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Experts Call on Congress to Take Harder Look at U.S.-India Nuclear Deal: House Member Pledges to Pursue Their Questions


For Immediate Release: November 23, 2005


Press Contacts: Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Association (202) 463-8270 x107

(Washington, D.C.): A bipartisan group of 16 former U.S. government officials and experts with vast experience in security, energy, and nonproliferation matters have called upon members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate to “critically examine” a U.S.-Indian proposal to allow for “full” U.S.-Indian civilian nuclear cooperation. The experts’ letter urges Congress to “consider the full implications of the proposed agreement … and pursue additional stipulations that might result in a positive outcome to U.S. and international security.”

In their November 18 joint letter to Congress, the authors state that: “We believe that the United States and India can and should expand their ties and common interests as free democracies through expanded cooperation in trade and human development, scientific and medical research, energy technology, humanitarian relief, and military-to-military contacts.”

“Building upon the already strong U.S.-Indian partnership is an important goal, and we remain convinced that it can be achieved without undermining the U.S. leadership efforts to prevent the proliferation of the world’s most dangerous weapons,” the experts write.

“Unfortunately,” the experts write, “the proposal for civil nuclear cooperation with India poses far-reaching and potentially adverse implications for U.S. nuclear nonproliferation objectives and promises to do little in the long-run to bring India into closer alignment with other U.S. strategic objectives.”

“On balance, India’s commitments under the current terms of the proposed arrangement do not justify making far-reaching exceptions to U.S. law and international nonproliferation norms,” the letter concludes.

The deal, which was unveiled July 18, 2005 by President Bush and Prime Minister Singh, calls for require significant changes to U.S. nonproliferation laws and longstanding international nonproliferation policy that bar civil nuclear cooperation with states that are not members of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or do not allow for full-scope international safeguards to prevent diversion for military purposes.

So far, India has pledged to accept only voluntary international atomic energy agency safeguards over “civilian” nuclear facilities of its choosing. The experts note in their letter that “This could allow India to withdraw any nuclear facility from IAEA safeguards for national security reasons. Such an arrangement would be purely symbolic and would do nothing to prevent the continued production of fissile material for weapons by India.”

They also state that “The supply of nuclear fuel to India would free-up its existing stockpile and capacity to produce highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons. To help ensure that U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation is not in any way advancing India’s weapons program, it would be essential to apply permanent, facility-specific safeguards on a mutually agreed and broad list of current and future Indian nuclear facilities involved in civilian activities and electricity production in combination with a cutoff of Indian fissile material production for weapons.”

The authors suggest that “key details needed to help the Congress fully understand the implications of the proposal, in our view, have not yet been provided. Accordingly, we urge that before any action is taken on any legislation sent up by the administration to implement the proposal, Congress should obtain detailed answers to a number of questions,” which the experts include with the letter.

Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said: "This letter raises very serious questions about the advisability of moving forward with President Bush's proposed nuclear deal with India.  Congress needs to very carefully weigh the concerns that these respected arms control experts have raised about the adverse consequences of the India deal for America's long-term nuclear nonproliferation goals."

To date there have been two House International Relations Committee Hearings and one Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on the proposal. Earlier this month, senior Bush administration officials responded to criticism of the proposal by stating that India must produce a plan for the separation of its “civilian” and its “military” nuclear facilities and that the safeguards that would apply must be “meaningful from a nonproliferation standpoint.” After India produces such a plan, the administration has said it will forward specific proposals to change U.S. nonproliferation laws to the Congress.

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The full text of the November 18 experts’ letter is available at <www.armscontrol.org>.


Country Resources:

India, Pakistan Sign Missile Notification Pact

Erin Creegan

India and Pakistan Oct. 3 finalized an agreement to notify each other in advance of ballistic missile flight tests. This long-awaited move aims to reduce tension between the two nuclear neighbors.

Indian External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri oversaw the signing of the pre-notification agreement, which went into force that day. The two sides had nearly completed the agreement earlier this year when the foreign ministers met in August, but the signing was delayed by prolonged negotiation over the final wording of the agreement.

Officials said that, under the accord, the country’s defense ministries will provide their counterparts at least 72 hours of notice before conducting a ballistic missile flight test. India and Pakistan agreed not to allow trajectories of tested missiles to approach or land close either to their accepted borders or the Line of Control, the cease-fire line running through the disputed region of Kashmir. They pledged not to allow tested missiles to fly closer than 40 kilometers from these boundaries or land closer than 70 kilometers away.

The agreement states that pre-notification applies only to tests conducted with surface-to-surface ballistic missiles launched from land or sea. The agreement does not apply to cruise missiles. Cruise missiles are powered their entire flight and can be maneuvered, while ballistic missiles are only powered for the first few minutes of their flight and follow a charted trajectory to the ground. Pakistan tested its first cruise missile Aug. 11. The agreement also does not apply to surface-to-air missiles. India conducted two such missile tests on the day of the agreement’s signing.

According to a representative from the Pakistani embassy in Washington, D.C., who spoke to Arms Control Today Oct. 25, the limitations on missiles covered by the agreement reflected mutual reservations. The official said the missiles covered by the agreement represent a feasible de-escalation commitment by India and Pakistan, with the hope of inching toward more comprehensive commitments.

International reaction to the Agreement on Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles was positive. A Department of State official told Arms Control Today Oct. 14 that the United States welcomes this achievement and is pleased with the commitment both countries have shown to the peace process.

India is estimated to have 45-95 nuclear warheads while Pakistan is believed to have 30-50 nuclear weapons. The countries’ geographical proximity assures mutual vulnerability to attack within a few minutes.


Suppliers Weigh Indian Nuclear Cooperation

Wade Boese

At an October meeting, the world’s leading nuclear suppliers offered mixed reactions to a U.S. initiative to expand civil nuclear cooperation with India. The group is awaiting a formal U.S. proposal as well as Indian steps toward granting greater outside access to its nuclear facilities before deciding how to proceed.

President George W. Bush promised Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh July 18 that the United States would seek to revise U.S. law and international rules so India could obtain nuclear materials and technologies to expand its nuclear energy sector. (See ACT, September 2005.) For nearly three decades, the United States and many other nuclear suppliers have significantly limited nuclear exports to nuclear-armed India. New Delhi exploded a nuclear device in 1974, employing materials and technologies acquired for peaceful purposes, and conducted a further series of nuclear tests in May 1998. India is also one of three countries— Israel and Pakistan are the other two—never to join the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Bush administration officials have not revealed how they want Congress to modify or waive U.S. law to implement the president’s plan. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said Oct. 18 that the administration would present its approach to lawmakers before the president visits India early next year.

After not being consulted in advance about the proposed cooperation, congressional leaders are pressing the administration to give them more input. The chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations and House International Relations Committees sent a letter Oct. 17 to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recommending the administration “begin substantive discussions with our respective committees as soon as possible before final decisions are made on any new legislative proposals.” The bipartisan quartet noted, “We firmly believe that such consultations will be crucial to the successful consideration of the final agreement or agreements by our committees and the Congress as a whole.”

The administration is clearer on what it will request other governments to do. Specifically, administration officials indicated at a Sept. 8 International Relations Committee hearing that the United States will ask its fellow 44 members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to exempt India from a 1992 rule that nuclear importers must subject their entire nuclear apparatus to international oversight, technically known as full-scope safeguards. India refuses to submit itself to the rule, and Washington wants to maintain the rule as a general principle.

Still, the United States did not present a specific exemption proposal at an Oct. 17-18 NSG meeting. Instead, it explained the July deal and its motivations, group member officials told Arms Control Today. NSG members, whose meetings are confidential, coordinate their nuclear export controls to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

At the meeting, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom endorsed boosting nuclear ties with India, while Austria, Sweden, and Switzerland registered strong reservations. Most members have yet to decide one way or another about the proposed cooperation. But the majority, including France and the United Kingdom, emphasized that their support hinges on how India’s general nonproliferation pledges are translated into specifics.

In what has turned out to be a domestically divisive declaration for his government, Singh told Bush that India would separate its civilian nuclear program from its military counterpart and permit international oversight of nonmilitary facilities. He also reaffirmed existing Indian policies to institute tighter export controls, adhere to a nuclear-testing moratorium, and support negotiating a treaty to end the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons.

Some NSG members, such as Canada, questioned why the United States did not obtain more from India, particularly a pledge to cease production of bomb-making materials. France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have publicly announced an end to such production, and China is understood to have also followed suit. Indian officials maintain their country will do no less and no more than these five states.

Similarly, other NSG countries knocked the arrangement for not getting India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty banning nuclear testing. However, the Bush administration also opposes the accord, which will not enter into force until the United States, India, and nine other specific countries ratify it.

Still, the critical issue determining whether the nuclear trade door will be opened wider for India is if it enacts a “credible split of its civilian and military” nuclear programs, one diplomat of an NSG member told Arms Control Today Oct. 20.

When this separation will begin remains uncertain. Burns traveled to India near the end of October to negotiate a phased implementation approach for the deal, but no final agreement was announced. NSG members urged the United States to share the timetable once it is completed.


Experts Make Case for Modification of U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal


For Immediate Release: October 4, 2005


Press Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director (202) 463 8270 x107

(Washington, D.C.): Three leading nonproliferation experts write in an Arms Control Today article this month that if the United States implements a presidential proposal for wider U.S.-Indian civilian nuclear cooperation "without significant modification, it will have given the Indians a great deal--acknowledgment as a de facto nuclear-weapon state and access to the international nuclear energy market--in return for largely symbolic concessions in the nonproliferation area."

On July 18, President George W. Bush pledged to seek changes in U.S. and multinational policies that would allow the United States to revive more robust civil nuclear cooperation with India for the first time since its 1974 detonation of a nuclear device using technology acquired for "peaceful" purposes. Spurred by that test explosion, the authors note, the United States enacted the 1978 Nonproliferation Act which "required that, in order to receive future nuclear exports from the United States, non-nuclear-weapon states such as India needed to place all of their peaceful nuclear activities under...full-scope safeguards."

In return for Bush's pledge, India declared support for some modest nuclear restraint commitments and said it would declare certain nuclear facilities as civilian and others as military and place civilian projects under IAEA safeguards, which are mechanisms designed to deter and detect the diversion of any civil nuclear technologies for illicit weapons purposes.

The Bush administration has said it will seek congressional approval for changes to U.S. nonproliferation laws and the consent of allies and friends to exempt India from the export rule of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that requires a potential nuclear trade recipient to have full-scope safeguards, meaning that the importer's entire nuclear apparatus is subject to international oversight. India is not a member of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and does not allow for full-scope nuclear safeguards.

Fred McGoldrick, Harold Bengelsdorf, and Dr. Lawrence Scheinman write in the October issue of Arms Control Today that "The key question is whether the United States could have accomplished its geo-strategic objectives by strengthening ties with India in the economic, scientific, and military fields without having compromised important principles of its nonproliferation policy." They add, "It is open to serious doubt whether the proposed Indian concessions were significant enough to justify the accommodations promised by the United States and whether the steps the United States and India agreed to take in the civil nuclear area will, on balance, be supportive of global nonproliferation efforts."

McGoldrick and Bengelsdorf are partners in a Washington-based consulting firm and Scheinman is a professor at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. All three authors have decades of experience working on nonproliferation matters for the U.S. government and the IAEA.

The authors note that India could ask the IAEA to apply facility-specific safeguards to declared civilian facilities that would last in perpetuity and preclude their use for the production of fissile material--plutonium or highly enriched uranium--for bombs. Alternatively, India could enter into "largely symbolic" voluntary safeguards agreement similar to those of the original nuclear-weapon states, which would allow it to withdraw safeguarded nuclear facilities or material for military purposes at any time. Most of India's current nuclear facilities are unsafeguarded.

"India pledged to work with the United States for the conclusion of a multilateral fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). Yet India has been supporting the negotiation of such a treaty for some time, so this is not a new concession," the experts note. "Moreover, it is not clear how meaningful this action will really be because the United States itself has thrown the prospects for concluding this treaty into some confusion by asserting that an FMCT cannot be adequately verified. In the meantime, India will remain free to produce fissile materials for its nuclear weapons program," they write.

The trio further argues that peaceful nuclear cooperation with India must occur only under certain basic conditions. "India needs to bring an early halt to the production of nuclear materials for nuclear weapons or nuclear explosives...[and] New Delhi must accept safeguards in perpetuity on its civil nuclear facilities," they recommend.

The authors also express concern about the impact of the proposed deal on NSG efforts to curb the spread of sensitive nuclear weapons-related technologies to other states. "If some suppliers try to exploit the U.S. initiative for commercial purposes to pursue previously off-limit markets, it could wreak serious damage to the nonproliferation regime," they warn.

The United States is pressing fellow group members to hold an extraordinary plenary session to discuss nuclear trade with India on the margins of an Oct. 17 NSG meeting. The administration has told Congress that it is still considering what combination of legislative changes and/or waivers to existing U.S. nonproliferation law it will seek.

At a Sept. 16 Arms Control Association briefing, Scheinman said, "Congress has an opportunity to shape the future, to shape development in ways that can help to push outcomes...reinforcing nonproliferation principles and set a sufficiently high bar for exceptions of this kind to mitigate--not prevent but mitigate--the damage that will be done to the [nuclear nonproliferation] regime."

The full article is available on the Arms Control Association's Web site: http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2005_10/OCT-Cover.asp. Arms Control Today encourages reprints of its articles with permission of the Editors.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.



Country Resources:

U.S.-Indian Nuclear Prospects Murky

Wade Boese

U.S. lawmakers and foreign governments are questioning President George W. Bush’s pledge this summer to engage in unrestricted civilian nuclear trade with India. Members of Congress are particularly concerned with India’s failure to align itself with U.S. positions on Iran.

On July 18, Bush announced that he would ask Congress to modify U.S. law and permit the United States to supply India with nuclear materials and technologies to produce nuclear energy. (See ACT, September 2005.) He also said he would ask foreign governments to adjust similar international restrictions. Washington had clamped down on such trade following India’s 1974 explosion of a nuclear device and cajoled other states in the voluntary Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to follow suit in 1992. Group members seek to coordinate their nuclear export controls to prevent the spread of nuclear arms.

