Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Do North Korea’s trash balloons indicate an escalation?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Why South Korea has suspended the 2018 agreement?

Why in the news?

South Korea has suspended the 2018 peace agreement and announced the possibility of resuming propaganda broadcasts in North Korea following Pyongyang’s release of thousands of balloons filled with trash and human waste into the South.

Inter-Korean Peace Agreement, 2018

  • The 2018 inter-Korean peace agreement refers to several agreements and declarations made between North and South Korea to reduce military tensions and improve diplomatic relations. Key elements of the agreement included:
    • Ceasefire Maintenance: Maintaining and reinforcing the Korean Armistice Agreement.
    • Demilitarization: Implementing measures to reduce military tensions, such as dismantling guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
    • Family Reunions: Facilitating family reunions for those separated by the Korean War.
    • Economic Cooperation: Pursuing economic projects and infrastructure development.
    • Propaganda Halt: Both sides agreed to cease propaganda broadcasts and leaflet drops across the DMZ.

Why did South Korea suspend the 2018 agreement?

  • Recent Provocations: North Korea’s recent aggressive actions, including GPS signal jamming, missile launches, and the release of balloons carrying trash and human waste, pose a threat to South Korean security and civilian safety.
  • Lack of Trust: The ruling People Power Party (PPP) in South Korea cited a significant erosion of trust between the two Koreas. Senior PPP official Choo Kyung-ho emphasized that mutual trust needs to be restored for any agreements to be honoured.
  • Calls for Apology: South Korea demands an immediate apology from North Korea for these provocations, highlighting the need for accountability and reparations for the damages caused.

North Korea emboldened by Russian support 

  • Military Assistance: The US has warned that Russia is aiding North Korea in developing advanced weapons technologies, such as hypersonic missiles, in exchange for artillery shells amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
  • Diplomatic Shield: As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia provides a diplomatic shield for North Korea, stalling efforts to pass new resolutions condemning North Korean actions. This backing allows Pyongyang to act more aggressively without significant international repercussions.

Escalated Danger of Conflict

The situation on the Korean Peninsula poses an escalated danger of conflict due to several factors:

  • Aggressive Posturing: North Korea’s recent actions, including missile tests and aerial provocations, signal an aggressive stance that could lead to military confrontations.
  • Policy Shift: Analysts believe Kim Jong Un may be deviating from the defensive policies of his predecessors, adopting a more aggressive strategy aimed at altering the status quo on the peninsula.
  • International Alliances: North Korea’s alignment with Russia, and possibly other authoritarian states like China and Iran, suggests a willingness to use military force to achieve geopolitical goals, challenging the US-led liberal world order.
  • Military Preparedness: The South Korean military and its allies need to stay vigilant as North Korea tests the South’s air defences and military response times, indicating a higher readiness for potential conflict.

Way forward:

  • Engage in Multilateral Talks: Revitalize dialogue with key stakeholders, including the United States, China, Japan, and Russia, to address North Korea’s actions and find diplomatic solutions.
  • Leverage International Organizations: Utilize platforms like the United Nations to garner international support and pressure North Korea to comply with international norms.

Mains PYQ: 

Q Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post-Cold War international scenario. (UPSC IAS/2016)

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

The risks of Russia’s nuclear posturing

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NATO countries; NPT; Bordering countries of Russia and Ukraine;

Mains level: Nuclear Policies and the Global geopolitics; NATO countries; NPT;

 

Why in the news?

The Russia-Ukraine war persists with no end in sight. Russia’s nuclear drills and plans to station weapons in Belarus escalate Global tensions and are deeply concerning.

What is the NPT and how does it address Russia’s actions?

  • The NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) is a multilateral agreement aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons through three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful use of Nuclear energy.
  • It defines Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) as those that had manufactured and detonated a nuclear explosive device before 1967, with all other states considered non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS).

The NPT has addressed Russia’s actions in several ways:

  • Russia, as a NWS, is obligated under Article VI to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the salience of nuclear weapons in ways that threaten to erode this bargain.
  • The NPT’s 2022 Review Conference specifically condemned overt nuclear threats, and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) called for nuclear deterrence to be delegitimized.
  • The NPT requires NNWS to accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on all nuclear materials on their territories. However, the IAEA has found several states, including Russia, in non-compliance with their safeguards agreements.
  • The NPT’s review process, where state parties convene every five years to review the implementation of the Treaty, has been unable to reach a consensus on condemning Russia’s nuclear threats due to Russia’s objections.

The Shift in Nuclear Policy of Russia:

  • Criticism by Western countries:  The international community has expressed concern over Russia’s nuclear rhetoric, calling for accountability. Western states and allies condemn Russia’s actions and seek to address them through initiatives like the United Nations and the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) to uphold norms and deter irresponsible behaviour.
  • Changing Nuclear Threshold and Policy: Russia appears to be considering lowering the threshold for nuclear weapon use, which could set a dangerous precedent.
    • Traditionally, Nuclear Weapons were reserved for existential threats, but Russia is now signalling a potential first-use policy even for non-existent threats.
  • Erosion of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD): For decades, the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) deterred the use of nuclear weapons. Russia’s current stance threatens this principle, suggesting that nuclear weapons could be used in conflicts that do not directly jeopardize National survival.

