Regardless of what happens to the Indo-US Nuclear Deal the run-up to its climax has exposed breath-taking international hypocrisy. Several nations have expressed concern over the deal's impact on nuclear non-proliferation. Some of the governments may be excused. They could be genuinely concerned, but forgetful. But what about elements in the US and China?
The New York Times on August 31 editorially commented: 'At a meeting this month, more than 20 governments delayed approval'they insisted that India accept the most rigorous possible international monitoring of its civilian nuclear facilities. We hope this admirable band ' led by New Zealand, Ireland, Austria, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland ' continues to stand firm'Mr. Bush and his team extracted 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.' Just a day later the Chinese Communist Party Party's official paper, People's Daily, wrote: 'The US-India nuclear agreement has constituted a major blow to the international non-proliferation regime.'
What an unlikely confluence -- NYT and People's Daily! Is this not as astonishing as saffron brothers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha making common cause with red comrades Prakash Karat and AB Bardhan against the deal? This scribe has always held that not governments but transnational lobbies determine the final outcome. This was brought out vividly decades ago by former CIA official and author Miles Copeland in his book, The Game of Nations.
What is particularly nauseating about the comments made by the US and Chinese newspapers is that both are fully aware that the non-proliferation regime is as dead as the dodo. Once the regime was breached by the illegal nuclear bazaar established by Pakistan's Dr AQ Khan, attempts to block nuclear proliferation now amount to locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. A day after the People's Daily comment a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson softened the criticism.
The fountainhead of nuclear proliferation was China. As the world's biggest rogue nation its comments therefore were not unexpected. But consider the brazen effrontery of NYT. It has the impertinence to demand promises from India which has an unblemished, voluntarily self-imposed record of non-proliferation. On the other hand, it maintains abject silence over China's criminal role in illegally spreading nuclear weapons. This is especially incongruous since NYTcorrespondents David Sanger and William J Broad relied on official sources to expose how the CIA had monitored the movements of Dr AQ Khan in Beijing when he clandestinely received nuclear know-how from Chinese authorities. On January 4, 2004 the duo again wrote in the paper: 'A declassified State Department memo obtained by the National Security Archive in Washington concluded that China, some time after its first bomb test in the mid-1960s, had provided Pakistan technology for 'fissile material production and possibly also nuclear device design'. China's help to Pakistan was continuous. On December 15, 2003 Jessica Altschul wrote an article for the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs (JINSA), disclosing how China helped Pakistan build the Chashma nuclear plant located near India.
The USA Today of August 28th reported: 'Former Air Force secretary Thomas Reed, a former weapons lab scientist, paints a portrait of China as a reckless distributor of nuclear weapons know-how in a report released Thursday in Physics Today magazine. He charges the Chinese with giving extensive weapons support to Pakistan in detail far beyond a 2001 Defense Department report that acknowledged such links. 'The Chinese nuclear weapons program is incredibly sophisticated,' Reed says. 'The scary part is how much Pakistan has learned from them.' The Chinese and Pakistani embassies in Washington did not reply to requests for comment on the report' China gave Pakistan blueprints for a simple uranium atomic bomb in 1982 and later tested a Pakistani version of the weapon in China on May 26, 1990.'
The widespread proliferation of nuclear know-how by Dr Khan has been acknowledged. This, then, is the precious non-proliferation regime being safeguarded by a bunch of hypocritical nations lauded by NYT. Regardless of what happens to the N-deal in the next forty-eight hours India must be clear about who, for whatever reason, is against it and who, for whatever reason, is for it. President Bush for his own purpose is fighting powerful vested interests in America by supporting India. India for its own purpose should welcome his support.