"I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them."

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004

Accelerating the Entry Into Force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Securing a Fissile Material Cut Off Agreement



ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball addressed the 18th UN Conference on Disarmament Issues on Aug. 21.

Presentation by Daryl G. Kimball to the 18th UN Conference on Disarmament Issues in Yokohama, Japan

The NPT Hold-Out States and the Nonproliferation Regime: Fixing the Flaws in the U.S.-Indian Nuclear Cooperation Proposal


ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball addressed the 18th UN Conference on Disarmament Issues in Yokohama, Japan on Aug. 21.
Presentation by Daryl G. Kimball to 18th UN Conference on Disarmament Issues in Yokohama, Japan

Country Resources:

China's Growing Missile Force


American Enterprise Institute Panel Featuring ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball, July 11, 2006.
American Enterprise Institute Panel Featuring ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Congress and the U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal




June 20, 2006


Rep. Howard Berman (D.-Calif.), Senior Member of the House International Relations Committee. Rep. Berman has served in Congress since 1982 after serving in California's state legislature and practicing law. He introduced legislation (H.R. 5430) on May 19 for establishing criteria that non-states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty must meet to be eligible for civilian nuclear trade with the United States.

Robert Einhorn, Senior Advisor, International Security Program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. His last position in a nearly 30-year U.S. government career was as Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation. In 2001, he was awarded the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award.

Henry D. Sokolski, Executive Director, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. He served as Deputy for Nonproliferation Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense during President George H.W. Bush's term. For his work, Sokolski received the Secretary of Defense's Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.

Edited Transcript by the Arms Control Association


DARYL KIMBALL: I want to welcome everyone this morning to the Arms Control Association. I want to briefly introduce the speakers we have here today and address how we are going to run the discussion. With me are Bob Einhorn from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. We are also glad to have Congressman Howard Berman of California, the second ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee. His schedule didn't allow us to have him here with us today but he has agreed to join us by phone for 15 or 20 minutes this morning. What we wanted to do this morning is to allow Congressman Berman to give us his overall perspective on the U.S.-India deal and to outline his legislation, HR5430. We have copies here. He will then take reporters' questions and then we will have the experts here in the room make very brief comments, including a an overview of a new letter to members of Congress outlining our concerns about how U.S. civil nuclear cooperation may indirectly assist India's nuclear weapons program, which would be a violation of U.S. obligations under Article I of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

I want to thank you congressman for your attention to this issue and your leadership with your legislation. We're interested in hearing how you see things shaping up on the committee with this proposal. The floor is yours.

HOWARD BERMAN: Thank you, Daryl. It makes sense for me to make a few comments then if there are any questions for me, I would be happy to answer them. I have put in legislation HR5430. Of course, that is not going to be the bill that is marked up. Everything I'm told leads me to believe that [House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.)] will be introducing his own bill. At this point, we hear that Henry is planning to ask the committee to mark this up next week, but it hasn't been formally introduced.

Here's where I come from on all of this. I'm a very strong believer in the importance of deepening our strategic partnership with India. In the jargon of Capitol Hill, I consider myself passionately pro-India. I also am a realist. India has nuclear weapons. We are not going to change that fact. Therefore, I think we have to move ahead understanding that that is a condition which is going to exist for the indefinite future. I'm also not opposed in any fashion to an appropriate nuclear cooperation agreement for nuclear energy purposes with India. I think that might make some sense and I'm quite happy to see that happen.

But I do have serious concerns about the deal that was negotiated by the administration. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others in the administration have said that this is a strong "net-plus" for nonproliferation. I challenge that assertion. If we're going to change long established rules on nuclear trade for one country, even a friend of the United States, like India, I think there has to be a compelling nonproliferation gain on the other side. Otherwise, I feel that we are risking the unraveling of the entire nonproliferation regime. I'm particularly concerned that the agreement does nothing to limit India's production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, even though all five nuclear-weapon states [China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States] have halted the production of fissile material. Many nonproliferation experts make a compelling case that this deal actually incentivises and enables India to increase its production of plutonium for nuclear weapons because importing nuclear fuel will allow India to dedicate all of its scarce domestic uranium for weapons production if it so chooses.

We're not the only ones saying this. Yesterday's edition of The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, quoted a top Indian foreign intelligence official making exactly the same point. Henry Sokolski and others have written a letter, which you may already have seen, that raises some interesting questions about whether this deal violates our obligations under the [nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)] not to assist another country's nuclear weapons program for that very reason.

The bill I authored, HR5430, would establish a country neutral framework for U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation with countries that are not signatories to the NPT. I thought that was more defensible than an India-specific approach. It sets a number of conditions for nuclear cooperation, including, most importantly, a halt to the production of fissile material [highly enriched uranium and plutonium]. It also corrects what I consider to be a fundamental flaw in the administration's legislative proposal by providing Congress with a simple up and down vote once the actual [U.S.-Indian bilateral 123] nuclear cooperation agreement has been negotiated. I never thought my bill would be the vehicle for moving forward with the India deal, as I mentioned, but I introduced it to help generate a debate on some of the issues. I think we've done that. The real focus is going to have to be on Henry Hyde's bill. I'm going to work with him to try and incorporate some revisions that that could improve the bill. But to the extent that the final version doesn't address some of my key concerns, I am planning to offer some amendments at the markup.

I am going to mention five specific priorities I have in that process. First is to require a halt to the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Second, assuring that Congress is able to amend the final nuclear cooperation agreement and then approve it by an affirmative majority vote with appropriate procedures for expedited review. We don't want to stall this by non-action, but we should be able to see the final agreement before we give our final approval. Third, I'm concerned that there is a lot of talk both at the time of the agreement and since then that the safeguards agreement that India wants to negotiate would be India specific. I want to see the bill require that the safeguards agreement that India negotiates with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is consistent with standard IAEA practices and that it doesn't deviate from those fundamental provisions that the IAEA requires in its standard safeguards agreements. Fourth, I want to maintain provisions in current law that require termination of nuclear cooperation if India tests a nuclear weapon or violates IAEA safeguards. Finally, I want to prohibit the president from helping India receive nuclear technology from other countries if those transfers would be illegal under U.S. law. I think I should stop here. I know that Daryl, Bob, and Henry can amplify these and other points that they plan to make.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much. That was a very good overview of what your bill does and the situation. Let's open up the floor here to reporters for questions for Congressman Berman. Bob, Henry, and I will be able to amplify if necessary.


QUESTION: I have a couple questions, congressman. First of all, on the country-neutral aspect, China reportedly also is favoring some kind of formula like that because China wants to reopen the option of having future deals with Pakistan. Are you worried that the country-neutral provision would leave the door open to future kinds of deals like this with other countries?

BERMAN: I am certainly worried about that kind of deal. That's part of my concern with this agreement. But our laws don't govern China, they govern the United States. My fear is whether we pass a country-neutral law or an India-specific law, that China will, if it doesn't have the right kinds of protections and take the proliferation issue seriously, go to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and to the IAEA and say that it wants to do a similar thing with Pakistan. I think that's a very serious negative about the current approach. I don't think that depends on whether our bill is country neutral or India specific.


QUESTION: There have been several proposals, by Congressman Tom Lantos (D.-Calif.) and by the Council on Foreign Relations, of having this two stage approval process where Congress would take up initially a general resolution of support and then defer the substantive vote until the safeguards agreement and the 123 agreement are in place. Do you have any views on how effective that would be or whether that's an advisable way to go.

BERMAN: It's better than the administration's proposal, but not good enough. I think it's appropriate for Congress to speak about specific requirements it wants to see any agreement contain. That two stage process doesn't envision putting out any substantive markers for the administration to consider in negotiating the agreement. But it is better than just signing off now and having no say later.


KIMBALL: As Congressman Berman said in his opening remarks, one of the objectives of his legislation would be to make sure that congress retains the authority to amend the section 123 agreement. That is not what Congressman Lantos has proposed. He has proposed, as I understand it, an expedited process that would not allow for any amendments that might help correct any problems that do emerge through the negotiations between the United States and India on that section 123 agreement.

BERMAN: As I understand it, even under current law, a nuclear cooperation agreement, which does not require full-scope safeguards-and this one doesn't-can be amended by the Congress. We had a long protracted history before the U.S.-China nuclear cooperation agreement went into effect. I think it's very important to retain that ability to not just have an up or down [vote], but to amend that final agreement.


QUESTION: A technical point. In the upcoming markup session, will the legislators be looking at all aspects, all proposals, that have been put forward by the legislators, and eventually come up with some kind of a consensus.

BERMAN: Well, I hope so. But, by in large, that will be up to the chairman: whether he wants to try and achieve a consensus or whether he wants to place a bill that still has a great deal of dissent and controversy. Around here, consensus is nice, but all that's required is a majority.


QUESTION: Another quick question on a broader aspect of the nonproliferation question. How do you see this India deal against the backdrop of what's happening in North Korea now with the threat of a long-range missile test?

BERMAN: I would not place India in a category with North Korea. But I certainly believe that what we sometimes refer to here as the rogue states-the ones that either have or are seeking to get a nuclear weapons capability-are going to use this effort to justify their own position and try to make good propaganda out of it. One of the factors, interestingly enough, that we deal with in our bill is adherence to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). One of the requirements for a non-NPT country to participate [in civilian nuclear trade with the United States] would be a commitment to adhere to that regime.


QUESTION: We hear that the chairman's bill is close to being completed. Do you have a sense of where it comes down on the five key points that you just outlined?

BERMAN: I'm sure it won't contain a halt of the production of fissile material. At this particular point, we'll wait and see to judge on some of these other issues. But I will be pleasantly surprised if it covers these specific issues that I raised in the way that I would like to see them covered.


QUESTION: A quick housekeeping question. Any reason why the markup was postponed? It was supposed to be tomorrow. Is it because the chairman is still entertaining these bills? What is the process now with your bill? Have you referred it to the committee already?

BERMAN: My bill is referred to committee. The chairman gets to decide what the base bill is, and I have no doubt that he will decide, as I would if I were chairman, that the bill he's sponsoring is going to be the base bill for the markup. So all the other proposals, including mine, may be a frame of reference for the debate and the source for amendments, but it will not be the bill that we start with.


QUESTION: Is the markup next week a done deal?

BERMAN: No, we have not gotten a formal notice of it. Two weeks ago, we thought this would be the week. Things change. But generally I have a sense that they're, at this point, planning to mark it up next week.


QUESTION: How important is time a factor in all this, given that you're looking at the end of summer and then when we return in September, you're going to be looking at November?

BERMAN: I think for the administration time is very important. They are pushing very hard to get this moving. I think there are many in Congress who think this is a very important and complicated issue. It's of course taking some time to understand all the ramifications of it, but the administration has a different view, and their party does control.


QUESTION: There is a school of thought that thinks that people like you are putting in all these amendments more because of some sort of political nature; that you have the president on the ropes and why give him some kind of a victory just before the November elections. Is there any truth to this contention?

BERMAN: Absolutely not. The only concern that motivates me is the concern about the type of agreement that is being talked about from the initial announcement and subsequent reports, and to what extent it undermines our nonproliferation goals. As I mentioned in the beginning, I consider myself pro-India. I accept that India has nuclear weapons and that we have to be realistic about it. I'm not averse to a nuclear energy cooperation agreement; the right kind of an agreement. There is nothing in what I'm doing that seeks any kind of partisan advantage. If this were a Democratic president proposing the same agreement, I would be making the exact same points.


KIMBALL: If I might just make a point about the corollary to your question. Given the scale of the changes that are being proposed by the administration through this deal, I would argue and I think my colleagues would agree, that that is reason not to rush it in order to gain any political advantage by the administration. They should be willing to take the time necessary to work through these issues, and preferably not to present the proposal to exempt India from certain parts of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act until the section 123 agreement for nuclear cooperation and the IAEA safeguards negotiations are completed.

BERMAN: I think a little bit of the problem we're in now is because the administration did rush here. I think they imposed on themselves a time certain to get this done, and, as a result, conceded some points that didn't need to be conceded.


QUESTION: Are you getting any feedback from members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group on what this could mean for the NSG in the future.

BERMAN: The only conversations I've had were with some diplomatic representatives of several of those countries. I have to say that at least in one conversation they looked at this as new opportunities. People who have a lot of uranium see a new export opportunity.


QUESTION: You are a little pessimistic regarding your five priorities during the markup. Maybe fissile material cutoff might not be a good markup proposal by Chairman Hyde. Where is your bottom line? On nuclear testing, do you need any blocking measure for preventing future nuclear testing by India? There must be a bottom line for Democrats.

BERMAN: I don't think the members of the committee are looking at it as Democrats and Republicans, or at least let me speak for the Democrats. Even within our own Democratic membership on the House International Relations Committee, we have many different views. There is no party position as such. Some have endorsed the deal enthusiastically. Some Republicans have expressed some real reservations about the deal. I know that in almost everything else we're doing around this place at this time, the partisan consideration tends to dominate. But on this one, I don't think that's the case. By the presence of Henry [Sokolski] and Bob [Einhorn] there, you are bridging a wide range of philosophical and partisan differences.


