NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News  » News » 'N-deal doesn't help anyone'

'N-deal doesn't help anyone'

March 08, 2006 22:26 IST
Daryl G Kimball is the Executive Director, Arms Control Association, A Washington, DC-based  non-profit organization dedicated to promoting effective arms control measures worldwide.

Earlier, as executive director of the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers -- a consortium of 17 large US non-governmental organizations working to reduce the threats posed by nuclear weapons -- Kimball coordinated campaigns for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and for deep and verifiable reductions in nuclear weapons stockpiles.

In an exclusive chat with rediff readers, Kimball explains his opposition to the nuclear deal.

The transcript:

abc asked, Hello Mr.Kimball...what your views on the recent india-us nuclear deal ?
Daryl G Kimball answers, My view is that the deal is not in the long term interests of the United States and it also fails to address issues regarding India's own nuclear power and nuclear weapons that are important for India to address. Overall it is not a "win" for global nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.
Shaun asked, Greetings Mr. Kimball, thank you for joining us. I know the American non-proliferation elements are up in arms against the recent Indo-Us nuclear agreement but dont you feel that bringing India into the non-proliferation regime is beneficial for the long term. Currently India's nuclear program is mainly military orientated with civilian benefits (though hardly), this agreement will open up India's nuclear program to focus increasingly on the civilian portion of the program and brining India into the international mainstream. Another point I am making is wouldnt it be dangerous to the non proliferation regime to exclude India, who has mastered front and back end portion of the nuclear cycle.
Daryl G Kimball answers, Yes, most of the US-based nonproliferation and disarmament community is deeply concerned about the deal because it implicitly endorses, if not indirectly benefits, the nuclear weapons program of another state, albeit one that is friendly to the United States. I do not expect that India will join the NPT as a non-weapon state and do believe that it is in India's interest, the US interest and others for it to come into the nonproliferation mainstream, but this deal does not accomplish that goal.
GIRI asked, Good morning Daryl. My first question would be how effective this nuclear deal US has concluded with india with respect to bringing a cap on india's ambition to have a nuclear based WMD like the BIG 5 countries have. Who do you think 10 years from now, looking back can say was smarter,INDIA OR US?
Daryl G Kimball answers, Well, I'll answer the first part of your question ... the deal does not seem to cap or otherwise limit India's fissile material production or nuclear weapons modernization capabilities. My view is that such activities are destabilizing no matter which country is engaged in them and I favor a comprehensive, nondiscriminatory nuclear restraint regime.
Shaun asked, Mr. Kimball, I am completely baffled by the lack of any response in the last few decades to nuclear proliferation the South Asia and Asian region. Why has the American non proliferation lobby been quiet about the extent of proliferation (warhead designs, missiles, etc.) for so long but now up in arms against a nation that has an impeccable record. Please enlighten us
Daryl G Kimball answers, There actually has been a lot written and a lot said about the slow moving nuclear and missile race in South Asia and in China. One reason why there is so much noise about this proposal is that it would radically change decades old rules intended to guard against the spread and sale of sensitive nuclear equipment and technologies just at a time when the global nonproliferation regime is under tremendous stress from all sides.
manoj asked, DK, to me disarmament means China & USA (and others) cutting down their nuclear weapons to what India has now. Once that is reached, all can together wipe out all their armaments. I'm being democratic in the true American tradition !!!!
Daryl G Kimball answers, Your point is valid in the sense that all "advanced nuclear weapon" states have resposibilities and none of them are fullfilling all of their responsibilities. If you check out the Web site of my organization you will find that we spend most of our energy pressing our own government to reduce the number and minimize the role of nuclear weapons with the goal of their eventual elimination. That said, I don't think we should wait for the US and Russia to shrink their stockpiles below 100 before other states begin fullfilling their own disarmamemt responssibilities.
VijayN asked, Why was the NPT concluded without india being satisfied in first place. Treaties are negotiated NOT forced to be signed. IF a proper treaty was concluded we will not be in the mess we are in now. Of course India would have asked what it wants. The reluctance of some countries in the world to accomidate India led them to ignore it.
Daryl G Kimball answers, The NPT was a response to the possibility that many more nations were about to pursue nuclear weapons in the 1960s. India made its choice not to sign it and made a choice, later, to use foreign supplied nuclear assistance to build nuclear weapons. It is not an issue of others needing to accomodate India, but not agreeing to facilitate the production of weapons of mass destruction.
