July 27th, 2007 13:12 EST
U.S. Concessions in U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement Raise Concerns
Washington, D.C. – The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation expressed grave concern about U.S. concessions to India on important non-proliferation provisions after the Bush Administration announced today that it had finalized the implementation agreement with India that will govern nuclear trade between the two countries.
The joint statement by Secretary of State Rice and Indian Minister of External Affairs Shri Pranab Mukherjee is available online: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2007/89522.htm
Although the text of the agreement has not been released, several details reported in the U.S. and Indian media raise questions about whether the agreement complies with the non-proliferation provisions of the December 2006 Hyde Act. The Hyde Act changed U.S. law to allow an exception for nuclear trade with India even though India is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and maintains a nuclear weapons program.
Leonor Tomero, Director for Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Center, commented: “There is cause for concern as it appears the agreement does not draw a clear line if India tests a nuclear weapon, while allowing India to produce weapons-usable material from the fuel obtained pursuant to the agreement. These details raised many red flags.”
The United States agreed to give India advance, long-term permission to reprocess U.S. origin nuclear material once New Delhi builds a new reprocessing facility that would only use such material. Indian National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan reportedly stated that the pact contained no reference to "testing and non-testing" of nuclear weapons by India.
“These further concessions and lack of clear rules of the road undermine the U.S. ability to limit the consequences of Indian actions that threaten non-proliferation efforts, such as a potential Indian nuclear weapon test, the production of weapons-usable material, and India’s military ties to Iran.” Tomero continued.
Tomero added: “Congress should examine this agreement very closely. These are crucial issues that bear on the continued viability of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the U.S. ability to stem effectively the spread of nuclear weapons and the production of nuclear weapons-usable material.”
It may take at least several months – and perhaps not until 2008 - before Congress votes on the U.S.-India agreement, as the Hyde Act requires that India make substantial progress on its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency and that the 45-country Nuclear Suppliers Group change its guidelines to allow an exception for nuclear trade with India.
Secretary Rice is expected to visit New Delhi in August to formalize the agreement.
For further analysis of the implications of the U.S.-India nuclear deal, see Leonor Tomero’s commentary, “Blow Up This Nuclear Deal,“ available online: http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/policy/nonproliferation/articles/blow_up_this_nuclear_deal/
Founded in 1980, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a leading advocate for prudent measures to prevent the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Visit the Center online: http://www.armscontrolcenter.org