India gets US nuclear aid; oil issues in background

Well, the pending US nuclear aid to India is now official, with India hailed as a beacon of “responsible” nuclear development (which we argue is as oxymoronic as “authentic reproduction,” “corporate responsibility,” “military music,” etc.). This despite the fact that India, unlike “irresponsible” Iran, already has nuclear weapons, and so does its arch-rival Pakistan, and the brief 1999 war between the two regional powers almost went nuclear. This report from Bloomberg:

India Pledges “Responsible” Nuclear Use After Accord
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, describing India as a “responsible nuclear power” at a joint session of the U.S. Congress today, pledged his country would never illicitly sell nuclear technology.

Singh made the promise a day after President George W. Bush agreed to help India gain access to civilian nuclear technology and fuel as part of a new partnership with the second most populous nation.

“President Bush and I arrived at an understanding in finding ways and means to enable such cooperation to proceed and flourish,” Singh, 72, told legislators. “In this context, I would also like to reiterate that India’s track record in nuclear nonproliferation is impeccable.”

The accord between Bush and Singh, which is subject to the approval of the U.S. Congress, would remove a ban on sharing nuclear power technology with countries, such as India, that have resisted international oversight of nuclear development.

Bush must also work with allies to win their backing for the arrangement, which may benefit U.S. companies such as General Electric Co., the world’s biggest maker of power-generation equipment.

U.S. lawmakers said they wanted to see the details of the agreement before taking a position.

Not being reported is that this nuclear aid is (nearly explicitly) an inducement (read: bribe) to get India to abandon a planned natural gas pipeline project with Iran—infrastructure which could eventually be used to deliver Central Asia’s hydrocarbon resources to global markets via a route controlled by powers hostile to Washington. Meanwhile, of course, Bush continues to arm Pakistan. Neither India nor Pakistan are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which seems to be moribund anyway following the inconclusive conference at the UN on enforcing the accord in May.