ramsengupta asked, Mr Kimball, if this deal actually passes congress, will it be the end of the NPT as we know it?
Daryl G Kimball answers, No, I don't think it will be the "end" of the NPT, but by giving one country special treatment it will invite others (like Pakistan and China) to seek it and it will embolden others to flaunt the rules. That could spell the beginning of the end and that is in no nation's interest.
abc asked, Mr. Kimball....Almost all the time what ever US does is in its own longterm interests. Not for any other reason. But sometimes the result of its actions maybe positive or negative. Could you please elaborate why this deal is not in the interest of US.
Daryl G Kimball answers, Yes, let me answer this fundamental issue. In my view the United States needs to work to strengthen the existing, albeit imperfect NPT regime, including getting back to fulfilling its solemn pledges to reduce its stockpiles, refrain from threatening nuclear attack, codifying its test moratorium and more. Part of the effort has to be to respect the fundamental bargain that the 183 non weapon NPT states made not to pursue n weapons in exchange for peaceful nuclear assistance under comprehensive safeguards. This deal violates that principle and can only in the long run risk future violations or problems enforcing the rules on others.
srdude asked, 'This deal with India is a lot better than the one with China approved by US Congress in 1998, which allows supply of nuclear reactors to China without safeguards and with subsidies paid for by US taxpayers.' Mr. Kimball: do you agree?
Daryl G Kimball answers, I was and still am opposed to the agreement for nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and China.
Vivek S asked, Latest issue of Times states that the commercial motive behind the deal is to get a lion's share of the business accruing due to India's plan to build many reactors in the coming decade - Your thoughts?
Daryl G Kimball answers, One of the big questions here in washington and in Congress is what was Bush's motive for the deal given that the benefits for the US are so slim or are intangible. It is hard to say for sure, but I think he and his administration believe it will provide the US with a new ally in the region that will help counter China. But this, I believe, is naive and condescending given India's proud and independent history. Regarding nuclear contracts, I think the French and the Russians may actually be in a better position to profit than US nuclear suppliers.
indianpatriot asked, Mr Kimball, India has agreed to separate its nuclear facilities into civilian and military, and open the civilian ones to IAEA inspection..what else, if anything would it take to convince you about its responsible intentions?
Daryl G Kimball answers, If one examine the separation plan, India has reserved a large, and I would say overly large, portion for military purposes. As a result, it will be capable if it wants to produce several dozen more nuclear bombs a year and will have fissile material (mainly in the spent fuel rods from the reactors) to build over 1,000 over time. Many in India's nuclear bomb lobby have made it clear they want to increase Indias arsenal to match China. It would make me more confortable if India's leaders engaged the people in a debate about how many nukes are needed and why and if they were to agree to some limits on the growth of its stockpile.
ramsengupta asked, Mr Kimball, let's face it, whether you like it or not, India is a nuclear weapons state. Now you cannot seriously expect it to disarm unless the other powers agree to do in a verifiable manner, can you?
Daryl G Kimball answers, Yes, India is a de facto nuclear weapons state. No one is insisting that it disarm, just live up to the same responsibilities as the 5 original nuclear weapon states as PM Singh agreed to do. That means committing to halt fissile material production for weapons, permanently ending nuclear testing, and refraining from expanding its missile arsenal, among other things.
nuclearwinter asked, Hey Daryl, rediff describes you as an 'arms control guru'! are you comfortable with that moniker? :)
Daryl G Kimball answers, I don't describe myself that way ... it was actually the former St. Dept. spokesperson Richard Boucher who called us that. I'm also not a "lobbyist" that works under contract, but the director of a nonprofit organization that conducts research and lobbies members of Congress on behalf of our members.
ramsengupta asked, But if you want all these committments, shouldn't India have the same facilities and privileges as the other nuclear power states?
Daryl G Kimball answers, It is up to India (and hopefully its people) to decide whether and how many nuclear weapons it should have or whether it wants international cooperation on civil nuclear energy. But other states are obligated and have the right to decide whether they want to assist the civil nuclear sector of a nuclear armed state. In fact, all NPT members are obligated under Article I not to assist "in any way" the nuclear weapons program of another state. So, it is a problem if civil nuclear assistance frees up resources for India's military nuclear sector.
