At last, some good news on the nuclear non-proliferation front: President Bush’s attempt to shred the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and break the global rules against nuclear proliferation has suffered a potentially fatal setback. After a meeting on Monday, it’s clear that the U.S.-India nuclear deal is on life support, and President Bush is running out of time to revive this deeply flawed and dangerous agreement.

The demise of this deal would be welcome news for everyone concerned with stopping the spread of nuclear weapons around the world and would mark an enormous win for nuclear sanity.

Experts have told Congress that this deal would allow India to expand its nuclear weapons production from 7 bombs a year to 40 or 50 a year. While President Bush calls this deal a “net plus for non-proliferation,

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Even if somehow the Bush Administration and the Indian government resuscitate this deal, enormous hurdles remain. India needs to negotiate an International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards agreement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group must change the international rules of nuclear supply, and the United States Congress must again vote and give its final approval. None of these is guaranteed. In fact, the constant breakdowns and delays are making each of these steps less and less likely to ever occur.

And let’s not forget the lurking issue of India’s economic and military ties to Iran. Many members of Congress are deeply troubled by India’s refusal to get serious about the threat from Iran’s nuclear program, and this issue really could derail the nuclear deal.

Though the Bush Administration has argued that we need this nuclear deal in order to increase our trade with India, the reality is that we already have strong and growing trade ties with India. And this ever-burgeoning relationship will not be diminished if the nuclear deal falls through. Since 2000, Indian exports to the United States have doubled, and U.S. exports to India have almost tripled. In 2006, our total bilateral trade topped $31.9 billion, growing at a whopping 18.9% over the previous year. And even during the worst moments of the U.S.-India relationship, for instance after the 1974 and 1998 Indian nuclear tests, trade continued to grow at rapid rates. The bottom line is that trade between the United States and India will continue to grow, no matter what happens with the nuclear deal.

The collapse of this deal is good news for non-proliferation and any resulting dent in the U.S.-India relationship will be both slight and temporary. I believe that our bilateral relationship will continue to flourish, and citizens of both countries will be living in a safer world because of the collapse of this dangerous nuclear deal.