Sino-Pak Nuclear Deal
President Obama has approved the Sino-Pakistan nuclear deal whereby China will transfer two nuclear reactors to Pakistan. He has brazenly ignored America’s own repetitive warnings that nuclear proliferation might empower terrorists. The final clearance for the Sino-Pak deal will come only after the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) approves it. But after the US approval chances are overwhelming that NSG will also give its nod.
The NSG Guidelines require that proposed deals will not contribute to the creation of nuclear weapons. Potential recipients are expected to have visible physical security measures to prevent theft or unauthorized use of nuclear materials and transfer of information to a third party. In addition deals must also have International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards in place. The IAEA must satisfy itself that non-nuclear-weapon states are not illicitly pursuing nuclear weapons.
Does the proposed Sino-Pak nuclear deal satisfy any of these conditions? It has been authenticated by US intelligence agencies that China transferred nuclear technology to Pakistan; that China helped Pakistan detonate a nuclear test; that Pakistan’s rogue scientist AQ Khan confessed that he had proliferated nuclear know how and material to North Korea, Iran and Libya with the blessings of the Pakistan government; that spy satellite pictures of Pakistan exchanging nuclear material with North Korea in Pyongyang in 2001 were available; that Pakistan extended a full pardon to AQ Khan; that Pakistan refused to allow any international agency to interrogate AQ Khan; and that the US government approved this naked charade and expressed confidence in the Pakistan government.
Given the visible penetration of the Pakistan security apparatus by elements sympathetic to Jihadi terrorists not surprisingly many voices in the US have expressed alarm over the threat of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling in terrorist hands. In 2009 U.S. satellite images suggested Pakistan was increasing its capacity to produce plutonium required for atomic bombs. Last month on April 11 the threat about poorly-guarded nuclear weapons and material was discussed in an extraordinary two-day summit in Washington. Countering Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani’s assurances in the summit, Harvard University 's Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs released a document titled Securing the Bomb 2010. It said Pakistan 's stockpile "faces a greater threat from Islamic extremists seeking nuclear weapons than any other nuclear stockpile on earth". The Institute also reported that Pakistan 's second nuclear reactor, built to produce plutonium for weapons, showed signs of starting operations. A third reactor was under construction.
It is in this overall context that President Obama has approved the proposed Sino-Pak nuclear deal. One can sympathize with Washington for having landed itself in a situation that makes it a client state of Beijing. But given the gravity of dangers that still exist over terrorist access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, can the US approval of the deal be justified in any way? The threat arising from terrorists acquiring a nuclear weapon looms largest for India. In these circumstances can India afford to trust America?
Currently President Pratibha Patil is visiting Beijing. Chinese analysts concede that no tangible gains will emerge from the visit. But they affirm that the visit will improve the atmosphere. Ah yes, the atmosphere! Currently the atmosphere allows all and sundry nations to kick India at will. The latest doing it is Canada as in unprecedented diplomatic conduct it denies visas to Indians who have served “war criminal” security agencies such as the Indian army and the BSF. India has a government that allows this to happen. Therefore India must pay the price.
Who knows, one day India too may get a government that protects national interest and self-respect. Then the West may have to pay the price.