What are the consequences of Russia’s nuclear rhetoric for Global Security?

  • It has raised the risk of nuclear escalation and use, as Russia has purposefully increased the level of risk to discourage Western support for Ukraine and instill fear. Russia’s actions may encourage other nuclear-armed states, like Iran and North Korea, to adopt similar tactics.
    • This undermines the long-standing separation between Conventional and Nuclear warfare.
  • Undermined Strategic Stability and the Global Nuclear Order:  Russia’s actions have broken down nuclear guidelines and norms, advocating for nuclear use against Ukraine and NATO. This has contributed to the return of nuclear arms competition on the global stage.
  • It has caused alarm and fear among Russia’s neighbors, who worry that if Russia is not stopped in Ukraine, it may turn aggression against other territories. Small countries like Moldova, Georgia, and even Russia’s allies like Kazakhstan fear becoming Putin’s next target.
  • It has required the international community to respond with strong deterrence and accountability measures. The West has emphasized that Russian nuclear use would have devastating consequences.
    • Holding Russia accountable through multilateral initiatives is crucial to upholding norms and deterring further irresponsible behaviour.

Way forward:

  • Strengthen International Diplomatic Engagement: Initiate high-level dialogues involving all nuclear-armed states to reinforce commitments to non-proliferation treaties and discourage the lowering of nuclear use thresholds.
  • Revise and Reinforce Security Assurances: Provide renewed and clear security assurances to non-nuclear states to discourage them from pursuing nuclear weapons. Revisit agreements like the Budapest Memorandum to ensure their effectiveness and credibility.

Mains PYQ:

Q (UPSC IAS/2022) 

(a): Russia and Ukraine war has been going on for the last seven months. Different countries have taken independent stands and actions keeping in view their own national interests. We are all aware that war has its own impact on the different aspects of society, including human tragedy. What are those ethical issues that are crucial to be considered while launching the war and its continuation so far? lllustrate with justification the ethical issues involved in the given state of affair.

(b): Write short notes on the following in 30 words each:

(i) Constitutional morality

(ii) Conflict of interest

(iii) Probity in public life

(iv) Challanges of digitalization

(v) Devotion to duty

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

How a US-Saudi civil nuclear deal might work

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nuclear treaties and Co-operations; 123 Agreement;

Mains level: Nuclear Cooperation Agreement; Major powers;

Why in the News?

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will visit Saudi Arabia to discuss a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, aiming to foster Israeli-Saudi normalization.

What is a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement?

  • A civil nuclear cooperation agreement, often referred to as a “123 Agreement” after Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954, sets the terms under which the United States can engage in significant nuclear cooperation with other countries.
  • This includes the transfer of nuclear materials, technology, and information. Such agreements are designed to ensure that the cooperation is for peaceful purposes and to prevent nuclear proliferation.
  • They require the partner country to adhere to nine nonproliferation criteria, including physical security measures, safeguards, and a commitment not to use the technology for nuclear weapons development. Additionally, these agreements must be reviewed and approved by the U.S. Congress.

Why does Saudi Arabia want a US nuclear cooperation agreement?

Saudi Arabia’s interest in a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with the U.S. is driven by two primary motivations:

  • Energy Diversification and its Vision 2030: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan aims to diversify the Saudi economy and reduce its reliance on oil.
    • Part of this vision includes developing renewable energy sources, and nuclear energy is seen as a key component.
  • Strategic Considerations: There is also speculation that Saudi Arabia seeks to develop nuclear expertise as a hedge against Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The Saudi leadership has indicated that if Iran were to develop nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia might consider doing the same.
    • This potential for nuclear proliferation is a concern for arms control advocates and some U.S. lawmakers.

How would the US benefit from such a deal?

  • Strategic Gains: The agreement could be a component of a broader effort to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, thereby enhancing regional stability and security. This would bolster U.S. efforts to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East and build a coalition of allies in the region.
  • Commercial Opportunities: U.S. nuclear companies could secure lucrative contracts to build and operate nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia. This would provide a significant boost to the U.S. nuclear industry, which faces competition from Russian and Chinese firms.
  • Geopolitical Influence: Strengthening ties with Saudi Arabia would reinforce U.S. influence in the Gulf region at a time when China is seeking to expand its presence. This would help maintain the U.S. strategic foothold in one of the world’s most geopolitically significant areas.

What are some likely hurdles to it?

