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Canadian expert urges nixing US-India N-deal
Source: Web India 123
October 8, 2005

President George W. Bush should abandon the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with India, a former head of the UN Disarmament Committee has said.

According to the Global Security Newswire, Douglas Roche, a Canadian diplomat who once chaired the UN Disarmament Committee, urged US lawmakers at a Capitol Hill meeting to kill the initiative rather than agree to any changes in US laws that would allow civilian nuclear cooperation with India.

"What you're doing is conferring a status on them that they do not deserve," said Roche who is now chairman of the Middle Powers Initiative, a group that urges elimination of nuclear weapons.

"They have literally thumbed their nose at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," he said and also lashed out at the Canadian government for signing on to sharing nuclear technology with New Delhi.

He indicated Canada was basically buckling to US pressure in agreeing to the nuclear technology cooperation agreement with India.

Canada has not only refused to join the US missile defence initiative but Ottawa also did not join the US invasion of Iraq, Roche pointed out. So when the US-India nuclear deal came up, Canada felt it owed one to Washington, Roche said, adding that the deal further weakened the ongoing review of the NPT.

"One cannot lay the blame for the failure of the conference directly on the doorstep of the United States," Roche said, but "it was clear that the undermining of the integrity of Article 6 of the treaty by the United States... in a very formal manner resulted in a deadlock of the review conference."

Article 6 of the NPT urges members to negotiate in good faith measures to end the nuclear arms race and bring about a treaty on complete disarmament. While in earlier years, Washington had been a positive force in strengthening the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the moratorium on fissile material production and tests, but this year it had forced these issues off the agenda.