QUESTION: Can you say a little bit about what kind of political support you have for your proposals and what you expect to happen based on the conversations you've had with your colleagues?

BERMAN: The political support I feel that I have is the force of the argument from almost every nonproliferation expert that I've worked with over the years: people inside the Reagan and Bush I administrations, people inside the Clinton administration, people who once were in this Bush administration, and people in the different think tanks and universities for whom nonproliferation has been a priority. The very strong consensus of those people who I've worked with on issues having nothing to do with India is that this framework agreement is woefully lacking in some very important provisions to make sure that this doesn't undermine nonproliferation. So that's where I feel that my strongest support comes from. The people who really know this area have real reservations about it.


QUESTION: But other members?

BERMAN: There are definitely other members who have concerns, but I don't have a vote count for you. Of course, not only the administration, but other forces are strongly supportive of that framework agreement. So I'm not here to make any predictions about what's going to happen in committee because I think it's much too soon to tell. But I think the best thing that I have going is the merits of the argument.


KIMBALL: That's actually a good transition to the next part of our session this morning. Thank you Congressman Berman for being with us and we look forward to working with you in the next several weeks.

I will provide a very brief overview of where we understand the committees, in both the House and Senate, to be. I want to give you a checklist of the things that we might be looking for. Robert Einhorn will amplify some of the points that Congressman Berman was making about what we think needs to be in this agreement. Henry Sokolski will provide a summary of the arguments that we and some other experts have been making about the indirect assistance problem which Congressman Berman alluded to.

Congressional schedules are about as easy to predict as hurricane landfalls. Having said that, everyone is expecting June 27 and June 28 to be the dates when the House International Relations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have hearings that seek to markup the chairmen's respective texts on this agreement. They could slip. Congress is out for a short recess next week. But that's what everyone is looking at and from all accounts I think it is probable.

As we look at this proposal and the concerns that Congress has, they fall into two basic sets of categories: concerns about procedural matters and concerns about substance. Congressman Berman was going back and forth between these. Based on our information, what I expect Congressmen Hyde, and Senators [Richard] Lugar (R-Ind.) and [Joseph] Biden (D-Del.), who have been working on a draft bill, to do primarily is to address most of the several procedural anomalies that were contained in the president's proposed legislation. Now, if you recall, President Bush's legislation called for exempting India from section 123 a.(2) of the Atomic Energy Act, which is the full-scope safeguards requirement for civil cooperation with another state. It also called for Congress to treat the subsequent section 123 agreement for nuclear cooperation as a "non-exempt" agreement; that is treating this as if India met all the requirements. If it is treated that way, the only way that Congress can block it is through a joint resolution of disapproval, which would have to necessarily be disapproved by a two-thirds majority because the president could veto and send it back, and Congress would need a two-thirds majority to override that veto.

There are various other issues on substance related to what kinds of safeguards are going to be in there: what are the terms of the section 123 agreement, and are there any other conditions upon Indian nonproliferation behavior that clarify their commitments further from the July 18 proposal, or go beyond that? What I expect that we will see is the two chairmen arguing that the section 123 agreement should be treated as an "exempt" agreement, as Congressman Berman was suggesting, Congress should have the authority to make an affirmative vote in order for it to move forward. I would expect that because of administration pressure, the chairmen's proposals are going to call for expedited procedures for evaluating that 123 agreement. In other words, it might disallow amendments, which we and Congressman Berman think is not wise.

The chairmen's marks will probably require that the basic safeguards agreement with the IAEA cover all civil facilities and last in perpetuity regardless of any assurances of fuel supply. As I understand it, or at least it's unclear to me at this stage, how the chairmen's marks deal with what the terms of the section 123 agreement should be and what the conditions for termination will be. These are still being debated. These have been points of contention as they've been drafting this in consultation with the administration. Beyond that, it is hard to see whether the two chairmen are going to be able to tackle some of the other issues of concerns to us, including the fissile material cutoff matter, and the problem that we see of the United States providing India with some assurance of fuel supply even if the U.S. supply of fuel is terminated.

As I see the situation, it will be up to Howard Berman and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations and House International Relations Committees to try to amend and to fortify the chairmen's bills. How things will come out in the wash, I'm not sure. As the congressman said, nobody has done a head count, in part, because we don't know what the chairmen's drafts will look like. This could all happen relatively quickly in the course of a few days or it could drag out if members of these two committees are not satisfied with the chairmen's bills. If members are not able to make amendments or are not able to understand certain features of the bill, they may, especially in the senate, urge the chairmen to take more time to deal with the issue. That's a quick overview of what we understand to be the status and the process.

You also have to keep in mind that even after the chairmen's draft bills are marked up, possibly with amendments, they have to go to the floor of the Senate and the floor of the House of Representatives. The floor of the House is of course run a little more tightly due to its rules. I think most of us believe that the House would take time to act on a bill that comes out of the House International Relations Committee. That's not so certain regarding the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In the Senate, it is not clear whether there will be time to do this. It is up to the majority leader, and to some extent other members who may want to take up additional time, as to whether it goes on the Senate's calendar. It's hard to predict what happens after these two committees do their work.

Let's turn to Bob Einhorn to amplify some of the points that Congressman Berman made and then Henry if you could tell us more about the letter.

ROBERT EINHORN: Congressman Berman covered many of the points that I was going to make, and covered them very well, so I won't repeat them. I just want to mention two points in addition. First, on the question about Pakistan and its eligibility and so forth. As I read Congressman Berman's bill, it would make all non-parties to the NPT, other than North Korea, eligible for cooperation if they met certain specific requirements. As I look at those requirements, I see several that would mean Pakistan would clearly be eligible, but it would not qualify in the near future under current circumstances. I'll just allude to some of those. The president has to certify, for example, that the non-party is playing an active and constructive role in addressing nuclear proliferation challenges posed by states of proliferation concern, preventing illicit nuclear transactions, and eliminating illicit nuclear commercial networks. Also, that country would have to have established and successfully implementing an export control system capable of effectively controlling transfers of nuclear and nuclear-related material, technology, and related data, including stringent rules and procedures prohibiting unauthorized contact and cooperation by personnel with nuclear expertise. If you look at those two requirements, what they tell you is that Pakistan would have to do a lot more to ensure the president in this case that it is capable of avoiding another A.Q. Khan situation in the future. So I think that's how the congressman's bill protects against prematurely admitting for eligibility countries that are not yet ready for that.

Let me just make one more point and that's about Iran. I don't expect the issue of Iran to be dealt with in any specific legislation. It's not going to be mentioned explicitly. But the Iran question will be in the back of the minds of the legislators as they consider this U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation deal. A key administration argument for the deal is that this will help make India a partner with the United States in dealing with the current proliferation threat. The most urgent proliferation threat we face today, in my view, is Iran and its desire to have an enrichment capability that will give them nuclear weapons capabilities. A key test is whether India is genuinely a partner in dealing with this challenge. Now, India did two welcome things this last year. It cast two votes in the IAEA Board of Governors: last September to find Iran in non-compliance with safeguards obligations and then in February when it joined other IAEA board members when it voted to report Iran to the UN Security Council. Of those two, frankly, the September one was harder. The February one was politically much easier for India because it had the company of China and Russia and Egypt and Brazil and lots of other countries. But that's India's claim for being a constructive player in the Iran issue. But in some other areas, I don't think India has been very constructive. I would refer you to a Nonaligned Movement (NAM) statement at the foreign minister level, which was agreed at Kuala Lumpur on May 30; just several weeks ago. If you read this statement, it's clear that this NAM statement, which had the support of India, is diametrically opposed to what the Bush administration and its European friends are trying to do on the Iran issue. It specifically says that negotiations should be resumed without preconditions. The P-5 plus Germany in its proposal demands that Iran should completely and immediately suspend all enrichment activities. The NAM statement rejects that. It welcomes Iran's cooperation with the IAEA. The IAEA Director-General [Mohamed ElBaradei] has reported several times that he is not receiving Iran's cooperation. [The NAM statement] says that all countries must respect other countries' choices in terms of its nuclear fuel cycle. That's completely opposed to the philosophy of what the six [the P-5 plus Germany] are trying to do. India's joining this NAM statement suggests to me that India is not yet a full partner with the United States in dealing with today's most urgent proliferation challenge. As I said before, [Iran] is not going to be an issue that is worked in the language of a bill, but it will be in the back of people's minds as they move forward with this legislation.

HENRY SOKOLSKI: The comments made about Iran, the question about North Korea, should try to center our own minds on why the India deal actually may be related to other things. Proponents of the deal do not want you to think about the connected conductivity of this deal to anything else. They want you to emphasize the focus on the good relations that we could have with India. The problem is that the world doesn't work simply the way the proponents want. Things are connected. In the case of Iran, you've just heard Bob Einhorn explain India, which has a strategic cooperation agreement with Iran, may want to have things both ways. I think in addition, when you think about North Korea and the Indian deal, there is a connection. In the case of North Korea, they broke the rules, they got the bomb, and they withdrew [from the NPT]. So far, nothing has happened. Now that doesn't tend to make the rules look very good. If you flip that 180 degrees and give all the benefits of having followed all the rules to a country like India, which violated its peaceful pledge to the United States and Canada and tested nuclear weapons (some people argue when it was not clearly necessary), you get a 180 degree picture of how you could make the rules look even less significant than they were simply by letting North Korea get away with what it got away with. In the case of Iran, you do have a problem. Everyone keeps saying, "Well, Iran's not India."


India uses 150 tons of uranium for their weapons program. Well, they're running out [of uranium]. There's a 150 tons a year shortfall, and they're relying on a stockpile that's been there for years and that's dwindling. It's going to be exhausted, most experts think, by this year. We are coming to the rescue. We are going to save India from having to make a choice between peaceful nuclear activity and weapons activity. So when you read the administration's answer to whether Article I of NPT [will be] violated, you'll see that they kind of obfuscate this. It was that obfuscation that so irritated several people on this letter that we decided to write it. Had the administration been more modest and more honest, this letter wouldn't have been written. But they went too far with the answer they gave. They gummed the bullet. We should be under no allusion about what's being violated. That's the reason why you need to do something, like the Berman bill tries to do, to either cap the fissile production or safeguard lightly enriched uranium activities as far as highly enriched uranium production capabilities in India. None of that's being done. As long as none of that is being done, what you're doing is breaking the rules for very marginal benefits. You have to get something more if you're going to violate the rules the way we're doing. Congress needs to focus on that.


KIMBALL: Guests, the floor is yours again. Questions for us about any other issues that we've raised?


QUESTION: In his interview with The Financial Times, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) in effect says that this thing is not going to go through before the end of the year.

SOKOLSKI: Spoken like a true senator. He understands the free play of what happens when you have 100 individuals, rather than blocs.


KIMBALL: I'm not sure what his reasoning is. But it's pretty clear that the Senate has a lot of business to do in a short number of days. It's an election year. The majority leader, Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), has put several issues on the floor that are aimed to show differences between Democrats and Republicans. This one, I don't think, does so because there are Democratic and Republican concerns and there's Democratic and Republican support. My interpretation of what McCain is saying, going back to our earlier discussion, is that this is his best guess. We're not going to get to this controversial issue, in a busy year, even after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee deals with this. It's still a controversial issue that's going to take days of debate on the floor. Do they have days of debate time for this issue on the floor of the Senate?


QUESTION: What are the implications if this doesn't get through this year? Two-part question: one, you have a congress that comes back as it is and, two, it comes back entirely different in its makeup.

SOKOLSKI: Well, first of all, let me introduce you to American political science. We know how to apportion zones for voting in such a way so that last time we had an election only two seats changed in the House. It's not clear how these elections will go, first of all. Second of all, I focus your attention to the last paragraph of this letter which notes that India's foreign secretary recently acknowledged that the deal may not get by Congress, but this would not affect closer ties with the United States. I think he got it right. I think the drum roll and drama associated with this agreement is so hyped and overblown, it's harmful. I sat next to the former head of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, and this was in November, and someone at that time asked the same question, what happens if this doesn't go through? Without missing a beat he said, "Well, I would focus on clean coal." I think he got it right again. I think the Indians understand life better than we do. We are in such drama here in the United States because of lobbying efforts to make this into the end all be all. We've forgotten what it's about. This is supposed to help relations, not be the test of whether there are relations.


QUESTION: There are so many parallel strands going on. Am I right in thinking that as this is going through in Congress, we have separate talks going on between India and the IAEA and am I right in saying that the Bush administration is still negotiating as we speak with the Indians? Then, you've got the whole NSG process. If I were a congressman who couldn't get my head around this, surely the easiest solution would be, why don't we just wait until the Bush administration and the Indian government sort out what their agreement is, and get them to sort out what their agreement is with the IAEA, and then we rule on it. This is what Berman's thing is about: having the right to amend. Why is the administration trying to get them to agree to something that they haven't yet agreed themselves, and do we know what this final agreement will look like?

