One critical protection against proliferation is the IAEA's principle that safeguards are to be placed in perpetuity on nuclear facilities subject to inspection. Another is the NSG's principle that nuclear suppliers should operate by consensus before changing the rules of nuclear commerce. The consensus rule has made the NSG the world's most unusual cartel, designed to prevent profit taking when proliferation would likely result.If only the Left and Right in India would grasp this point, stop carping about the IAEA and NSG, and ask the government to put operationalisation of the 123 Agreement on hold pending the sorting out of serious differences which have emerged between the two sides over the meaning of its key provisions. Now that would be a real contribution.
The Bush administration has bent these fundamental principles out of shape in lobbying the IAEA and the NSG to change the rules on India's behalf. There is no mention of the word "perpetuity" for safeguards in India, and New Delhi has consistently asserted that safeguards would be lifted if there are disruptions in foreign fuel supplies at power plants. The primary reason for disruption would be a resumption of nuclear testing by India. Moreover, the Bush administration has stood the NSG's consensus rule on its head: Now consensus will be required to stop nuclear commerce with India.
02 October 2008
Krepon gets it
In his op-ed in today's Washington Times, Michael Krepon of the Stimson Center succinctly states the core issue involved in the IAEA and NSG decisions as far as India is concerned: