Home > Asia-Pacific, Politics > 1, 2, 3…The Nukes Are Piling Up On Us

1, 2, 3…The Nukes Are Piling Up On Us

Aditya Bordolo writes in Tehelka:

Contrary to claims, the [India-US nuclear] deal boosts India’s Nuclear-weapons capability.

The hostility with which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on the Indo-US nuclear deal was greeted on August 13 testifies to the deep rifts the agreement has caused among the Indian public, especially the political class. It is plain that a majority of our mps oppose it on a variety of grounds. Consensual support for the deal is likely to prove elusive for the foreseeable future.

This is only the second time in Independent India’s history that there’s such a sharp division on a vital foreign and security policy issue. The first time such a hiatus occurred was nine years ago, when the National Democratic Alliance government set off five nuclear explosions. Then, mps from the Left and many other parties, including the Congress, savaged the nda’s decision, taken without Cabinet discussion and the promised strategic review.

Ironically, none other than Manmohan Singh led the Congress’s attack. On May 28, 1998, he pilloried Pokharan-ii, and passionately pleaded for disarmament. He accused the nda of violating India’s three-pillared nuclear “consensus”, the first of which holds that “nuclear weapons [are] weapons of mass destruction and their use [is] a crime against humanity”; India should work to have them “outlawed”.

Singh warned of threats to “social cohesion” and insecurities from “ill-health, illiteracy, ignorance and disease” that’ll be caused by nuclearisation and a likely arms race. He warned: “You will have wmds like the Soviet Union… but the Soviet Union still withered away. Therefore… think before you weaponise.” Now, Singh pleads for a deal that recognises and “normalises” a weaponised India!

Most Indian parties barring the Left ostensibly oppose the deal because they fear it’ll cap India’s nuclear arsenal and permit interference with its nuclear programme — not because it draws India into a strategic embrace with Washington, or undermines our stated commitment to work for global nuclear disarmament. But underlying their opposition is the fear that India will get too closely allied with the US; this could prove immensely unpopular domestically.

The apprehension is not baseless. The deal isn’t solely about civilian nuclear arrangements, or about leaving India’s nuclear weapons pursuit untouched. Above all, it’s about building a whole new India-US political-strategic relationship. This is bound to be controversial given the terribly destabilising role the US is playing in the world.

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Categories: Asia-Pacific, Politics
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