Several challenges could impede the realization of a U.S.-Saudi nuclear cooperation agreement:

  • Gaza Conflict: The ongoing conflict in Gaza, particularly the high Palestinian casualties resulting from Israeli military actions, complicates Saudi willingness to normalize relations with Israel.
  • Nonproliferation Concerns: There are substantial concerns about the potential for nuclear proliferation. Ensuring that Saudi Arabia complies with stringent nonproliferation standards and does not pursue nuclear weapons capabilities will be a critical and contentious issue.
  • Congressional Approval: Any agreement would need to pass through the U.S. Congress, where it could face opposition from lawmakers worried about proliferation risks and regional security dynamics. Congressional scrutiny could delay or block the agreement.
  • Need of high Technical and Operational Details: Negotiating the specifics of nuclear technology transfer, including whether Saudi Arabia would be allowed to enrich uranium on its soil, and ensuring robust safeguards to prevent misuse of nuclear materials, are complex issues that require careful handling.

Way Forward:

  • Need for Strict Safeguards: Establish stringent nonproliferation safeguards within the agreement, ensuring that Saudi Arabia adheres to international standards and commits to using nuclear technology solely for peaceful purposes.
  • Need Regular Inspections: Implement a robust regime of regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor Saudi nuclear facilities and ensure compliance with the agreement.

Mains PYQ:

Q In what ways would the ongoing US-Iran Nuclear Pact Controversy affect the national interest of India? How should India respond to its situation? (15) (UPSC IAS/2018)

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

50 year of Pokhran-I: Why India conducted its first Nuclear Tests?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NSG group and NPT

Mains level: Why did India choose to conduct nuclear tests?

Why in the News?

In the year 2024, India’s Pokhran-I have completed 50 years of its tests. The present variation in adopting Nuclear policies (especially Russia and China) around the world, reminds us of the historic Pokhran tests of 1974 by the Indian Government that were held amid secrecy.

Background:

  • Post-World War II, new global alliances and alignments emerged amidst the Cold War between the US and USSR.
  • The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) signed in 1968, aimed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. It defined nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear states, but India objected to its discriminatory nature towards non-nuclear states.
  • India refused to sign the NPT due to its failure to address India’s concerns about the discriminatory nature of the treaty, particularly regarding non-nuclear states’ obligations.

Why did India choose to conduct Nuclear Tests? 

  • India viewed the NPT as discriminatory towards non-nuclear states like itself, leading to its decision to conduct nuclear tests independently.
  • Indian scientists, notably Homi J Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, laid the groundwork for nuclear energy in India. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was established in 1954.
  • Changes in leadership post-1960s, coupled with conflicts with China and Pakistan, influenced India’s decision to pursue nuclear capabilities. China’s nuclear tests in 1964 also played a role.

How did Pokhran-I happen?

  • In Secrecy and Uncertainty: India conducted the nuclear test at Pokhran in 1974 without prior announcement, even amidst internal uncertainty among key decision-makers.
    • Operation Smiling Buddha (MEA designation: Pokhran-I) was the code name of India’s first successful nuclear weapon test on 18 May 1974.
    • The test demonstrated India’s nuclear capabilities and its ability to defend itself, though India chose not to weaponize immediately. The choice of Buddha Jayanti for the test date carried symbolic significance.
  • By Autonomous Approval: Despite opposition from some advisers, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave the go-ahead for the test, signaling India’s resolve. 

What was the impact of the Pokhran-I Test?

  • Global Criticism: India faced criticism and sanctions from various countries, including the US, following the tests. The US enacted the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act in 1978, halting nuclear assistance to India.
    • Despite international criticism, India asserted itself as a nuclear-capable nation, paving the way for future developments like Pokhran-II in 1998.
  • Diplomatic Goals: India sought acceptance as a responsible nuclear power and aimed to join international groups like the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), facing resistance from some countries, notably China.
    • India’s nuclear tests marked a significant milestone in its defense and foreign policy, shaping its stance on nuclear issues and its position in global nuclear politics.

Way forward for being in the NSG group:

Engage in Diplomatic Outreach:

  • Strengthen bilateral relations with NSG member countries.
  • Engage in diplomatic dialogue to address concerns and build consensus on India’s membership.

Demonstrate Commitment to Nonproliferation:

  • Continue adhering to nonproliferation norms and standards.
  • Showcase India’s responsible nuclear behaviour and track record in nuclear security.

Mains PYQ

Q With growing energy needs should India keep on expanding its nuclear energy programme? Discuss the facts and fears associated with nuclear energy. (250 Words, 15 Marks) (UPSC IAS/2018)

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India seizes Dual-Use Items bound for Pakistan from China

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Dual-Use Items, SCOMET

Mains level: Regulation of Dual-Use Items


In the news

  • Indian customs officials at Mumbai Port seized two advanced Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines manufactured by GKD, Italy, en route to the port of Karachi from China.
  • The CNC machines, critical for manufacturing parts utilized in Pakistan’s missile development program, were destined for Karachi.

What are Dual-Use Items?

