Uncommon India

Published on Dissident Voice, by Nidhi Zakaria Eipe *, October 15, 2011.

Am I the only one who was troubled by this recent suggestion, from a well-respected Member of the Indian Parliament, that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision not to attend the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth may not be—as reported—due to more pressing engagements in the form of G20 and SAARC ** summits, but rather a rebuke of Australia’s refusal to supply enriched uranium to augment India’s civilian nuclear program? 

India has consistently refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty NPT—the cornerstone of international efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons—categorically stating that the treaty amounts to political apartheid by permanently dividing the world into nuclear haves and nuclear have-nots. India has also rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty CTBT—intended to prohibit any nuclear explosion on the planet—again on issue of principle.  While the CTBT does not explicitly contain the NPT-style divisiveness in its text, India’s principled stance emerged from the fact that the treaty lacks a clear commitment from nuclear weapon states to disarm existing nuclear arsenals within a time-bound framework. The CTBT cannot enter into force until signed and ratified by 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty. To date, nine of these 44 countries have yet to ratify the treaty. India, in good company with Pakistan and North Korea, has not even signed the treaty … //

… Perhaps the author’s most surprising remark was this: “In fact, India has all the uranium it currently needs from other suppliers; the issue is one of principle.” If India already has all the uranium it needs—must it hold a petulant grudge against those who deny it the unnecessary? India has already built and tested nuclear weapons, declared and been recognized as a nuclear weapons state, and acquired a  country-specific waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group that grants it full civil nuclear cooperation in spite of not being party to the NPT.  Acknowledging all this, can it not now instead prioritize shared concerns, capitalize on similarities with the nations of the Commonwealth, and contribute to building a world based on inclusiveness instead of pettiness?

At a time when much of humanity is re-discovering commonality and rising in co-operation, it seems that India once again revels in being the exception. Insular interests of state sovereignty and national security continue to push India to retreat to its safe seat on the fence in most every important international issue that is not seen to directly impact it. From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, it is clear that even non-violence is no longer India’s baby.  It is high time for India to get off its moral high horse and start working in the trenches, offering its vast moral and spiritual legacy and resources to heal the wounds of a hurting world. I should like to think that “rumours” of the Indian Prime Minister’s reasoning regarding his decision not to represent the country at the Commonwealth Meeting in Perth are just that—rumours. Otherwise, it bears noting that in this regard Mother India is, unfortunately, acting like a child. (full text).

* (Nidhi Zak-Aria Eipe is a writer who has previously worked as a Research Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey and a Postgraduate Scholar in Peace and Conflict Studies at Bjorknes College in association with the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo …
Nidhi Zakaria Eipe – Research Analyst, M.A. (St. John’s College, USA), B.A. (College of the Atlantic, USA), Certificate in Nuclear Nonproliferation (Center for Nonproliferation Studies, USA), DDI: 07-349-8324, E-mail, find her on APR Consultants (scroll down to her name).


India’s Autoworkers Behaving Like the Old UAW, by David Macaray, October 14, 2011: The union stories coming out of the huge Maruti Suzuki auto plant in Manesar, Haryana (approximately 30 miles south of New Delhi) fall into the classic “good news-bad news” categories …

** South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAARC on wikipedia.

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