Indian nuke bill seen as bad for business

Bhopal case adds to worries

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“It’s going to be interesting to see whether the Indians, now that they have passed this law, are going to stick to their guns or cave under possible U.S. pressure to reverse course,” said Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

The specter of the deadly gas leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal in 1984 loomed over the liability discussions in India. At least 15,000 people were killed and 500,000 injured in the world’s worst industrial accident.

Just last week, the Indian Supreme Court opted to review its 1996 decision to reduce the charges in the case from culpable homicide to negligence amid a national outcry for stiffer penalties for those responsible and more compensation for victims.

“A country that has experienced Bhopal is not about to open itself up to a nuclear version of such,” Mr. Sokolski said, adding that the commercial value of the U.S.-India deal was always oversold.

“Now it has come up a total cropper. … This only builds on our legacy of being nuclear diplomatic chumps.”

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About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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