  • Definition: Dual-use items refer to commodities that possess the potential for application in both civilian and military contexts.
  • Regulatory Scrutiny: These items are subject to stringent regulation due to their capability to be initially designed for civilian purposes but later repurposed for military or even terrorist activities.
  • Examples: Examples of dual-use items include global positioning satellites, missiles, nuclear technology, chemical and biological weapons, night vision technology, drones, precision-engineered aluminium pipes, and specific types of ball bearings.

Global Control Mechanisms for Dual-Use Items

(1) Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR):

  • Established: In 1987 by G-7 countries.
  • Purpose: To limit the proliferation of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.
  • Membership: Consists of 35 member countries.
  • Guidelines: Members coordinate national export controls to prevent missile proliferation.
  • India’s Membership: India became the 35th member in 2016.

(2) Wassenaar Arrangement (WA):

  • Established: In 1996 with 42 participating states.
  • Purpose: Prevent destabilizing accumulations of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.
  • Export Controls: Member countries apply controls on listed items to avoid enhancing military capabilities.
  • India not a member: It it has expressed interest in joining to strengthen its export controls and enhance its non-proliferation efforts.

(3) Australia Group (AG):

  • Formation: Prompted by Iraq’s use of chemical weapons in 1985.
  • Focus: Initially on chemical weapons precursor chemicals, expanded to include biological weapons prevention.
  • Membership: Composed of 42 member countries. India is NOT a member.
  • Objective: Harmonization of international export controls on chemical and biological technologies.

(4) Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG):

  • Established: In 1974 in response to India’s nuclear tests.
  • Purpose: Control nuclear and nuclear-related technology to prevent proliferation.
  • Membership: Consists of 48 participating governments.
  • Guidelines: Aim to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons through control measures.

[Note: India is also party to key conventions such as the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BWC).]

India’s in-house mechanisms against Dual-Use Items

  • Role of DGFT: The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in India oversees the regulation of dual-use items through the SCOMET list (Specialty Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technologies).
  • SCOMET List: SCOMET items encompass special chemicals, organisms, materials, equipment, and technologies with dual-use potential.
  • Regulatory Framework: Exporting SCOMET items is subject to strict regulations, either requiring a license or being prohibited altogether.
  • Alignment with International Controls: The SCOMET control list aligns with the control lists of various multilateral export control regimes and conventions.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

C Raja Mohan writes: Why India cannot afford to repeat its nuclear weapons mistakes with AI

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Mains level: nuclear and AI revolutions and the shared challenges in governance, geopolitical dynamics

The Future of AI: How AI Is Changing the World | Built In

Central idea 

The article explores parallels between the nuclear and AI revolutions, emphasizing the shared challenges in governance, geopolitical dynamics, and the need for international cooperation. It underscores the importance of learning from India’s nuclear history to navigate the AI landscape, highlighting potential pitfalls such as exceptionalism.

Key Highlights:

  • Historical Parallels: Drawing comparisons between the nuclear and AI revolutions.
  • Global Challenges: Identifying shared issues in managing geopolitical rivalry and preventing misuse.
  • US-China Dynamics: Highlighting the significance of agreements between the superpowers in AI governance.
  • International Governance Proposals: Discussing the idea of an “International Agency for Artificial Intelligence” (IAAI) and the role of the Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence (GPAI).
  • Lessons for India: Emphasizing the importance of learning from India’s nuclear history in navigating the AI landscape.

Key Challenges:

  • Advancements Amid Concerns: Addressing the rapid progress in AI despite calls for restrictions.
  • US-China Competition: Exploring the impact of US measures to slow China’s AI development.
  • Exceptionalism Risks: Warning against India’s tendency to adopt a “third way” and claim exceptionalism in AI development.

Key Terms and Phrases:

  • Geopolitics of AI: Examining the political dynamics surrounding artificial intelligence.
  • Arms Control Agreements: Exploring proposals for limiting military applications of AI.
  • Private Sector Role: Recognizing the increasing importance of the private sector in AI research.
  • S&T Sector Reform: Addressing efforts to reform Science and Technology sectors in India.

Key Quotes:

  • The AI revolution threatens an even bigger catastrophe — machines taking over from humanity and enslaving them.”
  • “US-China agreements on AI are viewed as critical for the management of the new technological revolution.”
  • “Building strong domestic capabilities in AI is critical to making the best out of international cooperation.”

Key Statements:

  • Disarmament Realities: Acknowledging the shift from disarmament idealism in nuclear weapons to the challenges of AI governance.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Emphasizing the need for India to capitalize on its partnership momentum with the US in critical technologies.
  • Caution Against Exceptionalism: Highlighting the risks of India proclaiming exceptionalism in AI development.

Key Examples and References:

  • Superpower Dominance: Drawing parallels between the US-Soviet dominance in the nuclear age and the current US-China dominance in AI.
  • International Agencies: Referencing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the proposed International Agency for Artificial Intelligence (IAAI).
  • Missed Opportunities: Citing historical instances of India missing opportunities in technological cooperation with the US.

