Monday, June 07, 2010

Giving India More Nuclear Weapons

During the Bush administration, an agreement was negotiated with India on trade in nuclear materials, including uranium. India has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and does not intend to; it has an arsenal of 75-100 nuclear weapons.

It would have been a good idea to negotiate an agreement with India that put India's nuclear industry under tighter IAEA scrutiny. However, the Bush administration was eager for a deal, and the negotiation amounted to "whatever." India accepted a very small increased IAEA presence in return for a big opening in nuclear trade, which has been forbidden to nations outside the NPT.

Now we hear that India may be expanding its enrichment capacity. It will have more uranium than before. India has few indigenous uranium deposits, and the lack of uranium has held back both its civil and military programs. Pakistan has been beefing up its plutonium production capability. If US negotiators ask about the purpose of this expansion, they will most likely be told that it is for power reactors.

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