- It accuses India of "illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons" The dictionary defines illicit variously as not legally permitted or authorized; unlicensed; unlawful. Whatever be the merits of the nuclear test that India carried out (and in the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I think it was one of the more fatuous acts of the BJP Government then in power), nothing that the Indian Government did was unlawful or unauthorised. Even India's worst enemies have not accused her of having a A. Q. Khan kind of network, peddling and buying nuclear secrets and materials. Whatever weapons grade uranium/plutonium India produced was done secretly but not illegally. India has had an exemplary record in non-proliferation of nuclear material and technology even though we are not signatories to the NPT.
- It goes on to accuse Bush of extracting "no promise from India to stop producing bomb-making material. No promise not to expand its arsenal. And no promise not to resume nuclear testing". I think it is important to remind the Times that no sovereign country would ever agree to make such over-arching promises for perpetuity. What a country can promise is not to divert the nuclear material it buys for its power reactors, to its bomb making program. And I believe India has done exactly that and even opened up its civilian reactors to inspections.
- "At a minimum, they must insist that international suppliers halt nuclear trade if India tests another nuclear weapon" This apparently is already part of the US India nuclear deal so the Times is harping on a non-sequiter. However, what has always amazed me of the nuclear powers and particularly of the US is that they find nothing wrong in allowing themselves the right to test nuclear weapons at their convenience but are not willing to grant the same right to those outside their self-proclaimed nuclear club. An infantile wish to remain exclusive in the ability to destroy the world many times over.
- "must insist that India accept the fullest possible monitoring of its civilian nuclear facilities by I.A.E.A. inspectors." Well, excuse me but isn't this exactly what the agreement envisages? Aren't we getting a bit repetitive here, sir?
- "The United States must ensure that any rule the suppliers’ group adopts for selling technology to India is not weaker than anything already in American law. Otherwise, New Delhi will be able to end run Washington and buy technology and fuel from states — like Russia and France — that are even more eager for the business and even less punctilious than this country." With this one statement, the Times exposes the ugly face of the smug, self-satisfied American riding rough shod over the rest of the world. It condemns not just India but France and Russia (why not China -- oops, sorry they are supposed to sell to Pakistan) as ne'er-do-well's, unprincipled and amoral countries, possessing none of the grand vision, morals and principles of the United States of America. Perhaps journalistic memory is woefully short -- wasn't it the United States which started various unprovoked wars in Iraq, in Vietnam, bombed a few other countries including a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, and doesn't it continue to be the only country in the world to have ever used nuclear weapons against a civilian population? Not that the other members of the nuclear club are so innocent, but the US is hardly in any position to preen iself over such issues. What about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and renditions? Do they show up the US as a principled country that follows international law?
Saturday, July 5, 2008
US India Nuclear Agreement and the New York Times
Today, the New York Times, the bastion of liberal thought in the mainstream press, has published an editorial that is not only offensively patronising but outrageous in its mendacity. It begins by admonishing Mr Bush for rushing into a "far-too-generous" nuclear deal with India and advises him to slow down the approval process. Apart from sounding as if the New York Times is in daily contact with Comrade Karat, it makes a few statements which, to put none too fine a point to them, are simply incorrect. Let's look at some of these (Let me clarify that I am no expert on the nuclear deal which seems to have as many interpretations as there are commentators. However, nothing I say here requires me to be an expert).