The administration did not consult with Congress or foreign capitals before the president’s move. Top administration officials attribute this lapse to the last-minute nature of the agreement. Testifying Sept. 8 before the House International Relations Committee, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns noted, “[W]e actually reached this agreement largely through discussions that Secretary [of State Condoleezza] Rice had the day prior to [Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s] visit and the morning of the visit.”

At the hearing, several legislators endorsed enhanced ties with India but also aired qualms about the proposed deal. Foremost among their concerns was whether India would side with the United States in pressing Iran to permanently shelve its ambitions and efforts to produce its own nuclear fuel, including uranium enrichment. Uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing can be used to produce both nuclear energy and weapons.

Indian officials say they oppose Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, but they have not gone so far as to say that Iran should not be allowed to operate enrichment and reprocessing facilities. New Delhi also has resisted U.S. entreaties to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible punitive action regarding its past illicit nuclear activities. Indian officials, who are seeking a gas pipeline deal and closer ties with Tehran, repeatedly say they want to see the Iran issue resolved “through discussion, not through confrontation.”

In its first test on the issue since the July deal, India sided with the United States and the European Union Sept. 24 on an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors resolution implying that Iran might be referred to the UN Security Council for failing to comply with its safeguards agreement with the agency. Such agreements are designed to ensure that the IAEA can verify that countries do not use their civilian nuclear programs to build nuclear weapons.

Nonetheless, Indian officials claimed they had not changed their fundamental views on Iran’s behavior. “We were opposed to the matter being referred to the UN Security Council at this stage because we did not believe that this was justified in the circumstances,” said a statement from the Indian government. It added, “Iran has the inalienable right to pursue a peaceful nuclear energy [program] and we must respect that right.”

The Indian action followed sharp complaints from Capitol Hill about India’s behavior vis-à-vis Iran. “If we are turning ourselves into a pretzel to accommodate India, I want to be damn sure that India is mindful of U.S. policies in critical areas such as U.S. policy toward Iran,” said Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House International Relations Committee at the panel’s Sept. 8 hearing. Lantos warned that “anything less than full support will imperil the expansion of U.S. nuclear and security cooperation with New Delhi.” Several Democratic and Republican representatives endorsed or echoed Lantos’ comments.

Bush administration officials at the hearing also agreed that India faces a decision. Burns declared, “[W]e want Indian support and expect Indian support” on Iran. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph added, “[I]t’s a time of choice not just for India, but…for Russia, for China, for others who are on the fence right now on the issue of Iran, and specifically, referring Iran to the Security Council.”

Still, lawmakers’ reservations about providing India with nuclear goods extend beyond their concerns about New Delhi’s relations with Iran. A few worried that fulfilling the president’s initiative with a country such as India, which acquired nuclear weapons outside the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), might weaken other states’ support for the accord. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said he saw “difficulty in urging nations to either join or stay in the NPT when other nations are allowed to enjoy the benefits of nuclear technology without being in the NPT.” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) also questioned the possibility of setting off “a negative and damaging domino effect.”

The Senate has yet to hold a hearing on the proposed U.S.-Indian cooperation. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has suggested he has many questions about future implementation of the deal. In a July 26 statement, Lugar said he wanted to “examine [the deal’s] possible impact on U.S. nonproliferation policy.”

How the administration intends to follow through on the president’s pledge remains undecided. Joseph said the administration had still not settled on whether or how to alter or waive U.S. law restricting nuclear trade with India. “We have not made a determination as to how we see the best path forward,” he stated.

Administration officials say they want to consult with Congress fully before formulating a legislative plan of action. However, the administration has not said if it will ask congressional committees to mark up the legal fixes as separate legislation or attach them to an existing bill, which would minimize the possibility for lawmakers to seek changes.

Moreover, Burns testified that India would need to start fulfilling its side of the bargain to separate its civilian and military facilities and submit its civilian facilities to international supervision before U.S. law would be changed. “We can’t seek a waiver from existing legislation until India begins to show us that it is moving to meet its commitment,” Burns said.

Indian officials hold the opposite view. Singh told the Indian parliament July 29 that, before India subjects its facilities to greater international scrutiny, “we will ensure that all restrictions on India have been lifted.”

The two sides have established a working group to hash out a schedule for implementing the agreement. The working group has met twice but has not yet ironed out a timetable. The next meeting will occur in late October when Burns travels to New Delhi.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokesperson Melissa Fleming told Arms Control Today Sept. 19 that India had not yet approached the agency about making additional Indian facilities available to international monitoring.

The administration appears further along in its thinking on what it will ask the 45-member NSG to do to facilitate Bush’s plan. Joseph contended the United States will not seek to change the group’s rule that nuclear importers subject all their nuclear facilities and activities to international supervision. Instead, Joseph said the United States would ask the NSG to grant an exemption to India, which vows it will never accept intrusive oversight on its entire nuclear apparatus. NSG members are likely to discuss the India issue at a mid-October meeting.

France, Russia, and the United Kingdom have all indicated they will welcome the U.S. initiative. Moscow, which has previously shipped nuclear fuel to India in defiance of the NSG, and Paris are particularly eager to do business with India. But Washington has to win over more than just these three states because the NSG operates by consensus.

Although many NSG members support improving relations with India, some question whether expanding nuclear cooperation is the right way to achieve that objective. Morten Aasland, minister counselor at the Embassy of Norway in Washington, D.C., said at a Sept. 16 Arms Control Association press briefing that “there is a clear recognition that this is a very complicated issue, a potential torpedo, for the whole arrangement.” Norway currently holds the group’s rotating chairmanship. Officials from some NSG members told Arms Control Today in September interviews that the group is unlikely to move on the U.S. proposal until after Congress acts.



The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal: Taking Stock

Fred McGoldrick, Harold Bengelsdorf, and Lawrence Scheinman

In a July 18 joint declaration, the United States and India resolved to establish a global strategic partnership. The joint declaration was a bold and radical move that was clearly motivated by and reflects the mutual interests of both states in counterbalancing the rise of Chinese power.

It also promises other potential security benefits, notably enhancing U.S.-Indian counterterrorism cooperation. In these respects, the joint declaration has laid the foundation for promoting the long-term strategic interests of the United States.

One notable problem, however, is that, in signing on to the joint declaration, the Bush administration agreed to reverse a decades-old U.S. nonproliferation policy by removing obstacles to cooperation with India’s civil nuclear power program. Specifically, President George W. Bush referred to India’s strong commitment to preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and stated that, “as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology,” India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states. The president pledged to seek agreement from Congress to adjust U.S. laws and policies and to work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India. In addition, the administration is seeking to include India in global efforts to develop advanced nuclear energy systems. In return, India agreed to take a number of specific steps to expand its nonproliferation commitments.

The key question is whether the United States could have accomplished its geostrategic objectives by strengthening ties with India in the economic, scientific, and military fields without having compromised important principles of its nonproliferation policy. It is open to serious doubt whether the proposed Indian concessions were significant enough to justify the accommodations promised by the United States and whether the steps the United States and India agreed to take in the civil nuclear area will, on balance, be supportive of global nonproliferation efforts.

Congress should approve the administration’s proposals to implement the joint declaration only under certain conditions. First, the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should clearly support permitting peaceful nuclear cooperation with India. Second, India needs to bring an early halt to the production of nuclear materials for nuclear weapons or nuclear explosives. Third, New Delhi must accept safeguards in perpetuity on its civil nuclear facilities.

U.S.-India Peaceful Nuclear Relations

The United States and India entered into a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement in 1963. Under that agreement, the United States supplied India with two light-water reactors at Tarapur and the enriched uranium to fuel those plants. Spurred, among other things, by India’s “peaceful” nuclear test in 1974, the United States enacted the 1978 Nonproliferation Act, which amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. This new legislation required that, in order to receive future nuclear exports from the United States, non-nuclear-weapon states such as India needed to place all of their peaceful nuclear activities under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—so-called full-scope safeguards. India is a non-nuclear-weapon state under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and under U.S. law.

India refused to accept this condition, and significant U.S. nuclear cooperation with New Delhi, including nuclear fuel supplies to Tarapur, ceased in 1980. The 1963 peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement between India and the United States terminated in 1993 without replacement. In response to India’s nuclear weapons tests in 1998, the United States imposed a series of strict economic and financial sanctions but has since then substantially relaxed these restrictions.

An Assessment

In proposing to revive civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries, Bush administration officials asserted that India has been a responsible steward of its nuclear assets, has refrained from transferring its nuclear technology to other countries, and will play a constructive role in strengthening the global nonproliferation regime. Under the joint declaration, the Indian government agreed to take specific steps to expand its nonproliferation commitments.

Separating and Safeguarding Civilian Facilities

India agreed to identify and separate civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs in a phased manner and to file a declaration regarding its civilian facilities with the IAEA. This action will probably take some time to implement and will likely run into resistance and delaying tactics from some quarters in India. The former prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and officials of the Indian Department of Atomic Energy have already criticized the decision to separate Indian civilian and military facilities as difficult if not impossible to implement and as prohibitively costly. Former officials of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) have expressed concern that safeguards would hamper ongoing research on India’s fast breeder reactor program and compromise India’s long-term energy security. A. N. Prasad, former director of BARC, said, “Our military activities are not aimed at stockpiling nuclear weapons” and said that stockpiling, which is what the logic of the Indo-U.S. joint statement implies, would be “highly counterproductive” and costly.

In any event, it is at least questionable whether this pledge to separate civil and military nuclear facilities is a major concession on the Indians’ part because it is unlikely to limit Indian production of fissile materials for military purposes. The decision about which facilities to declare civilian rests with India.

Similarly, India’s agreement to place additional nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards has the merit of expanding the coverage of such safeguards and narrowing to some degree the differences in the safeguards burdens that India assumes and those that non-nuclear-weapon states have to bear in accepting the full-scope safeguards under the NPT. To date, India has accepted international inspections only on those facilities and materials it has imported from other states. Most Indian nuclear facilities are unsafeguarded. However, the importance of this move will depend on how India chooses to fulfill this commitment, because the agreement leaves it to New Delhi to declare which facilities are eligible for international safeguards and which kind of safeguard agreement will be applied.

India could ask the IAEA to apply safeguards to those nuclear facilities it designates as civilian in accordance with facility-specific safeguards agreements, known as INFCIRC/66.Rev.2 agreements. These safeguards agreements provide for safeguards in perpetuity and would thus preclude India’s future use of designated civilian facilities for the production of nuclear material for nuclear explosive purposes and preclude its ability to withdraw such facilities from safeguards for national security purposes. If India is to receive nuclear materials or facilities from the United States, it will have to place such materials or facilities under safeguards in perpetuity in accordance with Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act, unless, of course, the administration asks Congress to exempt India from this section of the law.

Alternatively, India could seek to enter into a new safeguards agreement with the IAEA that would be similar to the voluntary safeguards agreements that the NPT-recognized nuclear-weapon states—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—have with the Vienna agency. With a voluntary safeguards agreement, India could submit a list of all Indian civil nuclear facilities that would be eligible for IAEA safeguards, like the safeguards agreements that the United Kingdom and the United States have concluded with the Vienna agency, or only a few designated civil facilities, as is found in the China-IAEA, France-IAEA, and Russia-IAEA voluntary safeguards agreements. Both the United Kingdom and France have submitted all their civil nuclear facilities to European Atomic Energy Community safeguards. If India elects to employ a voluntary safeguards agreement as opposed to a facility-specific safeguards agreement, it would have the right to withdraw any facility from its safeguards-eligible list for national security reasons. However, unless Congress changes U.S. law, a voluntary agreement could also preclude nuclear cooperation with the United States.

In addition, if India sought the route of a voluntary safeguards agreement, it is not clear whether the IAEA would actually inspect all the civil nuclear facilities on the Indian eligible list or whether the IAEA would carry out inspections only if it has the funds available to do so, as is the case with the NPT-recognized nuclear-weapon states.

Thus, a voluntary safeguards agreement would be largely symbolic and is unlikely to yield meaningful nonproliferation benefits, such as halting the production of nuclear materials for nuclear weapons.

India also agreed to sign and adhere to an additional protocol with respect to civilian nuclear facilities. None of the three non-NPT states—India, Israel, and Pakistan—has agreed to accept the relevant provisions of the 1997 Model Additional Protocol to their nuclear activities covered under INFCIRC/66.Rev.2 safeguards agreements. The IAEA adopted the Model Additional Protocol in response to the revelations about the Iraqi nuclear weapons program in 1991. Under this protocol, the IAEA has the right to increased information about and access to all aspects of a state’s nuclear fuel cycle.

The Indian agreement to accept an additional protocol would help reinforce the legitimacy and significance of international safeguards and reduce the difference in the safeguards burdens that India has to assume and those that non-nuclear-weapon states have to bear in accepting IAEA safeguards on all their nuclear facilities. Nevertheless, India’s conclusion of an additional protocol with the IAEA is also largely symbolic because this safeguards agreement was designed to detect undeclared nuclear activities in states that have all their peaceful nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards.

Other Nonproliferation Commitments

India made other nonproliferation commitments under the joint declaration, but these simply further codify current Indian policy.

For example, India has pledged to continue a moratorium on nuclear testing. This is not an entirely new initiative, but India’s pledge in the joint declaration turns a purely bilateral commitment to Pakistan not to be the first to test new nuclear weapons into a further political commitment to the United States.

Likewise, India pledged to work with the United States for the conclusion of a multilateral fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). Yet India has been supporting the negotiation of such a treaty for some time, so this is not a new concession. Moreover, it is not clear how meaningful this action will really be because the United States itself has thrown the prospects for concluding this treaty into some confusion by asserting that an FMCT cannot be adequately verified. In the meantime, India will remain free to produce fissile materials for its nuclear weapons program, even though the five NPT-recognized nuclear-weapon states have all ceased the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons purposes. China has not announced its decision to do so, but it is widely assumed to have stopped production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes. The absence of an Indian commitment to halt its production of weapons materials is a notable void in the joint declaration.

New Delhi also promised to take the necessary steps to secure nuclear materials and technology through comprehensive export control legislation and through harmonization and adherence to the guidelines of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the NSG, although remaining outside the organizations themselves. India’s willingness to adopt NSG guidelines is a positive development, but it will really not break any new ground: India has always been a responsible nuclear exporter. India also agreed to refrain from transferring enrichment and reprocessing technologies to states that do not have them and to support international efforts to limit their spread. This statement is in support of Bush’s February 2004 proposal, but it is also not a new initiative because, to its considerable credit, India has never, to public knowledge, transferred such technology to any state in the past.

Thus, although some Indian nationalists complain that India has given away the store to the United States, the actual concessions India has promised are really quite limited and are unlikely to contribute significantly to strengthening the nonproliferation regime.

The Stakes

If Bush can convince Congress and the members of the NSG to take the necessary steps to implement the U.S.-Indian joint declaration, the U.S. action would represent a de facto recognition of India’s status as a nuclear-weapon state. It would also reverse an almost 30-year policy of urging nuclear supplier states to require full-scope safeguards as a condition of nuclear cooperation with states that the NPT has defined as non-nuclear-weapon states, including India.

Nuclear-Weapon Status

India detonated a “peaceful” nuclear explosive in 1974 and conducted several nuclear weapons tests in 1998. However, neither U.S. law nor the NPT recognizes India as a nuclear-weapon state. The administration has evidently now concluded that it is only wise to accept this reality, as U.S. acknowledgement of India as a de facto nuclear-weapon state would enhance New Delhi’s standing as a regional counterweight to China, and that this would outweigh any damage done to the nonproliferation regime.

The downside, however, is that the U.S. acceptance of India as a nuclear-weapon state gives weight to the notion that nuclear weapons enhance a country’s status and power. It also means that the United States accepts the notion that some states are entitled to have nuclear weapons—the good guys—but is not willing to accept others—the bad guys. Administration officials have denied that the United States is recognizing India as a nuclear-weapon state, but when the United States accepts India’s nuclear-weapon program, it only legitimizes possession of these weapons and enhances their status rather than challenging the general importance and role of nuclear weapons. Moreover, the irony of the administration’s initiative is that it frees India to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal while the NPT-recognized nuclear-weapon-states have ceased production of nuclear materials for nuclear weapons purposes.

The Rules of Nuclear Trade

By signing the joint declaration as U.S. policy, the Bush administration has weakened the basic and long-held nonproliferation principle that a legal commitment to forswear nuclear weapons should be a precondition for countries seeking assistance in building civilian nuclear reactors. It also has overturned a 27-year effort to making full-scope safeguards a condition of nuclear cooperation with non-nuclear-weapon states into a universal international norm. The irony here is that the United States was the leading promoter of this initiative.

The fear is that these proposed changes will turn existing norms for nuclear trade into rules governed by commercial gain and that it will now be much more difficult to dissuade some suppliers from providing nuclear assistance to countries of proliferation concern. For example, it could be more difficult for the United States to argue against Russian assistance to Iran’s nuclear power program because Moscow could cite the U.S. deal with India to justify further assistance to Tehran. Pakistan is already demanding similar treatment from the West, and China might be more than willing to meet this demand, even if Western counties turn Islamabad down. On the other hand, the potential economic benefits for the United States of the deal are also uncertain. Even if nonproliferation conditions are eased, India may continue to deal with Russia or even buy from France. This could leave the United States in the ironic position of leading a move to ease nuclear trade restrictions with India without deriving major commercial benefits.


The United States will have to overcome several diplomatic and legal obstacles in order to implement the U.S.-Indian declaration.

The Nuclear Supplier Group

The United States is obliged as a member of the NSG, at least as a policy matter—and some may argue as a legal matter—to require full-scope safeguards on exports of nuclear materials, equipment, components, and related technology specified on the so-called NSG trigger list to non-nuclear-weapon states as defined by the NPT.

Because the NSG makes its decisions on a consensus basis, the United States would have to persuade 44 NSG members to amend or reinterpret the NSG guidelines to permit nuclear cooperation with India without requiring New Delhi to accept full-scope safeguards. France and the United Kingdom have openly indicated a new willingness to consider nuclear cooperation with India.

However, as Robert Joseph, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, revealed in congressional testimony September 8, “Some have understandably questioned how this complex initiative comports with the NPT and our efforts to combat proliferation.” Some NSG members may very well argue, and with some justification, that it would be unfair to non-nuclear-weapon states party to the NPT to give India all the peaceful benefits of nuclear energy specified in Article IV of the treaty without requiring India to accept the corresponding obligations of Article I to forswear nuclear weapons and of Article III to implement full-scope safeguards.

The United States would risk throwing the nuclear export control regime into disarray if it tried to move forward in the absence of an NSG consensus and in defiance of serious protests by other NSG members that the U.S. initiative is unfair and undermines nonproliferation norms. Thus, it is difficult to believe that the administration would ask Congress to approve a new peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement with India without a clear and credible indication that the NSG will accept a special exception for India from its full-scope safeguards requirement.

Negotiation of a New Agreement

The Atomic Energy Act requires that significant nuclear exports from the United States only take place pursuant to an agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation with the recipient state. Because the U.S.-Indian peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement expired in 1993, the United States and India would need to conclude a new one. Negotiating such an agreement may not be easy. Among the more difficult issues will be the question of whether and how to include nuclear material and equipment covered by the previous U.S.-Indian agreement in a new agreement. India maintains that the old agreement’s nonproliferation assurances and controls expired when that agreement terminated, but the United States has taken the position that all nonproliferation assurances and rights have continued in perpetuity, notwithstanding the expiration of the former agreement.

In addition, Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act requires that a number of conditions, assurances, and controls be included in all U.S. peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements with non-nuclear-weapon states, including full-scope safeguards and a right of the United States to approve the reprocessing of nuclear material subject to the agreement. India may resist giving the United States such a right or insist that the United States give advance, long-term consent to such reprocessing. Most importantly, India clearly will not agree to Atomic Energy Act-required full-scope safeguards because this would mean, in effect, renouncing its nuclear weapons.


If the United States and India negotiate a new peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement without an Indian full-scope safeguards commitment, the president would have to submit an agreement to Congress that does not meet all the Section 123 requirements. In that case, both houses of Congress must approve the agreement by majority vote. In doing so, Congress could impose conditions on the entry into force or implementation of the agreement.

Moreover, even if Congress approved such an agreement without requiring any conditions, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would still have to license significant nuclear exports in accordance with criteria set forth in Sections 127 and 128 of the Atomic Energy Act. Section 128 requires full-scope safeguards. If India does not have safeguards on all its nuclear activities, the president would have to authorize an export by executive order and submit the executive order to Congress for review for 60 days of continuous session, during which time Congress could decide to reject the proposal or impose conditions on its implementation.

In addition, Section 129 of the Atomic Energy Act requires the termination of nuclear exports to a non-nuclear-weapon state that the president finds, among other things, to have “detonated a nuclear explosive device” or to have engaged in activities involving nuclear material and “having direct significance for the manufacture or acquisition of a nuclear explosive device, and [which] has failed to take steps which, in the president’s judgment, represent sufficient progress toward terminating such activities.” The president may waive this requirement if he determines that cessation of such exports would be seriously prejudicial to the achievement of U.S. nonproliferation objectives or otherwise jeopardize the common defense and security. This waiver also is subject to congressional review.

If Congress approved a new U.S.-Indian peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement without the full-scope safeguards requirement and without liberalizing the Atomic Energy Act’s nuclear export licensing provisions, the United States could, in theory, engage in new nuclear cooperation with India by using the waivers noted above. Yet, waiving the relevant provisions of Sections 128 and 129 of the Atomic Energy Act would hardly allow U.S. nuclear cooperation with India to take place on a stable, reliable, and predictable basis. Therefore, as a practical matter, in order to engage in such nuclear cooperation with India, the administration is likely to ask Congress to amend the act.

Bush has scheduled a visit to India for early 2006 that will put pressure on his administration to persuade Congress to act fairly soon and to start the process of negotiations with India. Yet, the task of convincing Congress to approve a new U.S.-Indian peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement or to amend the Atomic Energy Act may prove difficult.

In July, the House Energy and Commerce Committee adopted an amendment to an energy bill that a House-Senate conference committee was considering. That amendment would have prohibited any export of nuclear technology or equipment to India and other countries that had detonated a nuclear weapon and not signed the NPT. The Senate members of the House-Senate conference committee ultimately rejected the measure, but the members of the House have vowed to pursue their opposition to the Bush-Singh nuclear agreement.

Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas), who chaired the conference committee, said with regard to the amendment, “This is a way for the House to send a signal on this particular treaty.”

In addition, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) did not appear eager to embrace the joint declaration when he said that he expected the White House to explain how the change would affect overall U.S. nuclear policy and warned that “[w]e’re going to have a lot of conversations.”

In a September hearing of the House International Relations Committee, Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) said, “[F]ew, if any, members appear to have been clamoring in these dangerous and uncertain times for the administration to peremptorily re-write the rules of the global nonproliferation order that have well-served U.S. interests for over three decades,” and that “the timing as well as the reasoning underlying this agreement appear to many on Capitol Hill as hurried and perhaps unrealistic.”

These various hurdles that the administration will confront, plus the domestic difficulties that the Indian government may face in implementing the pledges it made in the joint declaration, mean that the two sides are likely to face a long and difficult trek in putting the joint declaration into effect. In addition, how the two governments will sequence their various commitments in implementing the joint declaration is unclear.

For example, in a July 19 briefing, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns offered an indication of U.S. views on that point, saying, “It will have to be implemented by the Indian government and then we will have to seek these changes from Congress and we’ll also have to have conversations with our allies and partners in the Nuclear Suppliers [Group].” On the other hand, India’s Atomic Energy Commission chairman, Anil Kakodkar, has said that, “[b]efore we take up any reciprocal steps, we have to closely watch what happens to the U.S. laws on restrictions and lifting of embargo and the [NSG] front.”


On balance, if the Bush administration is able to implement the joint declaration without significant modification, it will have given the Indians a great deal—acknowledgment as a de facto nuclear-weapon state and access to the international nuclear energy market—in return for largely symbolic concessions in the nonproliferation area.

The Indian concession to separate military and civilian facilities and to place civil facilities under IAEA safeguards could add very little value to the global nonproliferation regime. Moreover, India, not the United States nor the international community, will determine which Indian facilities to designate as civilian and place under safeguards and what kind of safeguards agreement(s) will apply. The joint declaration does not call for India to cease production of weapons-grade plutonium or HEU, thus allowing India to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal.

The administration has settled for Indian support for negotiating an FMCT, which could be protracted, rather than insisting on India soon capping the production of unsafeguarded fissile material. As Joseph has stated, “[W]e will continue to encourage additional steps, such as India’s acceptance of a fissile material production moratorium or cap, but we will not insist on it for the purposes of the civil nuclear cooperation initiative announced by the president and prime minister.”

The full ramifications that the U.S.-Indian joint declaration will have on the international nonproliferation regime are not yet clear, and any ill consequences could be limited by conditions imposed by Congress. Lawmakers could tie U.S. implementation of the joint declaration to an Indian commitment to halt the production of weapons materials. They could also require convincing evidence that an exception from the full-scope safeguards requirement for India is fully acceptable to the NSG and will not lead to an erosion of the principle that full-scope safeguards will remain a mandatory condition for nuclear trade with non-nuclear-weapon states. Furthermore, Congress could also reject any administration request to exempt India from the requirement of safeguards in perpetuity or allow India to use a voluntary agreement. Insisting on facility-specific safeguards rather than a voluntary offer would eliminate the possibility that such facilities could be removed from safeguards and avoid the image that India has achieved the same status as NPT nuclear-weapon states.

If the NSG endorses a special full-scope exception for India while keeping the rest of the regime in place, this could counter concerns that the Bush initiative will result in a serious erosion of the nuclear supplier rules. On the other hand, if other suppliers, particularly non-nuclear-weapon states, insist on maintaining full-scope safeguards as a condition of supply to India, the whole initiative could fail. Worse still, if some suppliers try to exploit the U.S. initiative for commercial purposes to pursue previously off-limit markets, it could wreak serious damage to the nonproliferation regime.

The administration’s initiative comes on the heels of various other actions that have raised serious doubts about its support for the nonproliferation regime: its rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, its downplaying of the value of IAEA safeguards in the run-up to the war in Iraq, its contention that an FMCT cannot be verified, and its refusal at the 2005 NPT Review Conference to reaffirm disarmament commitments that the United States made at a similar conference in 2000. Many critics and countries are already attacking the Bush administration for these past actions, and this latest initiative may only add to their doubts about the U.S. commitment to advancing nonproliferation objectives.

Fred McGoldrick and Harold Bengelsdorf are partners in the consulting firm Bengelsdorf, McGoldrick and Associates, LLC. Both were career officials who held senior positions in the Department of State, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Lawrence Scheinman is distinguished professor at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, D.C., and was formerly assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.




Addressing Today's Nuclear Nonproliferation Challenges: Iran, North Korea, and the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal



Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Friday, September 16, 2005
9:00 A.M. - 10:30 A.M.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Washington, D.C.



John S. Wolf, President, Eisenhower Fellowships.

Minister Counselor Morten Aasland, Embassy of Norway.

Lawrence Scheinman, Distinguished Professor, Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.


Transcript by:

Federal News Service

Washington , D.C.


DARYL KIMBALL: Welcome to this morning’s Arms Control Association Press Briefing on addressing today’s nuclear nonproliferation challenges. I am Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. ACA is a private, nonpartisan organization that was established in 1971 to educate the public about effective arms control and nonproliferation strategies. We’ve organized this morning’s session at this time because we remain deeply concerned about the world’s multiple nuclear weapons challenges and threats and the failure of the world’s leading states to agree on what we consider to be a balanced and effective action plan to strengthen the beleaguered nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and associated mechanisms such as export control regimes. In a moment, I’m going to turn over the microphone to our expert panelists and then we’re going to take your questions.

But first, I want to set the stage for why we have these three speakers, why we’re covering the topics that we’re covering today, and what issues we think U.S. policymakers in Congress and the executive branch and elsewhere need to think about addressing more seriously. Now, just a few months ago, the UN High Level Panel, cited the effect of the resumption of North Korea’s nuclear weapons-related activities, Iran’s advanced nuclear program, black market nuclear trading, and the specter of nuclear terrorism, growing stockpiles of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium, regional rivalries involving nuclear-armed states, and the failure of the nuclear-weapon states to respect and fully implement their NPT-related disarmament obligations, and the panel concluded “We are approaching a point at which the erosion of the nuclear nonproliferation regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation.”

