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Foreign Correspondent
by international syndicated columnist & broadcaster Eric Margolis


Copyright: Eric S. Margolis, 2006

March 6, 2006

PARIS - The `historic’ nuclear pact signed in Delhi on Thursday between President George Bush and India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, enshrines the concept of nuclear apartheid.

India, which has long refused international inspection of its nuclear programs, is being rewarded under this new deal with advanced American nuclear technology, nuclear fuel, and state of the art US computer technology.

India agreed to put its 14 civilian nuclear power generating reactors under international inspection. These reactors cannot produce fissile material. India is increasingly short of energy and badly needs more nuclear power generation.

But, Bush’s deal allows India to operate without restraint or inspection eight or more of its secret reactors and facilities dedicated to producing enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons.

What all this means is that the Bush Administration, which made much ado about halting nuclear proliferation – and claimed to have gone to war in Iraq to prevent it – now sanctions and will abet India’s accelerated development of nuclear arms. While fulminating against Iran and North Korea, the White House is preparing to arms India to the nuclear hilt.

India is estimated to have some 100 nuclear devices and ample capability to deliver them by air and short-to-intermediate range missiles.

No mention was made by Washington or the gushing US media about India’s rapid development of intercontinental-range ballistic missiles under cover of civilian space research, capable of reaching North America. Or India’s new nuclear submarines that are to carry missiles with nuclear warheads capable of hitting North America. So enthralled has America become at the prospect of rich new markets in India and a new ally against the Muslim World that India’s strategic developments have been totally ignored.

But what’s good for India is not to be allowed to Muslim nations. The Bush Administration is adamantly opposed to allowing any Muslims states to develop nuclear arms and is threatening war against Iran in a massive effort to end Tehran’s limited nuclear development.

There has been much talk in US security circles about forcing Pakistan to put its nuclear forces under US `permissive controls,’ or simply `taking out’ Pakistan’s arsenal. Egypt and the Saudis have been firmly warned off any nuclear ambitions by Washington.

One of the principal sources of anti-American anger across the Muslim World is Washington’s double standard in dealing with Islamic states and Israel. Now India is being added to this unfair equation, making a mockery of US non-proliferation claims. The message is stark: no nuclear weapons for Muslims.

More galling for Muslim nations, the US-India nuclear entente was largely engineered by Israel through its mighty lobby in Washington. Israel has become India’s second largest arms supplier, with over $2 billion in recent sales. Israel supplies India with everything from border fence technologies in Kashmir to help with boosting the yield of India’s nuclear warheads.

The dominance of pro-Israel neoconservatives in the Bush Administration allowed the shaping of a US-India strategic axis that includes Israel as a discreet partner. The Israel lobby opened all doors in Washington to India and brought the US Congress on side.

The Bush conservatives believe they are mobilizing India against China. The wily Indians are encouraging this belief and milking it for all they can, while seeking to avoid arousing China. Pakistan is viewing all this with growing alarm as the military regime of President Pervez Musharraf seeks to stifle the growing anger of its people against what critics call his abject subservience to Washington.

American industry has become mesmerized by prospects of huge sales in India, pressing the pro-business Bush Administration to get India to open its trade doors to US exports in exchange for nuclear assistance. Few US businessmen yet understand that for all its population, India’s economy, though growing rapidly, is little bigger than that of Holland.

China has made clear it views with disfavor the developing US-India axis and has repeatedly warned Delhi not to allow Washington to use India as a strategic cat’s paw. China and India have been locked in a strategic weapons race for the past decade. US technological aide to India will heighten China’s concerns and force it to accelerate its own nuclear arms and delivery programs.

Having become the proverbial bull in the Mideast china shop, the Bush Administration has now set about shaking up South Asia and reshaping it in the grandiose if rather blurry vision of George W. Bush.

Published at since 1995 with permission, as a courtesy and in appreciation.

To read previous columns by Mr. Margolis: Click here

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