February 14, 2006- Answers Needed from State Department on the Justification of India Nuke Deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA), co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation, released a letter today to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking for more answers about the Bush Administration’s proposal to exempt India from U.S. and international nonproliferation law.  In December Rep. Markey sent a number of questions that were raised about the deal by 16 experts with experience in security, energy, and nonproliferation matters to the President and Secretary of State. 

“Yesterday, in answer to questions about Brazil, the Bush Administration’s spokesperson said ‘our view is very clear – that all nations should adhere to the Nonproliferation Treaty.’  Yet its actions betray its words.  The Administration’s responses to the questions and concerns raised by the experts concerning an exception for India reveal just how perilous the path of the Bush/Singh proposal is,” said Rep. Markey.

Markey added, “The Administration tries to justify the proposal by saying that the deal will ‘enhance’ international nuclear nonproliferation.  How can any deal simultaneously weaken the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and enhance international nonproliferation?”

One of the questions posed in the experts’ letter asked about India’s production and test of a nuclear bomb in 1974.  This device was produced using heavy water that the U.S. supplied to the Indian nuclear reactor CIRUS, which according to a 1956 agreement, was to be used for peaceful purposes only.  The State Department’s response letter stated that “a conclusive answer was not possible” in reference to whether India understood the meaning of “peaceful purposes” and if U.S.-supplied heavy water was used to produce the plutonium in the explosive device tested in 1974.  The letter released by Rep. Markey today cites two State department documents, one from 1972 and one from 1976, which stand in direct contradiction to the State Department’s new interpretation of India’s 1974 nuclear test.

“The State Department apparently wishes to rewrite history to support its current foreign policy goals.  I support enhanced cooperation between India and the United States through expanded cooperation in trade and human development, and I am sympathetic to India’s energy needs.  Instead of rewriting the history of India’s efforts to get the bomb, or exempting India from U.S. and international nonproliferation law, we should be focusing on exporting clean coal technologies, which are safe and could have an enormous  health impact in India,” said Rep. Markey.

Rep. Markey introduced House Concurrent Resolution 318 in December 2005, which expresses concern regarding nuclear proliferation with respect to proposed full civilian nuclear cooperation with India.  For more information about Rep. Markey’s work on nonproliferation and a copy of the letter he released today, see http://markey.house.gov/.

Follow Up Letter to State Department (247K) Follow Up Letter to State Department (247K), February 14, 2006
State Department Response State Department Response (2.41 MB), January 17, 2006
Rep. Markey Letter to State Department Rep. Markey Original Letter to President and State Department (2.41 MB),  November 30, 2005

February 14, 2005


CONTACT: Tara McGuiness