And as we, the Arms Control Association, noted in a statement that we released last April, which is in your packet, successfully addressing these and other challenges will require a new and unprecedented degree of international cooperation and leadership, beginning with the United States. Several Republican and Democratic members of the House and the Senate have heard our call that we issued back in April and have introduced legislation calling for action on several specific nonproliferation and disarmament measures, and one of those resolutions, the text of which is also in your packet, was offered by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Hagel.

But today, on the 16 th of September, we see that the UN Millennium Summit has failed to provide any recommendations or findings in their historic summit document on nonproliferation and disarmament. They were unable to agree to specific provisions on conventional arms, on halting the transfer of weapons of mass destruction to terrorists, or advancing nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament goals. According to Secretary General Kofi Annan, “There were governments that were not willing to make the concessions necessary…There were spoilers, let’s be quite honest about that.”

This comes on the heels of the disappointing nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference last May at which the member states also failed to put together an action plan to strengthen the NPT regime. I would note that in particular at that meeting, and apparently again in the past few weeks, the United States, as it did at the NPT, rejected references in the summit document to disarmament obligations of the nuclear-weapon states under the NPT, which then opened the door for other states to jump in the summit document negotiations with their own changes and objections. So in my view, and I think the view of many of the members of the Arms Control Association’s board members, these developments will make it all the more difficult to strengthen an already beleaguered nonproliferation system and will make it all the more difficult to persuade other states to foreclose their nuclear options as long as the United States and other weapons states insist on preserving and even enhancing theirs.

And then finally, and this is one of the other topics of today’s briefing, the United States now is seeking to rewrite the U.S. law and policies of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to allow full civilian nuclear cooperation with nuclear-armed India, even though India does not allow for full-scope nuclear safeguards, continues to produce fissile material for weapons, and has not agreed to support any meaningful new, nuclear restraint measure in the July 18 th summit document between Prime Minister Singh and President Bush. So, I think Secretary General Annan hit the nail on the head when he said that the UN members’ inability to adopt measures on disarmament and nonproliferation at the UN summit and elsewhere is a “real disgrace,” and that he hopes world leaders would see this “as a real signal to pick up the ashes and show leadership.”

So we’ve gathered here today three panelists with different backgrounds, experience from the United States and elsewhere, to comment on these developments, to provide their perspectives. Our first panelist is going to be John Wolf, who until quite recently has been on the frontlines of these policy debates. He is currently the president of the Eisenhower Fellowships and he was, from 2001 to 2004, the assistant secretary of State for nonproliferation among other important duties, which are described in his bio in your packet. And I would just add that while John has expressed views in the past that are not always in sync with those of the Arms Control Association, one thing that we really appreciate is his commitment to he Nonproliferation Treaty, and we do appreciate your presence here and your willingness to share your thoughts at this session.

Our second panelist represents one of the several governments that has sought to forge international agreement to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation system. Minister Counselor Morten Aasland of the Embassy of Norway is here to discuss Norway’s efforts, along with a diverse group of six other nations from non-nuclear and nuclear states, northern states and southern states, to build support for their action plan to strengthen the NPT, and he is also going to try and describe why achieving agreement on such an action plan has been so difficult and what must be done to forge ahead in the international arena.

And our third panelist, last but not least, is Larry Scheinman who is with the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He was the assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency during the Clinton administration with prime responsibility for nonproliferation and arms control. He has had 25 years of experience on nuclear issues and international affairs. Larry is going to help us with an analysis of the proposed U.S.-India nuclear cooperation deal and what the implications of that deal might be for the international nonproliferation order.

So with that, let’s start with John. Welcome, the podium is all yours. And then after we hear from all three speakers, we’ll go to your questions. Thanks.

JOHN WOLF: Thank you, Daryl. I guess I should start by saying a couple of things. Unlike many of the people in this room, I am not an expert on a lot of these matters. I learned a great deal though from my associates when I was assistant secretary for non-proliferation – unfortunately the last assistant secretary for non-proliferation. But I learned a great deal from my colleagues and associates and we’ll talk about some of that today. I don’t represent a government. I proudly did for 34 years. And today I don’t represent Eisenhower Fellowships, of which I am president, because that’s not what Eisenhower Fellowships do.

My task today though is to talk about strengthening the non-proliferation regime and for today’s purpose, Daryl and I agree that I’d probably do best to just focus on one piece, and that is the health of the NPT, where things stand today, and probably tipping my hand just a little bit for what I’m about to say, the steps that I think that the international community can take to revitalize this critical cornerstone of the international nonproliferation and arms control architecture. I don’t propose to wallow through the failed NPT conference last May. I think there is ample fault to go around. Both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states share responsibility for the missed opportunity, and it was a missed opportunity, as were the discussions in the run-up to this week’s UN summit, which Daryl just described.

I think the world is caught in what I guess I could just best describe as a dialogue of the deaf, if you could use those words together. The NPT really should provide stability and a path for cooperation and the means for action to deal with real-world threats to world peace and security, and instead it’s become a foil for mind-numbing diatribes. When the treaty was negotiated, it had non-acquisition, disarmament, and peaceful uses as three integral parts of one unified whole, and I fear on various sides, there are efforts to break the treaty back into three pieces, and each side would focus on one, toss away the other, and ignore the third. That’s not a path for success.

So let’s start with non-acquisition. NPT is shorthand for the treaty for the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, and that should make clear what the central purpose of the treaty is. In the real world, there are real threats, real breaches of treaty obligations by countries that are both within the NPT and now outside the NPT orbit. And there is a continuing problem posed by nuclear-capable states that were never a part of the treaty. In a number of speeches that I made as the U.S. representative to NPT preparatory meetings and other meetings in 2002, 2003, and 2004, we caution that a treaty that is observed in the breach is a treaty that will fail and that will have serious consequences for all. We caution that states ought not to be selective in their application of the treaty. It’s meant to be a universal template and that may be uncomfortable for individual states in individual bilateral relations, but it was always meant to avoid one-off exceptions that undercut global standards meant to provide global confidence and stability.

Adherence to the treaty really should mean that the international community will not tolerate the acquisition of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology or the exports of such, and that intolerance really should apply to countries within and outside the treaty. The idea was to stop additions to the number of states with weapons and to start and, in due course, conclude nuclear disarmament by those with weapons. The view in the 1960s – and I was pretty young then but I share that view now – the view is that the world would be safer without nuclear weapons. The treaty fails if it differentiates or if members try to differentiate between good states who can be trusted with nuclear weapons and all others. We have never been further from the treaty’s goals and we are moving in the wrong direction.

Well, I firmly support the many measures that President Bush has outlined to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. These include continuing to strengthen the IAEA and universal adherence to additional protocols. This includes adherence by the United States, so I’m disheartened by interagency indolence that is undercutting the president’s commitment. It means strengthening innovative, pluralistic mechanisms like the Proliferation Security Initiative, and it means faithful adherence to Resolution 1540, which is binding on all UN member states, those inside the NPT, and those outside. It means finding a means to end the spread of technologies that enable more countries to reprocess nuclear fuel or to enrich uranium. These are key enabling technologies for acquiring fissile materials. But we need to assure fuel supplies for peaceful nuclear uses and we need to be serious about negotiating a verifiable fissile material cutoff treaty, and to get those producing such materials to stop. It’s time for Washington and the non-aligned to stop speaking as if only one side had truth and history on its side.

Certainly, the NPT is about more than compliance issues. Non-weapon states are correct for tweaking the P5 about their obscure path toward nuclear disarmament as a target of Article VI of the treaty, and there are legitimate concerns about the sui generis status of India, Pakistan, Israel, and now North Korea outside the treaty. But what is most of concern is the palpable unwillingness to call to account those who are cheating. Tolerating or excusing countries’ attempts to acquire weapons capabilities will certainly shrink opportunities for developing countries to use nuclear materials for peaceful purposes. Tolerating or conniving in the proliferation activities by one’s own nationals could, I think, and should lead to such countries being fenced off from high-tech trade and perhaps greater isolation.

The kind of groupthink mentality that refuses to confront proliferation, or which tries to rationalize it, is counterproductive. And why do I say that? Because the spread of nuclear weapons to additional sovereign states is actually a far greater threat to countries in the proliferator’s neighborhoods than it is to the United States. However, we’re all threatened when proliferation and nuclear weapons acquisition is in the direction of non-state actors – terrorists – and to states that have supported terrorism as an element of statecraft.

Now, as regards disarmament, and certainly for the United States – and I’m not an expert – but I’m told there is a better story that we could tell, and more that we could do. It could be that the United States is actually doing a better job meeting its Article VI disarmament obligations than it admits. It could be that we shield the actual progress we’re making in deactivating materials, as well as what we’re doing and intend to do in regard to the actual transformation of fissile materials. Why the obfuscation? Is it just to keep our options open? With our overwhelming conventional capabilities, do we really need to do that? I’m on the side of those who think we should be more transparent. I’m on the side of those who think we can do more. I think it would give us greater leverage to generate more commitment internationally to confront and corral states attempting to go down the nuclear weapons path.

But I also think that more worrisome are two U.S. policy initiatives and the concerns that are shared by many, some in the United States including in Congress, and many abroad. One set of concerns relates to the department of Energy’s program to research a new penetrator warhead. Far more worrisome though is the proposed change in weapons doctrine that envisions using nuclear weapons for WMD pre-emption. Probably one needs to say only one word – Iraq – to raise a huge scarlet warning flag about the risks of such a policy change. In 2003, our commanders and civilian leaders were convinced there would be a chemical weapons response to any military action in 2003, and so we laid down a bright red line, saying how we would respond. Suppose instead some had argued to use nuclear weapons pre-emptively, and suppose we had. What would have been the implications of doing so and being wrong? Whoops is not a good enough response.

There are a dozen or more countries around the world in violation of their Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention obligations. Few directly threaten the United States, but a number have seriously strained relations with their neighbors, some of which also have clandestine WMD programs. But what’s the message that the United States with its huge conventional capabilities, far-flung intelligence capabilities – we can contemplate nuclear pre-emption? But others, with much more at risk and far fewer capabilities – shouldn’t have the option? Perhaps in a one-dimensional world such thinking makes sense, but that’s not the world that we live in. We need to do a better job shifting the terms of the debate back to the treaty’s basics so it’s non-acquisition, whereas I said, I think the U.S. has made a strong case and proposed a number of measures that should be pursued.

Disarmament – we can tell the story better on what we’re doing and we need to do more and be more transparent. We need to be serious about a fissile material cutoff treaty. My sense is that our negotiators will need to have a whole lot more fire put into their bellies than the lukewarm diplo-speak that they now have. That needs to include verification. How can one pass the smile test in Geneva, saying that an FMCT cannot be verified while insisting vis-à-vis North Korea and Iran that effective verification is essential to any credible outcome.

Even beyond those areas, we need to do more to broaden the peaceful uses. Few developing countries will use nuclear power for power generation, and even fewer will have any reason to enrich or reprocess. But the way the debate is now framed is whether they have a right. And now we’re seen as trying to take that right away. We need to change the terms of the debate. We need to find practical ways to cooperate with countries. I think we should go back to President Eisenhower’s original Atoms for Peace concept; update it to focus on industrial, medical, agricultural, and other uses of the atom. Let’s talk about something concrete that countries could get in exchange if they shelve insistence on their right to enrich and reprocess. Let’s put practical alternatives and real resources into this. Certainly, the dollars one might spend giving others a finite stake in the nuclear debate are far fewer than the billions we have to spend to stop proliferators ourselves.

It’s been fashionable recently to talk a lot about counter-proliferation, but that’s really a defensive concept. Nonproliferation done right is bigger. It requires more resources. It requires more work. It requires better diplomacy. But in the end, I think you get a better result. At Eisenhower Fellowships, we say that dialogue leads to understanding, and understanding sets the basis for collaboration that can yield a more prosperous, just, and peaceful world. Dialogue requires listening, not just talking, a lesson we should add to our efforts to build up an international coalition working to strengthen the implementation of the nonproliferation treaty in all its aspects. To get collaboration in action, we’re going to need understanding, and that means we need to have serious two-way dialogue. It can’t be selective. We have to be consistent, whether the discussion is in capitals or whether it’s within the UN system. Time is short. There’s much to do. Thank you.


MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much, John, for those refreshing thoughts. Minister Counselor Aasland, you’re up next.

MORTEN AASLAND: Good morning. Thank you, Daryl, and thank you for inviting me to this panel and to speak at the distinguished Arms Control Association. I’d like to say that the ACA is at the forefront when it comes to advocating arms control measures and you provide quality analysis that I know that my colleagues working with these issues in Oslo use very frequently. And it’s an honor for me to be on this panel with two gentlemen with such very distinguished careers.

I would like to share with you Norway’s experience over the last few months with what has been a practical diplomatic effort to find pragmatic ways forward out of the present impasse, because it is pretty much an impasse with regard to global multilateral nonproliferation and disarmament efforts. Let me first say that it seems also to us, as stated by the Arms Control Association in the flyer for this event, and also, I think, very much now by John Wolf, that it is our assessment or point of departure for what we’ve done that the nuclear weapon have and have-nots are drifting apart, and that this is happening at a time when we know the challenges with regard to nuclear proliferation facing all countries are growing more severe. In short, the overall available international instruments and our political will to use them effectively and develop them does not keep up with proliferation trends and challenges that are on the rise. And this is reason for grave concern.

My view, obviously, is quite close to what you were both saying, so you’re not going to get a panel here with sparks of disagreement flying. Many of us shared a deep frustration over the failed 2005 NPT Review Conference in New York in May. There were different views, however, on the degree of failure. Some claimed that the conference was not really a failure after all, and that at least there were very good substantive discussions. My government does not share that last assessment. We believe that in May, an important opportunity was missed to strengthen the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and make needed progress in nuclear disarmament.

