NEW YORK: A leading US newspaper Sunday called on President Barack Obama to desist from securing for India’s membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) “through a special exception” until New Delhi met the 48-member body’s requirement that civilian trade in nuclear materials was not diverted for military uses.
“If it (India) wants recognition as a nuclear weapons state, it should be required to meet the nuclear group’s standards, including opening negotiations with Pakistan and China on curbing nuclear weapons and halting the production of nuclear fuel for bombs,” The New York Times said in an editorial: ‘No Exceptions for Nuclear India.
The editorial said,”America’s relationship with India has blossomed under President Obama, who will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week. Ideally, Mr Obama could take advantage of the ties he has built and press for India to adhere to the standards on nuclear proliferation to which other nuclear weapons states adhere.
“The problem, however, is that the relationship with India rests on a dangerous bargain. For years, the United States has sought to bend the rules for India’s nuclear programme to maintain India’s cooperation on trade and to counter China’s growing influence. In 2008, President George W Bush signed a civilian nuclear deal with India that allowed it to trade in nuclear materials.
“Now, India has Mr Obama’s strong support in its bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-nation body that governs trade in nuclear-related exports and aims to ensure that civilian trade in nuclear materials is not diverted for military uses.
Membership would enhance India’s standing as a nuclear weapons state, but it is not merited until the country meets the group’s standards.
“All group members have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, either as nuclear weapons states (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China) or as non-nuclear weapons states (everybody else). India has refused, which means it has not accepted legally binding commitments to pursue disarmament negotiations, halt the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and not test nuclear weapons.
“President (George W.) Bush squandered an opportunity to demand more of India when he signed the 2008 deal, which opened the door to American trade in nuclear technology for civilian energy, something India had insisted was a prerequisite to more cooperation and lucrative business deals.
“As part of the 2008 deal, the Indians promised they would be ‘ready to assume the same responsibilities and practices’ as other nations with advanced nuclear technology. But they have fallen far short by continuing to produce fissile material and to expand their nuclear arsenal.”-APP