Abbott Condemns Asia to a Nuclear Arms Race

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Indian Agni-V Intercontinental Balistic Missile Test. Range 5500-5800 km. Courtesy: Indian Defence Forum

By Ann-Marie de Veer
Saturday 13 September 2014

On Friday 5 September 2014 Tony Abbott signed a deal with the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to supply uranium, aka. Yellowcake, in direct contravention of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Australia is a signatory.

NPT Article III, Paragraph 2 of the treaty states:

2. Each State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to provide: (a) source or special fissionable material, or (b) equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, to any non-nuclear-weapon State for peaceful purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be subject to the safeguards required by this Article.

That India is not a signatory to the NPT and therefore not limited by any of its provisions is known. However, Australia is bound by the treaty and may only supply fissionable material, uranium, to signatory states in accordance with Articles IV and V respectively.

Nonetheless, the Abbott regime, akin to the Gillard government before it, have capitulated to their overlords and masters in the US. The fact that Australia is effectively ignoring the NPT, as the US have done already, was blatantly apparent when Abbott was questioned about how he intends to uphold his responsibilities under the agreement: his reply was typical of Western indifference to probing questions of this kind as he absolved himself of any culpability by saying:

The Guardian - 5 Sep 2014 It’s not our job to try to tell India how to conduct its internal affairs.

Abbott's reaction, to the engagement and acquiescence of a nuclear powered and weaponed state who has developed and tested its own nuclear weapons whilst not being a signatory to the NPT, has simply followed the US lead. In February 2009 the US signed the India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement (IUSCNA), an accord crafted in response to the nuclear weapons tests carried out by India in 1998.

Of course, the IUSCNA was primarily a tactical geo-political manoeuvre by the West in response to India's mastery of nuclear technology and its increasing engagement with first, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and subsequently the Russian Federation who had become the nations primary source of military equipment ranging from small arms to nuclear powered submarines.

Not unexpectedly, India's tilt back towards the West is based on the pragmatics of supply rather than its so called record on the non-proliferation of nuclear technology. Its return to the orbit of the US empire has also been rewarded with an exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group which enables it to purchase nuclear resources from NPT states. Thus, its status has been elevated to that of a signatory of the NPT and made it possible for other signatory states to engage India in previously prohibited trade.

And so, Australian exports of Yellowcake to India, akin to the US exports of nuclear technology, continue to remain legally questionable while the notion of them being morally indefensible is immaterial and seldom discussed.

In essence, India, albeit a non-signatory to the NPT, is being afforded every possible assistance in its acquisition of nuclear materials and technology in complete contrast to other nations who have both signed the NPT and sought access to the resource.

Why?

Southeast Asia has been a geo-political backwater for the US since the end of World War II, except for North Korea in the early 1950's and then Vietnam in the 1960's and 70's. However, a new economic and military powerhouse has arisen, China, whose unique form of state sponsored capitalism and growth in military strength now represents a serious threat to the geo-political and economic interests of the West.

Hence, the US pivot to Asia.

Nonetheless, this pivot is one that the US can ill afford given it is technically bankrupt, both morally and fiscally, plus it is increasingly busy with clearing up its own mess in the middle east. Thus, it is in the process of enabling existing allies to shoulder the burden of its supremacist policies and actively recruiting others.

Welcome to the nuclear buffer state of India.

India is not just being allowed to arm itself with its acquisition of nuclear materials and technology: it is being positively encouraged to do so by the West, in complete contravention of the NPT. That they already have excess capacity for uranium enrichment, a process that can produce the fissile material used for both power and weapons production, and are now stockpiling nuclear weapons, is known. In fact, India is beginning to enjoy its newly acquired regional power status and has started issuing the bellicose threats expected of a new vassal state to the empire.

In other words, we, the US and our allies, believe that our interests in Asia are about to be seriously compromised by the ascendancy of China. While the enabling of our regional allies in collective self-defence and building new alliances will go some way in countering this threat to our empire, conventional weapons alone will not be enough. Naturally, we would prefer to provide and maintain the deterrent ourselves but we are a little short of cash at the moment and somewhat busy clearing up our mess in the middle east. Of course, India is our natural partner in this endeavour, being a non-signatory to the NPT, we can simply provide it with as much nuclear material and technological support as is needed for it to reach a nuclear détente with China and thus we will have achieved our policy of containment by proxy, at no cost to ourselves.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
Mahatma Gandhi