Atomic Red Tape
At Atomic Tape . com you can find lots of information about atomic tape. In this case, the tape is the proverbial “red tape” about atomic nuclear power. As seen in The Times of India, November 19, 2007:
The political paralysis over the nuclear deal – which as these columns have argued is overwhelmingly in India’s interest – may not have arisen at all if the BJP had been supportive of what it had itself initiated when in power between 1998 and 2004. It carried out nuclear tests at Pokhran, then imposed a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and initiated a process of rapprochement with the US. The nuclear deal is the logical culmination of that process.
Had the BJP not put politics above national interest by baiting the Left to pull out of the government over the nuclear deal, the Left would not have resisted the deal tooth and nail as it is doing now. For the record, the BJP’s position is that the deal ties India’s hands by preventing it from conducting nuclear tests in future. Opposition leader L K Advani has said that India should make preparations to conduct a Pokhran-III, if necessary. This kind of political posturing sums up what is depressing and vacuous about India’s nuclear debate. Nuclear explosions are not like Diwali crackers one sets off every now and then. There’s a global consensus against testing, broken in recent times only by rogue states such as North Korea.
That’s why the BJP-led government imposed a moratorium on testing after Pokhran-II.
It should also be noted that the nuclear deal itself doesn’t foreclose India’s nuclear testing options. It doesn’t state that civilian nuclear cooperation with India ceases the day it carries out tests. That would require a determination by the American president that there were no extenuating circumstances for India carrying out more tests; that, for example, a worsening security situation didn’t force its hand.
If India’s neighbours were to carry out new nuclear tests – which is the only conceivable situation in which New Delhi could be driven to test – it can always cite compelling reasons to do so. A confident Indian government should realise that Washington desires good relations with New Delhi as much as New Delhi does with Washington.
But let’s take the worst case scenario, where New Delhi carries out tests and Washington suspends nuclear cooperation in response. Even in that case New Delhi is back to where it is now; it isn’t any worse off. Like the Left, the BJP doesn’t have any real case against the nuclear deal. Let’s not allow it to be derailed because of procedural nitpicking.
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