Democrat asks NSG not to break nuclear rules for India

August 22nd, 2008 - 12:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 22 (IANS) A senior Democratic US lawmaker has asked the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) to attach important non-proliferation conditions to any rule-waiver to allow nuclear trade with India.Edward J. Markey, who has consistently opposed the India-US civil nuclear deal at all stages, made the demand as the nuclear cartel began a two-day meeting in Vienna Thursday to consider a US proposal to give India a waiver to facilitate their historic pact.

“The NSG should reject this ill-considered, unwise and unproductive plan,” said Markey, member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the founder and co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force on Non-proliferation.

As the end of his term nears, President George Bush “seeks to grant India a ‘proliferation pardon’, excusing its past violations of arms control norms”, he said as the US “proposal contains no non-proliferation controls whatsoever”.

“The Bush administration today delivered to the NSG a draft rule-change for India that undermines the entire international framework from limiting the spread of nuclear weapons,” he said.

Markey raised several questions as to why the NSG should deny the Bush administration’s request that “international nuclear non-proliferation rules be waived for India, which for three decades has been blocked from buying nuclear materials and technologies from other countries”.

“When every single one of the 45 NSG member countries has signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, why should India get a free pass?” he asked.

“When Pakistan has warned that carving out a huge exemption for India increases the risk of a nuclear arms race in the subcontinent, why should we allow India to vastly increase its nuclear weapons programme?”

Markey said Since the NSG can only change its rules by consensus, every one of its 45 members has veto power over what he called “this disastrous attempt to gut the global non-proliferation system”.

“If these countries do not stand up and demand real non-proliferation conditions on the proposed nuclear cooperation agreement with India, the NSG may as well be voting itself out of existence,” he said.

India and the US require a green signal from the NSG before their civil nuclear deal to resume nuclear commerce goes for ratification to the US Congress.

India has already got the go ahead from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, by concluding an India-specific safeguards agreement for 14 of its 22 nuclear facilities.

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