We Need This Nuclear Pact With India Now
Letters to the Editor
Wall Street Journal
June 12, 2006
My friend Sam Nunn is mistaken in his criticism of the Bush administration's nuclear agreement with India ("Nuclear Pig in a Poke1," editorial page, May 24).
Former Sen. Nunn and I have worked closely together to promote our shared nonproliferation goals, but he is wrong when he argues that Congress should impose additional conditions to the U.S.-India agreement.
First, if we do, we risk derailing an agreement that for the first time brings global transparency to India's entire civilian nuclear program. Right now, India's civilian and military programs remain closed to global scrutiny. Under this agreement, the entire civilian program, 65% of all nuclear activity and eventually 90%, will open to monitoring by the IAEA.
Second, with this agreement we bring India on board as an ally in our nonproliferation efforts in a critical part of the world where Iran and North Korea pose a real menace.
I consider that partnership vital to the future of our nonproliferation regime. We have spent 32 years negotiating with India over terms they will not accept. Without this partnership, we could spend another 30 years negotiating while India's program expands without scrutiny.
As Mohammad ElBaradei, director general of the IAEA and Nobel Prize winner has said, "It would bring India closer as an important partner in the non-proliferation regime. It would be a milestone, timely for ongoing efforts to consolidate the non-proliferation regime, combat nuclear terrorism and strengthen nuclear safety."
I believe this agreement can serve as a catalyst to strengthening an eroding nonproliferation regime, a regime that has brighter prospects with India than without her.
Sen. Pete V. Domenici, (R., N.M.)
Since its first nuclear explosion in 1974, India has generated an exemplary record of firmly controlling its nuclear materials and warding against proliferation.
In fact, India's record of nonproliferation is far superior to that of China, one of the five recognized nuclear powers. When the U.S. intercepted a shipment of centrifuges from Pakistan's A.Q. Khan destined for Libya, an earlier Chinese design of a nuclear weapon was discovered in the shipment. Apparently, Mr. Khan had thrown in a bonus. The Chinese actively assisted Pakistan in building its nuclear weapon capability. Ironically, China (as also the other four declared nuclear powers) is not subject to inspection of any sort by the IAEA.
Mr. Nunn tries to put India in the same league as North Korea and Iran. The Indo-U.S. nuclear deal has no relevance to the attempts to contain the nuclear ambitions of these two states. North Korea has traded its missile know-how for nuclear technology, at least with Pakistan. It is a paranoid and dangerous state that has a record of selling anything for hard cash. The Iranian state has been actively supporting various Islamist terrorist groups.
Mr. Nunn is being disingenuous in wanting Congress to require India to not produce fissile material henceforth. By signing the nuclear agreement, President Bush accepted the status of India as a de-facto nuclear power. There are no such legal restrictions on the production of fissile material by the five declared nuclear powers, and China has not officially ended production. The other undeclared nuclear powers, Israel and Pakistan, have no such limitations either. The five powers have been producing fissile material for quite a while.
Sardul S. Minhas, Ph.D.
Anaheim Hills, Calif.