Another opportunity to articulate political will and set direction was again, unfortunately, lost at the World Summit in New York this week, which in the end does not at all address disarmament and nonproliferation in its outcome document. We agree with Secretary General Kofi Annan when he summed up the whole summit agenda before heads of state and government on Wednesday, and I would like to quote very briefly from him. He said, “our biggest challenge and our biggest failing is on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. Twice this year, at the NPT review conference and now at this summit, we have allowed posturing to get in the way of results. This is inexcusable. Weapons of mass destruction pose a grave danger to us all, particularly in a world threatened by terrorists with global ambitions and no inhibitions. We must pick up the pieces in order to renew negotiations on this vital issue.

There is talk, and it was alluded to now, about an erosion of confidence in the whole NPT bargain. We subscribe to the view that the state of affairs in the multilateral disarmament machinery and with regard to the NPT is very disappointing. On the other hand, and I believe this is an important political message, we should refrain ourselves from undermining further the confidence in the NPT. The legal rights and obligations of the NPT remain and the three pillars remain. Nonproliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses are all essential and part of a whole.

A few words then on the so-called Seven Nation Initiative that Norway has headed up at the United Nations these past months. Shortly after the review conference in May, Norway’s foreign minister was asked by the secretary general to take the lead in developing as strong as language as possible on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation for the summit outcome document. We knew that this would not be an easy thing. The impasse in New York in May was still very much present, and the fact that non-parties to the NPT would also have a say in the negotiations on the outcome document would make this even more complicated, obviously. Still, it was decided to make an effort and basically to do three things – work the text initially with a limited, selected number of countries representing different views and different situations with regard to the possession of nuclear weapons or not. Secondly, then work to get all, or as many as possible, UN members on board. Thirdly, maintain as much as possible of the substance of this text through the final phase of the negotiations for the outcome document.

Now, the composition of the core group merits perhaps a little bit of attention. It was quite clear for us that they had to come from different regions and represent different views. An initiative or a paper sponsored by Western, like-minded countries alone would obviously not fly and not promote a broad consensus, so we invited the following six countries: Australia, Chile, Indonesia, Romania, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Those who follow the NPT process will know that these countries have quite different perspectives on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. Indonesia and South Africa have for many years been at the forefront of the Nonaligned Movement, the NAM. South Africa is part of the New Agenda Coalition, which has been pushing some of these issues in a UN setting. It was crucial for us to have Indonesia and South Africa on board. At the same time, it was felt that it was essential to have a nuclear power. Those who follow the NPT will know that the U.K. has remained committed to the disarmament obligations adopted at the review conference in 2000.

The seven nation negotiations on a joint ministerial declaration, as well as negotiations on a specific text for the outcome document for the heads of state and government, were not easy. They were hard. And the two texts were obviously compromises. Not surprisingly, upon circulation in New York, a number of countries asked us why did you not have stronger language, for example, on the IAEA additional protocol? Others asked, why did you not have stronger advocacy of full implementation of past disarmament commitments, et cetera. Further examples could be added. We would agree that the text was not ideal. It was a common denominator, but it was not the lowest common denominator. It did provide a bottom-up path toward a possible consensus on the pragmatic package of first steps, and the alternative, of course, was not a full Christmas tree where everybody could hang their favorite decoration, but no tree at all.

As things proceeded in New York, a very large number of countries on short notice expressed support and rallied to the text and the text was also adopted as a basis for negotiations for the outcome document. These negotiations were also difficult. The non-NPT states had very strong views. Norway all along kept in very close touch with the United States government, both at very high levels and on a running basis with the State Department, and in New York. But, I will reveal no secret if I say that some of our proposals or some of the proposals in the texts did not receive strong support or ovation in Washington. Negotiations went on until this week, until heads of state and government arrived in New York. But they did not lead to consensus and the result was, as you alluded to, that there is no section at all on disarmament and nonproliferation in the outcome document. As in the case with the NPT review conference, political differences proved too large and there was not enough will to overcome or put aside differences. A small group of countries had very strong views or have very strong views on some issues, and those views are not acceptable for others. They are either, in particular, linked to stronger or full commitment to disarmament efforts or the primacy, if I may say so, of nonproliferation efforts on the other hand.

I will not run through the substantial elements of the proposed summit document. They are available and we can make them available afterwards if you want to. One last word – where do we stand now? We regret, of course, that the World Summit did not seize this opportunity. A clear message from heads of state and government would have been important. It would have provided political commitment and push and helped set direction. However, while unsuccessful in terms of the outcome document, we do believe that this initiative and the rallying around it did outline a practical approach toward making progress, which is strongly needed, as we all know. It also signaled the value of a cross-regional and cross-group approach and the merits of a fresh approach in the multilateral UN disarmament machinery, which we all know is not a fast-moving machinery. And we also feel that it has helped develop consensus. It’s also put pressure on some countries that we might call holdouts, which is not unimportant.

So Norway will continue to work on these issues. We organized two weeks ago a workshop in Oslo with 24 NPT parties, selected from all regions, exploring ways to continue. Efforts will go on, of course, in various fora, including in various parts of the UN, in the IAEA, and elsewhere. I’ll just mention one specific example, and that is the issue of using the IAEA to promote a proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycle. Norway circulated a paper at the NPT review conference in May calling for reduced use of enriched uranium in the civilian sector, with a total ban as a long-term objective. In parallel, we should follow up nonproliferation efforts through the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540, including very importantly assistance to developing countries in fulfilling their obligations under that Security Council resolution. We must also seek to universalize the guidelines of the Proliferation Security Initiative, and it’s important, of course, that this not be seen as a Western or a United States project. And we will continue work to strengthen relevant export control regimes like the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which Norway is chairing at this moment.

The present situation with regard to multilateral negotiating efforts on nonproliferation and disarmament is unsatisfactory and it is an untenable situation. The relationship between challenges and escalating trends and available instruments and the degree to which we put them to use is not a satisfactory one. Secondly, we attempted with the other countries in this core group to proceed in a practical manner in the multilateral arena. We felt that approach was worthwhile. Something was achieved. It was unsuccessful in New York, of course, but consensus was built to quite a degree. A path was once again pointed to and there was rallying around a step-by-step practical, pragmatic approach. I think I’ll end right there. Thank you very much.


MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Morten. Now, our third speaker, Larry Scheinman. I just want to say before you come up that we like to change the lineup of our panels that ACA puts together, but we’ve made an exception for Larry. I think this is the third time that you’ve helped us out with a panel discussion in the last three or four years because you are so knowledgeable about so many things. This morning, I also want to thank you for being here because you’ve had to overcome some sickness. So Larry is dedicated to the cause and a true trooper. I welcome you to the podium.

LARRY SCHEINMAN: I will start out by denying everything that Daryl just said, especially about being knowledgeable. I was asked if I would talk to the question of the recent decision by the United States to change policy regarding civil nuclear cooperation with a country that is not accepting full-scope safeguards, let alone not being an NPT party. I think it can be said that there’s a general sharing of the objective on all sides of the issues of the purpose of trying to counterbalance the rise of Chinese power and to enhance cooperation in the field of counterterrorism when it comes to the U.S. decision to move forward in a new way with India and the civil nuclear fuel cycle sector.

For me and my colleagues, the problem is that in doing so, the United States is either in a position of having to seek or is actively seeking, depending on how you want to characterize that, to reverse decades-old counter-proliferation policy. Removing obstacles to civil nuclear cooperation with India is anchored on the proposition that as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology and a strong commitment to weapons of mass destruction proliferation, ceasing that, India should share the same benefits and advantages as other such states. To do this entails adjusting long-standing laws and policies of the United States, requiring congressional approval and acquiescence of allies and friends to altering regime policies the United States, in particular, has devoted years of time and effort and diplomatic energy to establish. And as one of the people who has been in this business since almost shortly after the NPT was brought into the public marketplace, I feel very strongly about that shift in approach.

For many, the questions are whether the objective, the strengthening of ties with India in economic, military, and in scientific fields, could have been achieved without compromising important nonproliferation principles, norms, and policies, whether India’s concessions in the nonproliferation sector are significant enough to justify the accommodations to which the United Stats has now committed itself, and what the impact this agreement might have on the nonproliferation regime at large. There’s been an outpouring of opinion and analysis on this subject here and abroad, including, of course, in India, and a forthcoming article in Arms Control Today -- by my colleagues Fred McGoldrick and Harold Bengelsdorf and I -- is one. In our view, if the administration implements the joint agreement without modification, we will have given India a great deal – effective acknowledgement as a de facto nuclear-weapon state, whatever language or terminology one chooses to use, and access to the international nuclear market – in return for what we regard to be largely symbolic concessions in the nonproliferation area. Now, I admit that if you look at the Indian press, you get a totally 180-degree different position: “Why are we doing these things and making these concessions to the United States on the chance that the United States may be able to successfully bring about this change of policy and make it an operational fact?”

These symbolic concessions to which I refer, include the following: to place civil facilities as, and I underscore this, as defined by India and not by the United States or the international community, under IAEA safeguards, the nature of which isn’t specified. I will come back to that point. This could add very little in fact to the nonproliferation regime. Another symbolic concession is to act responsibly in the field of nuclear export, in particular in the area of sensitive technology, enrichment and reprocessing. I say this is symbolic because India already does this. This is not new. This is not taking a step forward. This is simply confirming that India has been in this respect largely a reliable member of the team to prevent the spread of technologies which put us all at risk. To maintain a nuclear testing moratorium is a third concession that has been made in this agreement, but this is something that India has already committed to. They’re not changing course. They’re not saying, “Well, we’ve been on the wrong path and now we need to take a different strategy.” And finally, to work with the United States for conclusion of a multilateral fissile material cutoff treaty, which India has been supporting the negotiation of for some time and probably is very happy to join in this objective now that the United States has said this is not a verifiable treaty if in fact it ever gets consummated.

In short, what is positive and good on the side of India is not really new or a breakthrough, but what is being granted by the United States in return is. What is not conceded arguably overrides what is committed to or, as I said, reaffirmed. In particular, the commitment to halt the production of weapons material, that is to say, a moratorium, that word doesn’t appear in this agreement. And, as we understand it, India was pressed to stop producing now as the United States has stopped producing, and the other nuclear-weapon states have stopped producing fissile material for weapons purposes. India said that’s not something that could be on the table. So the commitment to halt the production of nuclear material in the period leading up to the conclusion of a fissile material cutoff treaty is not there. This is something that would have given further leverage on Pakistani policies and practices. In addition, there is no mention of the Proliferation Security Initiative to which the previous two speakers alluded. A commitment to strong physical protection standards vis-à-vis facilities where weapons-useable materials are located on Indian territory or in locations under its control are not there, but they would have been important additions and these would have been taking it a step beyond where India is today.

And what is left uncertain and problematic among the positive aspects relates to the separation of civil and military facilities on the one hand, and safeguards on the other. As I mentioned a moment ago, the separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities is a matter of Indian decision and acceptance of separation in principle is already under attack in India. Former Prime Minister Vajpayee has questioned acceptance of this principle, and others, such as Mr. Prasad, have noted that separation means having to have dedicated – (audio break, tape change) -- facilities for military purposes that would end up being kept underutilized when not producing materials for nuclear weapons – a costly venture for India, given that it is operating on the principle of minimum deterrence and depends today on incremental acquisition of material from existing civilian nuclear facilities beyond the Dhruva and Cirus research reactors that can provide dedicated supplies.

As for expanded safeguards on facilities designated as civilian, while that is a plus, the question left unaddressed is, what kind of safeguards are we talking about? In theory there are two possibilities. One is a voluntary safeguards agreement along the lines of what the five nuclear-weapon states recognized by the NPT have already employed; that is to say, a voluntary declaration of facilities that either are considered civilian, either all civilian facilities, as is the case with the United States and the United Kingdom, or selected facilities, as is the case with the other three weapons states. So one possibility is to have a voluntary safeguards agreement and use that as a means by which to place whatever civilian facilities are designated under IAEA verification.

The other alternative is a facility-specific safeguards agreement under what’s called Information Circular 66, which is the safeguards document that prevailed prior to the negotiation of the conclusion of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which called for comprehensive or full-scope safeguards.

The nice part about the INFCIRC/66 facility approach is that safeguards are in perpetuity once the safeguards are applied to the facility. That’s the fundamental difference between that kind of an approach and a voluntary arrangement approach. Under the voluntary arrangement approach if one comes to the conclusion that a facility placed under safeguards is now needed for national security or national defense purposes, it can be removed from the list. So it’s really kind of an under-which-shell-is-the-pea kind of approach to the problem.

So in the case of voluntary safeguards, it’s possible, as I say, for the state to withdraw facilities and safeguards for national security reasons, whereas in the case of INFCIRC/66, it is not. The importance of my making this observation will become clear in a moment.

There is, in addition, the question of adherence to the additional protocol to safeguards that was agreed by the IAEA board of governors in 1997, and that is progressively but slowly moving toward becoming the norm for safeguards. We’ve got a long way to go. More access to information, more access to locations is provided by the additional protocol, but none of the three de facto nuclear-weapon states – India, Israel or Pakistan – have bit the bullet on this one, whereas the nuclear-weapon states recognized by the NPT at this point have in varying degrees.

Adherence to the additional protocol in the context of whatever safeguards agreement they come to conclude with the IAEA could be added significance to the legitimacy of safeguards worldwide, and that would be an important contribution that India could make in this regard.

In our article we also discussed the implementation of this kind of an agreement under U.S. law. The Atomic Energy Act, which requires that significant nuclear exports be pursuant to an agreement for civil nuclear cooperation, is something that does not currently exist with India. Our earlier civil cooperation agreement expired in 1993.

For such an agreement, certain conditions have to be met. Under our law, this includes full-scope safeguards by the recipient state, which India would not accept, and therefore, a waiver would have to be required, and prior consent rights to what happens to material that’s been provided by the United States, such as for the reprocessing of spent fuel, would also be required, and that doesn’t exist at the present time. In addition to that, Nuclear Regulatory Commission export licensing requirements, which also include full-scope safeguards, would have to be dealt with, which again involves the possible need for waivers that are subject to congressional approval.

