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'Embrace nuke pact with US'

If the nuke deal with India is a case of "double standard" on the US's part, so be it.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 02:38 IST

If the nuke deal with India is a case of "double standard" on the US's part, so be it. Circumstances justify it and Americans ought to embrace the pact whose benefits outweigh the costs, says Robert Kagan, a senior associate at Washington's Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Talking of double standards, Kagan points out that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in itself represents "a gargantuan double standard" -- and one of "a particularly mindless kind" at that.

In a Washington Post op-ed piece on Sunday, Kagan takes pot shots at the NPT lobby, which is using the "double standard" tag as one of their principal arguments to prevail upon the US Congress to reject the nuke deal.

In a line echoing India's long-held stance that the NPT is discriminatory, he argues that it is the NPT which created the first double standard by restricting the membership of the nuclear club to five nations.

That decision was "not based on justice or morality or strategic document or politics but simply on circumstance: Whoever had figured out how to build nuclear weapons by 1968 was in", Kagan writes adding: "At least our double standard for India makes strategic, diplomatic, ideological and political sense."

Making the point that there must be "some adjustment to reality" in international affairs, he notes: "One aspect of the present reality is that India has long been a nuclear power, and this deal doesn't make it more of one. Another part of the present reality is that North Korea and Iran are probably going to be nuclear powers, too, and in any case the non-proliferation 'regime' is not going to stop them."

If Congress were to reject the deal with India to maintain the principle of non-proliferation, it would have no effect on India's decisions. "But the futile gesture would have a devastating effect on US relations with India," Kagan warns.