Thursday, October 2, 2008

Praise from Rice means it's time to worry on India nuclear deal

As if the Bush administration's dogged pursuit of a nuclear technology-sharing deal with India wasn't troubling enough, Thursday's glowing endorsement from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice means it's really time to worry. On the surface, it sounds good to include the world's largest democracy in the nuclear club since India already has tested atomic weapons in its rivalry with its nuclear neighbor, Pakistan. But India has steadfastly refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and was banned from nuclear trade with the United States after it first exploded a nuclear device in 1974, according to Cable News Network (CNN). The new agreement with India, which was approved by U.S. Senate on a 86-13 vote Wednesday evening, commits New Delhi to allowing international inspections of its civilian nuclear generating facilities but not its military ones. "The initiative will help India's population of more than one billion to meet its rapidly increasing energy needs in an environmentally responsible way while reducing the growth of carbon emissions," Rice said in a written statement, according to CNN. The deal also includes a provision terminating nuclear cooperation if India resumes testing, CNN said. President George W. Bush was solidly behind the deal, and called it a "major milestone" in relations between India and the United States. But the Bush White House has been wrong so often, it is difficult to accept the administration's counsel. Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa warned that approving nuclear trade with India at the same time the United States was trying to keep other nations from developing nuclear technology was hypocritical. "If we pass this legislation, we will reward India for flouting the most important arms control agreement in history, the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and we will gravely undermine our case against hostile nations that seek to do the same," Harkin said. The major-party presidential candidates, Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, both voted for the bill, CNN said.

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