Congressional concerns have already been raised, as reflected in a House amendment of the energy bill this July that would have prohibited export of nuclear technology or equipment to countries that had detonated a nuclear weapon and not signed the NPT. Despite the fact that this amendment was rejected ultimately in conference, I believe we have not heard the last of it.

There is also the question of the Nuclear Suppliers Group that’s already been mentioned by other speakers. Indications are that key members are falling in line behind the United States. The United Kingdom already has done that. I believe Canada recently has indicated that they’re prepared to go along with this, which is a bit of a dismaying event considering that the Canadians were probably burned harder by the Indians than anybody else had been in the past when the Indians took Canadian assistance for civil purposes and used it to produce the material that was used to detonate the device in 1974 under the label, “peaceful nuclear explosion.”

What is particularly important here is what message the United States initiative gives to other group members, and how in the longer run the longstanding effort to bring suppliers to adopt a common set of rules of the game regarding exports will fare. If the United States can move along the path of exceptionalism with respect to one country, what assurance is there that other NSG countries might not follow the same example with respect to states with whom they have special interests?

I might mention in passing here that having come to the conclusion that we have this agreement with India and hoping that the Indian government will fall in line behind some basic thinking on these issues with the United States, the headline in the newspaper that I saw the other day was that India supports the Iranian position that Iran has the right to proceed with the full nuclear fuel cycle.

On that, by the way, I think I agree very much with something that John Wolf said. I’d put it slightly differently. I was the policy advisor to the study that was done by the IAEA on multilateral nuclear alternatives, and the one thing I came away from that meeting, which involved 26 countries, was don’t try to fight this issue on the matter of inalienable rights. Find another way to get at the problem. You lose on inalienable rights. The moment you say you don’t have an inalienable right – which many people here have said is the case – you’re up against not Iran; you’re up against Iran plus about 110 or more countries, all of them unaligned, as well as the Canadians and the Australians, who say, wait a minute, you know, we may not be there yet but we may want to be there at some point, and we have the right to proceed down that road, consistent with our obligations under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. So there’s a problem that arises there as well.

Beyond the Nuclear Suppliers Group issue lies the question of the potential impact of the implementation of the U.S.-Indian joint declaration on the nonproliferation regime as a whole. It opens up a whole hornet’s nest of questions and issues that need to be addressed. Our conclusion is – and I’m going to ask Hal Bengelsdorf, who, as I say, is a co-author, if he would like to perhaps add a couple of comments to this after I just reached this conclusion – is that since Congress will have to deal with this issue one way or another – i.e., responding to requests for waivers or efforts to amend our basic laws – it should take its responsibility and place appropriate conditions on any approval it might give, in particular, insistence that the safeguards to be applied to Indian civil facilities be INFCIRC/66 safeguards; that is to say, safeguards in perpetuity, which is what our law actually requires, and to mandate the administration to press for an expansive declaration of civil facilities.

In short, Congress has an opportunity to shape the future, to shape development in ways that can help to push outcomes in the direction of reinforcing nonproliferation principles and set a sufficiently high bar for exceptions of this kind to mitigate – not prevent but mitigate – the damage that will be done to the regime.

I guess the only other point I would mention here is to reinforce this notion that it’s an unfortunate and costly political decision that’s been made, and the potential to damaging the regime I believe is significant. The purpose of the objective of better relations with India could have been met, in my view and that of many others, without sacrificing the principles and objectives of nuclear nonproliferation.

Thank you.


MR. KIMBALL: Hal Bengelsdorf, if you would like to make a couple of comments.

HAL BENGELSDORF: Thanks, Larry. If you look at this thing it’s a very complex and large issue. In our Arms Control Today article, we’ve tried to do a balanced assessment. We’ve tried to put more specificity in our analysis about what the U.S. got from this deal and what procedural steps one has to go through to reach the goals. I hope you will find it a useful contribution.

But when I look at this arrangement and stand back, I see a whole series of existing or potential ironies that have to be recognized. It would of course be ironic if the U.S., which was the leader in putting together the whole NSG regime, pressing full-scope safeguards, now triggers a process where there’s an erosion of those norms. That’s not the intent, but one worries whether people will ask for other exceptions. One worries whether the Russians might use the Indian example to further rationalize and defend their relationships with Iran.

I find it ironic that the administration has said that it doesn’t recognize India as a nuclear-weapon state, yet in many respects it is. But it goes beyond that. Where this thing sits now if nothing changes is that you have an anomalous situation where India will remain free to continue to proceed with its nuclear weapons program without any restraints, whereas all of the other nuclear-weapon states have indicated that they’re prepared to cap it.

Now, the administration and the Indians will say, “Well, the FMCT will handle that.” Well, that’s only moving fast in geologic terms. I think it would be ironic if the big guys – the French and the British and the Americans – now try to roll over the other NSG members and try to organize and get a consensus. It’s inconceivable to me at this point that this thing can be implemented in the absence of a credible NSG concurrence.

This agreement, without denying some of the movement or minimizing some of the movements that the Indians feel they face, is in a highly vulnerable state. I have great doubts whether we will achieve implementation on a timely basis unless the parties’ try to introduce greater flexibility in there.


MR. KIMBALL: Thank you.

All right, well, we’ve had three-and-a-half comments on the state of affairs. I’m sorry to make your Friday morning a little more depressing than it might usually be, but this is the world we live in.

We have plenty of time for your questions and discussion. The microphone will come to you when you raise your hand. Please identify yourself and state your question.

Yes, sir?

Q: Dan Horner from McGraw-Hill Nuclear Publications. I wanted to follow on the point of the last two speakers but direct it to Mr. Aasland, and as you, first of all, what your government’s position is on the proposed cooperation with India; and secondly, from your vantage point in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, what you see as the likely outcome within the NSG of this proposal. Thanks.

MR. AASLAND: It’s a hard question. Norway hasn’t taken a detailed position on this at all. We are involved, if you like, in particular because we now have the chairmanship of the NSG. There is a clear recognition that this is a very complicated issue, a potential torpedo, for the whole arrangement.

I think that the assessments that were made just a moment ago are assessments or considerations about what might possibly happen are ones that we share, but we have not taken a public decision on the issue so I can’t really say a lot more than that.

MR. KIMBALL: Could you just tell us, when is the next NSG meeting scheduled, and is there any clarity about whether this might even be on the agenda, or is that not yet settled?

MR. AASLAND: I’m not sure whether that’s settled. I can see if I can check into one of the background papers and come back on that.

MR. KIMBALL: Alright. Thank you.

Other questions? Have we covered everything? Yes, sir – Mr. Potman (sp).

Q: Thank you, Daryl. I’m Peter Potman from the Netherlands Embassy. I’ve got two questions, if I may. I would like to direct them to Mr. John Wolf. One is about the move that the U.S. government is now making toward India. To what extent do you believe this is another signal of the United States government, the administration, to walk away from treaty-based diplomacy and a treaty regime-based approach to security in exchange for, let’s say, more realpolitik kinds of approaches stemming perhaps – and I’m wondering what your view is of this because you were very close to it and proud of it – stemming from maybe a basic pessimism about world relations, power relations, and that therefore the conclusion has been with important policymakers that the world can only be managed by managing power relations, and that in that sense, if you can use a treaty to that effect, that’s good. If it gets in the way, you go around it, or you blow up the treaty, or you don’t engage in the treaty.

And then the FMCT I think is a case in point. My country is trying to set up a seminar on verification of an FMCT in Geneva. The U.S. administration is not prepared to send people over. So is it all part of a larger scheme, a paradigm shift, so to speak, in how to manage relations, or is that just overdrawn?

My second question is a bit more specific. You mentioned the doctrine that has now come out of the Pentagon about preemptive strikes. I thought this was simply bureaucratic inertia in the sense that the nuclear posture review of 2002 contains all these concepts – they’re not new – and the possibility of first strike or preemptive strike in a way has always been there, even before that. So to what extent – because you were saying basically that this was new and dangerous, whereas I thought that perhaps it was just –

MR. KIMBALL: Old and dangerous.

Q: Old and dangerous – (laughter) –or is it worse?

MR. WOLF: On the second question, I suppose the thinking in the bowels of the Pentagon that is not operationalized or approved at the top level is the kind of contingency thinking that’s one thing. If it turns into state policy it’s another.

Looking at your first question - and let me be real clear - I’m not speaking for or against the administration. I’m not in it. Looking at the way you phrased your question, I actually wonder whether it’s realpolitik or misguided idealism. They’re very different. I mean, the idealism says that we have these special relationships with democratic states and they’ll share our values and do everything – they’ll think just like we do, and that’s not true of our closest allies, much less countries with a history like India’s.

Walking away – if you’re right that it’s a trend to – if you’re suggesting that walking away from a treaty-based world is the way they’re going, to some new “paradigm” based on managing power relations, I guess I’m never a fan of creating new additional architecture just to have architecture, but if you take the terms of the Supreme Court discussions this week, this is really settled law. Every administration since 1970 has talked about the NPT as a cornerstone of our national security policy, or the cornerstone, and I think it would be a big mistake, as I said, were some to think that we can break the cornerstone into three pieces and move one of them around at our convenience and ignore the rest. So I hope you’re not right.

MR. KIMBALL: All right, let me just speak to the second question that Peter Potman asked on the nuclear strategy. There is a detailed analysis in this month’s Arms Control Today on that subject by Hans Kristensen, and this was actually the first place where the analysis and the findings were published, not The Washington Post. But I would just answer your question by noting that while the basic concepts that are in this joint doctrine that is being reported on are not, at the fundamental level, new, the doctrine does explicitly talk about some options under which nuclear weapons might be used in a preemptive way. So, if anything, it may not be new so much as it is more explicit, and if it is dangerous and old, it is important to keep in mind that this administration promised three, four years ago, that it would pursue a nuclear policy that deemphasized nuclear weapons. And what we see, in fact and in practice, is that the role is being maintained, and I would argue, in some ways being expanded when you take into consideration other developments relating to the development of – or the pursuit of the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator.

We had a few other hands up. Yes, ma’am? If you could wait for the microphone.

Q: I’m Katie Scowfield. I just have a question generally for the panel in regards to your opinion on the EU-3 negotiations. Is that an effective way to handle potential violators of the treaty? Should the U.S. have taken a greater role in dealing with Iran, or are our relations too botched for that? Or should a tougher stance in the EU-3 negotiations, such as taking Iran to the Security Council, be pursued?

MR. KIMBALL: Is that for any one in particular?

Q: Yeah, anyone.

MR. KIMBALL: John? Larry?

MR. SCHEINMAN: (Off mike) – in some fashion with the EU-3 in trying to promote some kind of a dialogue and approach to the Iranian problem. Basically they’re asking, what is your problem? We know what their problem is. In part, it certainly is security, or sense of security, or concern. They have a nuclear-weapon state to their left, a nuclear-weapon state to their right, a nuclear-weapon state to their north, and a big nuclear-weapon state all over the place.

So obviously security is a matter of concern, whether you’re with the ayatollahs or whether you’re even with the more liberal wing of the Iranian populace, because that is a basic concern. So you sit down and you try to work diplomatically through that kind of a problem and see if you can come to a resolution that is mutually acceptable. I think that would be the obvious way for us to try to go, and it’s clear that it’s going to be more difficult now than it had been before.

MR. KIMBALL: Anyone else want to take a shot or has Larry captured the essence?

All right, other questions. Jofi, please, and then we’ll try to get around to the back.

Q: Jofi Joseph, private consultant, formally Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff. My question is for the two members of our panel who have extensive experience in the U.S. government. Secretary Rice is proposing a merger within the State Department of the Arms Control and Nonproliferation Bureaus into a new Bureau for International Security and Negotiation. Some have argued that this is a useful organizational consolidation, essentially carrying out the recommendations of an IG report issued last year. Others argue that it will fundamentally weaken the use of American diplomacy to advance nonproliferation goals. I’m interested in your views.

MR. KIMBALL: Alright. That’s for Larry and John if you want to take a crack at it.

MR. WOLF: It’s not really a question of where the deck chairs are but it’s kind of a question who the captain is and who’s got the helm. And during my three years there I think the lines of communications were confused. The inspector general’s report was really quite detailed on some of the complicated internal battles that probably hobbled our efforts.

So whether there’s one bureau or two bureaus is not as important as what the mission is, who sets it – the secretary of state, undersecretary of state – they should be pointed in the same direction – the assistant secretary of state, and then all of the offices. And if there is a clear direction set and there is good leadership that is policy innovative, and if we use all of the tools at our disposal and not just a few selective tools, then I think, in a way, the amalgamation doesn’t matter. It may be better to amalgamate. I’ll sort of leave it at rearranging the deck chairs isn’t the thing. Who’s up in the crows nest looking for icebergs, who’s driving, and what are the instructions are much more important. The book is still open on whether we’re going to have a successful effort.

On an earlier point, I said I don’t think we should be mesmerized by the word counter-proliferation as some new term of art. Nonproliferation has everything to do with non-acquisition, the message we’re sending on disarmament, and our efforts to promote peaceful uses, and I think we need to have a robust U.S. policy that addresses all those concerns. I think we need to have a consistent U.S. policy that isn’t a policy by exception or some kind of power relationship management. We need to work within a stable system where we will be a principal architect but also a principal beneficiary. So you can read into that, and what I said earlier, all kinds of different things.


MR. SCHEINMAN: I would be inclined to agree on the general principal that John just expressed about deck chairs and captains and crows nests. But I would like to answer your question in an anecdotal fashion, if I may. In my last meeting at the National Security Council on my watch, there was an issue, which I’ll not discuss here, but there was an issue that came up, and in the course of the discussion at the NSC, it became very apparent to me very quickly that a lot of ducks had been lined up – which is not uncommon – all in one nice little row. And I intervened to make a counter-argument to why we should be doing what’s been apparently accepted.

And after I made my argument, another agency of the government, an important one, said, he’s right, and they withdrew their support – they stepped out of line with the other ducks, and that stopped this particular decision from being taken. And as I was walking back to the State Department, this colleague of mine, who was one of John’s predecessors, he said to me, Larry, when the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency is merged into the State Department, this isn’t going to happen. I said, I know, and that’s exactly why it should not be merged.