EINHORN: I'll give you one explanation. Within India, there is considerable domestic opposition and concern with respect to this agreement. The critics on this side say that the Bush administration didn't get enough out of the deal, but the opponents in India also say the Indian side didn't get enough from this deal. The Indian critics would like to see concrete evidence that the United States is going to implement this deal; concrete evidence in the form of legislation changing American law. They would like to see that upfront, before India takes some hard decisions on what the so-called 123 agreement would look like and what the IAEA-India safeguards agreement would look like. So they are pressing the administration to press the Congress to move ahead. They want to see U.S. law change before they will take decisions on these other issues. U.S. critics of the deal want to see it the other way around.

What you suggest is very logical. If I were a member of Congress, I would like to see a completed 123 agreement and a completed IAEA-Indian safeguards agreement because each of them will be unprecedented. They will be unlike perhaps any other agreements. The Indian government has said that the safeguards agreement will be India specific. The IAEA may have different views, by the way, on that. But we don't know how this is going to come out. So many on this side would like to do what Congressman Lantos wanted to do, pass a general resolution welcoming this deal, but saying that we're not going to consider it legislatively until we have these other two agreements in place. The administration didn't like the Lantos proposal. They want to move now.

Another reason the administration wants to move now is that things become unpredictable in 2007 with a new Congress sitting. They would like to grab an agreement now. They would like very much for the two committees to report out bills before July 4 and they would like both chambers to adopt a bill sometime this summer. If there are discrepancies between them, and there are likely to be, to conference them to remove any inconsistencies and have it then endorsed by both houses and sent to the president for signature. I think that's an optimistic time frame for the reasons we've discussed. Especially for deliberations in the Senate.

SOKOLSKI: This is worth dwelling on. It's a harsher view that I have. I think the critics in India, and if I'm reading them carefully, want no deal. They'll throw up anything to try to get this thing slowed down. In many respects, the worst of the critics of the deal here are not totally dissimilar in some respects to the worst of the critics in India. They're disingenuous. They don't want to face it that this deal is coming down, and it's coming down.

I think more important, though, is November. It's not like if there's a bunch of Democrats running the House it's going to be any different since they're divided on this deal anyway. The deal will go forward. In some fashion or another, the deal will go forward. The question is how? The reason the administration is in a rush is they know darn well that they've just begun their 123 negotiations. You know what those negotiations consisted of? "Here's my deal. Oh, and here's yours. Well, we don't like yours, we like ours. We'll get back to you in a couple weeks." That was what the negotiation consisted of: an exchange of views that didn't reach any compromises on anything.

Let me tell you how the negotiations [between India and the IAEA] went in Vienna about a month ago. The Indians flew in and said, "You know, we would like Indian specific safeguards. We only want safeguards to apply when there's foreign fuel present. We want these facilities and those facilities to be open to inspection but we specify when." The head of the [IAEA] safeguards division said, "Here is an Information Circular 66 (INFCIRC 66) standards safeguards agreement. That's what we have to offer." The Indians looked at it, they got up, and in 60 minutes that whole meeting was over.

The likelihood therefore of the 123 agreement and the IAEA safeguards matter being settled anytime soon is very low. So what do you do? You get Congress to say, "We passed something." Then you hope to lean on these institutions to bend. When you get the legislation passed, three things happen. One, you don't have to really get a very tough 123 agreement because the legislation the administration wants is very loose on these requirements. Two, you may not have to get much in the way of an IAEA safeguards agreement under the deal because all it has to do is be acceptable in some fashion to the IAEA. It doesn't specify what will be in the agreement. Three, with the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the biggest fear raised [by some people] is that India and the United States might ignore the Nuclear Suppliers Group altogether and go ahead with this, which would be the beginning of the end of all the nuclear rules altogether.


QUESTION: Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told me in an interview that this whole 123 agreement was just a technical thing, just a formality. Now, it has thrown up all these problems. What happened here? Burns earlier told us that this was just a formality. He didn't even want us to talk about it. He said that it was just a formality. It's just a technical thing. You guys don't even have to know what it's about. Did the Indians go back on this or what happened?

EINHORN: The administration tabled a draft 123 agreement [in March]. The Indian side studied it and then came back with a counter offer. According to Americans directly involved in this process, that left five or six significant issues unresolved. Not technical issues, but basic kinds of questions. Does India want to accept the notion in an agreement that the United States will terminate nuclear cooperation in the event of an Indian nuclear test? That's not a technical issue. Should the United States have consent rights over the disposition of any nuclear material provided to India? What India decides to do subsequently? Should the United States have those consent rights? The United States has those consent rights in every other agreement we have. India may object to giving the United States consent rights over the disposition of those transfers. That's not a technical issue. My understanding is that there are five or six such issues that at least were unresolved before the U.S. team went [to New Delhi in mid-June]. I haven't gotten a report yet on what happened last week in New Delhi. Similarly, the IAEA-India safeguards agreement is not simply a technical matter. It uses technical language to deal with these issues, but they're not technical matters. As Henry said, is India going to insist on safeguards arrangements that are unique or will they agree to what the IAEA seems to be pressing for, which is Indian conformance to the model agreements that everyone else abides by?


QUESTION: I want to go back to your point Daryl in your summary in the beginning about the bills. The way you describe it, I don't think you distinguish between the House and the Senate bills. It sounds like they were fairly similar and parallel. Is that the case and is their coordination between them?


KIMBALL: Well, you should talk to the staffs of the two committees. But I understand that there is substantial consultation. I understand that they have similar concerns. My suspicion is that they may address these concerns in different ways. There are different ways to skin the cat. We will find out soon how closely their strategies conform to one another. Theoretically, there are a number of ways you can do this. You can start with the administration's approach, exempt India from section 123 a.(2) full scope safeguards and then outline a different set of determinations the president must make before the agreement for nuclear cooperation can become effective and different terms under which the section 123 agreement would be considered by Congress. You could also use the existing procedures written into the Atomic Energy Act that could allow for civil trade between the United States and India if the president makes existing determinations that are already spelled out in law. So they may pursue either or both of these two different approaches.

One other thing I would just mention on the point about the importance of the section 123 negotiations. Another reason why I think the administration wants to rush this through is because I think they understand there are going to be significant problems between U.S. and Indian negotiators on the section 123 agreement. They want Congress to basically accept, adopt, and buy into this before they even understand what these problems are. I would note that the proponents of the deal, I think, have unfairly and inaccurately described some of the proposed conditions that we and others, Congressman Berman among them, have put forward, like the fissile material cutoff as a condition, as deal killers. I think it's quite clear that if India pursues its idea that the section 123 agreement should not give the United States the right to suspend cooperation if India conducts a test explosion is a deal killer. If there's any deal killer, that's a deal killer. That's in the law today. The United States is supposed to negotiate agreements that give us that right. It's quite an interesting kind of situation. That's one reason why they're pursuing it.

SOKOLSKI: It goes one step deeper. All of the 123 objections, or practically all of them, arise from provisions that were put into standard nuclear cooperation agreements because of what India did in 1974. [India conducted a nuclear test explosion in 1974 using imports from the United States and Canada that were designated for peaceful purposes use.] So I can see an Indian official saying, "Geez, we really object to that." But as an American, I say, "No, no, you made us put them in." So there's some history here.


QUESTION: Just a quick one about the United States maybe bypassing the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Wouldn't that go against the heart of the proposal when it first said that you're going to get all this done with the Nuclear Suppliers Group?


KIMBALL: Let me just clarify this point. U.S. officials on the record have said that they will seek consensus approval for this agreement through the Nuclear Suppliers Group. We did an interview with [Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security] Robert Joseph, May 18, and he states this pretty unequivocally. Privately, and in some meetings, some U.S. officials have hinted that if there is opposition at the NSG to this, that they may seek some other route, maybe a majority vote. There's a report in Nuclear Fuel to this effect that came out on the 19th. I think we need to be clear about what that means. That would be the end of the NSG if countries start seeking majority votes when some other country has a problem. China may come along two years from now, and say, "We want to trade with Pakistan. We want a majority vote." The United States may set a precedent that we may regret. That cannot be the approach that the United States pursues.

SOKOLSKI: The Chinese in particular are worried that the NSG will be no more than a speed bump to people making exceptions and saying that it doesn't really matter. They're worried that this is the beginning of the unraveling.


KIMBALL: The way it's been described to me is that a majority of states at the 45-country NSG have concerns or are opposed [to the U.S.-Indian deal]. A minority supports it. As Congressman Berman said, those are states that might profit by selling technology and material to India. The question is will the small number of states that are steadfastly opposed, be able to stand up to the pressure from France, Britain, the United States, and Russia, in the end?

EINHORN: My guess is that if there were a secret ballot in the NSG, this proposition would be defeated by around 35-10, 38-7, something like that. But the NSG doesn't take decisions by majority vote. There are a lot of countries who really don't like this agreement and resent the agreement. But they just don't want to hurt their relations with India or they don't want to hurt their relations with the Bush Administration. So they're reluctant to stand up and say, "I exercise my right to block this agreement." There's only one country that has the standing to do that and I don't think China will do that.


KIMBALL: One final point before I adjourn us. We haven't talked too much specifically about the fissile material cutoff idea. I just want to draw you attention to one thing. The United States put forward a proposal a month ago at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva that calls for a declaratory global fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) that would enter into force when the five original nuclear-weapon states agree to it. We should keep in mind that that proposal does not include a verification protocol. The United States opposes the verification of the FMCT because this administration does not think that this is possible. The Indian government supports the negotiation of a global FMCT, but one that is verifiable. They reiterated this position on May 18th in Geneva. In a polite little message, Jayant Prasad, the representative for India said, "Several proposals have been put forward in the conference to advance our work. The United States has presented its initiative earlier today. We hope that further discussion on these ideas and suggestions will help us collectively to move towards a consensus." Well, that's a polite way of saying, we disagree with you, we hope for the best, and we hope that no one notices the differences on substance between the United States and India on the FMCT.

One other approach that could be pursued, which is taken into account in Congressman Berman's bill, is if the United States and India are really serious on a fissile cutoff, the United States, India, Pakistan, Russia, China, Britain, and France could all sit down at a meeting and work out a declaratory agreement that says they will not produce fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes. That would achieve one of our key objectives and address this problem with Article I of the NPT that Henry was talking about. If they're serious about this objective, they could do that. We hope they will. Congress has an opportunity to encourage them to do so. I thank everyone for being here and making time for this briefing.




Arms Control Association Press Roundtable

Country Resources:

Hans Blix Reports on WMD Dangers and Solutions



Arms Control Association Press Briefing

in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden and
the American Bar Association Section of International Law Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation

Wednesday, June 7, 2006
8:30 - 10:30 A.M.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts, Ave., NW
Washington, DC


In December 2003, the Swedish government launched the international, independent WMD Commission under the leadership of Dr. Hans Blix to explore ways to reduce threats posed by biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. After more than two years of work, Dr. Blix will present the commission’s final report June 1 to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Dr. Blix will make his first visit to Washington to share the commission's findings and recommendations at this June 7 event. A trio of WMD experts (see below) will provide their analysis and perspectives on the report and its recommendations.

Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Hans Blix, Chairman of the WMD Commission and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission in Iraq.


Robert Einhorn, Senior Advisor, International Security Program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. His last position in a nearly 30-year U.S. government career was as Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation. In 2001, he was awarded the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Jonathan Tucker, Senior Fellow, Monterey Institute's Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS). Prior to joining CNS in 1996, he worked on chemical and biological weapons issues at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Tucker recently published War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to al-Qaeda.

Dr. John Burroughs, Executive Director, Lawyer's Committee on Nuclear Policy (LCNP). He is a specialist on treaty regimes and international law and was the nongovernmental legal coordinator at the nuclear weapons hearings at the International Court of Justice. Burroughs recently co-edited Rule of Power or Rule of Law?

# # #

The Arms Control Association (ACA) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting effective arms control policies. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.



Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Legislative Options for Congress Regarding the Proposal for Full U.S.-Indian Nuclear Cooperation



May 11, 2006

Oral Testimony of Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Legislative Options for Congress Regarding the Proposal for Full U.S.-Indian Nuclear Cooperation

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Committee on International Relations on options regarding the Bush administration's proposal to resume full civil nuclear cooperation with India.

In my judgment, any proposal to make sweeping exceptions to longstanding nonproliferation rules for any country, for any reason, must, on balance, deliver exceptional nonproliferation and international security benefits and guard against unintended negative consequences. Unfortunately, the proposal for civil nuclear cooperation negotiated with India and the legislation proposed by the administration to allow it, do not meet this test.

The nonproliferation benefits of the arrangement have been vastly oversold by proponents. Put simply, it does not bring India into the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream.

Not only does the arrangement fail to constrain India's nuclear weapons program, but it may indirectly assist the growth of India's nuclear arsenal, and it risks serious damage to other vital U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals and multilateral endeavors, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Given the utmost importance of this matter, I hope that Congress will allow itself the time to thoroughly and carefully evaluate of all options, issues, and relevant facts, and find a solution that more appropriately balances U.S. nonproliferation, trade, energy, and security priorities.

