India Intelligence Report

   US Asks G-8 Support for Nuke Deal



  • US lobbying G-8 support for Nuke deal

  • Nuclear Ayatollahs wrote to US Congressman saying deal helps Indian nuclear weapons program when it does not

  • China is only known opponent and US may seek a neutral statement to avoid negative debate

The US is lobbying the Group of Eight (G8) nations to meet in July at St. Petersburg to back the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal amid serious reservations in the US policy making establishment, some G8 nations (like China & Japan), and European Union (EU) states.

Nuclear hardliners in the US policy and opinion making community think that the deal would reward India for rejecting the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In a recent letter to US Congressional members, several nuclear Ayatollahs wrote that the US “has a solemn responsibility not only to discourage proliferation by others but to refrain from assisting other states' nuclear weapons program in any way." They also warn that "The current proposal would breach this central provision of the treaty." By obfuscating information, they portray this deal as a US policy to help India’s nuclear weapons program while the deal is really about lifting sanctions for Indian civilian nuclear program. By raising a non-existent issue, they construct a doomsday picture to forward their extremist agenda.

Except China, other so-called permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have supported the deal and are urging their peers in the world community to do the same. France and the US are lobbying hard in the influential Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) and among other UN nations.

A Western G8 diplomat said that to avoid negative impact on the deal, the US is planning on a statement with a neutral tone. This unnamed diplomat also said that "US, UK, France and Russia like the nuke deal; all others are either neutral or are against it. If the language is neutral, non-committal, you will know which side has prevailed." Another G8 diplomat said that the US could successfully market even a neutral statement to win worldwide support.

China, Canada, Japan, Italy and Germany are either opposed or neutral. Of these, only China is thought to have major objections to the deal. Canada and Japan is usually persuaded by the US on most foreign policy issues. During the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Germany was seen softening its hard stance on the deal. Italy’s position is not well known.

Efforts to persuade Iran to give up its uranium enrichment programme are also expected to be one of the main topics at the July 15-17 St Petersburg summit.