But we merged the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency into the State Department fully. We always were very closely coordinated. We always had our differences but we worked them out. And now we’re seeing the next stage of that so-called consolidation, and I think what it may do is to take away opportunities to make alternative presentations to win over a position in favor of one approach as opposed to another.

So I do get concerned when I see this happening. I’m wondering who’s going to be the losers in this, especially when I think what’s happening is taking place in the context of an administration that has a particular perspective, which has been expressed here in varying ways up to this point. Arms control is a dead terminology. It was good in the old days, but the Cold War is unnecessary now. And it’s very true that we face rather different challenges than we did 20, 30, 40 years ago, and need to adjust. The question is whether you adjust in the way that’s being done or whether you adjust in a more refined fashion.

MR. KIMBALL: Alright.

Mr. Aasland. Thank you.

MR. AASLAND: If I may add a little point on this, which has a bearing or effect on the Indian-U.S. agreement and its effect on the NSG with regard to the relationship with the institutional set up in the State Department. I think it was our impression – and from the media because this has been all over the media – that the Indian-U.S. agreement was put together with bilateral relationship considerations, and not, at least, the arms control or nonproliferation considerations, which normally would go into the discussion of that important policy shift, were perhaps not prominently present.

And again, from the media it may well be that the American follow up of this in the NSG are not sure whether they have thought through absolutely all consequences and how to take this forward. So certainly we haven’t as the chairmanship. But I’m saying this to make the broader point that of course one of the criteria perhaps of a successful reorganization is that you ensure that the nonproliferation and arms control factors that have a very important role to play in policymaking are given an institutional setup internally that allows that.

MR. KIMBALL: Alright. We’re going to take two questions and then we’re going to take answers to those two questions so we can get through the questions.

Q: Thank you. Peter Kanflo from the Embassy of Sweden. For Ambassador Wolf. You made a number of suggestions for a new or different approach that all the parties to the NPT could take to in fact strengthen the regime, not further weaken it, but in particular you made some suggestions regarding U.S. policy. Could you comment a little bit more about the possibility of these suggestions being taken up as U.S. policy, and also if there is anything other countries could do to support that, because many of these suggestions for all of us seem very sensible. Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL: And then why don’t we take one more question, please.

Q: Hi. Erin Harbaugh (sp) from the State Department. This is also for John Wolf, also from your former bureau. My question is along the same lines as this gentleman. You mention that developing countries should not need nuclear energy and uranium enrichment capabilities, and this debate has been framed in terms of a right to peaceful nuclear energy, and I’m wondering how you feel about the six-party process. Obviously this has been very problematic, this debate, in terms of the six-party process and the discussions that are currently underway in Beijing. And I’m wondering if you feel that we can reframe this debate at this point, and if so, how will we, or is it too late?

MR. WOLF: The first question is what’s the likelihood of the U.S. government moving in the directions I’ve suggested? For that, I suggest you talk to any of the numerous U.S. government representatives who are scattered around the room. Some of those are not actually new ideas, but they’re still ideas in circulation, and it’s opportunities like today’s discussions repeated here in Washington and around the world, whether in Oslo or elsewhere that will help to ventilate these things, and I hope people – like I say, in order for us to go forward, for us to reinforce the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, to achieve our nonproliferation objectives – and remember how I define them as broader than just stopping the spread of nuclear weapons – for us to achieve our nonproliferation objectives, we’re going to have to have real dialogue, and real dialogue means that we have to go to meetings prepared not only to talk a good game but to listen a good game and try and find common ground. And I hope that some of the suggestions that I’ve put forward this morning are elements that might play into finding common ground.

I guess the terminology is no longer “former bureau” but now it’s “late bureau.” Never mind; we won’t go there. (Laughter.)

Six-party talks. I thought it was a very innovative suggestion. I think that Assistant Secretary Hill is doing a remarkable job. He clearly has much more robust instructions and greater latitude than perhaps the U.S. representative, Jim Kelly, had in the first round or two rounds, and I think this was a very important way to proceed. These kinds of discussions are an avenue to proceed. In the end, whatever is discussed there needs to get a broader international buy-in, and I trust that between the five parties, we are all keeping close contact with others who have an interest – the EU in particular, but also the rest of the world should stay abreast of it and needs to be part of the buy-in for the thing.

I don’t think I expressed doubt about countries using nuclear energy. I would express doubt, and I do believe we’ve got to find an alternative to every country thinking that it not only should have power-generating capabilities or industrial uses of nuclear materials, whether for agriculture, medicine, whatever, but also the ability to generate the materials. In other words, we really do have to find an alternative to everybody having enrichment and reprocessing capabilities, because if you don’t have those capabilities, it’s a much tougher path to fissile material. And as everybody who seems to write about this says, getting the fissile material is the hardest part of getting a nuclear weapon. You want to clamp down on the availability of fissile capabilities, not only as regards states but also in terms of the risk that a non-state group would be able to acquire it. The more spread around it is, the higher the likelihood.

MR. KIMBALL: I just want to add one quick point on the first question about the likelihood of the United States government moving ahead on some of these things and take that slightly differently. I wanted to just remind everyone here of some of the previous discussion that we heard from our friend from Norway, and something I mentioned at the top, which is that there is, I think, quite a broad agreement among a large number of states about several key proposals that have been put forward, that were put forward in the context of the NPT review conference, that were put forward in the context of the negotiations for the Millennium Plus Five document that recognized this balance of responsibilities and obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty.

All is not lost. I mean, it does come down to a few states, not just the United States, blocking this consensus, blocking progress. We also see in the United States Congress a number of members of the House and the Senate, as I mentioned before, putting forward resolutions that outline a broad, balanced approach to dealing with the myriad proliferation challenges.

So, I mean, I would say that in many ways there is an opportunity for this administration in the years that are left, and certainly beyond the second George W. Bush administration, to make adjustments that allow for progress in several of these areas, and the most important of which is that, as our previous speakers were saying, that the United States does a much better job recognizing its disarmament responsibilities, which are in the natural self-interest of the United States, and that can go a long way towards making some progress in discussing and moving forward on some of these issues like achieving greater restraint on nuclear fuel cycle capabilities.

So that’s just another thought.

MR. WOLF: Something very different, but as I was sitting here thinking about the answer I just gave, one thing I want to be real clear on is when I talked about too much focus, too much mesmerization with counter-proliferation, I actually think counter-proliferation is an essential part of the diplomacy. It’s important to things like the six-party talks, it’s important to the Iran negotiations, it’s an important support for the EU-3.

I wanted to say I was always a big fan and actively involved in helping to increase counter-proliferation efforts. I think it’s important. But nonproliferation is a much bigger concept, and it needs to use all the tools, not just a few of them. Thanks.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. I think we’ve got time for a couple more quick questions and answers. Yes, ma’am?

Q: Mine is actually not going to be a question – I hope you can excuse that – but a clarification. Kelly Anderson from the Canadian Embassy. Just to clarify the Canadian government’s position on the NSG and India. We have not taken a decision yet. We understand the objectives that have pushed the U.S. to this agreement, but we also have some problems with it. This is still under consideration within the government of Canada, so we’re not on a side yet.

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Kelly, for that clarification.

Q: Mark Fitzpatrick, soon to be at IISS in London. A follow up question on the U.S.-India deal and the need for unanimity on the part of the Nuclear Suppliers Group if this is to proceed. I’d be interested in views, maybe particularly of Larry, of how likely it is we get the unanimity, and particularly China’s role – what will China demand to go along with this?

MR. KIMBALL: Larry, can you look into your crystal ball?

MR. SCHEINMAN: Mark, I’m not really sure I have a good answer to your question – particularly your second question. I’m not quite clear myself about whether unanimity is an absolute requirement in the NSG – whether it operates strictly on a consensus basis, which would mean everybody is on board, or whether it operates with any kind of a voting approach, because I’ve never actually attended an NSG meeting, I’ve only been on the outside of – it does require consensus. So then that would mean that everybody would have to be on board and follow the same rule.

Your second question – could you just repeat that?

Q: It was, how likely is China to come along, and what would China’s price be?

MR. SCHEINMAN: Well, that’s why I started to say I really don’t have a good answer to that. I don’t know what China’s price would be, but China would obviously have a strong interest in doing business with Pakistan. Pakistan has already indicated they’d like to build 13 power reactors along with those that the Indians will be building even if this does not go through. So I guess China would be looking to an outcome that would facilitate their ability to continue doing business with Pakistan.


The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.


Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Country Resources:

Bush Promises India Nuclear Cooperation

Wade Boese

Breaking with nearly three decades of U.S. nonproliferation policy, President George W. Bush has charted a course for the United States to pursue full-scale civil nuclear cooperation with India. But domestic and foreign policymakers who would have to bless the president’s ambitious gambit offered a mixed reaction.

Meeting in Washington July 18, Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to a raft of measures ranging from promoting democracy abroad to increasing bilateral space cooperation. These initiatives followed a June 28 agreement by the two countries’ defense ministers to pursue closer military ties, including expanded “collaboration” on missile defenses, over the next 10 years.

Still, Bush’s commitment to provide India with U.S. nuclear materials and technologies appeared to hold the most significance for what U.S. and Indian officials have hailed as an emerging “global partnership.” India envisions nuclear energy as a solution for meeting the rising energy demands of its booming population and growing economy. Administration officials said it is in the U.S. interest to help India attain its economic and energy goals in the most environmentally safe and efficient manner possible. Yet, other commentators portrayed the move as motivated by a U.S. desire to offset China’s growing power.

India’s quest for nuclear energy has been hampered by its tandem development of nuclear weapons. Following New Delhi’s 1974 misuse of civilian nuclear materials to explode a nuclear device, the United States effectively blacklisted India as a recipient of U.S. nuclear trade and pressured other countries to do the same. India engendered further international ill will when it conducted several nuclear weapons tests in May 1998. (See ACT, May 1998.)

India’s tests, matched by its rival Pakistan, run counter to the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which only recognizes China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States as lawful possessors of nuclear arms, and to the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty outlawing nuclear tests. Although India had not signed either agreement and still has not, it was showered with worldwide condemnation for flouting these widely supported treaties.

Bush’s deal with Singh would essentially wipe the slate clean for India and offer it benefits historically reserved for countries forswearing nuclear weapons. The NPT grants states that forgo nuclear weapons access to nuclear trade for peaceful purposes. India, Israel, and Pakistan are the only countries never to have signed the NPT, and all have developed nuclear arms.

U.S. officials insisted Bush’s proposal did not confer legitimacy on India’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told reporters July 19, “By taking this decision, we are not recognizing India as a nuclear-weapon state.”

At the same time, Indian officials stressed the agreement would not impact their nuclear weapons programs or stockpile. “There is nothing in this Joint Statement that amounts to limiting or inhibiting our strategic nuclear weapons program,” Singh assured the Indian parliament July 29.

The Deal

In the two leaders’ joint statement, Bush pledged to “work to achieve full civil nuclear energy cooperation with India.” The president said he would ask Congress to “adjust U.S. laws and policies” and other countries to “adjust international regimes” to permit India the nuclear goods it wants. Bush also said he would explore the inclusion of India in two advanced multilateral nuclear research projects from which it previously had been excluded.

In exchange, Singh said Indian nuclear facilities would be divided into military or civilian sites and that civilian facilities would be opened to international oversight. This arrangement would be codified in an additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Such agreements grant the IAEA greater authority to verify that countries do not divert nuclear materials and technologies supposedly intended for peaceful purposes toward making nuclear weapons. New Delhi says India, like the five recognized nuclear-weapon states, would reserve flexibility under its still-to-be-negotiated additional protocol to switch a specific facility’s designation. IAEA spokesperson Mark Gwozdecky told Arms Control Today Aug. 17 that India had not yet approached the agency about negotiating an additional protocol.

Singh also reaffirmed Indian policies to uphold a nuclear testing moratorium, maintain strict export controls, and support negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) to end the production of key nuclear materials for building nuclear weapons. Although the five nuclear-weapon states are all understood to have ceased production of fissile material for weapons purposes, India maintains it will not follow suit until a treaty is completed.

FMCT negotiations have been stalled for several years. The latest obstacle is Washington’s insistence since last summer that the accord not include verification provisions, which is a position India does not share. (See ACT, September 2004.)

Burns heralded India’s commitments. “Surely, we are better off, all of us who are concerned with nonproliferation, seeing those commitments in black and white,” he said.

Despite its acquisition of nuclear weapons outside the NPT, Burns further described India as having an “exceptional” nonproliferation record. Yet, the Bush administration has imposed proliferation sanctions six times on five different Indian entities, and roughly a dozen Indian entities remain on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List. This list identifies foreign entities that the U.S. government has determined are proliferation risks. The administration stripped six Indian entities from the list Aug. 30, but India has called for all of its entities to be removed.

Who Goes First?

Both sides emphasized the reciprocal nature of their arrangement. “I would like to make it very clear that our commitments would be conditional upon, and reciprocal to, the [United States] fulfilling its side of this understanding,” Singh stated in his parliament address. Similarly, Burns said that U.S. industry would be free to pursue nuclear trade with India after New Delhi “has taken [its] steps.”

No plan has been finalized for implementing the mutual commitments. Singh made clear that the United States should act first. “Before voluntarily placing our civilian facilities under IAEA [supervision], we will ensure that all restrictions on India have been lifted,” the prime minister stated.

Burns said the administration would present Congress with a “specific program” in the next few months. Congressional sources told Arms Control Today in August that the administration had yet to forward a plan.

Bush and Singh agreed to establish a working group to figure out how the two sides will fulfill the arrangement. The two leaders will then review progress when Bush travels to India early next year.

Looming Obstacles

The 1954 Atomic Energy Act, as amended by the 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act, contains several provisions that effectively outlaw U.S. nuclear trade with India.

First and foremost, it requires that a nuclear cooperation agreement be signed with any foreign government looking to conduct nuclear trade with the United States. Among the act’s criteria of eligibility for such agreements is that a non-nuclear-weapon state have “full-scope” IAEA safeguards, meaning that all its nuclear facilities are subject to IAEA oversight. India, which is considered a non-nuclear-weapon state because it is not one of the five NPT nuclear-weapon states, does not have full-scope safeguards and says it will not adopt them. Therefore, Congress would either need to change the criteria or pass a joint resolution exempting the Indian deal.

