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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Nuclear Hypocrisy

From Paul Krugman's Money Talks, this is in response to his statement in his Feeling No Pain column that "President Bush's main purpose in visiting India seems to have been to promote nuclear proliferation":

Paul Krugman's Money Talks: Swapan Sanjanwala, Cincinnati, Ohio: I am an Indian and your great admirer. Everything you say on outsourcing is correct. But you statement on nuclear proliferation is incorrect. There are facts on nuclear proliferation that rarely get highlighted in the American media or by the non-proliferation hawks here. After all, Indian security is the last of their concerns. But without understanding that, they are not going to solve any problems. For once, Bush is right here.

Indians are generally amazed at the hypocrisy of being lectured by a country which has an arsenal large enough to destroy the world many times over asking us not to maintain a very minimal arsenal to address our security needs. India is in a very dangerous neighborhood. Around 20 Chinese missiles are pointed at India. China claims many Indian states as its own territory — but those states border Tibet, not China. As if this were not enough, China has blatantly sent nuclear weapons and missiles to Pakistan — a fact corroborated by intelligence leaks from American agencies. I am amazed that these facts find hardly any mention in the American media. Given this, it is blatantly unfair to ask India, a democracy, to roll back its nuclear program while allowing China, an authoritarian regime, to maintain its weapons. Any solution that neglects these facts is not going to succeed. No government in India will rightly accept that.

There are other things I can point to. India has voluntarily placed a moratorium on testing nuclear weapons. China has not. And for that matter, the U.S. has not. The Pentagon worries that Chinese missiles might reach U.S. cities in 10 years, whereas all Indian cities can be targeted by the Chinese missiles in China as well as the ones they supplied to Pakistan.

And India is strongly committed to global nuclear disarmament, but not in the form of the current non-proliferation agreement, which gives unlimited rights to some countries and comprises the legitimate security concerns of a country like India. When testing nuclear weapons, India did not break any international treaty or rules. Both North Korea and Iran are signed, but both are still trying to develop nuclear weapons. It is simply ridiculous to compare rogue regimes with a country like India. If people are really concerned about preventing proliferation, the only real way is to work for global nuclear disarmament.

The current deal allows an authoritarian regime like China unlimited access to nuclear technology and weapons, while placing all kinds of restrictions on a peaceful democracy of a billion people for choosing to address their legitimate security needs by maintaining a small nuclear deterrent.

    Posted by on Tuesday, March 7, 2006 at 12:15 AM in Economics, India, Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (14)

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