My main recommendations to this end can be summarized in five main points.

First, Congress should establish additional and more meaningful conditions for responsible nonproliferation behavior by India in order for it to receive full civil nuclear cooperation. Chief among these would be for Congress to require the President to certify that India is no longer producing fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes, or has entered into a multilateral arrangement to stop fissile material production for weapons, or has joined a global verifiable fissile material production cutoff treaty.

Given the challenges facing the negotiation of a global fissile material production cutoff treaty, India's reiteration of its commitment to support these negotiations is of no additional practical value. The absence of a commitment from New Delhi to halt or otherwise constrain its fissile material production is problematic for many reasons, which I do not have time to explain here.

But Congress should consider that the supply of foreign nuclear fuel to India could free-up India's limited domestic uranium supplies for the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons. Unrestricted or accelerated Indian fissile material and weapons production would make it more difficult for the United States to persuade Pakistan and China to slow or stop the growth of their fissile material and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

One option that could address this problem would be to establish a condition in law that would allow some forms of civil nuclear trade with India, but withhold others pending an end to its fissile production for weapons.

Congress should also require the President to certify annually that no form of civil nuclear assistance from the United States to India is being used directly or in any other way to assist India's nuclear weapons program. If any such assistance were to occur, it would constitute a violation of one of our own nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligations.

Second, Congress should approve additional conditions that would help ensure that basic safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol agreement between India and the IAEA for India's civil nuclear facilities are consistent with IAEA practices and are signed and enter into force prior to the implementation of the U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

Third, Congress should follow normal procedure and preserve its authority to review the proposed Section 123 bilateral agreement for nuclear cooperation with India as an "exempt" agreement. Furthermore, Congress should not act on proposed amendments to the Atomic Energy Act until it has reviewed the details of the agreement for nuclear cooperation, as well as the Indian-IAEA safeguards agreements.

There is reason to be concerned that the still-to-be-negotiated agreement for nuclear cooperation with India may not conform with key requirements of the Atomic Energy Act. For example, India is reportedly pressuring the United States to eliminate any reference in the agreement to the United States' right, as required in Section 123(a)(4), to suspend peaceful nuclear cooperation if India conducts a nuclear test explosion.

Fourth, as is the practice with other bilateral agreements for nuclear cooperation, Congress should establish in law a more thorough list of negative nonproliferation actions that would, if undertaken by India, trigger the termination of U.S. civil nuclear cooperation. These should track with existing requirements listed in Section 129 of the Atomic Energy Act as closely as possible and seek to ensure that India meets the commitments it has made in the July 18, 2005 Joint Statement and elsewhere.

Fifth, Congress should ensure that U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement should not be implemented until the NSG approves by consensus the changes to its guidelines necessary to allow full civil nuclear cooperation with India.

In conclusion, I support the goal of building upon the already strong U.S.-Indian partnership and assisting India in its effort to deliver cleaner forms of energy for its growing population. I remain convinced that if Congress takes the appropriate steps, these goals can—and must—be achieved without undermining core U.S. nuclear nonproliferation values and U.S. leadership efforts to prevent the proliferation of the world's most dangerous weapons.

Mr. Chairman and other members of the committee, thank you again for the opportunity to be here. I look forward to any questions you might have.

Prepared Testimony of Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Legislative Options for Congress Regarding the Proposal for Full U.S.-Indian Nuclear Cooperation

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Committee on International Relations on options regarding the Bush administration's proposal to resume full civil nuclear cooperation with India.

In the ten months since this element of the U.S.-India Partnership was first outlined, discussion and debate has appropriately focused on whether it enhances or undermines U.S. and global efforts on what is arguably the single most important national security challenge: preventing the spread and growth of nuclear weapons worldwide.

As Congress considers options regarding the administration's legislative proposal and other proposals that put forward by House members, it is important to put the issue in proper context.

For the better part of four decades, India has chosen to remain outside the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream. While advocating the general goal of nuclear disarmament, Indian leaders have shunned the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) since its inception in 1968. Six years after this treaty's negotiation, India deliberately and inappropriately used U.S. and Canadian nuclear imports designated for peaceful purposes to explode a nuclear device. Since that test, India surreptitiously built up a nuclear weapons stockpile, refused to subject all but a handful of its nuclear facilities to outside inspection, and defiantly conducted a series of nuclear tests in May 1998 just two years after the international community concluded the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Over the years, Republican and Democratic administrations have pursued policies and standards designed to deny India and other states outside the NPT access to nuclear weapons-related technology, and to encourage them to restrain the growth and development of their nuclear arsenals. These policies have helped limit India's nuclear weapons capabilities.

While the United States and other NPT states have formally called upon India to join the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state, it is evident that U.S. laws and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) trade barriers will not likely bring India into the NPT or induce it to give up its nuclear weapons any time soon. In response, United States and other countries have, with some success, sought to bring India—and the two other NPT outliers Israel and Pakistan—into line with the nuclear nonproliferation and arms control practices of NPT member states. Only eight years ago, in June 1998, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1172, which calls upon India and Pakistan to immediately stop their weapon development programs, halt fissile material production for weapons purposes, and to sign the CTBT, among other nonproliferation measures.

Supporters of the proposal for civil nuclear cooperation with India claim that it is time to make an exception to the nonproliferation rules for a state with which the United States has strong ties. Many of them assert that the nuclear cooperation arrangement will help India significantly expand energy production, foreign nuclear fuel imports would not indirectly improve India's capacity to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons, and India's acceptance of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on an additional eight nuclear reactors by 2014 is a major nonproliferation gain that helps bring India into the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream. Some even suggest that approval of this nuclear cooperation arrangement is a litmus test of Indo-U.S. relations.

However, I along with most other experts in the nonproliferation field and even some supporters of the nuclear cooperation proposal, agree that the arrangement does not bring India into the nonproliferation mainstream, but instead weakens and ignores nonproliferation standards that have been championed by the United States for decades. I also believe that it is a mistake to frame the debate about the nuclear cooperation proposal as a test of Congressional support for better relations with India. The U.S.-Indian relationship is already strong and will, in the long run, grow stronger whether or not the proposed nuclear cooperation arrangement is approved, delayed, or modified.

The value of the nonproliferation commitments outlined in the July 18 Joint Statement has been oversold by proponents. The arrangement fails to constrain and may indirectly assist the growth of India's nuclear arsenal and it risks serious damage to other vital U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals and multilateral endeavors, including the NSG and the NPT itself.

It would also be a mistake to believe that Congress must act quickly in order to provide civil nuclear assistance to India, especially given that the U.S. nuclear industry is reticent to pursue trade deals with India until it joins key international civil nuclear liability agreements, which establish terms for operator liability for damages caused by accidents.

This is an important matter that requires careful consideration, a thorough evaluation of all the options, and a solution that balances key nonproliferation, trade, energy, and security priorities.

As this Committee considers options regarding the administration's legislative proposal, H. R. 4974 that would amend the 1954 Atomic Energy Act (AEA), as well as the required AEA Section 123 agreement for nuclear cooperation that is now being negotiated with India, it has an important opportunity to help correct the nonproliferation shortcomings of the proposal.

I respectfully urge you to pursue the several practical and common sense legislative options that could mitigate adverse impacts on the nonproliferation regime and improve India's nonproliferation and disarmament behavior in ways that would help strengthen long-term U.S. and international security.

My main recommendations can be summarized in five main points.

First, Congress should establish additional and more meaningful conditions for responsible nonproliferation behavior by India in order for it to receive full civil nuclear cooperation with the United States. Chief among these would be for Congress to require the President to certify that India is no longer producing fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes, or has entered into a multilateral arrangement to stop fissile material production for weapons purposes, or has joined a global verifiable fissile material production cutoff treaty. Congress should also require the President to certify annually that no form of civil nuclear assistance from the United States to India is being used directly or in any other way to assist India's nuclear weapons program.

Second, Congress should approve additional conditions that would help ensure that IAEA safeguards, including the Additional Protocol, on civil nuclear facilities in India are consistent with IAEA practices and are signed and enter into force prior to the implementation of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

Third, Congress should preserve its existing authority and decide to review and consider the proposed Section 123 agreement for nuclear cooperation with India as an “exempt” agreement. Furthermore, Congress should not act on proposed amendments to the Atomic Energy Act until it has reviewed the details of the proposed bilateral agreement for nuclear cooperation with India and the Indian-IAEA safeguards agreements.

Fourth, as is the practice with other bilateral agreements for nuclear cooperation and as required in Section 129 of the AEA, Congress should identify which negative nonproliferation actions, if undertaken by India, could trigger the termination of U.S. civil nuclear cooperation. These should track with existing law a closely as possible and seek to ensure that India meets the commitments it has made in the July 18, 2005 Joint Statement and elsewhere.

Fifth, Congress should ensure that proposed changes to NSG guidelines do not undercut U.S. law or policy objectives, and the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement should not be implemented until the NSG approves by consensus the changes to its guidelines necessary to allow full civil nuclear cooperation with India.

A more detailed explanation of these and other recommendations follows below.

1.Improve and Clarify the Conditions for Responsible Nonproliferation Behavior Required for Full Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India

In my judgment, any proposal to make sweeping exceptions to longstanding nonproliferation rules for any country, for any reason, must, on balance, deliver exceptional and demonstrable nonproliferation and international security benefits and guard against unintended negative security consequences. The presidential determinations proposed by the administration in H.R.4974 and the commitments outlined in the July 18 Joint Statement do not meet this test.

The proposed U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation arrangement is premised on the idea that India is prepared to “assume the same responsibilities and practices” as other nuclear-weapon states. Unfortunately, the existing terms of the proposal would not oblige New Delhi to undertake the same practices as the five original nuclear-weapon states, including a halt of production of fissile material for weapons and signature of the CTBT. Nor would it commit India to support an “early cessation of the nuclear arms race” and disarmament, as Article VI of the NPT requires of its members.

Restraints on Fissile Material Production for Weapons Purposes

The most significant shortcoming of the proposal is its failure to win any meaningful commitment from India to curtail production of fissile material (i.e. plutonium and highly enriched uranium) for weapons purposes, which has been a longstanding U.S. policy goal. Such a step would help cap the growth of India's arsenal and curb nuclear arms competition in Asia.

Four of the five original nuclear-weapon states—France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—have all publicly and unilaterally declared a halt to fissile material production for weapons. China is also believed to have stopped fissile material production for weapons in order to focus on the production of nuclear fuel for energy purposes.

The July 18 Joint Statement affirms India's support for the negotiation of a global fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). This is a positive statement but it is not a new pledge.

India has for several years stated its support for the negotiation of a global, verifiable FMCT, but negotiations toward such a treaty have been deadlocked since the late 1990s due to differences over negotiating priorities. The current impasse is primarily the result of U.S. opposition to the negotiation of a verifiable treaty and to discussions on other arms control topics at the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament. Ironically, India has stated that it would only support a verifiable FMCT.

Until such time as the U.S. government adjusts its position and negotiators resolve differences over verification and other issues, the realization of the FMCT will remain a distant goal and India's FMCT pledge will remain an empty gesture. Likewise, H.R. 4974's requirement that the President determine that “India is working with the United States for the conclusion of a multilateral Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty,” has little or no practical value.

The absence of an Indian commitment to halt or otherwise constrain its fissile material production is troublesome for another reason: even if India's civilian-military separation plan is deemed “credible” and all facilities declared civilian are placed under permanent IAEA safeguards, the supply of foreign nuclear fuel to India could still free-up India's existing and somewhat limited capacity to produce plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons. This could allow for the rapid expansion of India's nuclear arsenal from the current rate of some 6-10 bombs annually to several dozen annually.

Indeed, Indian nuclear hawks such as K. Subrahmanyam have openly argued that, in order to expand India's arsenal, New Delhi should “categorize as many reactors as possible as civilian” to facilitate foreign refueling and conserve India's scarce “native uranium fuel for weapon-grade plutonium production.”[1]

In its January 17, 2006 responses to questions from Rep. Markey about the possibility of imported nuclear fuel freeing up India's fissile material production capacity, the State Department does not deny the possibility and simply asserts that “the growth of India's nuclear program is evidently not constrained by access to natural uranium.”[2]

The administration's approach does not take into account several scenarios that could allow India to use existing and relatively limited domestic uranium supply to support fissile material production for weapons purposes.

For instance, if India builds a new plutonium-production reactor (as it is reportedly planning to do[3]) or decides to use one or more of its eight existing heavy water reactors that were excluded from IAEA safeguards to augment its two existing military plutonium production reactors (CIRUS and Dhruva), the additional increased consumption of domestic uranium supplies for plutonium production would be compensated for by access to imported uranium for safeguarded power reactors.

