get rid of Nuclear weapons, other than US?? Firstly, US should be stripped of its powers to attack other countries on various grounds. sadly, the whole world is helpless and turning a blind eye to its neo-nazi attitude!

1:04 PM  

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