Hoodbhoy on the US-India Nuclear Deal

This past week, the House approved the US-India nuclear deal. At the Pugwash site is an article from a few months ago on the consequences of the agreement by Pervez Hoodbhoy.

For all who have opposed Pakistan’s nuclear program over the years – including myself – the US-India nuclear agreement may probably be the worst thing that has happened in a long time.

Post agreement: Pakistan’s ruling elite is confused and bitter. They know that India has overtaken Pakistan in far too many areas for there to be any reasonable basis for symmetry. They see the US is now interested in reconstructing the geopolitics of South Asia and in repairing relations with India, not in mollifying Pakistani grievances. Nevertheless, there were lingering hopes of a sweetener during President George W. Bush’s furtive and unwelcomed visit in March to Islamabad. There was none.

This change in US policy thrilled many in India. Many enjoyed President Musharraf’s discomfiture. But they would do well to restrain their exuberance. The nuclear deal, even if ratified, will not dramatically increase nuclear power production currently this stands at only 3% of the total production, and can at most double to 6% if all currently planned plants are eventually constructed and commissioned. On the other hand, Pakistan is bound to react – and react badly – once US nuclear materials and equipment starting rolling into India.

One certain consequence will be more bombs on both sides of the border.