View Full Version : U.S. Ready To Sell Advanced Arms To India: Pentagon

03-02-2006, 11:00 PM
US ready to sell advanced arms to India: Pentagon


Thu Mar 2, 2006 05:40 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on the heels of a landmark civilian nuclear cooperation pact with India on Thursday that it was prepared to sell advanced warplanes and other high-tech arms to the south Asia nation.

"Where only a few years ago, no one would have talked about the prospects for a major U.S.-India defense deal, today the prospects are promising, whether in the realm of combat aircraft, helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft or naval vessels," the U.S. Defense Department said as President George W. Bush paid a three-day visit to India.

"The next step is to turn the talk of prospective sales into reality. The United States is committed to working with India to do this," the department added in a statement released to coincide with the president's visit.

The Pentagon release did not mention any specific deals except to note that Washington was prepared to offer Lockheed Martin F-16 and Boeing F/A F-18 jet fighters to India.

In New Delhi earlier in the day, India and the United States sealed a landmark civilian nuclear cooperation pact, the centerpiece of Bush's first visit to the world's largest democracy.

03-02-2006, 11:09 PM
Behind Bush's nuclear deal with India


(Gold9472: Pawn takes knight.)

By seattletimes.com staff

President Bush casts his nuclear technology agreement with India Thursday as being about better relations between the two countries. About advantages for U.S. suppliers of nuclear equipment, which now will be able to sell to booming India, which has a population of about 1 billion and a growing thirst for energy. And about a substance close to the heart of millions of American drivers: oil.

"To the extent that we can reduce demand for fossil fuels, it will help the American consumer," Bush said Thursday in New Delhi.

But at heart the agreement is about the far thornier problem of nuclear weapons, their spread, and the wisdom of cutting a special deal with a major regional power that has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and, some experts believe, came within a hair's breadth of fighting a nuclear war with Pakistan in 2002.

Under the agreement, India will divide its 22 nuclear reactors into two groups, those for civilian use (14) and those for bomb making (eight). The U.S. will have full access to the civilian side of the program, and India will have reciprocal access to U.S. civilian nuclear technology.

Among the military reactors are two so-called "breeder reactors." These are particularly problematic from an arms-control standpoint because as an intentional byproduct of operation they generate large amounts of material that can be captured and fabricated into the explosive cores of nuclear weapons.

Already the rhetoric over whether recognizing India as essentially a nuclear good guy is perking up in Congress, which will have to ratify the agreement.

"With one simple move the president has blown a hole in the nuclear rules that the entire world has been playing by and broken his own word to assure that we will not ship nuclear technology to India without the proper safeguards," said Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

On the other hand, Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the UN nuclear energy watchdog agency and last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, welcomed the agreement, which he said would enhance, not harm, efforts to slow the spread of nuclear arms.

"It would be a milestone, timely for ongoing efforts to consolidate the non-proliferation regime, combat nuclear terrorism and strengthen nuclear safety," ElBaradei said.

In the background is the history of persistent tension between India and Pakistan — and the three wars they have fought since they won their independence from Britain after World War II.

Already, Pakistan is saying it wants a deal with the U.S. similar to the one India got. Secreatary of State Condoleezza Rice quickly said that wouldn't happen yet. "This is not the time for such an arrangement with Pakistan" because of proliferation concerns, she said Thursday. Pakistan's former head of nuclear technology, A.Q. Kahn, sold nuclear technology to North Korea and Libya, countries that at the time were listed by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism (Libya has since been removed). In addition, Islamic extremists have staged three known assassination attempts against President Pervez Musharraf.

However, Pakistan's long border with Afghanistan has made it a key ally in U.S. military and anti-terror operations there, particularly the continuing search for 9-11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

China, with which India also fought a border war a half-century ago, also appears to view the U.S. agreement with India with at least some anxiety.

Here are some links to additional information:

— Steve Coll, an author and former Washington Post editor, recounts in this Q&A in The New Yorker the background to what he calls the first nuclear crisis of the 21st century, the 2002 confrontation between India and Pakistan.

— A BBC analysis of the agreement, which it says "sends powerful — and in many ways contradictory — signals about the Bush administration's attitude towards the nuclear non-proliferation regime."

— A Times of London column that concludes the agreement, while it may appear problematic on the surface, may not be so outrageous after all.

— However, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington, D.C., think tank that deals in detail with nuclear proliferation issues, concludes that, "The deal endorses and assists India's nuclear weapons program. US-supplied uranium fuel would free up India's limited uranium reserves for fuel that would be burned in these reactors to make nuclear weapons. This would allow India to increase its production from the estimated 6 to 10 additional nuclear bombs per year to several dozen per year."

03-03-2006, 01:31 AM
I recommend that movie Lord of War to everyone here.

03-03-2006, 05:52 AM
Looks like we're going to create our own little arms race, with us supplying the weapons. At a price, of course.