Key Facts and Data:

  • GPAI Membership: Noting that the Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) comprises 28 members.
  • India’s Hosting Role: Highlighting India’s role in hosting the GPAI summit in Delhi.
  • IAEA Establishment: Providing the year of establishment for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as 1957.

Critical Analysis:

  • Learning from History: Encouraging India to reflect on historical mistakes and actively engage in the global AI landscape.
  • Balancing Progress and Ethics: Acknowledging the challenges of balancing technological progress with ethical considerations and international cooperation.
  • Provocative Perspectives: Recognizing the thought-provoking comparison between the nuclear and AI revolutions.

Way Forward:

  • Leveraging Partnerships: Encouraging India to leverage its partnership with the US in AI and emerging technologies.
  • Strengthening Domestic Capabilities: Advocating for a focus on building robust domestic capabilities in AI, involving the private sector.
  • Avoiding Exceptionalism: Advising against the temptation of adopting a “third way” and promoting international cooperation and norms in AI development.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

The legality of using white phosphorus

white phosphorus

Central idea

The article explores the legality of using white phosphorus in armed conflicts, focusing on instances like Israel’s alleged use in Gaza. It delves into the ethical concerns, relevant legal frameworks, and the need for strengthening regulations to prevent harm to civilians and the environment.

Key highlights in the Article:

  • Human Rights Watch accused Israel of using white phosphorus munitions in Gaza.
  • The 2008-2009 Gaza War witnessed allegations of Israel using white phosphorus in the Gaza Strip.
  • The UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict condemned IDF’s use of white phosphorus in civilian areas.
  • The Israel military, in the case of Yoav Hass and others v. Chief of Staff (2013), agreed to abandon white phosphorus use except in specified situations communicated to the court.

Know about the White Phosphorus (WP):

  • Chemical Properties: WP is a chemical substance with phosphorus as its primary component. It has unique properties, including self-ignition in the presence of oxygen.
  • Military Applications: Used in incendiary devices like grenades and artillery shells. Creates dense smoke screens for military operations.
  • Incendiary Effects: Can cause intense and persistent fires effective against people, equipment, and structures. Poses significant ethical concerns due to its potential for causing severe burns and suffering.
  • International Humanitarian Law (IHL): Governed by IHL principles, including distinction, proportionality, and the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. Use in civilian areas raises concerns about adherence to these principles.

Learn the difference UPSC might trick you in prelims

Criteria Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)
Objective Comprehensive elimination of chemical weapons, toxic chemicals, and precursors. Restriction of specific conventional weapons causing excessive harm.
Coverage Covers a broad range of chemical agents used in warfare. Addresses particular categories such as incendiary weapons, blinding lasers.
Focus Prohibits the development, production, and use of chemical weapons. Addresses concerns related to specific conventional weapons without complete prohibition.
Verification Robust verification regime, including inspections and declarations. Less extensive verification mechanisms, more targeted to specific weapon categories.
Examples Prohibition of nerve agents like Sarin and VX. Regulations on incendiary weapons like white phosphorus, blinding lasers.

 

Legality in its use:

  • Not covered by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) when used as an incendiary weapon, not for chemical warfare. White phosphorus, although a chemical agent and toxic, is not covered by the CWC
  • Regulated by Protocol III under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Protocol III under the CCW specifically deals with incendiary weapons. Article 1 of this protocol defines an “incendiary weapon” as a weapon or munition primarily designed to set fire to objects or to cause burn injury to persons through the action of flame, heat, or combination thereof, produced by a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target.
  • Article 1(b)(i) includes an exemption in this classification for munitions that may cause unintended incendiary effects, such as illuminants, tracers, smoke, or signalling systems.
  • White phosphorus munitions are primarily intended to produce illuminating and smokescreen effects, with the incendiary aspects being secondary or unintentional. Consequently, incendiary munitions clearly fall within the exceptions outlined in Protocol III’s definition of an “incendiary weapon.”
  • When employed as an incendiary weapon and not for chemical warfare, white phosphorus falls under the regulations of Protocol III of the CCW.
  • However, Protocol III does not effectively regulate multi-purpose munitions such as those containing white phosphorus, which can cause harm in the same way as the incendiary weapons it defines.

Ongoing Concerns:

  • Recent accusations against Israel highlight continued concerns about the use of WP in conflict zones.
  • Its effects on civilians and the environment underscore the importance of legal regulations.
  • White phosphorus has diverse applications, including creating smoke screens and as an ingredient in incendiary devices.
  • Environmental dangers and ethical concerns arise due to its potential to cause severe burns and suffering.