Bharat asked, will the US congress approve the Nuclear deal between India and US?? If yes, how much time will it take.
Daryl G Kimball answers, What Congress does now is difficult to judge. There is skepticism about the nonproliferation "benefits" of the proposal while there is, as there should be, strong support for better US-Indian ties and support for helping India expand energy production. I would expect hearings in the foreign relations committees of both chambers of Congress. What some members may insist upon are the details of the agreement for nuclear cooperation with India (which US law requires) before they make changes to the 1978 law that currently bar nuclear trade with states (like India) that do not accept full scope safeguards.
bongdongs asked, The US government winked and looked the other way at Chinese proliferation to Pakistan in the '80's. Do you now think that was a mistake?
Daryl G Kimball answers, China is certainly guilty of proliferating to Pakistan and Pakistan's nuclear establishment produced the A.Q. Khan network. We have opposed sales of F-16s to Pakistan very strenuously. However, two or three wrongs don't make a right.
VijayN asked, It is upto *some* of the International community to decide if they want civil nuclear cooperation with india in return for co operation on nuclear controls, energy and environment. Don't forget India didn't sign NPT and is not constrained by it. It can form its own grouping for nuclear trade. Some thing it didn't do till now because it cannot and that cannot be a garauntee even for short term future
Daryl G Kimball answers, The fact is that the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group will also have to make changes to its rules to allow the US or other NSG states to engage in full nuclaer cooperation with India. As of now there is a split among these states about the wisdom of the deal. There are not many other states outside the NSG who can supply what India would like.
jpierpontm asked, Do you agree with George Perkovich that: "...lots of nonproliferation experts have double standards. Isn't that obvious?". If so, why should the US Congress or the media pay attention to anything you have to say?
Daryl G Kimball answers, I agree with George that there are "non proliferation experts" who don't apply their energy or their principles equally ... the Bush administration nonproliferation policy is a good example. The approach I favor and support is one that would establish universal rules and standards that comprehensively address nuclear dangers worldwide. As the media, well, some are paying attention which is all we can ask.
bongdongs asked, What has the P-5 done recently to fulfill its obligations under Article 6 of the NPT?
Daryl G Kimball answers, The P-5 states have not done much lately to fullfill their art. VI obligations. I wrote a short analyis on this problem in Arms Control Today in Jan/Feb. 2005 and there is more analyis at
Ashok asked, Do you think there are any positives that can emerge out of this deal? If so can you state them?
Daryl G Kimball answers, If there is any positive that comes from the deal it is that there is renewed debate in the U.S. in India and worldwide about what needs to be done to curb proliferation and what are the responsibilities of nuclear armed countries. One of the debates that we have tried to foster here in the U.S. for many years is what are the United States nuclear weapons for, why do we need so many, and why shouldn't we radically reduce them. To some extent we have been successful (for instance in killing funding for new nuclear bunker busting bombs). I hope the proposed US-India nuclear deal leads to a similar debate in India.
daks asked, Weather its 9/11 or 7/7 we know people actually came from pakistan's terrorist producing factories....why dont you guys understand the mentality of a country like pakistan.....
Daryl G Kimball answers, As I said earlier, my organization has opposed rewarding Pakistan with military jet fighters and giving it a pass on Khan's behavior.
probleman asked, don't u think that the indo-us nuclear deal was done to counter the rising power of china??
Daryl G Kimball answers, For some in the Bush administration this seems to be one reason for the deal. If you look at the writings of former Amb. Blackwill (now a paid lobbyist of the GOI) and Mr. Ashley Tellis who advised Undersecretary Burns, you will see that they believe the build up of India's nuclear and missile arsenal is needed to "deter" China. I find this to be a disturbing suggestion. Rather than encourage arms racing the expenditure of resources on weapons of mass destruction, the US should be working with India, China, Pakistan to avoid such dangerous competition.
MeAgain asked, Why dont you reform NPT as suggested?
Daryl G Kimball answers, My organization and many of my colleagues have been working for many years to try to strengthen the NPT, fix its holes, and work with states outside the system to support nonproliferation and disarmament. We've had successes and failures. There is more to be done. I hope that we can all continue the dialogue and pull in the same direction to reduce the nuclear weapons danger that threatens us all.
Daryl G Kimball says, Okay everyone. I need to sign off. Whether you agree or disagree, I invite you to see the Arms Control Association's Web site for more. Thanks for your questions.

The Bush visit: Complete coverage | Chats | The nuclear deal