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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    November 04, 2005

    The India-US deal: nuclear or unclear?

    Two days ago, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations met to discuss the nuclear co-operation deal between India and the US. It does seem to me, reading the hearing proceedings, that there is a lot of ambivalence among the policy making and defence strategy analysts community in the US about the deal.

    There is talk about how India must sign a more restrictive safeguards agreement with the IAEA compared to that signed by the 'official' nuclear powers: the US, UK, France, Russia and China. In addition, there are questions about whether nuclear energy is the way to go for India. Instead, shouldn't India be helped with sorting out inefficiency in its existing power generation and distribution?

    The problem I see with this, as I pointed out in a comment on 'The Acorn', is that while the deal makes India commit to separating civilian and military nuclear facilities, continue with the moratorium on nuclear tests, prevent nuclear weapons from being sold in the bazaar, conform to the Proliferation Security Initiative, stop dealing with Iran etc., the US only commits itself to working with its allies on India's entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, consult partners on India joining the ITER (International Thermo-Nuclear Experimental Reactor) and convincing the US Congress to clear the deal.

    Ironically though, Ashton Carter, co-director of the Preventive Defense Project at the Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, Harvard reckons that the deal spells out clearly what the US has committed to while remaining vague on India's commitments.

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