WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee and co-chair of the Bipartisan Non-Proliferation Task Force, released an analysis today prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on the U.S.-India nuclear deal.  Legislation to exempt India from certain provisions of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation law will be the subject of House and Senate Committee markups.  In order to better evaluate whether or not the President’s plan might violate U.S. treaty commitments under the NPT, Rep. Markey asked the experts at the non-partisan CRS to prepare an analysis, which he will now circulate to all members of Congress and make available to the public.  Markey has also introduced legislation, H. Con. Res. 318, which would urge the President to foster closer relations and energy ties with India in ways which would not violate the NPT or weaken U.S. nuclear nonproliferation law. 

Markey said, “The Bush administration’s proposal for nuclear cooperation with India will wind up benefiting that country’s nuclear weapons program, and in so doing would violate the United States’ nuclear nonproliferation treaty commitments.  The CRS analysis has left me more convinced than ever that the nuclear deal with India will increase proliferation of nuclear weapons, and will leave the United States in violation of the NPT.”

The CRS analysis identifies three ways in which the nuclear deal could violate the NPT:

First, it analyzes the “separation plan” under which India’s civilian and military nuclear facilities will be disentangled. 

Second, it investigates whether U.S. de-facto recognition of India as a nuclear power could encourage India to continue its production of weapons. 

Third, it examines the most significant issue of U.S. assistance to India’s weapons program: how imported nuclear fuel would free up India’s domestic uranium for use in its weapons program. 

The President’s proposal for nuclear cooperation with India will result in a huge increase in India’s bomb-making capacity.  In fact, just last week an article was published in the Indian newspaper The Hindu quoting a former high-level Indian intelligence official saying that the deal will allow production of 50 weapons a year (up from a current level of 6-10).

“We should help India modernize its electricity sector, but we should not be boosting their nuclear weapons program, and forsaking our commitments to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in the process.  The President’s initiative is taking us down a dangerous and irreversible path,” Markey concluded.

Without a credible separation plan, the United States could wind up transferring technology directly into India’s weapons program.  The CRS analysis states:

“It should be noted that while IAEA safeguards ensure that nuclear material is not diverted, there are no procedures or measures in place to ensure that information, technology and know-how are not transferred from the civil sector to the military sector.  This could become a key loophole, particularly because the separation plan places 8 indigenous power reactors under safeguards, while leaving at least 8 indigenous power reactors outside of safeguards.  Without additional measures to prevent the transfer of personnel or knowledge from the safeguarded program to the un-safeguarded program, there would be little assurance that assistance to the safeguarded program could not migrate to the military program.” 

By changing U.S. law to allow for nuclear trade with India, the United States will grant international legitimacy to India’s nuclear arsenal.  The CRS analysis states:

“The United States is not granting de jure recognition to India as a nuclear weapon state, because doing so would require amendment of the NPT, a prospect that is unattainable, according to most experts.  Nonetheless, a successful U.S. effort to gain an exemption in U.S. nuclear cooperation law would place India in the company of only four other nations – the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia – all de jure nuclear weapon states.  While this may not constitute formal recognition of India as a nuclear weapon state, many observers believe that it legitimizes India’s nuclear weapons program, thus providing de facto recognition.”

Critics of the President’s proposal have long argued that allowing India to import uranium for its civilian reactors will free up its domestic fuel sources to concentrate exclusively on weapons production, giving India a vast new capacity for the manufacture of fissile material for weapons.  The CRS analysis calls this indirect benefit to India’s weapons program “a clear consequence of such cooperation.” 

“Secretary Rice seemed to be suggesting that having more uranium would not encourage or assist India’s nuclear weapons program because it already had the fissile material it needed.  If, as Secretary Rice suggests, the military requirements are dwarfed by civilian requirements, then finding international sources for civilian requirements could result in a windfall for the weapons program.”

Attached is the CRS report (CRS Memo on US-India Nuke Deal.pdf);and for more information on the U.S. India Nuclear Deal and other non-proliferation and national security issues, please go to: http://markey.house.gov/

June 26, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein