Nuclear double standards
FRANCE and India signed a pact on January 25 under which the former would sell 36 French-built Rafael fighter planes to the latter and also build six nuclear reactors in India. This shows the double standards of the US and its allies on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation, and the discriminatory treatment meted out to Pakistan in this regard.
Proliferation of nuclear weapons is rightly a cause of concern. This is probably the rationale and motivation behind efforts on the international level to prevent more and more nations joining the nuclear club and coming into force of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Unfortunately, the dream of a nuclearfree world remains as elusive as ever due to the selective application of the provisions of the treaty by the US and its Western allies like the UK and France, designed to serve their strategic and commercial interests at the global level.
The US-India civil-nuclear agreement is a classic example of violation of the NPT by the US, which is trying to prop up India as a regional superpower to act as a counter-weight to the burgeoning Chinese influence in the region and beyond. To make this agreement operational, the US made amendments in its Atomic Energy Act of 1954, facilitated IAEA agreement with India in which the latter agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place all its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, and also manoeuvred grant of an exemp- tion from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for India.
This deal introduced a new aspect to the international non-proliferation efforts. The grant and implementation of the waiver from the NSG to India, which allowed it access to civilian nuclear technology and fuel from other countries, made India the only country outside the umbrella of the NPT to carry out nuclear commerce with the rest of the world.
As soon as the US House of Representatives passed the bill to approve the deal on September 28, 2008, France also inked a similar deal with India. The UK too jumped on the bandwagon and agreed to have a similar arrangement with India. As a follow-up to the agreement between the two countries, the UK and India have already announced deals worth $13.7 billion including a civil- nuclear pact during the Indian prime minister's visit to UK end 2015. Australia, which possesses 40 percent of the known reserves of uranium in the world, has also formalised an agreement with India for selling uranium.
These countries are not prepared to extend the same treatment to Pakistan, and are instead putting pressure on us to curtail and even cap our nuclear programme - which we had initiated in response to the nuclear threat from India. The US particularly has been pressurising Pakistan to sign the NPT and withdraw its opposition to the FMCT. Pakistan's refusal to succumb to these unreasonable demands in the face of the discriminatory approach of the West to the nuclear issue is absolutely right and justified. Pakistan believes in non-proliferation of nuclear arsenal and has been supporting the objectives of the NPT even though it has not signed the treaty for justifiable reasons.
India has been feverishly engaged in boosting its nuclear capability as well as building up conventional weapons with the support and encouragement of the US and its allies. The belligerent posture adopted by the Modi regime and the Indian paradigm of ' cold start' deserve a matching response by Pakistan. No country can compromise its security. These provocative and threatening actions by India, therefore, could not have gone unnoticed by Pakistan. Our missile programme is part of a defensive mechanism designed to discourage India from committing any indiscretion. It is yet another deterrent to forestall the possibility of even a limited war between the two countries.
The US and European nations look at Pakistan's nuclear programme from the perspective of nuclear terrorism at the global level, rather than it being Indiaspecific, necessitated by legitimate security concerns. Before Nawaz Sharif embarked on a visit to the US in October 2015, it was being speculated that President Obama would ask Sharif to halt the missile programme and a deal on civilian nuclear technology might be sealed if Pakistan agreed to cap its nuclear programme. Pakistan, however, categorically rejected the idea and the prime minister stated in unequivocal terms that Pakistan would never compromise on its nuclear programme. That probably stopped President Obama from raising the issue during the dialogue, though they did discuss nuclear security in the global context.