Way Forward:

  • Strengthening Protocol III to effectively regulate multi-purpose munitions, including those containing white phosphorus.
  • Consideration of legal precedents, such as the Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons and Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions.
  • Emphasis on upholding international law, treaties, and protocols to reduce harm to civilians and the environment.
  • Strengthening legal frameworks and removing ambiguities would enhance global efforts to curb the misuse of substances like white phosphorus in armed conflicts.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT): Russia to pull Out

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

  • Russia has indicated that it may revoke the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
  • The CTBT, a landmark multilateral agreement, stands at the crossroads of global nuclear security, aiming to curtail nuclear weapons testing and the dangers associated with it.

Genesis of CTBT:

  • Nuclear Arms Race: The nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union in the mid-20th century led to over 2,000 nuclear tests between 1945 and 1996.
  • Growing Concern: The international community expressed mounting concerns about the radioactive fallout from these tests and their detrimental effects on health and the environment.

(A) Early Attempts to Curb Nuclear Testing

  • Limited Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (LTBT): In 1963, the LTBT prohibited nuclear testing in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater while permitting underground tests.
  • Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT): In 1974, the TTBT limited nuclear tests that produced yields exceeding 150 kilotons, aiming to reduce the explosive power of new nuclear warheads.

(B) CTBT Takes Shape

  • Post-Cold War Opportunity: Following the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United Nations seized the opportunity to negotiate the CTBT.
  • Comprehensive Ban: The CTBT, adopted on September 10, 1996, ushered in a comprehensive ban on all explosive nuclear testing, marking a pivotal moment in nuclear disarmament efforts.
  • China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and US: They remain the eight Annex II States whose ratifications are essential for the CTBT’s entry into force, as per the United Nations.

Impact of CTBT

  • Reducing Nuclear Tests: Since the CTBT’s adoption, there have been only 10 nuclear tests, with notable tests conducted by India, Pakistan, and North Korea, whereas major nuclear powers like the United States, China, France, and Russia refrained from further testing.
  • Outstanding Ratifications: For the CTBT to enter into force, it requires ratification by 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries. Eight crucial nations, including the United States, China, India, and Pakistan, are yet to ratify the treaty, hindering its full implementation.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Bangladesh accepts first Uranium for Russia-backed Nuclear Plant

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Rooppur Nuclear Plant

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

  • Bangladesh marked a significant milestone in its energy journey with the arrival of the first uranium delivery for its Russia-backed nuclear power plant.
  • This $12.65-billion project aims to strengthen the nation’s energy grid, plagued by chronic blackouts.
  • Moscow is funding 90% of the project’s cost through a loan, a testament to the close relationship between Russia and Bangladesh.

Rooppur Nuclear Plant

  • Construction of the Rooppur nuclear plant in Rooppur village, west of Dhaka, began in 2017.
  • It consists of twin 1,200-megawatt units, with the first unit set to begin operations in the coming year, and both expected to be fully operational by 2025.
  • It will become Bangladesh’s largest power station in terms of generating capacity once fully operational.

Bangladesh’s Pursuit of Moscow’s Friendship

  • Loan Repayment Challenges: US sanctions on Russian entities, including state nuclear agency Rosatom, had previously delayed construction due to Bangladesh’s inability to make loan repayments in US currency.
  • Chinese Yuan Payment: In April, Bangladesh agreed to make payments exceeding $300 million in Chinese Yuan to bypass the sanctions, although these payments are yet to be made.

Bangladesh’s Energy Imperatives

  • Overcoming Energy Challenges: Bangladesh faces severe energy shortages, with daily power blackouts lasting up to 13 hours, affecting the lives of millions.
  • Reducing Fossil Fuel Reliance: The country aims to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels by embracing nuclear energy and other cleaner sources.
  • Climate Change Mitigation: Bangladesh presents its nuclear energy ambitions as part of its strategy to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions significantly by 2030.

Challenges and Concerns

  • Safety and Waste Disposal: There remain concerns about the safety risks and disposal of nuclear waste associated with nuclear energy projects.
  • Time-Consuming Construction: Nuclear plants take many years to build, compared to more swiftly deployable renewable energy sources.
  • Energy Mix: The nation’s energy journey is a complex blend of diplomacy, economics, and environmental considerations, aimed at securing a sustainable energy future.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

China-Pakistan Nuclear Deal: Implications for Global Nuclear Commerce

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NSG, Chashma Reactor

Mains level: Read the attached story

pakistan china nuclear

Central Idea

  • The recent agreement between China and Pakistan for a 1,200 MW nuclear power plant in Pakistan’s Chashma nuclear complex has significant implications.
  • This article examines the details of the deal, China’s involvement in Pakistan’s nuclear projects, the energy situation in Pakistan, and the broader implications for the global nuclear trade.

Chashma Nuclear Complex: The Latest Deal

  • Deal Signed: Pakistan signs agreement for a 1,200 MW nuclear power plant at the Chashma nuclear complex.
  • Financial Concessions: China provides “special concessions” for financing the construction amid Pakistan’s financial crisis and ongoing IMF bailout negotiations.
  • Largest Reactor: The new plant (C-5) will be the largest reactor at the Chashma complex and utilize China’s Hualong One reactor technology.

