13 November 2005 - CURRENT US NON PROLIFERATION POLICY CRITICISED AT NATO PA MEETING IN COPENHAGEN [PRESS COMMUNIQUE]
Following a wide ranging review of the 2005 Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference which he described as “a great disappointment” and a “dismal failure”, Dr. William Potter of the Center for Non Proliferation Studies, Monterrey Institute of International Studies said that an even bigger blow to the international non-proliferation regime was the decision announced by the United States in July 2005 to reverse more that a quarter century of non proliferation policy in the name of nuclear energy co-operation with India.
Addressing the Science and Technology Committee meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) in Copenhagen today, Dr Potter said that this shift in US policy could irreparably harm the NPT and its associated institutions. He was concerned that the United States was now distinguishing between "good and bad" proliferators linked to a definition of US "friends and foes". This shift has had the effect of switching the proliferation challenge from "dangerous weapons to evil regimes" irrespective of their signatory status as regards the NPT regime (India is in fact a non signatory).
In this context, Dr Potter referred members of the Committee to his recent article on "India and the New Look of US Non-proliferation policy" in which he said that President Bush has announced for all practical purposes that technology control is no longer the Corner stone of US nuclear export and non-proliferation policy. He emphasized that what we have now is a strategy in which politics has primacy and, together with regional security issues and international economic objectives, these overwhelm those of non proliferation concerns.
He still thought however that United States has the opportunity to refurbish its non-proliferation credentials while still offering India the prospect of greater co-operation in the realm of nuclear safety and security but that such a package has to be crafted creatively so as not to collide directly with the NPT and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Using a football analogy, Dr. Potter said "it is now an appropriate moment to call timeout and that it is not too late to change the game plan". He concluded to caution that the stakes are very high and that neither the United States nor the International Community can afford to lose this non proliferation match.
The NATO PA is currently holding its 51st Annual Session in Copenhagen. The 5-day event (Nov 11 - 15) is attended by 350 legislators from 40 nations.