And, if India no longer needs to rely on domestic uranium to fuel its power reactors, it could also expand its small-scale centrifuge enrichment program to make highly enriched uranium to support nuclear weapons production.[4]

Indian officials have refused to define what its policy of a “minimal credible deterrent” means and have suggested that India's future strategic requirements may change. Nevertheless, the administration is apparently gambling that India's future fissile material production goals will not significantly increase and that a future Indian government will not choose to define India's nuclear deterrent requirements in a way that calls for more rapid fissile production.

While it is certainly not the intention of the administration to aid India's bomb program, the issue is not one of just intent. It is also a legal matter. Article I of the NPT obligates the recognized nuclear-weapon powers, including the United States, to “not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.”

In addition, UN Security Council Resolution 1172 also commits all UN member states “to prevent the export of equipment, materials or technology that could in any way assist programmes in India or Pakistan for nuclear weapons or for ballistic missiles capable of delivering such weapons….”

Still, some may question why the United States should care if India produces more fissile material for nuclear weapons and increases its nuclear capabilities. Indeed, some advocates of the proposed nuclear cooperation deal are blunt in saying that such a buildup should be of no concern to the United States and would actually be desirable. Ashley Tellis, for instance, wrote last summer, “Even if the United States cannot actively aid India in developing its strategic capabilities, it ought to pursue policies having exactly that effect.”[5]

I could not disagree more.

Engaging in nuclear trade with India while it maintains and exercises its options to expand its nuclear arsenal directly contradicts U.S. and global efforts to reduce nuclear weapons dangers. Today, one of the highest U.S. security priorities should be to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and amount of bomb-ready material susceptible to theft or misuse worldwide. Obviously, India's continued production of both would thwart this critical objective. Unrestricted Indian fissile material and weapons production will make it more difficult for the United States to persuade Pakistan and India to slow or stop the growth of their nuclear weapons and fissile material stockpiles.

Tacit U.S. acceptance of a continued Indian nuclear arms buildup also would further complicate efforts to convince Iran and North Korea that nuclear weapons are unnecessary and not in their security interests. This is not to suggest that Iran and North Korea are pursuing nuclear weapons because India has nuclear weapons. Rather, it reflects an understanding that fewer countries around the world are going to firmly support steps to deal with cases of noncompliance with nonproliferation standards of concern to the United States if it is perceived that the United States will ignore those standards in order to advance other U.S. national interests.

Although tensions on the subcontinent have eased in recent years, India and Pakistan remain locked in a nuclear arms race and their fingers remain on the nuclear trigger. The two nearly came to nuclear blows in 2002 and the risk of nuclear war lingers. Permitting India to pursue additional nuclear weapons only stirs this simmering, potentially explosive brew further.

The strongest guarantee that expanded civil nuclear trade with India would not contribute to its nuclear weapons program or stimulate further arms competition in Asia would be for Congress to require, as a condition for exempting India from the AEA section 123(a)(2) full-scope safeguards requirement, the President to certify that:

  • India, as a matter of public policy, is no longer producing fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes, or has entered into a multilateral arrangement to stop fissile material production for weapons purposes, or has joined a global verifiable fissile material production cutoff treaty.

Indian officials, who are concerned about China's slow-moving nuclear modernization plan, have resisted suggestions that they unilaterally halt fissile material production for weapons purposes. Given that negotiations on an FMCT could take some time, Indian officials also resist tying civil nuclear trade to the completion of an FMCT.

However, given that the State Department continues to “call upon both [Pakistan and China] to also agree, as India has, to work toward a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty” and says that “we stand ready to explore interim objectives,”[6] it is realistic and practicable for the United States to encourage these three nuclear-armed states to achieve, as an the interim objective and as a condition for the delivery of civil assistance to India, a regional fissile production cutoff arrangement pending completion of an FMCT.

Such an arrangement would help win necessary support from the Nuclear Suppliers Group to adjust its current guidelines and allow for civil nuclear cooperation with India. It would also help extract a major nonproliferation success out of an otherwise major nonproliferation loss.

Other alternative legislative conditions that might also be considered might allow for the the delivery of some forms of civil nuclear assistance, but withhold others pending a halt to Indian fissile material production for weapons purposes. For instance Congress could:

  • Amend the AEA to permit the export of nuclear equipment, components and technology (with the exception of enrichment, reprocessing, and heavy water production facilities and technologies) to India provided the President certifies that India has voluntarily halted the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes, or is actively promoting the negotiation of a multilateral, internationally verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) or a regional arrangement for stopping the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons purposes.

When the President certifies to Congress that India has stopped the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes, exports to India of nuclear material (i.e. fuel for reactors) may be authorized in accordance with the applicable regulations and provisions of U.S. law.

One theoretical alternative would be for Congress to amend the AEA to allow civil nuclear cooperation only if India and the United States seek to conclude negotiation of a global FMCT and/or conclude a regional arrangement for stopping the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons purposes within a relatively short period of time (i.e. five years.). However, as the history of U.S. and international efforts to persuade India and other states to join in a multilateral fissile material production cutoff demonstrate, encouragement alone is not enough. Any such hortatory amendment would likely have little, if any, effect on producing the desired outcome.

Ensuring Civil Nuclear Cooperation Does Not Assist India's Weapons Program

Another complimentary approach to help ensure that U.S. nuclear assistance is not running afoul of Article I of the NPT by directly or indirectly assisting India's military nuclear program would be for Congress to require, as a condition for exempting India from the AEA section 123(a)(2) full-scope safeguards requirement, the President to certify on an annual basis that:

  • No form of civil nuclear assistance from the United States to India is being used directly or in any other way to assist India's nuclear weapons program. Such assistance may include, but would not be limited to, the potential use of any U.S.-origin equipment, technology, or nuclear material by India in an unsafeguarded facility or nuclear-weapons related complex; or the replication and subsequent use of any U.S.-origin technology in an unsafeguarded nuclear facility or nuclear-related complex, or for nuclear weapons-related purposes.

As part of such a condition, Congress should also request an annual report by the executive branch to Congress regarding India's domestic production of uranium ore, nuclear reactor fuel, separated plutonium, and highly enriched uranium. It should also assess the net effect that foreign supplies of nuclear fuel for safeguarded civil purposes have on India's capacity to produce reactor fuel and fissile material in its unsafeguarded, military nuclear sector.

Such a requirement is consistent with U.S. commitments through the NSG and should not be controversial. In their responses to questions submitted on November 2 by Senator Lugar, Undersecretaries Burns and Joseph said: “We will also need to ensure that any cooperation is fully consistent with U.S. obligations under the NPT not to ‘in any way' assist India's nuclear weapons program, and with provisions of U.S. law.”

Nuclear Testing Limitations

The July 18 Joint Statement also reiterates India's commitment to maintain its moratorium on nuclear test explosions—a political pledge that it has made before in other contexts. All of the other original nuclear-weapon states are not only observing unilateral moratoria, but they have also signed the CTBT, which according to customary reading of Article XVIII of the Vienna Convention on Treaties, establishes a legally-binding commitment not to take any action “contrary to the purpose or intent” of the treaty prior to ratification, which in the case of the CTBT is to ban nuclear test explosions of any kind.

While India has resisted joining the CTBT to date, it has stated that it will not be the last state to hold up its entry into force. It is also conceivable that India might join with Pakistan in a treaty pledging that neither will be the first to conduct a nuclear test explosion. To encourage India to actually assume the same responsibilities and practices expected of other nuclear-weapon states, Congress should require, as a condition for exempting India from the AEA section 123(a)(2) full-scope safeguards requirement, the President to certify that:

  • India is making satisfactory progress toward a legally-binding commitment not to conduct nuclear weapon test explosions or nuclear explosions of any kind, and has not conducted a nuclear test explosion after May 1998.

None of the proposed presidential determinations in H.R.4974 address India's nuclear test ban policy.

Safeguards on Civilian Nuclear Facilities

According to the July 18 Joint Statement and the civil-military separation plan announced by Prime Minister Singh, India has agreed to allow permanent IAEA safeguards on nuclear reactors and facilities that it designates as “civilian.” By the time the separation plan is to be implemented in 2014, as many as eight additional nuclear reactors would be safeguarded. Currently four reactors are already under facility-specific safeguards and India already agreed that two Russian-supplied light-water energy production reactors now under construction will also be safeguarded. Regarding future facilities, India has declared that it alone reserves the right to decide which facilities will be declared civilian and subjected to safeguards.

However, India's civil-military separation plan excluded from IAEA oversight eight of its existing reactors, its breeder reactor program, its reprocessing and enrichment facilities, and all of its existing spent fuel. It should be recognized that partial IAEA safeguards in a state with a secret nuclear weapons program are far more symbol than substance.

In describing India's civil-military separation plan in a statement to the Indian Parliament on March 6, Prime Minister Singh also declared that India would pursue a safeguards agreement with the IAEA that is “India-specific.” He also declared, “We have received commitments from the United States for the reliable supply of fuel to India for reactors that will be offered for safeguards. The United States has also reaffirmed its assurance to create the necessary conditions for India to have assured and full access to fuel for such reactors.”

To date, a definition of “India-specific” IAEA safeguards has not been provided. In addition, the nature of the U.S. fuel-supply assurances is not clear. While U.S. officials including Secretary of State Rice has testified that safeguards over nuclear facilities declared by India as civilian will apply in perpetuity, it is not evident that India agrees that the safeguards will apply permanently if foreign nuclear fuel supplies for its civil reactors are interrupted.

Therefore, it would be reasonable and prudent for Congress to require, as a condition for exempting India from the AEA section 123(a)(2) full-scope safeguards requirement, the President to certify that:

  • An agreement between India and the IAEA has entered into force requiring the application of a safeguards agreement consistent with IAEA safeguards, principles, and practices in perpetuity for all “civil” nuclear facilities and associated nuclear material.

U.S. officials also claim that the nuclear cooperation proposal is valuable because it will, over time, bring a larger percentage of India's nuclear facilities under safeguards. On March 6, Prime Minister Singh stated that India has decided to place under safeguards all future civilian thermal power reactors and civilian breeder reactors. Singh also said the Government of India retains the sole right to determine which of its future reactors are designated as civilian.

To help ensure that this pledge is carried out faithfully, it would be reasonable and prudent for Congress to require, as a condition for exempting India from the AEA section 123(a)(2) full-scope safeguards requirement, the President to certify that:

  • India has provided credible assurances that all future electricity-producing nuclear reactors (including breeders) will be declared “civilian” and placed under safeguards.

Additional Protocol

As part of the July 18 Joint Statement, India committed to signing and implementing the Additional Protocol, which is designed to allow more extensive inspections by the IAEA of declared and undeclared nuclear facilities. As a state that is not legally recognized under the NPT as a nuclear-weapon state, the nature of the Additional Protocol that would be negotiated by India with the IAEA is not clear. While Additional Protocol agreements for non-nuclear-weapon states give the IAEA additional authority to visit and gather information on all declared and undeclared nuclear sites, such agreements for the recognized nuclear-weapon states are far more limited in scope.

Though the George W. Bush administration has proposed that only states that have signed the Additional Protocol be allowed to import equipment for their civilian nuclear programs,[7] H.R. 4974 only requires the president to be able to determine that “India and the IAEA are making satisfactory progress toward implementing an Additional Protocol that would apply to India's civil nuclear program.”

Therefore, it would be reasonable and prudent for Congress to require, as a condition for exempting India from the AEA section 123(a)(2) full-scope safeguards requirement, the President to certify that:

  • India has signed and implemented an Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards for its civil nuclear facilities that allows the IAEA access to all declared civil nuclear facilities.

Nuclear Export and Procurement Practices

The July 18 Joint Statement recognizes that India has passed a new export control law and intends to harmonize its export control practices with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Unfortunately H.R. 4974 only requires that the president should be able to determine that “India is ensuring that the necessary steps” are being taken to achieve and implement these objectives.

This rather vague standard should and can be strengthened and clarified in ways that are consistent with existing U.S. law and international practices. Though India's adoption of a new export control law covering weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems is a positive development, a record of implementation of the law has not been established. And according to the State Department's own admission, it does not contain “catch all” controls to prevent the re-transfer of dual-use foreign technology and equipment.

Specifically, Congress should require, as a condition for exempting India from the AEA section 123(a)(2) full-scope safeguards requirement, the President to certify that:

  • India has established and is successfully implementing a national nuclear export control system and is following nuclear procurement practices that meet the highest international standards and are fully consistent with NSG guidelines, including stringent rules and procedures banning unauthorized contacts and cooperation by personnel with nuclear expertise.
  • India has provided credible assurances that it will not transfer enrichment or reprocessing technologies to other states.

Independent reports have documented that Indian nuclear organizations use a system that hires domestic or foreign non-nuclear companies to acquire items for these Indian nuclear organizations. Such procurement practices are also being employed for the Indian Department of Atomic Energy's secret gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant near Mysore.[8] These practices could contribute to onward proliferation and should be stopped.

India-specific or Country-neutral criteria?