China’s Nuclear Projects in Pakistan

  • Existing Plants: China has constructed four phases of the Chashma nuclear complex, with four reactors of approximately 325 MW each.
  • Operational Plants: Pakistan currently operates six China-built nuclear plants, including four at Chashma and two at the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP).
  • Energy Solution: The KANUPP-3 reactor, powered by a Chinese Hualong One reactor, recently went fully online, providing relief to Pakistan’s energy crisis.
  • BRI and CPEC: The KANUPP-3 project is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Pakistan’s Energy Situation

  • Energy Deficit: Pakistan faces a persistent energy deficit, financial crisis, and rising import bills.
  • Need for Renewables and Nuclear: The country urgently needs to increase the share of renewables and nuclear energy to reduce dependence on imported fuel.
  • Current Energy Mix: Thermal sources account for 61%, hydropower 24%, nuclear 12%, and wind and solar only 3% of Pakistan’s energy mix.
  • Capacity Increase: Pakistan aims to boost nuclear capacity, which has increased by 39% annually to reach 3,530 MW.

Broader Implications

  • NSG Prohibitions and Exemptions: China’s nuclear commerce with Pakistan raises concerns regarding the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s prohibition on technology transfer to non-NPT signatory countries. China argues that earlier deals with Pakistan exempt the Chashma 3 and Chashma 4 reactors from NSG restrictions.
  • Comparison with India-U.S. Nuclear Deal: Unlike the India-U.S. nuclear deal, China has not sought NSG waivers, and Pakistan has not made similar commitments, which raises questions about the fairness and consistency of global nuclear governance.
  • Erosion of Global Rules: The China-Pakistan nuclear deals contribute to the erosion of global rules governing nuclear commerce and highlight the need for a robust international framework to ensure non-proliferation and safety standards.
  • Future of the NSG: The actions of China and Pakistan challenge the relevance and effectiveness of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which needs to address emerging complexities in the global nuclear trade.

Back2Basics: Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

nuclear

  • NSG is a multinational body consisting of 48 member countries.
  • Established in 1974, its primary objective is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and related technology.

Purpose of the NSG:

  • Non-Proliferation Focus: The NSG aims to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
  • Response to Nuclear Tests: The group was formed in response to India’s nuclear test in 1974 and seeks to prevent the misuse and spread of nuclear technology.

NSG Guidelines:

  • Export Criteria: The NSG sets guidelines for its member countries to regulate their nuclear trade activities.
  • NPT Requirement: Recipient countries must be parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), reinforcing the commitment to non-proliferation.
  • IAEA Safeguards: Full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards implementation is mandatory for countries receiving nuclear exports.

Prohibition and Control:

  • Non-NPT Countries: The NSG guidelines prohibit the transfer of nuclear technology and materials to countries that have not signed the NPT.
  • Peaceful Use: The restrictions aim to ensure that nuclear technology and materials are used solely for peaceful purposes, preventing their diversion for military use.
  • Export Control Collaboration: Member countries cooperate to maintain strict control over nuclear-related transfers, preventing proliferation risks.

Role in Non-Proliferation:

  • Global Non-Proliferation Efforts: The NSG strengthens international non-proliferation efforts through consensus-based decision-making and the establishment of robust export controls.
  • Nuclear Commerce Regulation: By regulating nuclear trade, the NSG promotes transparency, accountability, and adherence to high standards of nuclear non-proliferation.
  • Nuclear Safety and Security: The NSG collaborates with other international organizations and non-member countries to enhance nuclear safety and security worldwide.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Global Nuclear Arsenal Expansion Race

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Global nuclear arms race

nuclear arms stockpile

Central Idea

  • China’s nuclear arsenal: China increased its nuclear arsenal from 350 warheads in January 2022 to 410 warheads in January 2023, according to SIPRI.
  • Potential ICBM parity: SIPRI suggests that depending on how China structures its forces, it could have a comparable number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to the U.S. or Russia by the end of the decade.
  • Concerns over stated aim: SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme questions the alignment between China’s expanding nuclear arsenal and its declared goal of maintaining minimum nuclear forces for national security.

India and Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal Growth

  • India’s nuclear arsenal: SIPRI estimates indicate that India’s nuclear arsenal grew from 160 warheads in 2022 to 164 warheads in 2023.
  • Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal: SIPRI estimates that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal increased from 165 warheads in 2022 to 170 warheads in 2023.
  • Emphasis on longer-range weapons: India seems to be placing growing importance on longer-range weapons capable of reaching targets across China, while Pakistan remains the primary focus of India’s nuclear deterrent.

