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Nuclear apartheid on subcontinent

December 24, 2006

Re "Subcontinental missiles," editorial, Dec. 19

In this editorial, even while labeling the U.S. policy toward Indian nuclear aspirations a double standard, you did not mention the really significant double standard that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty perpetuates -- an arbitrary and closed power system that allows the so-called original nuclear powers to possess such weapons even while barring other nations from entering it.

As Indians love to point out, this is nuclear apartheid, pure and simple. Why would India -- an emerging economic and military power and the world's largest secular democracy, constantly threatened by pan-Islamist terrorism and a revanchist China -- ever give in to Western or Chinese pressure and sign away its nuclear deterrence capabilities? Any Indian political party that even explores such a possibility shall be deemed naive at best or treasonous at worst.

The other big double standard is that Pakistan, a major proliferator, obtained significant assistance from China in its nuclear weapons quest. This simple yet profound fact never appears in your supposedly moral calculus.

MURALI K. PASUPULATI

Davenport, Iowa

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