Monday, December 26, 2005

US Supports India's Nuclear Program

Current US policy towards nuclear proliferation world-wide appears hypocritical at best. On the one hand, we are taking an extremely strong position of anti-proliferation with regards to Iran and North Korea. On the other hand, we are openly supporting the enhancement of nuclear technology within India, a nation that defied the ban on nuclear proliferation seven years ago. (Dallas Morning News: Nuclear issue to test India-U.S. friendship).

In public statements, the Bush Administration has openly admitted that the US would like to help India become a great world power, not only economically, but militarily as well. Certainly that is due in no small part to the precipice upon which Pakistan's pro-US government is balanced. Pakistan is clearly one bullet away from becoming an Islamic fundamentalist state, putting nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists around the world. It would appear that the US is hedging that bet by improving India's economic and military position.

The problem is that improving the economic position of India is at the expense of US high technology jobs. India is a grave threat to our economy just by the nature of the jobs they are drawing overseas. Originally, companies in the US were off-shoring high technology jobs to India for their cheap labor. Now we see a tremendous influx of Indians coming to the US to claim those jobs here, primarily because the salaries are better here as is the standard of living. The net result in either case, however, is the loss of jobs by American workers.

As India's economy started to grow, many companies moved their call centers to that region, again to take advantage of lower salaries and administrative costs. Now India's economy has grown to the point where they are outsourcing those same jobs to a third party, typically in Bangladesh. I fail to see how any of this is good for the American economy since it is still American jobs that are being lost.

With regards to the nuclear issue, there is nothing good that can come of this. If the goal is to use India as a nuclear deterrent against Pakistan, then why would we ever want to commit our technology infrastructure there? We certainly do not need India to do what a single Trident submarine could accomplish should Pakistan ever decide to launch a nuclear weapon. Worse yet, this open arms approach with India sends precisely the wrong message to Iran and North Korea. Rather than taking punitive action against India for violating the non-Proliferation goals of the UN, we are rewarding them with civilian contracts and enhancing their nuclear programs. I fail to see how this could possibly help defuse the growing confrontation in Iran.

The US policy towards India needs to be reversed quickly. Behind China, India is the greatest growing threat to the US economy. Behind Israel, India is the nation most likely to draw the US into a nuclear confrontation. There is nothing about our policy towards India that benefits the US, but there is much in that policy that should be of concern. As the nuclear debate is taken up in Congress, one hopes that the Senate at least is capable of putting a halt to this foolhardy approach. It is up to Congress to safeguard American jobs. It is up to Congress to stop the steady wave of Indian immigration into the US. It is up to Congress to put a halt to our duplicity in India's quest to enhance their nuclear capabilities.

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