US critics ask world leaders to block n-deal

July 11th, 2008 - 10:30 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 11 (IANS) Saying that the Indian nuclear deal is a “non-proliferation disaster”, two critics of the India-US civil nuclear deal want “world leaders serious about ending the arms race” to modify or block it for New Delhi’s refusal to forswear nuclear testing or halt nuclear weapons production. “Governments committed to reducing global nuclear dangers have a responsibility to modify or block a proposed arrangement to facilitate increased global nuclear commerce with India,” said Jayantha Dhanapala, former UN undersecretary general for disarmament affairs, and Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association Thursday.

Describing the draft India specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “a non-proliferation disaster” they said: “Contrary to the claims of its advocates, the deal fails to bring India further into conformity with the non-proliferation behaviour expected of the member states of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).”

“Unlike 178 other countries, India has not signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It continues to produce fissile material and expand its arsenal,” Dhanapala and Kimball stated.

“India is seeking an ‘India-specific’ safeguards agreement that could, depending on how it is interpreted, allow India to cease IAEA scrutiny if fuel supplies are cut off even if that is because India renews nuclear testing,” they said

In the preamble of the proposed safeguards agreement, which was distributed Wednesday, India states that it may take unspecified ‘corrective actions’ to ensure fuel supplies in the event that they are interrupted.

“IAEA board members should get clarification before taking a decision and reject any interpretation that is inconsistent with the principle of permanent safeguards over all nuclear materials and facilities,” Dhanapala and Kimball said.

In addition, the two critics said, “given that India maintains a nuclear weapons programme outside of safeguards, facility-specific safeguards on a few additional ‘civilian’ reactors provide no serious non-proliferation benefits.

“States should insist that India conclude a meaningful additional protocol safeguards regime before the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that controls global nuclear commerce takes a decision on exempting India from its rules, they said.

Suggesting that the Indian nuclear deal “would be a non-proliferation disaster, especially now,” the two said: “The NPT is in jeopardy and diplomatic efforts to address the nuclear programmes of North Korea and Iran are at a delicate stage.”

“For those world leaders who are serious about ending the arms race, holding all states to their international commitments, and strengthening the NPT, it is time to stand up and be counted,” Dhanapala and Kimball said.

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