Conditions such as those outlined above could be formulated in an “India-specific” manner (as the administration has proposed), or Congress could amend the AEA to establish new “country neutral” criteria for civil nuclear trade with states that never joined the NPT and do not accept full-scope IAEA safeguards, which would also include Israel and Pakistan. There are pros and cons to each of these approaches.

One can reasonably argue that a country-neutral approach would establish universal standards that apply to all states and provide a way for the three states that have never signed the NPT to more fully join the nonproliferation system and gain access to nuclear technology and fuel for peaceful purposes. This would help protect the United States against charges that it is seeking a double standard for its friends, while treating its foes differently. This might be more attractive to some of our international partners in the NSG.

But there is also a possibility that the reaction by some states would be quite hostile to such a development because some Middle Eastern states might perceive it as a backhanded way of extending legitimacy and nuclear benefits to Israel. Notwithstanding possible international reactions, a country-neutral approach would go against established U.S. law that countries seeking nuclear trade with the United States that don't meet the criteria set forth in the AEA should be judged on a case-by-case basis. To address this problem, the criteria set forth in a country-neutral approach could be made more stringent than those already codified in the AEA. The minimum requirement for an acceptable country-neutral approach would be that only countries that have never signed the NPT are eligible to pursue nuclear cooperation on these grounds. Such a provision would be necessary to ensure that there is not an exodus from the NPT.

2. Maintain Common Sense Criteria for Possible Termination of Civil Nuclear Cooperation

Section 129 of the Atomic Energy Act provides a clear and objective list of seven types of actions that could trigger the possible termination of nuclear cooperation between the United States and another state.

Oddly, H.R. 4974 proposes to give the president the authority to waive all of Section 129. In its place H.R. 4974 maintains only one, albeit important, condition for continued U.S. nuclear cooperation: that India does not conduct another nuclear test explosion.

This approach is a mistake, in part, because it could set a terrible precedent for future agreements of nuclear cooperation and it would eliminate certain conditions for continued nuclear cooperation that are fundamentally in the United States' national security interest and that are vital to our credibility as a responsible nuclear trading partner.

As is the practice with other bilateral agreements for nuclear cooperation, Congress should also stipulate what actions, if undertaken by India, could trigger the termination of civil nuclear cooperation.

Triggers for possible termination of nuclear cooperation with India should track as closely as possible with Section 129 and should include:

  • Termination or abrogation of IAEA safeguards by India;
  • Material violation of IAEA safeguards by India;
  • Any material violation of an agreement for nuclear cooperation with the United States (including a finding of reprocessing or enrichment of nuclear material subject to the agreement by India without U.S. consent);
  • Continued production of fissile material for weapons purposes by India;
  • A nuclear test explosion by India after May 1998;
  • Finding that India has knowingly assisted or encouraged a non-nuclear-weapon state in activities involving source and special nuclear material having a direct significance for the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and has failed to take steps, which, in the President's judgment, represent sufficient progress toward terminating such assistance;
  • Export of any nuclear technology, equipment, or materials by India or Indian entities that does not conform to NSG guidelines;
  • Finding by the United States of unauthorized duplication or transfer of transfer of MTCR-controlled missile items by India; or
  • Finding that India is not applying stringent physical protection, control, and accountancy measures to all nuclear weapons, nuclear facilities, source material, and special nuclear material in its territory.

Section 129 of the AEA requires termination of nuclear cooperation in the event of items “a,” “b,” “c,” and “f” (above). Item “e” would be an India-specific update of an existing Section 129 provision. Items “g” and “h” would be new India-specific requirements based on the commitments made in the July 18 Joint Statement. Item “i” is based on a requirement set forth in Section 123.

Furthermore, because the proposed nuclear cooperation is premised on more responsible Indian nonproliferation behavior, Congress should also require annual reports from the executive branch on India's performance in each of the areas listed above. If India is reported to have taken any of these actions, all nuclear trade should be terminated.

3. Follow Normal Process for Consideration of Nuclear Cooperation Agreements

The AEA provides for the conclusion of agreements for nuclear cooperation with states that meet the requirements outlined in Section 123 (a) and for those, like India, that do not.

The AEA provides the president with the authority to waive any of the requirements for civil nuclear cooperation set forth in Section 123 (a) if: “… he determines that inclusion of any such requirement would be seriously prejudicial to the achievement of U.S. non-proliferation objectives or otherwise jeopardize the common defense and security.”

Such an “exempted” agreement for nuclear cooperation would require that both chambers of Congress approve the agreement for nuclear cooperation if it does not contain all of the Section 123 (a) requirements.

However, the administration has proposed through H.R.4974 that Congress treat the still-to-be-negotiated Section 123 agreement for nuclear cooperation as if India met all of the requirements, including allowing full-scope nuclear safeguards. If Congress agrees to this approach, the agreement would pass automatically within 90 days unless Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval and Congress would lose its authority to review export licenses pursuant to the agreement.

Clearly, India is an exceptional nuclear case that does not currently meet U.S. nuclear trade standards. Any new agreement for nuclear cooperation with India should be treated accordingly. Therefore, I would strongly recommend that:

  • Congress should preserve its existing authority and decide to review and consider the proposed Section 123 agreement for nuclear cooperation as an “exempt” agreement.

If such an agreement is, as advocates suggest, in the United States best interests, there should be no reason why it should not require approval from both chambers of Congress.

4. Consider Proposed AEA Amendments, Agreement for Nuclear Cooperation, and the Indian-IAEA Safeguards Agreements as a Package

The administration is proposing that Congress make the exemption for India before the agreement for nuclear cooperation and IAEA safeguards agreement are completed. Rather, Congress should defer action on any changes to the Atomic Energy Act until such time as the administration has submitted the proposed U.S.-India section 123 agreement for nuclear cooperation.

Doing so will allow Congress to understand whetherthe Indian-IAEA safeguards agreement is consistent with IAEA safeguards standards, principles and practices and that it provides for the perpetuity of safeguards and that such perpetuity is not contingent on any assurances of supply.

There is reason to be concerned that the Section 123 agreement for nuclear cooperation with India may not conform with all relevant requirements of the AEA (except for the Section 123(a) (2) full-scope safeguards standard). According to published reports, India is pressuring the United States to drop key provisions in the agreement that are required by the AEA, such as the right of the United States to suspend peaceful nuclear cooperation if the recipient state conducts a nuclear test explosion (Section 123 (a) (4)). It is also possible that India may object to giving the United States prior consent rights with respect to the reprocessing, alteration in form or content, or enrichment of nuclear material that is subject to the U.S.-Indian peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement (Section 123(a)(5)).

5. Ensure That Proposed Changes to NSG Guidelines Do Not Undercut U.S. Laws

In the July 18 Joint Statement, President Bush pledged to seek India-specific exceptions to NSG guidelines adopted at the United States' urging in 1992 that restrict trade with non-nuclear-weapon states (including India) that do not accept full-scope IAEA safeguards.

Although U.S. officials insist that they continue to support the NSG, India-specific exemptions from NSG guidelines would erode the credibility of the NSG's effort to restrict legitimate peaceful nuclear trade only to those states that meet global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament standards. The U.S. proposal could invite other nuclear supplier states to seek exemptions for their preferred nuclear trading partners that don't yet meet the NSG's standards and/or prompt nuclear supplier states to simply ignore the NSG's voluntary guidelines, as Russia did when it resupplied India's two light-water reactors at Tarapur earlier this year. (Russia had announced in December 2004 that it would not re-supply the Tarapur reactors but changed its position sometime after Bush and Singh announced their proposal for civil nuclear cooperation.)

In the days before a March 22-23 consultative group meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in Vienna, the United States circulated a draft text that would create an India-specific exemption to NSG guidelines.

One of the most notable and troublesome features of the March 2006 U.S. proposal to the NSG is the weak and very ambiguous language outlining what steps India must implement in order to qualify for transfers of NSG trigger list items. In addition, section 4 of the U.S. proposal would allow individual NSG members to decide whether India is meeting these weak standards before they sell nuclear technology and materials (possibly including technologies the United States would not be willing to sell) to India.

Section 4 of the draft U.S. proposal to the NSG says in part:

“Participating Governments may transfer trigger list items and/or related technology to the safeguarded civil nuclear facilities in India (a State not party, and never having been a party, to the NPT) as long as the participating Government intending to make the transfer is satisfied that India continues to fully meet all of the aforementioned nonproliferation and safeguards commitments, and all other requirements of the NSG Guidelines.”

Therefore, it would be prudent for Congress to get written and/or public assurances from the administration that:

  • any changes to NSG guidelines to accommodate greater civil nuclear cooperation with India shall, at a minimum, meet the standards that shall be established in U.S. law, not otherwise undercut U.S. policy objectives, or put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage.

In addition, Congress should require that:

  • proposed amendments to the AEA will become effective only if and when the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) reaches a consensus decision to make necessary adjustments to its guidelines to accommodate greater civil nuclear cooperation with India.

These measures should not be controversial, especially given thatSecretary of State Rice and other U.S. officials have publicly pledged that implementation of the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation proposal depends on NSG approval.


While I strongly support the goal of building upon the already strong U.S.-Indian partnership and assisting India's efforts to deliver cleaner forms of energy for its growing population, I remain convinced that if Congress takes the appropriate steps, these goals can all be achieved without undermining core U.S. nuclear nonproliferation values and U.S. leadership efforts to prevent the proliferation of the world's most dangerous weapons.


The Arms Control Association is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization established in 1971 to conduct research and public education on nuclear, biological, and chemical arms, as well as conventional weapons, and to promote effective arms control solutions. The Association publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.


1. “India and the Nuclear Deal,” by K Subrahmanyam, Times of India, December 12, 2005.

2. Letter from the U.S. Department of State to Congressman Edward Markey, January 17, 2006. Available at <http://www.armscontrol.org/pdf/20060117_India_Responses_Markey.pdf>.

3. See “Replication of Dhruva reactor proposed for next Indian economic plan,” by Mark Hibbs, Nuclear Fuel, May 8, 2006.

4. For further analysis, see: “Wrong Ends, Means, and Needs: Behind the U.S. Nuclear Deal with India,” by Zia Mian and M. V. Ramana, Arms Control Today, Jan./Feb. 2006.

5. Ashley J. Tellis., India as a New Global Power, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005, p. 36.

6. Letter from the U.S. Department of State to Congressman Edward Markey, January 17, 2006.

7. Remarks by the President on Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation, Washington, D.C., February 11, 2004.

8. Testimony of David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security, House International Relations Committee, October 26, 2005.



Oral Testimony and Prepared Remarks of Daryl G. Kimball Before the House International Relations Committee

Country Resources:

Reliable Replacement Warhead: Does the United States Need a New Breed of Nuclear Weapon?



Arms Control Association Press Briefing
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
1:00 - 2:30 P.M.

Henry L. Stimson Center Conference Room, 12th Floor
1111 19th Street, NW


The Department of Energy and U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories are proceeding with a program, the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW), to develop new nuclear warheads to substitute for existing warhead designs. They say the initiative is supposed to lead to warheads that are safer, more certain of working, and easier to produce and maintain. Proponents of RRW herald it as crucial for transforming the nuclear complex and preserving U.S. deterrent capabilities in the coming decades.

However, U.S. officials regularly say that the U.S. stockpile is safe and reliable. And the future viability of U.S. nuclear forces is not dependent upon developing a costly generation of new warheads. But RRW could lead to a resumption of U.S. nuclear testing, especially if weapons designers veer away from proven designs. If the United States resumed nuclear testing or pursued warheads for new military missions, it could lead other countries to follow suit, causing irreparable damage to the global nonproliferation regime and diminishing U.S. security.


Richard L. Garwin, IBM Fellow Emeritus at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Dr. Garwin will assess possible technical options for a RRW design, what types of changes could be done without requiring nuclear proof testing, and whether they would be necessary or worthwhile.

Ivan Oelrich, Vice President for Strategic Security Project at the Federation of American Scientists. Dr. Oelrich will explain why Congress has sought to restrict the RRW program so it does not lead to new military capabilities for new attack missions.

Robert W. Nelson, Senior Scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. Nelson will discuss the safety and reliability of the existing U.S. nuclear stockpile and why the RRW program is unnecessary.

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association will moderate the discussion.

# # #

The Arms Control Association is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting effective arms control policies.



Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Preventing Nuclear Disaster



Presentation by ACA Research Director to Brainstorming Session on "Promoting Disarmament and Nonproliferation: Exploring New Perspectives and Evolving Consensus"

Wade Boese
March 25, 2006


Nuclear disarmament is crucial to diminishing nuclear risks, preventing nuclear disaster, and achieving international peace and security. In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that nuclear disarmament, like nonproliferation, is a means toward an end and not a goal in and of itself. As I am sure all of you would agree, nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament must proceed in tandem or else they will both stall and peace and security for all will remain elusive. This presentation focuses on how we at the Arms Control Association believe we can best advance nuclear disarmament in the coming years with the implicit understanding that progress must also be made on meeting nonproliferation challenges. Obviously, considerable overlap exists between them.

