Aaron Tavish argues in an op-ed today that India should not try to dodge the NPT but instead propose an amendment to it. Here is what he says:
Instead of trying to sneak around behind the back of the NPT, India should boldly enter through the front door. India should ask one or more of it close allies in the Non-Aligned Movement to propose an amendment to the NPT that has the effect of making India a nuclear-weapon state. It could be the most concise amendment in the history of diplomacy, changing just two digits in the Treaty’s definition of a nuclear-weapon state: “For the purposes of this Treaty, a nuclear-weapon State is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 196775.” In one stroke, all the problems of Article I compliance and the 1995 decision relating to full-scope safeguards would be resolved, and for India alone.The consensus requirement would also be reduced. The NPT amendment process allows for an amendment conference on the basis of requests from just one-third of the States Parties — any one-third. Adoption of the amendment requires ratification by a simple majority, but not just any majority. Article VIII(2) of the treaty requires the majority to be “of the votes of all the Parties to the Treaty, including the votes of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and all other Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” While amending the NPT is a more far-reaching decision than approving a safeguards agreement, the favourable treatment recently accorded the India-specific agreement by the 35-member Board of Governors makes this requirement less daunting than the 45-member NSG consensus requirement.
What a joke. If getting the safeguards agreement itself is being so hard despite the support of the US, does he seriously expect an amendment to the NPT to be passed, that too without American involvement? The countries that are objecting to the agreement currently are also those who are wary of making any exception on any ground to any country lest others too might demand the same. Does he seriously believe that changing the cut-off date to 1975 from 1967 will actually fly given that the same nations would see the effort as undermining the very basis of the accord? The main objection right now is that approving the accord would set a bad precedent for other countries such as Pakistan but doing what he asks would open a Pandora's box for other countries, many of which joined many years after the treaty came into being. The suggestion is so preposterous as to merit no more than a contemptuous dismissal. I thought that even N.Ram was sufficiently politically savvy not to waste newsprint on pipedreams of this sort.