Secretive nuclear talks between U.S. and Pakistan are overlooking the help of the UN and India to solve issues.


The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius first mentioned talks between the Obama administration and Pakistan about the latter’s nuclear program Oct. 6.

What’s problematic of his viewpoint is that he skirts around the issue of the Doctors Without Borders bombing in Kunduz, Afghanistan, and he all but condoned secretive peace talks between the United States and Pakistan.

In a New York Times article last week, National Security Council Press Secretary Josh Earnest was quoted saying that while the public talks in Washington aren’t likely to come to anything, the two countries are in a constant dialogue.

Both Pakistan and the U.S. have checkered pasts of war crimes and conflict in the Middle East, so while two nation-states have the right to negotiate between themselves, as serious as this issue is, more than these two need to be involved.

Although “the two sides agreed to seek a peaceful end to the conflict by attending regular meetings,” according to the New York Times, the nature of this agreement is essentially to fulfill the interests of each state.

One of the reasons Pakistan developed a nuclear program was to defend against Indian invasion or conflict, so it wouldn’t be wise to exclude India from these talks. Diplomacy is good, but if it isn’t dealing directly with the parties involved then it may prove faulty.

Pakistan never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a document which disallows nations, besides those already declared as nuclear states, from having any nuclear weapons. The problem with this is simple: why should any country agree to this when the U.S. gets a free pass just because they had these weapons first?

There are many reasons why other states have signed the treaty, but what is most clear is that all of the countries involved are verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be in compliance. This part of the treaty is vital and necessary to keep the already nuclear states in line.

If Pakistan has a nuclear program, there should not be any secretive peace talks between just two states. The United Nations created the treaty, so they should be responsible for dealing with the countries who did not sign it.

According to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, “provisions of the Treaty, particularly article VIII, paragraph 3, envisage a review of the operation of the Treaty every five years.”

This part of article VIII of the treaty is very important for the elasticity of the agreement, but it would be wise for the UN to address issues as they arise rather than waiting every five years for adjustment.

Rightly so, officials in Pakistan are upset that in 2008, the U.S. approved an agreement with India that was first created in 2005 to facilitate cooperation of  their nuclear programs. Pakistani officials have demanded that same agreement, according to the New York Times.

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The U.S. is caught up in a lengthy dialogue that excludes two states that would benefit from the discussion. If these talks weren’t so secretive, maybe the UN and India could be of help in finding a diplomatic solution to this backward arms race.

Brian Fogel is a freshman studying journalism and a photographer for The Post. What do you think about the new constitution in Nepal? Tweet him @FrianBogel or email him at