By all accounts, recent years have not been kind to nuclear disarmament. Indeed, this past year has been particularly egregious: the nuclear-weapon states continued to shun the "13 steps" agreed to at the 2000 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference; the 2005 NPT Review Conference ended empty-handed; the Conference on Disarmament strung its stretch of sterility to seven years without any actual negotiations; and the final document of the United Nations Millennium+5 Leaders Summit had all references to disarmament and nonproliferation purged from it. To top it off, French President Jacques Chirac in January declared nuclear arms as the newest weapon to counter terrorists.

Still, the past does not have to portend the future. To be sure, great strides are unlikely in the near term, at least until 2009. It is no secret that the current U.S. administration is no fan of disarmament and claims it has already done more than enough in this field. As then-Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton asserted April 27, 2004, "We cannot divert attention from the violations [of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)] we face by focusing on [disarmament] issues that do not exist."

Nevertheless, small steps forward are possible. It is critical that forward momentum be maintained so that when the opportunity arrives the pace can be picked up. It's also just as important to keep trudging ahead to avoid backsliding.

Toward this end, let me volunteer four general themes to guide future action and then explore specific recommendations to advance each of them:

  • Work to reduce the role and salience, not just the numbers, of nuclear weapons;
  • Focus on areas where non-nuclear-weapon state interests align with those of the nuclear-weapon states;
  • Expand sights and efforts beyond the big two nuclear-weapon states; and
  • Create conditions for progress in the coming years.

More Than Numbers
The sheer number of nuclear weapons today-approximately 27,000 spread out among eight, possibly nine, states-is staggering. Elimination of these weapons is the only sure guarantee that they will be not be used to destroy human life or blackmail or bully other states. But, short of elimination, there are other measures, such as de-alerting and negative security assurances, to reduce the risk of use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The power and value of such measures should not be underestimated. As more time passes without the use of nuclear weapons, the norm against their use will grow stronger and their military utility will diminish even further in the eyes of military and political leaders around the world. As specific weapons systems age and outlive their supposed usefulness, they will be retired. Last September's retirement of the final U.S. 10-warhead MX is just one example. Similarly, Russia scrapped its last rail-based SS-24 system last year.

Of course, the institutions and people who are invested in supporting these weapons will latch on to new purposes to justify their retention or propose alternative or new arms to address changing circumstances. We have seen recent examples of this in the United States with the proposal to develop a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) and more recently the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Yet, sanity prevailed. RNEP has been abandoned and RRW has been constrained by Congress and is under heavy scrutiny.

Still, the United States is exploring ways to create what it calls a more "responsive" nuclear weapons infrastructure to enable the faster production of nuclear weapons in the future if technical problems impair existing warheads or new threats emerge. In addition, Russia continues to assert that nuclear weapons may have some tactical value, India is pursuing a military strategy that entails expanding its nuclear arsenal, France is working to upgrade its nuclear weapon systems, China is continuing with a strategic military modernization toward an uncertain end, and Pakistan values its nuclear weapons as a counter to India's larger conventional military forces.

Thus, reducing the roles and the salience of nuclear weapons would play an important part of nuclear disarmament. There are several specific measures that can be promoted in this regard.

The United States and Russia maintain thousands of nuclear warheads on high-level alert. These weapons could be launched within 15 minutes with no hope of recall. The continuation of this Cold War-era posture is unjustified, particularly at a time when Russia and the United States claim that they are no longer enemies, but friends. This heightened and unnecessary state only serves to perpetuate the possibility of accidental, miscalculated, or unauthorized launch.

Other states should also refrain from copying such dangerous and short-sighted quick-launch postures. In regions of tension, such as South Asia, crisis management would be significantly jeopardized by systems primed for rapid use.

Negative Security Assurances
Non-nuclear-weapon states should continue to press the nuclear-weapon states to reaffirm, or better yet codify, past assurances that nuclear weapons will not be employed against states without such arms. Past negative security assurances of 1978 and 1995 have been eroded by Chirac's recent statement and the Bush administration's September 2002 adoption of the secret National Security Presidential Directive 17 that specifically stated nuclear weapons are an option for responding to a chemical or biological weapons attack. These self-declared exemptions should not be allowed to go unchallenged because nuclear weapons are not a legitimate or proportionate response to either terrorism or the use of chemical and biological weapons, notwithstanding the fact the use of chemical or biological weapons themselves is illegal and morally repugnant. In this connection, non-nuclear-weapon states possessing or suspected of having such arsenals should eliminate and renounce them and, thereby, remove this flimsy U.S. rationale for nuclear use. In addition, non-nuclear-weapon states, where possible, should sign and ratify or accede to relevant nuclear-weapon-free zones.

No First Use
Nuclear weapons possessors should be pushed to adopt no-first-use policies. At this time, China and India are the only two states that have renounced the first use of their nuclear arms.

In the absence of ending its nuclear deployments, the 26-member NATO alliance also should forswear the first use of their nuclear weapons. In its 1999 Strategic Concept, NATO declared that the possible use of nuclear weapons is "extremely remote." But even this is an overstatement given today's political and geo-strategic realities. Moscow's overwhelming superiority in conventional forces that gave rise to NATO's nuclear policy disappeared long ago and so should NATO's readiness to introduce or employ nuclear weapons in a conflict.

Universal adoption of a no-first-use option should particularly appeal to the United States, which possesses the world's most advanced and powerful conventional military. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate equalizer so it is hard to imagine a situation in which the United States would open the door to the only weapon that would moot U.S. conventional superiority. For this reason, as well as others, there really is not much affinity among the uniformed U.S. military for nuclear weapons.

U.S. political leaders also find it difficult to fathom scenarios in which nuclear weapons might be used first, particularly preemptively. Ambassador Linton Brooks, who heads the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration stated November 8, 2005, "While nobody will tie the hands of a president, I can't conceive of circumstances where nuclear pre-emption makes sense…The decision to use nuclear weapons is so apocalyptic that I can't imagine that any president would ever make it lightly." Although Brooks noted that the president's hands should not be tied, they should also not be tethered to nuclear weapons. The president would be liberated, not limited, by removing an option that carries such profound and immeasurable consequences. This holds true for other world leaders as well.

As long as nuclear weapons exist, their role should be confined to deterring a nuclear-weapons attack by another state. Anything more is unjustified. As former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote last year in Foreign Policy, "I would characterize current U.S. nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary, and dreadfully dangerous."

No New Capabilities
In addition to pursuing a fissile material cutoff treaty to quantitatively cap existing nuclear arsenals, non-nuclear-weapon states should urge all states with nuclear weapons to eschew qualitative improvements to their weapons capabilities. Specifically, the manufacture of new types of nuclear warheads and the modification or upgrade of existing nuclear warheads to imbue them with different performance capabilities for new missions should be prohibited, or in the very least strongly discouraged. The addition of new warhead or delivery system capabilities would dangerously signal to the rest of the world that not only are nuclear weapons needed for the future, but that the roles for them are expanding. The U.S. RNEP program was blocked by Congress for this very reason and similar opposition should be rallied against any nuclear power that seeks to expand or enhance its nuclear capabilities, such as India's plans to add a sea-based leg to its nuclear deterrent and Russia's investment in a new maneuvering nuclear delivery system. The immense damage that would be incurred by the nonproliferation and disarmament regime from any one country's efforts to enhance its nuclear capabilities would far outweigh any marginal-not to mention questionable-military gain that it hoped to achieve.

Exploiting Common Interests
The gulf between the nuclear-weapon haves and have-nots may appear unbridgeable at times. Yet, there are issues where common cause exists between the two groups, or at least among countries on both side of the nuclear weapons divide.

Strategic Weapons Verification
The landmark U.S.-Russian START I Treaty is scheduled to expire on December 5, 2009. Although Moscow and Washington successfully met their reduction obligations under the accord in 2001, the treaty continues to play a vital role through its extensive verification regime. The implementation of this regime permits both capitals access and insights into each other's nuclear complex that would not otherwise be possible. In the process, it helps build confidence that neither is cheating in a way that could jeopardize the other's security and it develops regular contacts and relationships between the two government bureaucracies and militaries. But this valuable tool is in danger of disappearing if the START I Treaty is not extended or new verification measures are not appended to the May 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which was negotiated without any verification provisions. Indeed, Russia and the United States said they would rely on the START verification regime to monitor activities under SORT even though this latter agreement's single implementation benchmark is December 31, 2012.

U.S. and Russian officials should be encouraged to begin serious talks soon on either extending the START Treaty and/or developing verification measures for SORT. It is in both countries' interests to preserve, and increase if possible, the existing level of openness that they share when it comes to their strategic forces. If lost, such transparency may never be regained, particularly if relations take a turn for the worse in the future. Neglecting this crucial aspect of their relationship could condemn the two former foes to return to the days of mistrust and miscalculation, as well as a revived strategic arms competition. This danger is particularly acute given Russia's growing sense of being hemmed in by the West as NATO expands and U.S. military bases proliferate on its periphery. Expansive U.S. missile defense plans and declining Soviet strategic forces also are combining to increase the Kremlin's unease. The strategic verification regime must be perpetuated to prevent both nuclear complexes from slipping back behind shrouds of secrecy.

Moreover, shrouds of secrecy still obscure the arsenals of the other nuclear weapon powers with the exception of the United Kingdom. Non-nuclear-weapon states should demand that other nuclear weapons power replicate the British practice of reporting on its arms holdings and policies as a means of reducing tensions. Increasing transparency could prove particularly useful in alleviating the possibility of nuclear miscalculation in Asia.

Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty
One of the top priorities of the United States, as well as many other states, is to stop the spread and growth of fissile material stockpiles that can be used to construct nuclear weapons. Nuclear disarmament cannot succeed if the amount of material available for bombs is growing.

The ideal mechanism for capping the world's nuclear weapons potential is a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). However, prospects for an FMCT appear dim given the continuing stalemate in the 65-member Conference on Disarmament over negotiating priorities. U.S. opposition to negotiating a "verifiable" FMCT on the basis that the premise is infeasible because cheaters will cheat has further soured expectations for an agreement. If the deadlock on a work program can be overcome, it might be in all countries interests to agree to an FMCT mandate that declares negotiations can begin without prejudice to the question of verification.

Pending completion of this treaty, a voluntary fissile material cutoff for weapons purposes should be actively promoted. France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all halted such production and China reportedly has as well. China should make what is understood official and India and Pakistan should follow suit.

In light of the recent proposal by the United States to try and exempt India from U.S. law and international rules so it can participate in global civil nuclear commerce, it is particularly important that India be called upon to cease fissile material production for weapons pending the completion of negotiations on a global FMCT. Without such a move, suppliers cannot be assured that their nuclear exports to India will not indirectly assist India's nuclear weapons program.

Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone
Progress on disarmament is dependent upon the resolution of underlying security concerns and intra-state tensions. The current international debate over the nature and purpose of Iran's nuclear program requires more creative diplomacy that recognizes Iran's Article IV NPT access to "peaceful nuclear energy," but also addresses international concerns about Iran's ability and motivations to use uranium enrichment and plutonium separation technologies to build nuclear bombs.

The February 4 IAEA Board of Governors resolution points out that the resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis could contribute to the realization of a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) free zone in the Middle East. A resolution of the Iranian situation cannot wait on a WMD free zone in the region, but signs of progress toward such a zone could help persuade Iranian leaders that their security would be better served without an active, indigenous uranium enrichment program that invites suspicion.

In the context of the current debate over Iran's nuclear activities, nonaligned states should actively work to revive long-stalled efforts to bring key states in the region, including Israel, together to explore how to advance a WMD-free Middle East.

Expanding Sights
It is understandable why the United States and Russia are the focus of most nuclear disarmament discussions and initiatives: they account for approximately 97 percent of the world's nuclear armament. But to focus almost exclusively on these two states lessens the nuclear accountability of other states. Ultimately, all states that possess or are complicit in the deployment of nuclear weapons must become involved in the nuclear disarmament process and that time should start sooner rather than later.

Tackling Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe
Today, NATO continues to deploy up to 480 nuclear gravity bombs on the territories of six European countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom). Russia's tactical nuclear weapons are estimated to total around 3,000, but this figure could be larger. Neither of these Cold War-era leftover arsenals serves any purpose today. Yet, the dangers they pose are very real, particularly in the case of Russia where great uncertainty exists about the location, quantity, and security of these arms. It is in the world's interest to help Russia secure and eliminate these weapons, which are probably most attractive to and vulnerable to terrorist theft. But Russia refuses to engage on this issue, citing the continued deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

Hence, NATO's 26 members, particularly the six hosting U.S. arms, should be the focus of an intensive campaign to end the alliance's deployment of nuclear weapons. Returning these relics to the United States would not be detrimental to alliance security, but a boon because it would pave the way to begin the process of accounting for, securing, and eliminating Russia's tactical nuclear weapons.

