Oppose a Bad Nuclear Deal with India

Nuclear Weapons: Oppose a Bad Nuclear Deal with India – FCNL

When President Bush visits India next week (March 1-3), he won’t be threatening to bomb that country, like he is Iran.

Instead, he will be offering to provide India nuclear technology which he is criticizing Iran for possessing. At the top of the president’s agenda will be negotiating an agreement to provide nuclear technology to India even though the leaders of that South Asian nation refuse to endorse the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

That nuclear technology and fuel transfer agreement may be difficult to negotiate. Indian leaders have refused to establish a clear separation between their civilian and military nuclear programs. In addition, India is not a member of the NPT, the international agreement endorsed by 188 nations that bans the export of nuclear technology to states that don’t agree to international inspections of their nuclear programs. No means exists to ensure that India is in compliance with international safeguards designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Nonetheless, President Bush has said publicly that he hopes to devise a plan with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that enables the U.S. to provide nuclear technology to India. The U.S. government is pressuring Iran (an NPT member) to halt its nuclear program, while negotiating an agreement to supply India, a country that refuses to sign the NPT, with nuclear technology. This double standard defeats, rather than advances, work to free the world of nuclear danger.

Reps Ed Markey (D-MA) and Fred Upton (R-MI) oppose this double standard, and they have introduced a bipartisan resolution expressing concern about the proposed U.S.-India nuclear deal. While conveying strong U.S. humanitarian and scientific support for India, H.Con.Res. 318 cautions against providing a non-NPT country with nuclear technology and fuel. The Upton-Markey provision should be supported. Take Action Now

Please contact your representative and ask her or him to cosponsor H.Con.Res. 318, which expresses concern about the proposed U.S.-India nuclear deal.

To see talking points and write a letter to your representative visit //www.fcnl.org/redir/0206hconres318.htm.

See a list of current cosponsors at //www.fcnl.org/redir/0306cosp318.htm .

Background

India last tested a nuclear weapon in 1998, and, while relations between India and Pakistan are relatively stable now, this proposed agreement could renew tensions if a perception is created that India is attempting to bolster its nuclear weapons arsenal with U.S.-supplied technology. One Indian analyst, when commenting about the proposed nuclear deal, quipped: “Given India’s uranium ore crunch and the need to build up our minimum credible nuclear deterrent arsenal as fast as possible, it is to India’s advantage to categorize as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be re-fueled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapon-grade plutonium production.” India apparently wants to use U.S.-supplied nuclear technology and fuel for its civilian energy needs so it can use its own nuclear resources to produce bomb-grade material.

While India is an emerging partner of the U.S., the administration should be cautious not to proliferate nuclear technology, even to democracies. In the past, democratic states have been a source of nuclear proliferation. The A.Q. Khan network, a Pakistan-based group which acquired nuclear technology and sold it to “rogue” states in the 1990s, obtained its technology from South Africa and Switzerland, both of which are democracies. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is already a significant world problem; U.S. policies should not contribute to this situation.

If the U.S. is trying to assist India’s energy needs, the U.S. should provide technology to improve India’s coal-burning power plants, some of the dirtiest in the world. Congress ought not to be lowering the threshold on non-proliferation by weakening the U.S. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 and the Atomic Energy Act, laws which must be amended for the U.S.-India nuclear deal to occur. To this end, please ask your representative to cosponsor H.Con.Res. 318.

Thank you!


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