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US media sticks to India bashing

A week after NYT termed the N-deal a "misbegotten pact", the Washington Post joined the list of doubting Thomases, reports S Rajagopalan.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 10:36 IST

As President George W Bush gets ready for his India visit, the Washington Post on Sunday joined the list of doubting Thomases on the nuke deal by raising objections to India's approach on separating its civil and military nuclear facilities.

A week after the New York Times termed it a "misbegotten pact", the Post commented that India's offer to open its civil reactors to international inspections "is being undermined by signs that key reactors will be defined as military and thus be exempted".

"This," the Post argued, "would put India in a position to expand its nuclear arsenal rapidly, which might in turn cause Pakistan to build extra nukes to retain a viable deterrent.

Such a prospect would be "alarming because Pakistan's leadership sits atop a cauldron of militant Islamic ferment and because Pakistan's nuclear scientists have a record of retailing know-how to rogue nations".

"Moreover, if the United States accepts a deal in which India retains huge bomb-making latitude, it will be harder to protest when China and Russia decide to promote the nuclear ambitions of their prospective allies," it said.

The Post, however, did not question the US's logic of exempting India from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. On the contrary, it argued for a "good nuclear deal with India" that could reduce the likelihood of Pakistan and others scrambling to build bombs.

For this, it feels the Bush administration "needs to tell its friends in India that the details of the deal matter — to America's security and India's."

Terming the NPT "a limited asset", it noted that the treaty has not stopped a string of countries from going nuclear. As such, "it's not worth forgoing major prizes such as an Indian alliance in order to preserve it (the NPT)."

First Published: Feb 27, 2006 00:54 IST