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Ackerman takes on critics of Indo-US nuclear agreement
October 27, 2005 22:23 IST
Asserting that India is "not a proliferation risk", a leading Congressman has said that doubts expressed by critics of the Indo-US nuclear deal hold little ground as New Delhi had voluntarily adhered to international guidelines on the atomic programme.
"Over the last 30 years, India has demonstrated not only a successful mastery of a complicated technology, but the ability to ensure that such technology does not get transferred into the wrong hands. It is here where I think opponents of the announced agreement get it wrong," Gary Ackerman, a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, said in a statement at a hearing.
While the "opponents of the agreement suggest that the entire fabric of the global non-proliferation regime has been rendered with this single decision," Ackerman pointed out that Bush administration has won several concessions from India like separating its civil and military programmes, declaring its civilian programmes to the International Atomic Energy Agency, signing an additional protocol, and continuing its moratorium on nuclear testing.
"These concessions have produced an uproar of opposition in New Delhi, yet the point is that the Indians have voluntarily undertaken them," he said.
"India is not a proliferation risk, in the sense that it would share its own or our technology with rogue states or with terrorists. Simply because India made the sovereign decision not to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty does not make it a proliferation risk," the lawmaker from New York, who is also the Democratic co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said.
While before this agreement, India was outside the mainstream of non-proliferation norms, it has now committed to uphold or adhere to those norms, Ackerman said.
"How can this be identified as anything but progress? Isn't the explicit commitment to adhere to the Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines and the Missile Technology Control Regime exactly what we've been trying to get India to do for decades?" Ackerman asked.
The agreement made sense in the bilateral level and "can in fact strengthen our multilateral non-proliferation efforts", he said.