It is imperative that this effort to discontinue NATO's archaic nuclear posture be aimed at European capitals. There is minimal support in the United States for maintaining these weapons in Europe. Indeed, the Pentagon several years ago concluded that they served no military purpose. The weapons remain out of political reasons and this motivation is strongest on the European side of the Atlantic Ocean. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Stephen Rademaker have both dismissed the possibility of withdrawing U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe by contending that no single European country is raising the issue. This needs to change.

Initiating this debate in NATO could also serve to spark a wider debate in the United States about the utility of nuclear weapons. Some, including members of Congress, are trying to get this conversation started. Representative David Hobson (R-Ohio) stated in February 2005, "I think the time is now for a thoughtful and open debate on the role of nuclear weapons in our country's national security strategy."

Holding Friends Accountable
Any increase in nuclear weapons is a setback for disarmament. The enormous size of the U.S. and Russian stockpiles does not mean that other nuclear weapons possessors' buildups of their smaller arsenals should be accepted with a shrug. All should be held similarly accountable as the United States and Russia in the eyes of non-nuclear-weapon states when it comes to advancing nuclear disarmament.

India, as part of the U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation plan, has pledged to accept all the same obligations of the recognized nuclear-weapon states. These five states have all signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). India has not. Both New Delhi and Islamabad should be urged to sign this important agreement as soon as possible. In addition, more pressure should be put on Beijing to ratify the accord. The irresponsible and misguided October 1999 Senate rejection of the treaty should not serve as an excuse or provide cover for others, including Indonesia and other members of the Nonaligned Movement, to neglect what is an essential nuclear disarmament step. Without continued expression of support for the treaty, opponents of the CTBT in the United States and elsewhere may gain the upper hand.

British Trident Decision
A debate is beginning in the United Kingdom on whether it should develop a successor to its sole nuclear delivery system, the Trident ballistic missile submarine, which is set to reach the end of its lifespan in less than 20 years. The United Kingdom should not be permitted to approach this question as if it is solely a technical question about extending the status quo. At its core, it is a matter of whether the United Kingdom sees nuclear weapons as necessary for its future security. It is incumbent upon non-nuclear-weapon states, particularly those who had weapons or weapons programs and gave them up, such as Brazil and South Africa, to share with the United Kingdom about how their security has not been negatively impacted by the decision to forswear nuclear weapons.

Creating Conditions for Progress
None of the measures mentioned above are necessarily easy or likely to move swiftly. Today's political climate may not be conducive to some of them. However, that does not mean that they should be shelved until circumstances are perceived as favorable. Now is the time to start creating the conditions that will allow for progress when the political will exists. Keep in mind that in 2009 a new government will be seated in Washington and will review most current nonproliferation and disarmament policies. The time to offer practical ideas and create expectations is now.

Speak Up
The current political climate should not dissuade non-nuclear-weapon states and civil society from speaking up. It often takes time for good ideas to take hold. India's early advocacy of a nuclear testing ban and Ireland's support for a nonproliferation treaty are two prime examples.

Cultivate Relationships and Understanding
More effort needs to be expended to engage with those not currently in the seat of power, particularly in Washington. The White House does not hold a monopoly on U.S. nuclear policy. Congress plays a very important role as evidenced by its refusal to fund several Bush administration nuclear weapons initiatives, such as RNEP, a modern pit facility, and initiatives to reduce the amount of time needed for the United States to resume nuclear testing. Congress can serve as an important bulwark against proposals that could undermine nuclear disarmament and it can serve as an important advocate as well, such as when it helped lead the nuclear freeze movement in the early 1980s.

Applaud Once in a While
Although the nuclear-weapon states recent record of mostly inaction and missed opportunities leaves one disappointed, there have been successes that should be applauded. President Bush's June 2004 decision to cut the nuclear arsenal in half by about 2012 is one. Clearly, the United States could and should do more, but a reduction of some 4,000 thousand nuclear weapons is not something to sneeze at. Instead, non-nuclear-weapon states should take the time to commend such moves before asking for more. Nobody reacts well to a steady dose of criticism, even if well-deserved.

Take the Universal Approach
Non-nuclear-weapon states should not fall into the trap of the current White House approach of seeing the world through the prism of regimes instead of weapons. The reaction to a country's nuclear weapons policies and practices should not be determined by whether the state is a friend or not or the relative size of its arsenal. Relativity is not a factor when one considers how much destruction a single nuclear weapon can wreak. China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom should all be held to the same standard applied to that of the United States and Russia. When talking of nuclear disarmament, the case must be made on the dangers posed by the weapons themselves and not who owns them.



Presentation by ACA Research Director to Brainstorming Session on "Promoting Disarmament and Nonproliferation: Exploring New Perspectives and Evolving Consensus"

Missile Defense and the Press: Key Issues for the Media and Public



Prepared Remarks of ACA Research Director to 4th Annual U.S. Missile Defense Conference

Wade Boese
March 20, 2006

I intend to use the short time allotted to me to discuss how Arms Control Today, the monthly publication of the non-profit Arms Control Association, has approached covering missile defense over the past several years. In doing so, I hope to shed some light on what I believe will be some key issues for the media and public as anti-missile programs proceed. Obviously, Arms Control Today is a very specialized journal so I also would like to compare our journal's coverage with some of the larger media outlets and try to draw some conclusions based on that comparison.

Historically, Arms Control Today covered missile defense within the broad context of how such programs affected the U.S.-Soviet, and later the U.S.-Russian, strategic relationship. The narrower question was whether such programs would comply with or violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which barred Washington and Moscow from developing, testing, and deploying nationwide strategic ballistic missile defenses.

When President George W. Bush withdrew the United States from the ABM Treaty in 2002, it prompted a discussion among the magazine staff on whether we should continue to devote attention to the issue of missile defense. Ultimately, the answer was yes. Three main considerations led to this conclusion:

1) Missile defense represents one approach to addressing missile proliferation;
2) The potential adverse impact of missile defense, particularly international cooperation, on missile nonproliferation in general; and
3) The question of how U.S. missile defenses might affect strategic relations with Russia and China.

With regard to the first consideration, Arms Control Today reports on diplomatic efforts and international agreements, such as the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Hague Code of Conduct, aimed at curbing the spread of missile technologies. In addition, the magazine devotes considerable attention to reporting on the Proliferation Security Initiative, which aims to enhance countries' capabilities to interdict dangerous weapons shipments in transit. (Although when it comes to missile shipments, PSI is handicapped by the fact that there is no agreement proscribing missile transfers, a fact underscored by the pre-PSI 2002 decision to let a North Korean delivery of ballistic missiles continue on its way to Yemen.) Hence, given the magazine's general coverage on efforts to stem missile proliferation, it made sense to continue covering missile defense. However, it should be noted that missile defense is geared toward protecting against a missile attack and has little, if any, demonstrated affect on deterring the worldwide spread of missile capabilities.

On the other hand, concern exists that missile know-how and capabilities will spread as additional countries become involved in cooperative missile defense projects. Indeed, there was discussion a few years ago within the Bush administration of carving out exemptions in the Missile Technology Control Regime to ensure that it did not constrain international missile defense cooperation or transfers. From a journalistic-not to mention a security-perspective, this raised the interesting question of whether a proposed solution (missile defense) might somehow contribute to the problem (missile proliferation). So that was the second consideration in continuing coverage of missile defense.

The final and most significant consideration was how U.S. missile defense programs might impact relations with Russia and China, not to mention the future size and shape of their strategic arsenals. It is true that the Missile Defense Agency and the Bush administration have said that U.S. missile defense systems are not directed at either country. Nevertheless, it is abundantly clear that both countries harbor mistrust about U.S. intentions. What they care about is capabilities, not intentions. To be sure, neither country has launched a major missile buildup (to our knowledge), but they are not standing idly by either. Russia pronounced the START II Treaty dead a day after the U.S. ABM Treaty withdrawal and is touting development of a new system capable of penetrating defenses. For its part, China is continuing a slow and steady strategic modernization program. Ultimately, the actions or course these countries take with respect to U.S. missile defense programs falls into Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's category of "unknown unknowns."

Although it is tough to predict the future, it is evident that two impending moves could further aggravate Chinese and Russian reactions to U.S. missile defenses: the deployment of strategic missile interceptors to Europe and the creation of a space-based test bed. This latter move is certain to upset China and Russia, not to mention many other countries, which have been pressing for the negotiation of an agreement on the prevention of an arms race in outer space at the 65-country Conference on Disarmament.

In sum, even though the ABM Treaty was scrapped and the Cold War ended approximately 15 years ago, U.S. missile defense programs still present potential adverse implications for arms control and international security so Arms Control Today decided to continue its missile defense coverage.

Despite this decision to continue coverage, the number of articles in Arms Control Today devoted to missile defense has dwindled by 50 percent in recent years.

For instance, from the period of October 1999 to October 2000, which covers the first National Missile Defense intercept test to President Clinton's decision to defer a deployment decision to his successor, Arms Control Today published 36 total pieces on missile defenses.

From the period June 2001 to June 2002, which covers the immediate aftermath of President Bush's announcement to pursue a layered missile defense to the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, Arms Control Today published 44 total articles on missile defenses.

In comparison, the more recent period of September 2004 to September 2005, saw only 17 articles on missile defenses.

Coverage in some of the major newspapers has dropped even more drastically. For the same periods mentioned above:

The New York Times' coverage amounted to 210, 168, and 16 articles.
Coverage by The Washington Post amounted to 167, 196, and 36 pieces.
Finally, USA Today article totals equaled 31, 45, and 3.

I should note that the figures above result from a very cursory Nexis search that involved simply counting articles where missile defense appeared in the title or first few paragraphs of a story. In other words, I did not read every single article or ferret out repeats or corrections, etc. Nonetheless, I think the figures still reflect a general trend that would survive a more exacting analysis.

So the question is why, at a time when the U.S. government is spending increasing amounts of money on missile defense and starting to initially deploy some systems, is media coverage declining?

I think there are three general reasons.

First, the alignment of a president and a Congress favoring missile defense coupled with the ABM Treaty withdrawal has significantly decreased the political controversy surrounding missile defenses. Clearly, there are still some lawmakers who question the priority and funding that missile defenses receive, but for the most part Congress has been giving missile defense a free pass since 2001. Without political fights, the media, particularly non-specialized newspapers and magazines, lack the "hooks" to write about such a technically complex subject as missile defense.

Second, there has been a reduction in high profile missile defense testing activities that provide journalists with a hard peg for their stories. A two-year testing hiatus in 2003 and 2004 significantly minimized reporting opportunities.

Third, the perception and urgency of the missile threat has diminished in the eyes of Congress and the public. Before September 11, the looming threat as extolled by the Rumsfeld Commission in 1998 was that a so-called rogue state could develop a long-range ballistic missile within five years of a decision to do so. It was implied that such decisions had already been made. After September 11, the most immediate danger became terrorists, not missiles. The Rumsfeld Commission's dire warnings have yet to be realized and have become overshadowed by the threat of global terrorism. Thus, stories are about terrorists and ways to stop them rather than missiles and missile defenses.

Perhaps some of you would contend that this reduced coverage is for the better in light of the longstanding contention that "no news is good news."

However, I would caution that this is a troublesome development because reduced media coverage lessens public accountability and invites suspicion in the long run; both domestically and internationally. In this context, I would argue that the MDA decision in December to stop announcing interceptor deployments is counterproductive because secrecy has long been a source of miscalculation, worst-case analysis, and misreporting that has helped propel arms races in the past.



Prepared Remarks of ACA Research Director to 4th Annual U.S. Missile Defense Conference

Subject Resources:

The U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Deal: A Critical Assessment



Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Wednesday, February 15, 2006
9:30 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Root Room (Second Floor)

President George W. Bush is scheduled to visit India during the first week of March to try to advance his controversial proposal for U.S.-India nuclear cooperation. Since the proposal was announced last July, U.S. and Indian officials have sought to work out the details of the arrangement, but they continue to disagree over how to "separate" India's civilian and military nuclear facilities.

The deal calls for broad civilian nuclear cooperation for the first time since India's 1974 nuclear test explosion, which demonstrated that New Delhi was willing to use civilian nuclear technology assistance to build nuclear weapons and was determined not to join the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Following U.S.-Indian agreement on the separation plan, the White House has said it will seek congressional approval for exceptions to longstanding U.S. law that bars civilian nuclear cooperation with states, such as India, that do not have comprehensive international nuclear safeguards.

This briefing assesses whether India's commitments under the current terms of the proposed arrangement justify making far-reaching exceptions to U.S. law and international nonproliferation norms. Further, it examines the implications of the civil-military separation exercise for India's nuclear weapons program.


David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security. He analyzes the technical implications of reported options for the separation of India's civilian and military nuclear facilities and address India's export control performance.

Leonard Weiss, former Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and a key architect of the 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act. He reviews the positive and negative effects of the proposed nuclear cooperation proposal on U.S. and global efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons.

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. He discusses the value of a cut-off of fissile material production for weapons by India in the context of the proposal for U.S.-India nuclear cooperation.


# # #

The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.


Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Country Resources:


Subscribe to RSS - Events