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Powerful lobbyist joins anti-N-deal chorus
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC |
March 03, 2006 15:45 IST
After Congressman Edward Markey and non-proliferation guru Leonard Weiss, it was the turn of a powerful lobbyist to add to the discontent in America about the India-United States nuclear deal.
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association -- which has brought together a powerful coalition of former government and non-governmental experts and officials to lobby against the deal in Congress -- told Rediff India Abroad that the "so-called" civil-military separation plan announced by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and President George W Bush "is clearly not credible from a non-proliferation standpoint as the Bush administration had promised it would be."
Kimball said this plan "would implicitly endorse, if not directly assist, the further growth of India's nuclear arsenal, and (the deal) creates a safeguards regime that is incomplete and insufficient."
Echoing Weiss' complaints, Kimball said, "The plan excludes India's fast breeder reactors, some civilian nuclear reactors, and all existing spent fuel stockpiles from safeguards. That would allow India to accelerate the growth of its nuclear arsenal from six to 10 bombs a year to several dozen a year, and this arsenal could grow from 50 to 00 bombs to over 1,000 bombs in the years ahead."
"This is not good for India, nor is it good for the world," he argued.
Kimball also said that "by opening the spigot for international foreign nuclear fuel supplies to India, this deal would also free up India's existing and somewhat limited capacity to produce highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons, and that would constitute a violation of Article 1 of the NPT (nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty), which prohibits assistance 'in any way' of another State's nuclear weapons program."
"We will be pressing the Congress and the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) States to call for India's freeze of the production of fissile material for weapons," Kimball declared.
He added that the non-proliferation lobby would also urge Congress to get India to agree to "put all of the spent fuel from their nuclear program under safeguards as well."
He accused President Bush and the Indian government of "misleading their people by suggesting that nuclear power is essential to India's economic prosperity and a cleaner environment."
Such claims have been made since the time of Homi Bhaba and Eisenhower's 'Atoms for Peace' and have always fallen short of reality, Kimball said.
Kimball argued that Bush's "decision to rush the flawed agreement to a close for the sake of a 'successful' summit will not be looked upon favourably by Congress, which is already very sceptical about what the US gets out of the bargain."
He also predicted that "there will be additional obstacles in the NSG from nations that do not agree with Mr Bush's foreign policy exceptionalism, which also opens the door to others like China and Pakistan to seek similar exceptions to the non-proliferation rules."
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