There’s plenty wrong with Japan and India’s deal to export nuclear plants and boost nuclear cooperation, not the least of which is that it is phase 2 of a US-Japan-India nuclear pact designed largely to boost French and US corporations, a major blow to non-proliferation, and a dangerous geopolitical game that has China in mind.
On 29 May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh signed a deal that would allow Japan to export nuclear plants and strengthen civilian nuclear energy and defense cooperation significantly.
The deal comes amid a border confrontation between India and China, and an ongoing territorial dispute between Japan and China over the East China Sea. But we’ll forego the India-Japan-China geopolitics for now, and focus on the nuclear issue.
The fact is that there is reason to be nervous over India’s nuclear energy ambitions. India is desperate, with hundreds of millions of its citizens without power and industry suffering.
The Japanese-Indian deal will give India access to Japanese nuclear technology and boost Japanese firms like Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi Ltd, who have lost their domestic market since the Fukushima disaster. Not only will it benefit Japanese corporations shopping for other markets, but it will also benefit US and French nuclear corporations who have found themselves burdened with billions of dollars in massive projects in India that require Japanese technology that can’t be realized without a trilateral agreement between the US, Japan and India.
As such, this Japanese-Indian nuclear deal should be viewed as the second installment of the US-India nuclear deal—and it is specifically designed to meet corporate needs. Japan, therefore, is the springboard through which the US is connecting its India nuclear dots.
With this deal, we should consider the idea of nuclear non-proliferation dead. India, remember, has conducted nuclear tests and has its sights set not only on nuclear energy, but on advancing its nuclear weapons capabilities to rival those of Pakistan, with whom China has been getting increasingly cozy.
Since the US signed its original nuclear cooperation deal with India in 2008, giving India a pass from the rules of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)–which bars transfers of nuclear technology to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)–things have been on a downward spiral. The last piece of this puzzle—Japan—has now been put in place.
It is not Iran’s nuclear program we should be worried about. India’s designs, its nuclear report card, and the death knell for nuclear non-proliferation pose a much greater threat to the world. It was India’s nuclear testing, after all, that prompted the need for a non-proliferation regime in the first place—not Iran.
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