Non-proliferation specialists in Washington have claimed that the Indo-US civilian-nuclear deal will lead to New Delhi expanding its weapons production with implications on Pakistan and China.
According to a report, critics of the deal have written to Congress warning that the sale of American and foreign nuclear fuel to India will allow for the rapid expansion of India's nuclear arsenal. They also said that if India buys American and foreign fuel and expands its arsenal base that will lead to Pakistan wanting to expand its arsenal and for China to keep pushing on the modernisation front.
The non-proliferation lobby, which is to hold a seminar on the India-US civilian nuclear arrangement, has been consistently making the point that the benefits touted by the Bush Administration are 'overstated'.
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Further, an argument has been made that if the nuclear arrangement with India enables the latter to rapidly expand its weapons production that will violate American obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The general impression here is that even if the civilian nuclear deal has not run into the kind of turbulence to wreck the prospects it will not be ready in time for President George W Bush's visit to India early in March.
Officials are stressing that the civilian nuclear deal is only one part of the US-India cooperation and the success of a Presidential visit ought not to be pegged on this one aspect.
Rather Bush's visit ought to be seen in framework of rapidly expanding economic, military and political ties.
Ahead of his trip to South Asia, Bush is expected to focus on India at a speech to the Asia Society next Wednesday.