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NYT Editorial Warns India Not To Conduct N-Test

“Indian nuclear scientists are trying to bully their government into testing a nuclear weapon. That would be a huge setback — for India's relations with Washington, for the battle against terrorists, and for global efforts

PTI [ Updated: October 13, 2009 17:42 IST ]
nyt editorial warns india not to conduct n test
nyt editorial warns india not to conduct n test

“Indian nuclear scientists are trying to bully their government into testing a nuclear weapon. That would be a huge setback — for India's relations with Washington, for the battle against terrorists, and for global efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons”, reads an editorial in New York Times titled “Just Say No”.

The editorial further states: “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is resisting. He must continue to resist.  If India tests, the United States is bound by a 2008 agreement to cut off all sales of nuclear fuel and technology. That would be a huge setback to India's plans to expand its nuclear power generation and its economy”.

The editorial goes on: “We fear that if India tests, Pakistan will decide that it has to test. That would raise tensions between the two longtime rivals, and it would further distract Islamabad and its generals from the far more important battle against the Taliban and other extremists inside their country and along their border with Afghanistan”.

The New York Times further writes: “ There would be strong pressure to cut that aid if Pakistan tested. And if India and Pakistan test (China also may be unable to resist), it could make it even harder for President Obama to persuade the Senate to ratify the test ban treaty”.

The editorial also states: “ In recent weeks, the debate took on a new urgency when some former top nuclear scientists made the case publicly. K. Santhanam, a director for the 1998 test-site preparations, claimed those tests did not yield the desired results and were a “fizzle.” One has to wonder why he waited 11 years to raise the alarm. We suspect that Mr. Santhanam and his colleagues are worried that if Washington finally ratifies the treaty, India may feel compelled to sign on”.

The editorial says: “The treaty's appeal is undeniable. Some 182 nations have signed it and 150 have ratified it. It limits the ability of nuclear states to field fancier warheads and makes it harder for nuclear wannabes to develop weapons. But it cannot enter into force until nine key states — including the United States, China and India — also ratify”. 

The NYT editorial however admits: “So far, New Delhi does not seem to be taking Mr. Santhanam's bait. “India does not need to carry any more nuclear tests,” the Indian Atomic Energy Commission chairman, Anil Kakodkar, said last month. He insisted that his agency has confidence in its ability to get the weapons data it needs by conducting simulated tests.

He should keep insisting. The United States should make clear that India has more to gain by focusing on economic growth and expanding global cooperation than on developing more nuclear weapons. And it should leave no doubt about how much India and the rest of the world have to lose if New Delhi makes the wrong choice”.

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