Nuclear Suppliers Group Holds Firm on Conditions for Nuclear Trade With India

For Immediate Release

Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
Contact: 

Leonor Tomero
202.546.0795 ext. 2104
cell: 202. 262.3211
ltomero@armscontrolcenter.org

Nuclear Suppliers Group Holds Firm on Conditions for Nuclear Trade With India

WASHINGTON - The Center for Arms
Control and Non-Proliferation commended the Nuclear Suppliers Group
(NSG), which is meeting on September 4 and 5 on the U.S.-India nuclear
deal, for carefully reviewing the proposed exemption for nuclear trade
with India and not to caving to the Bush administration's attempt to
press for a change without meaningful conditions.  The NSG will
continue to meet this afternoon and has not reached a final decision
yet.

 "At a time when the long-term viability of the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty hangs in the balance, what we need is clear
rules of the road, not ambiguous language that provides for nuclear
trade while enabling India to expand its nuclear arsenal and without
regard for systemic effects on the non-proliferation regime,"
said Leonor Tomero, Director for Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
 
"The Nuclear Supplier Group's decision is critical to ensure that there
are at least clear provisions that restrict the exports of sensitive
nuclear technology to India, and clear consequences if India tests a
nuclear weapon,"
she added.

The conditions Tomero notes were included in the Hyde Act that Congress
passed in 2006 to allow the United States to negotiate a nuclear trade
agreement with India.  The exemption from international rules is needed
because India is one of only three countries that has not signed the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"In pushing for a clean exemption and hoping for a speedy and
unconditional decision at the Nuclear Suppliers Group as India wanted,
the Bush administration not only ignored and attempted to circumvent
the non-proliferation conditions that Congress had mandated and that
are part of U.S. law, but may also have thought that it could force
Congress to dismiss these key conditions if the NSG agreed to a change
without any conditions,"
noted Tomero.  

She added: "However, several Nuclear Suppliers Group
countries have recognized the risks of this deal for nuclear
non-proliferation, and are insisting on the inclusion of at least
several of these important conditions."
New Zealand, Ireland,
Norway, Austria, and Switzerland, with the support of about 15 other
countries, have raised concerns about the consequences of the
U.S.-India nuclear deal.

The 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group is an international consortium
that regulates international nuclear exports.  The NSG guidelines
currently bar nuclear exports to India since India is not a party to
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  The group was formed in response
to India using assistance from Canada and the United States that had
been intended for peaceful purposes to conduct a nuclear explosive test
in 1974.  

If the Nuclear Suppliers Group approves an exemption from international
guidelines to allow nuclear trade with India, Congress will be called
upon to vote on the U.S.-India nuclear trade agreement.  

If the Nuclear Suppliers Group does not reach a final decision this
week, it is unlikely Congress would have time to approve a U.S.-India
agreement this year, and this issue may be delayed until 2009.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently released answers to questions
that he had submitted to the administration about the U.S.-India
nuclear agreement for clarification on the proliferation risks of the
deal.   These answers have caused political turmoil in India. 
Opposition parties in India have highlighted a perceived a discrepancy
between previous U.S. assurances that it would help India find
alternate suppliers if India tested a nuclear weapon and U.S. trade was
cut-off, and the explanation in the letter to Congress that the U.S.
commitment to help India seek alternate suppliers would not apply if
India conducted nuclear tests.
 
For more information on the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal, click here.

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Founded in 1980, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a leading advocate for prudent measures to prevent the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Visit the Center online: www.armscontrolcenter.org

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