Uranium sales to India – nuclear weapons aspect ignored by media and government
As discussed in part one, on November 15 Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard proposed an amendment to her party’s longstanding and non-negotiable position on uranium exports: that recipient states must be members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
The immediate response in Australian news media was politically orchestrated and myopically centred on Gillard’sbelief that Australia’s economy and job seekers will benefit, and that India requires a modern policy in line with “the international community”. Few commentators appeared committed to seriously debating the uranium exports in the gritty terms of arms control ……
according to the Australia and Japan-led International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament report in 2009:
“10.5… One criticism – frequently voiced since the India agreement – is that [Nuclear Suppliers Group] members may be driven by commercial incentives to be less rigorous in their approach to countries not applying comprehensive safeguards or not party to the NPT.”
“10.7 The main substantive problem with the deal is that it removed all non-proliferation barriers to nuclear trade with India in return for very few significant non-proliferation and disarmament commitments by it. The view was taken that partial controls – with civilian facilities safeguarded – were better than none.”
Two years after these dire warnings – incidentally by an International Commission co-chaired by our former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans and instigated by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – Gillard also appears to be primarily “driven by commercial incentives” and a perceived diplomatic dividend…..
it’s not the strength or frequency of criticism of the existing policy that is troubling to me, but the flawed arms control logic within, and moral grandstanding of, their arguments.
For if this sort of willing delusion prevails, and uranium sales to India go ahead, then undoubtedly this will be a pivotal moment when nuclear arms control returns to those tense and cold days from which, this time, we may never turn back. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/2011112414232543488.html
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