Big Five Snub India, Pakistan

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What does a guy have to do to get into the Nuclear Club? New Delhi and Islamabad may well ask, after the Big Five today ruled that despite testing atomic weapons, India and Pakistan "do not have the status of nuclear weapons states." Meeting in Geneva, the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China agreed to mount a coordinated campaign against further escalation in the Indo-Pakistani arms race, but refused to recognize the countries as nuclear states in terms of the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which reserves that status for the Five. TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell believes it's an untenable position: "The Five are trying to get India to sign the NPT, which they'll never do if their nuclear status isn't recognized," says Dowell. "And that negates the purpose of the treaty -- to regulate the world's nuclear weapons."

The problem, says Dowell, is that while making India and Pakistan pay a heavy price might discourage other countries from testing nukes, "it's in nobody's interests to isolate nuclear states, and it's dangerous to destabilize them with sanctions." Which means that although they're unlikely ever to be welcomed through the front door, India and Pakistan may eventually sneak into the clubhouse anyway.