When US President Bush signed a deal in July with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh allowing India access to civilian nuclear technology, naysayers complained that the administration had undermined the principles of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which India has not signed. In Should the U.S. Sell Nuclear Technology to India? Part II Ashley J. Tellis argues that such critics fail to see the shrewdness of rewarding India’s record of voluntary non-proliferation with urgently needed civilian nuclear programs, while placing India’s future nuclear development within an international framework. By ensuring that India’s nuclear program enjoys the same benefits and is bound by the same obligations as the other powers in the non-proliferation regime, the US is invoking one of its top national security priorities: the prevention of nuclear commerce between India and a rogue state or non-state actor. Critics point out that other NPT non-signatories, like Pakistan or North Korea, will demand the same recognition and benefits for their nuclear programs that the deal has provided India. Tellis argues that such fears are groundless, since India, a democratic and rapidly developing nuclear power with a good non-proliferation track record outside the NPT, is almost universally acknowledged to be an exception, not the rule. Ultimately, Tellis calls for a global consensus supporting the Bush-Singh agreement, and encourages the critics, within the US Congress itself, to recognize the American national security benefits of bringing India into the recognized nuclear fold.
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