July 26, 2006 - MARKEY STATEMENT ON INDIA-US NUCLEAR DEAL DEBATE
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this Rule, and in opposition to the India nuclear deal.
What President Bush negotiated with India should become the new definition for a “sweetheart deal.” Or, as one nuclear expert said after the March negotiations were concluded, President Bush could be mistaken for Santa Claus because he was giving so much away. The United States, though, got nothing.
One would think that the President would only agree to the dismemberment of our decades-old nonproliferation policies if the Indians would agree in return to change their own policies and actions in such a way as to strengthen efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons around the globe. But that’s not what happened.
What we should have gotten is an agreement that reduces nuclear arsenals and lessens the chances of nuclear war in South Asia. But what the President delivered is a deal that will allow India to dramatically increase its production of nuclear weapons and will likely spark the globe’s next atomic arms race.
Let’s take a look at what the India Nuclear Deal will really do. By providing nuclear fuel for India’s civilian reactors, we are freeing up India’s domestic uranium for use in bombs. India can currently produce 7 bombs-worth per year. After the deal, they will be able to produce 40-50 bombs-worth per year, according to a paper by the International Panel on Fissile Materials, written by 2 Indian and 2 Pakistani physicists.
By contributing to India’s bomb program, the United States is violating its most important commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
We must remember that India’s nuclear weapons production is not occurring in a vacuum. The programs of India, Pakistan, China, and other nations are inextricably linked to each other. And if either India or Pakistan ramps up production of nuclear weapons, the other side will respond in kind.
The Bush administration should be demanding to talk to Pakistan’s Johnny Appleseed of nuclear proliferation, A.Q. Khan, who spread nuclear technology all over the world, including to Libya, Iran, and North Korea. The United States has never been allowed to interrogate A.Q. Khan. Pakistan pardoned him for his unconscionable crimes and his punishment is nothing more than house arrest in Islamabad!
The Bush administration is not surprised by the reactor. They knew about it already! But what have they done to stop it? Absolutely nothing! In response to the ISIS report on Pakistan’s new reactor, White House spokesman Tony Snow said, “We discourage military use of the facility.” Well, that’s just fantastic, I feel better already.
If Bush is “discouraging” Pakistan from dramatically increasing its bomb-production, then why did he announce on June 28th, less than a month ago, that he is selling Pakistan 36 advanced F-16 jets, which can be used to deliver nuclear weapons? Selling these planes will be destabilizing to all of Asia.
The United States sold F-16s to Pakistan in the 1980s. But President George H.W. Bush halted those sales when he determined that Pakistan was building a nuclear arsenal. So why are we going to reverse this 16-year old arms embargo? Has Pakistan stopped building nuclear weapons? Of course not!
Today, I introduced a bill that would prohibit the sale of the F-16s and related armaments and services unless Pakistan halts construction of its huge new plutonium-production reactor. That is the least that the United States can do to start putting the brakes on a nuclear arms race that could be quickly picking up speed.
The Bush administration has made a sweetheart deal with India that allows it to increase its nuclear weapons production from 7 a year to 40-50 a year. The Bush administration is ignoring Pakistan’s construction of a huge new plutonium-production reactor that will allow Pakistan to increase it’s nuke production from 2-3 a year to 40-50. And the Bush administration is selling them F-16s to carry all of their new bombs! We are aiding and abetting both sides of an arms race!
Instead, President Bush should be exerting leadership to finish a long-delayed international treaty banning the production of fissile material for weapons anywhere in the world. If we could finally finish a verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty, that India and Pakistan were parties to, then we could have confidence that nuclear cooperation with India was not contributing to its weapons program.
We should be deescalating this arms race, not throwing more fuel on the fire.