Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

US India Nuclear Deal Hits An Israeli Snag, But Gets a French Boost

Posted by K.E. White on October 2, 2007

The US-India nuclear deal may have hit an Israeli stepback. With the deal already facing fire in New Delhi and still lacking IAEA approval, a new challenge has appeared: Israel is lobbying the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to give India and Israel access to nuclear trade.

Getting the NSG to make an exception for India–a non-NPT recognized nuclear power–already caused turbulence, but had apparently won the support of China and Russia. Will this Israel variable set India back to square one?

Will Turkey really support an exemption only adds emphasis to Pakistan–a non-recognized nuclear power–failure to get the same treatment as Israel and India? And how will this Israeli lobbying be viewed in the Middle East?

But India also got some good news on the NSG front. France, a key member of the group, will actively lobby for an Indian exception to NSG rules that bar nuclear trade with non-NPT member states.

The move was predictable, since France seeks to conclude its own nuclear deal with India.

The Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports on the Israeli complication:

Using the Israeli proposal as an example, the opponents of the Indo-US nuclear deal can argue that any exception to the NPT restriction may open the gate to proliferation as other non-recognised nuclear states may also demand acceptance. Documents outlining Israel’s proposal were distributed among the NSG members in March and have circulated on Capitol Hill in Washington in recent days.

The Israeli plan offers 12 criteria for allowing nuclear trade with non-treaty states, including one that hints at Israel’s status as an undeclared nuclear weapons state: A state should be allowed to engage in nuclear trade if it applies “stringent physical protection, control and accountancy measures to all nuclear weapons, nuclear facilities, source material and special nuclear material in its territory.”

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, said the Israeli document could affect the debate over India. “The dynamics at the NSG are that no country wants to stand in the way of the largest country, India, and the most powerful country, the US,” he said.

And The Hindu reports on French support for India’s nuclear exception:

In this regard, France is awaiting the waiver by NSG, the officials said, adding an Indo-French nuclear agreement would be on a “different scale” than the Indo-US deal.

It would involve transfer of crucial reprocessing technology that has been denied by Washington in the Indo-US deal.

“We feel that there is a necessity to introduce a change in the international system (on nuclear issue) to allow India to play its due role in it,” a senior official of the French Atomic Energy Commission told a group of visiting Indian journalists here.

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