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Pacnet #58 – Nuclear Nonproliferation’s Missing Link

Whether it will prove to be wise or foolish, the U.S.-India agreement to promote civil nuclear cooperation appears to be a done deal. It is possible that in the end India will not accept restraints that many in Washington think are important, India’s nuclear relations with Iran being one of them. The recent India-China agreement on civil nuclear cooperation will enable India to be even less obliging to the United States on issues like this. But the attitude on Capitol Hill has been made crystal clear by the Senate’s 85-12 vote in favor. Congress is ready to amend the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to make a special exception for India, a state that adamantly refuses to accept the nonproliferation treaty and has no intention of being America’s counterweight to China. American firms will be able to sell civil nuclear technology and equipment to India. India, in turn, has agreed to accept U.N. inspections in some of its civil nuclear facilities. Its nuclear weapons installations will be off-limits.