As you’ve probably heard by now, the nuclear deal with India has been signed and sealed –- but not yet delivered: Congress still has to ratify it — by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in Vienna. The administration finally wore down resistance to the sale of civilian nuclear technology and fuel to India over that state’s refusal to sign the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear.
For India’s part, it agreed to a moratorium on weapons testing, promised not to join any future nuclear arms race, and agreed to broader U.N. inspections and to adhere to the group’s rules about exporting nuclear parts and technology. Of course, as is often the case, none of this is legally binding.
Reporting for Reuters, Mark Heinrich quoted head US nonproliferation-buster Condoleezza Rice: “It’s a really very big step forward for the non-proliferation framework.” Not to mention two steps backwards.
A sorrowful air seemed to pervade the proceedings. A European diplomat observed to Heinrich: “For the first time in my experience of international diplomatic negotiations, a consensus decision was followed by complete silence in the room. No clapping, nothing.”
Still, there’s always a small favor to thank goodness for: “‘While we believe this is, in the big picture, an unmitigated nonproliferation disaster, it is still not the clear and unconditional exemption India was demanding,’ said Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association think tank.”
Ace blogger Cernig of Newshoggers sums up: “That it comes alongside continuing bellicose rhetoric against Iran, an NPT member which hasn’t done even close to half of what India, Pakistan or Israel has in nuclear proliferation, only points up the hypocrisy of Bush administration claims to a belief in the NPT.”
For more on nuclear weapons. . .