The Atomic Energy Act would also need to be modified or waived in other ways. Notwithstanding the terms of any nuclear cooperation agreement, an export license is needed for individual nuclear transfers. These export licenses require non-nuclear-weapon states to have full-scope safeguards, which India does not. Another section prohibits nuclear trade with any non-nuclear-weapon state that exploded a nuclear device after March 1978, which India has done.

Congressional support for nuclear cooperation with India is not guaranteed. Shortly after the nuclear cooperation plan was announced, Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the House approved a last-minute addition to an omnibus energy bill to block nuclear trade with India, but Senate members rejected it. Still, congressional sources from both parties and both chambers told Arms Control Today that the administration will face a lot of skepticism and questions, such as how India will guarantee that no U.S.-origin nuclear items are used to make weapons.

Several foreign governments also can be expected to press the administration to explain itself. In 1992 the United States led the voluntary Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in adopting guidelines proscribing nuclear trade with non-nuclear-weapon states lacking full-scope safeguards. The group’s members, now numbering 45 countries, seek to coordinate their nuclear export rules to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

Along with most other NSG governments, the Bush administration had repeatedly condemned Russia’s deliveries of nuclear fuel to India’s Tarapur power reactors as a violation of the 1992 rule. Then-Department of State deputy spokesperson Philip Reeker declared Feb. 16, 2001, “We join other nuclear suppliers in calling on Russia to cancel this supply arrangement and live up to its nonproliferation obligations.” Under continuing pressure, Russia suspended its fuel deliveries in 2004.

But under its July 18 arrangement, the Bush administration says that its possible future nuclear cooperation would include the “expeditious consideration of fuel supplies for safeguarded nuclear reactors at Tarapur.” The administration has implied that it will seek to persuade its fellow nuclear suppliers to revisit the 1992 restriction, at least with respect to India. How receptive they will be remains uncertain.

The United Kingdom, an NSG member, announced Aug. 10 that it would now consider previously barred exports to India of dual-use goods, items with both civilian and military applications. However, London ruled out relaxing its policy of denying nuclear materials and technologies to New Delhi.


The U.S.-Indian cooperation agreement surprised many countries, as well as some U.S. officials responsible for nuclear proliferation matters. To be sure, the July 18 deal is rooted in a January 2004 U.S.-Indian framework agreement, known as the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership, which stated the two countries would increase their nuclear cooperation. But few observers thought a final agreement would be reached so quickly or be so extensive.

Burns explained that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested during a March visit to India that the two countries “vault ahead.” By all indications, the administration kept the accelerated process very quiet. Burns noted, “[T]here were so few people involved in these negotiations and they [were] at such a high level that American industry never figured in the negotiations themselves.”

Close U.S. allies were also out of the loop. The British, French, German, and Japanese governments were all called the day after the agreement’s conclusion. That same day, Rice also spoke with IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, who welcomed the U.S.-Indian move in a statement one day later by commending the “out of the box thinking.”

Not all commentators reacted favorably. Former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott wrote on the YaleGlobal website that the agreement was “not good news” for nuclear nonproliferation. Talbott, who served in the Clinton administration and oversaw U.S. nuclear diplomacy with India and Pakistan, further suggested the deal reflected “an important though officially muted—sometimes denied—anti-Chinese subtext.”

State Department deputy spokesperson Adam Ereli had earlier rejected the implication that U.S. efforts to forge closer ties with India stemmed from a desire to court an Asian power to balance China. “So I would not say…we signed this [deal] with India…based on what we want to accomplish or how we want to influence China,” Ereli said July 19.

Nevertheless, as Bush’s foreign policy adviser during his 2000 presidential campaign, Rice wrote in Foreign Affairs that, when dealing with China, which she deemed a “strategic competitor,” Washington needed to “pay closer attention” to India. She added, “ India is an element in China’s calculation, and it should be in America’s, too.”

India’s Other Neighbor: Pakistan

Administration officials also disassociated the July 18 agreement from having anything to do with Pakistan. “Both countries are important, and there are issues where U.S. policy intersects, and there are issues where we can have individual relationships…and certainly in the case of civil nuclear cooperation, we’re going to have individual relationships,” Burns said.

But Pakistan wants equal treatment. Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Naeem Khan was widely quoted July 25 as saying Islamabad wanted expanded nuclear cooperation with the United States and other NSG members.

Still, the U.S.-Indian arrangement did not appear to negatively affect relations between India and Pakistan. In early August, they agreed to establish in September a hotline between their foreign ministries to help mitigate any nuclear tensions and completed an agreement nearly a year in the making to give each other advance notification of their ballistic missile flight tests.

On Aug. 11, Pakistan conducted its first-ever test of a ground-launched cruise missile, the Babur, without notifying India. Islamabad explained that the two sides’ recent agreement, at New Delhi’s insistence, did not apply to cruise missiles. The new Pakistani missile, according to a Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement, has a range of 500 kilometers. Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are powered for their entire flight and can be highly maneuverable, making them difficult to defend against.



U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation: A Reality Check

Daryl G. Kimball

Leaders in Washington and New Delhi claim their July 18 civil nuclear cooperation and nonproliferation deal is a transformational event that will deepen the ties between the two countries and strengthen the effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. The agreement is indeed historic, but a sober reading reveals that the nonproliferation benefits are vastly overstated and the damage to the nonproliferation regime is potentially high.

The deal calls for broad civil nuclear cooperation for the first time since India’s 1974 nuclear test explosion, which demonstrated that New Delhi was willing to use “civilian” technology assistance to build nuclear weapons and was determined not to join the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

However, President George W. Bush will have to convince Congress to make sweeping changes in U.S. nonproliferation laws that restrict the export and licensing of nuclear and dual-use materials and technologies. Bush also will have to persuade the world’s 44 other major nuclear technology suppliers to bend rules forbidding assistance to nonmembers of the NPT unless they accept comprehensive, “full-scope” nuclear safeguards.

This radical new approach, if implemented, would effectively grant India highly sought-after access to sensitive nuclear technology only accorded to states in full compliance with global nonproliferation standards. It would also treat India in much the same way as the five original nuclear-weapon states by exempting it from meaningful international nuclear inspections. It is a virtual endorsement of India’s nuclear weapons status.

What is wrong with that? It would make the job of blocking the spread of nuclear weapons more difficult, if not now, then in the future. Other “responsible” countries have for decades remained true to the original NPT bargain and forsworn nuclear weapons in return for access to peaceful nuclear technology under strict and verifiable control. Many of these states made this choice despite strong pressure to spurn the NPT and pursue the nuclear weapons path. They might make a different choice in the future if India is allowed to have their radioactive cake and eat it too.

For his part, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed that India would “assume the same responsibilities and practices” as other countries with advanced nuclear capabilities. He agreed to some new nuclear practices, and he reiterated some of India’s modest nuclear restraint commitments. The main selling point is that India would identify its civilian and its military nuclear assets and put the civilian facilities under safeguards and allow tighter inspections under the terms of the 1997 Model Additional Protocol.

If India were to receive technical assistance for nuclear energy, clearly separating its civilian and military programs is essential to ensure that outside assistance is not directly used to build bombs. But the core purpose of nuclear safeguards and the Model Additional Protocol is to detect and deter the diversion of nuclear weapons material and related technology to the military sector. The application of such safeguards only to the civilian sector would do little or nothing to limit or even monitor India’s production of fissile material for weapons.

If the IAEA negotiates an additional protocol agreement similar to the symbolic ones that apply to the five original nuclear-weapon states, India would be permitted to exclude military-related facilities and even portions of civilian facilities on “national security” grounds. As a result, India might continue to use spent fuel from power generation reactors to acquire plutonium for weapons.

The Bush-Singh agreement also commits India to refrain from transferring sensitive nuclear and missile technology. India deserves credit for these actions, but these are minimal steps that every country with such capabilities should be expected to undertake. At the same time, India continues to engage in a destabilizing missile race with Pakistan.

There are no measures in the July communiqué that would restrain India’s nuclear weapons program. If India wants to become a responsible nuclear-weapon state with a “minimum nuclear deterrent” capability, it must be prepared to stop producing fissile material as the five original nuclear-weapon states claim to have done and actively support the conclusion of a verifiable fissile material production cutoff treaty. It must be prepared to declare at least some of its nuclear material excess to its military programs and place that material under international safeguards. It must also be prepared to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, as the original five nuclear-weapon states have done.

Bush’s gambit to radically revise U.S. nonproliferation law and policy demands detailed congressional hearings and revisions. Making far-reaching exceptions to existing international nuclear nonproliferation practices might only be justified if the nonproliferation and disarmament commitments outlined in the Bush-Singh statement significantly strengthened the nonproliferation regime. As of now, they do not.


Joint Statement Between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

July 18, 2005

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Bush today declare their resolve to transform the relationship between their countries and establish a global partnership. As leaders of nations committed to the values of human freedom, democracy and rule of law, the new relationship between India and the United States will promote stability, democracy, prosperity and peace throughout the world. It will enhance our ability to work together to provide global leadership in areas of mutual concern and interest.

Building on their common values and interests, the two leaders resolve:

* To create an international environment conducive to promotion of democratic values, and to strengthen democratic practices in societies which wish to become more open and pluralistic.

* To combat terrorism relentlessly. They applaud the active and vigorous counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries and support more international efforts in this direction. Terrorism is a global scourge and the one we will fight everywhere. The two leaders strongly affirm their commitment to the conclusion by September of a UN comprehensive convention against international terrorism.

The Prime Minister's visit coincides with the completion of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) initiative, launched in January 2004. The two leaders agree that this provides the basis for expanding bilateral activities and commerce in space, civil nuclear energy and dual-use technology.

Drawing on their mutual vision for the U.S.-India relationship, and our joint objectives as strong long-standing democracies, the two leaders agree on the following:


* Revitalize the U.S.-India Economic Dialogue and launch a CEO Forum to harness private sector energy and ideas to deepen the bilateral economic relationship.

* Support and accelerate economic growth in both countries through greater trade, investment, and technology collaboration.

* Promote modernization of India's infrastructure as a prerequisite for the continued growth of the Indian economy. As India enhances its investment climate, opportunities for investment will increase.

* Launch a U.S.-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture focused on promoting teaching, research, service and commercial linkages.


* Strengthen energy security and promote the development of stable and efficient energy markets in India with a view to ensuring adequate, affordable energy supplies and conscious of the need for sustainable development. These issues will be addressed through the U.S.-India Energy Dialogue.

* Agree on the need to promote the imperatives of development and safeguarding the environment, commit to developing and deploying cleaner, more efficient, affordable, and diversified energy technologies.


* Develop and support, through the new U.S.-India Global Democracy Initiative in countries that seek such assistance, institutions and resources that strengthen the foundations that make democracies credible and effective. India and the U.S. will work together to strengthen democratic practices and capacities and contribute to the new U.N. Democracy Fund.

* Commit to strengthen cooperation and combat HIV/AIDs at a global level through an initiative that mobilizes private sector and government resources, knowledge, and expertise.


* Express satisfaction at the New Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship as a basis for future cooperation, including in the field of defense technology.

* Commit to play a leading role in international efforts to prevent the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The U.S. welcomed the adoption by India of legislation on WMD (Prevention of Unlawful Activities Bill).

* Launch a new U.S.-India Disaster Relief Initiative that builds on the experience of the Tsunami Core Group, to strengthen cooperation to prepare for and conduct disaster relief operations.


* Sign a Science and Technology Framework Agreement, building on the U.S.-India High-Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG), to provide for joint research and training, and the establishment of public-private partnerships.

* Build closer ties in space exploration, satellite navigation and launch, and in the commercial space arena through mechanisms such as the U.S.-India Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation.

* Building on the strengthened nonproliferation commitments undertaken in the NSSP, to remove certain Indian organizations from the Department of Commerce's Entity List.

Recognizing the significance of civilian nuclear energy for meeting growing global energy demands in a cleaner and more efficient manner, the two leaders discussed India's plans to develop its civilian nuclear energy program.

President Bush conveyed his appreciation to the Prime Minister over India's strong commitment to preventing WMD proliferation and stated that as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology, India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states. The President told the Prime Minister that he will work to achieve full civil nuclear energy cooperation with India as it realizes its goals of promoting nuclear power and achieving energy security. The President would also seek agreement from Congress to adjust U.S. laws and policies, and the United States will work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India, including but not limited to expeditious consideration of fuel supplies for safeguarded nuclear reactors at Tarapur. In the meantime, the United States will encourage its partners to also consider this request expeditiously. India has expressed its interest in ITER and a willingness to contribute. The United States will consult with its partners considering India's participation. The United States will consult with the other participants in the Generation IV International Forum with a view toward India's inclusion.

The Prime Minister conveyed that for his part, India would reciprocally agree that it would be ready to assume the same responsibilities and practices and acquire the same benefits and advantages as other leading countries with advanced nuclear technology, such as the United States. These responsibilities and practices consist of identifying and separating civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs in a phased manner and filing a declaration regarding its civilians facilities with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); taking a decision to place voluntarily its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards; signing and adhering to an Additional Protocol with respect to civilian nuclear facilities; continuing India's unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing; working with the United States for the conclusion of a multilateral Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty; refraining from transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to states that do not have them and supporting international efforts to limit their spread; and ensuring that the necessary steps have been taken to secure nuclear materials and technology through comprehensive export control legislation and through harmonization and adherence to Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines.

The President welcomed the Prime Minister's assurance. The two leaders agreed to establish a working group to undertake on a phased basis in the months ahead the necessary actions mentioned above to fulfill these commitments. The President and Prime Minister also agreed that they would review this progress when the President visits India in 2006.

The two leaders also reiterated their commitment that their countries would play a leading role in international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological weapons.

In light of this closer relationship, and the recognition of India's growing role in enhancing regional and global security, the Prime Minister and the President agree that international institutions must fully reflect changes in the global scenario that have taken place since 1945. The President reiterated his view that international institutions are going to have to adapt to reflect India's central and growing role. The two leaders state their expectations that India and the United States will strengthen their cooperation in global forums.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh thanks President Bush for the warmth of his reception and the generosity of his hospitality. He extends an invitation to President Bush to visit India at his convenience and the President accepts that invitation.

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