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NYT criticises India-US nuclear deal
February 20, 2006 10:04 IST
Days ahead of President George Bush's visit to India in early March, the influential New York Times described the Indo-US civilian nuclear energy cooperation deal as misbegotten and sharply criticised Washington's policy towards New Delhi in this regard.
'When President Bush makes his long-planned trip to India next month, he will be visiting a country that, like China, has begun to gear its international strategy to its energy needs.
'That is one of the biggest diplomatic challenges facing the United States, and right now the American strategy is askew,' the newspaper said in an editorial published on Sunday.
'India desperately wants Mr Bush to wring approval from Congress for a misbegotten pact in which America would help meet India's energy requirements through civilian nuclear cooperation.
'With its eye on the nuclear deal, India recently bowed to American pressure and cast its vote at the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran's suspected nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council,' it said.
According to the newspaper, that was a victory for Mr Bush, and India did the right thing in helping to hold Iran accountable.
But the editorial added that the deal it wanted to make with the US was a bad one.
'It would allow India to make an end run around the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's basic bargain, which rewards countries willing to renounce nuclear weapons with the opportunity to import sensitive nuclear technology to help meet their energy needs.
'America has imposed nuclear export restrictions on India because India refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty and it has tested a nuclear device that uses materials and technology diverted from its civilian nuclear programme,' the editorial said.
The newspaper said that, in trying to give India a special exemption, the US President was threatening the NPT's carrot-and-stick approach, 'which for more than 35 years has dissuaded countries that are capable of building or buying nuclear arms from doing so, from South Korea to Turkey to Saudi Arabia'.
'And, if his hope is that the promise of nuclear technology from America will be enough to prod India to turn its back on Iran, that's a bad bet,' the editorial warned.
It noted that even as India was casting its vote on Iran's nuclear programme, the country's Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said his government would continue to pursue the proposed multibillion-dollar Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline deal with Tehran.'There is no diplomatic quick fix in this energy-hungry world. Even if India shunned Iran, it would still have to turn to other petroleum suppliers that Washington wants to isolate, including Sudan and Venezuela. And the Iranian supplies would wind up going to other energy-hungry nations, tying them more closely to Tehran,' it said.