This letter to the editor was published in The New York Times on July 15, 2014.

To the Editor:

Re “India’s Role in the Nuclear Race” (editorial, July 6):

New York Times logoWhile India tries to squeeze into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the world’s nine nuclear-armed countries — including India — are being sued by the Marshall Islands in the International Court of Justice for their continuing possession and modernization of nuclear weapons. The lawsuits allege that India and the others are in continuous violation of customary international law by failing to negotiate in good faith for nuclear disarmament.

As the International Court of Justice unanimously declared in 1996, “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

Your suggestion that India negotiate with Pakistan and China for an end to that region’s nuclear arms race would be a good start to fulfilling its existing international legal obligations. But good-faith negotiations must also go beyond India’s immediate rivals to include all nine nuclear-armed countries.

India’s pursuit of Nuclear Suppliers Group membership is not merely a question of trade and commerce. It is a question of whether known nuclear proliferators will be rewarded or held accountable under international law.

Director of Programs
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Santa Barbara, Calif.