Currently 189 states are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Four states are not. India is one of these four, yet the Australian Government has announced that it wants to begin supplying the country with uranium for “peaceful purposes”. This is despite only 14 of its 22 nuclear facilities being open for inspection.
The Government is prepared to bend the rules the rules for India, so we’ve compiled a list of other non-signatory and suspect nuclear states for it to consider giving similar exceptions to:
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India’s hostile neighbour to the west is not a party to the NPT and is openly in possession of nuclear weapons. It publicly announced its nuclear weapons tests of 1998. Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed Khan says:
The fact of our existence as the neighbor of an expansionist and a hegemonistic power taught us the inevitable lesson that we must search for security. Contemporary history held only one lesson for us. The answer lay in credible deterrence.
Pakistan has been left out of deals between India the United States (and now Australia) because it does not have the same partial UN inspection program that India does, or the same energy requirements. It is estimated that Pakistan already has enough fissile material for 60 warheads.
North Korea ratified the NPT in 1985, but withdrew in 2003 after US allegations of an illegal uranium enrichment program. It officially declared in February 2005 that it was in possession of nuclear weapons, and staged the world’s latest nuclear weapons tests in July, 2006.
Israel is not a party to the NPT. Though officially denied by the Israeli government, a detailed 1986 disclosure by an Israeli nuclear technician led to the state being named the world’s sixth largest nuclear power. It is speculated that Israel is in possession of between 100-200 warheads. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made comments in a 2006 interview that many read as confirming the existence of a nuclear weapons program, but government officials strongly deny that was what he meant.
While Iran is a party to the NPT, in 2003 it was found to have repeatedly violated its safeguard obligations, including failing to declare its uranium enrichment program. It was not grounds for removal because Iran maintains the program is for peaceful civilian nuclear energy purposes. This is allowed under the NPT, but sparked strong criticism from the US government which says Iran is “moving in the wrong direction”, and fears that the enrichment program will lead to nuclear weapons development. Iran has faced the repeated threat of a nuclear strike from the US, and is facing international pressure to withdraw from the NPT.
Saudi Arabia is a party to the NPT, and does not currently run an official nuclear weapons program. However, it is rumoured that nuclear weapons were transferred to Saudi Arabia from Iraq in the mid-1990s, and there is evidence to suggest that it was seeking to purchase a nuclear weapon as recently as 2003.