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India-US Nuclear Deal : US Answers to Critics

Critic Question : Wouldn’t The U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation deal accelerate the nuclear arms race in South Asia?
US Answer: This is an historic agreement that brings India into the nonproliferation mainstream and addresses its growing energy needs through increased use of nuclear energy in cooperation with the international community. The United States has no intention of aiding India's nuclear weapons program. India's plan to separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs will allow other nations to cooperate with India's civilian facilities to expand energy production. Those facilities will be under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards to prevent diversion of technology and materials to India's military program. Greater use of nuclear reactors to produce energy for the Indian people will not undermine regional security or stability.

Critic Question : Doesn't this initiative effectively recognize India as a nuclear weapons state?
US Answer: No, the United States has not recognized India as a nuclear weapons state. The 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) defines a nuclear weapons state as "one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to January 1, 1967." (The United States, UK, France, Russia, and China exploded nuclear devices prior to that date.) India does not meet this definition, and we do not seek to amend the Treaty.

Critic Question : Doesn't this initiative create a double standard and won't it encourage rogue nations like North Korea and Iran to continue to pursue nuclear weapons programs?
US Answer: It is not credible to compare the rogue regimes of North Korea and Iran to India. Unlike Iran or North Korea, India has been a peaceful and vibrant democracy with a strong nuclear nonproliferation record.
Under this initiative, India - which has never been a party to the NPT - has agreed to take a series of steps that will bring it into the international nonproliferation mainstream.
Iran and North Korea are very different cases. They signed and ratified the NPT and gave lip service to adhering to their international obligations. Through their covert actions, however, they broke the very nonproliferation commitments they claimed to follow. Additionally, both regimes have isolated themselves from the international community and are state sponsors of terrorism.

Critic Question : This initiative will weaken or unravel the global nonproliferation regime. India will be the only nation in the world to be offered such services without signing the NPT. Creating an exception for India will lead Pakistan and Israel, who are also outside the NPT regime, to insist on a similar deal or cause other nations to withdraw from the Treaty.
US Answer: India has stood outside the global nonproliferation regime for the last 30 years. Through this initiative, India will enter the international nonproliferation mainstream, thereby strengthening the regime that continues to play a vital role in enhancing international security and stability.
All nations that are party to the NPT are permitted full access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes but are prohibited from pursuing or possessing nuclear weapons (except for the five recognized nuclear weapons states). We do not expect nations to withdraw from the NPT. Any move to withdraw from the NPT would clearly signal a nation's intent to pursue nuclear weapons and would result in the loss of access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.


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