Global Nuclear Weapons Inventory

  • Total global inventory: As of January 2023, the global inventory of warheads reached 12,512.
  • Warheads in military stockpiles: Approximately 9,576 warheads were held in military stockpiles for potential use, representing an increase of 86 warheads compared to January 2022.
  • Dominance of Russia and the U.S.: Russia and the U.S. collectively possess nearly 90% of all nuclear weapons.
  • Stability in nuclear arsenals: The size of Russia’s and the U.S.’ nuclear arsenals remained relatively stable in 2022, although transparency regarding nuclear forces declined due to the Ukraine conflict, as noted by SIPRI.

Reasons for increased stockpile

  • Shifting power dynamics: China’s significant expansion of its nuclear arsenal has implications for global power dynamics, potentially challenging the traditional dominance of the U.S. and Russia in the nuclear arena.
  • Regional security concerns: China’s increased nuclear capabilities raise concerns among neighboring countries, particularly those involved in territorial disputes or security rivalries in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Global arms race: China’s nuclear arsenal growth may fuel an arms race in the region, leading to increased tensions and instability.

Nuclear Dynamics in South Asia

  • Strategic rivalry between India and Pakistan: The nuclear arsenals of India and Pakistan continue to expand, reflecting the ongoing strategic competition and deterrence dynamics between the two countries.
  • Escalation risks: The increase in nuclear capabilities in South Asia raises the potential for miscalculation and escalation, heightening the risk of a nuclear conflict in the region.
  • Implications for regional stability: The growth of nuclear arsenals in India and Pakistan has wider implications for regional stability and the effectiveness of non-proliferation efforts.

Challenges to the Global Disarmament ideals

  • Declining transparency: The decline in transparency regarding nuclear forces in Russia and the U.S., coupled with the overall increase in global warhead stockpiles, poses challenges to nuclear arms control and disarmament efforts.
  • Erosion of trust: The lack of transparency and increased stockpiles undermine trust between nuclear-armed states, making it more difficult to achieve meaningful progress in disarmament negotiations.
  • Need for renewed dialogue: The growing nuclear arsenals underscore the importance of revitalizing international dialogue on disarmament and strengthening existing arms control agreements.

Legacy issues

  • Notion of Nuclear ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’: The proponents of disarmaments are themselves nuclear armed countries thus creating a nuclear monopoly.
  • Concept of Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE): conducted for non-military purposes such as mining.

India’s commitment for de-nuclearization

  • Universal commitment and non-discriminatory framework: India advocates for nuclear disarmament based on principles of equality, non-discrimination, and global security.
  • Working paper on Nuclear Disarmament: India submitted a working paper on Nuclear Disarmament to the UN General Assembly in 2006, presenting its perspectives and proposals for achieving global disarmament.
  • Participation in Nuclear Security Initiatives: India actively engages in the Nuclear Security Summit process and supports efforts to enhance global nuclear security through participation in international conferences organized by the IAEA.
  • Membership in the Nuclear Security Contact Group: India is a member of the Nuclear Security Contact Group, contributing to discussions and initiatives aimed at strengthening international cooperation on nuclear security.
  • Support for Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT): India expresses readiness to support negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, considering it an important step towards disarmament by banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
  • Concerns regarding the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT): India has not joined the CTBT due to several concerns, but it remains open to addressing these concerns and exploring possibilities for future accession to the treaty.
  • Leadership in Preventing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Proliferation: India actively leads efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMDs, piloting an annual UNGA Resolution on “Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction” since 2002, which receives consensus adoption.

Way forward

  • Strengthening non-proliferation efforts: The expansion of nuclear arsenals highlights the need for robust non-proliferation mechanisms and adherence to international agreements such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
  • Managing nuclear risks: As the number of nuclear-armed states increases, effective risk management and confidence-building measures become crucial to prevent accidental or intentional use of nuclear weapons.
  • Balancing deterrence and disarmament: The international community faces the challenge of striking a balance between maintaining credible deterrence and pursuing disarmament goals to ensure global security.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

25th anniversary of Pokhran-II

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Pokhran-II nuclear tests

Mains level: Read the attached story

pokhran

Central Idea: The article provides a historical context for India’s nuclear program and focuses specifically on the Pokhran-II nuclear tests conducted in 1998. This year is special, marking 25 years since we started celebrating National Technology Day.

India’s Nuclear Journey: A quick recap

  • India conducted nuclear bomb test explosions at Pokhran Test Range in 1998.
  • Codenamed Operation Shakti, these tests showcased India’s capability to build nuclear weapons.
  • The tests marked the culmination of a long journey that began in the 1940s-50s.
  • Physicist Homi J Bhaba played a crucial role in laying the foundations of India’s nuclear program.
  • Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru supported Bhaba’s efforts and established the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in 1954.

Reasons: Threat of China and Pakistan

  • India’s perspective on nuclear weapons changed after the 1962 Sino-Indian War and China’s nuclear bomb test in 1964.
  • The political establishment realized the need for self-sufficiency in the face of an unfriendly China and Pakistan.
  • India sought nuclear guarantees from established nuclear weapons states but was unsuccessful.
  • The path to obtaining nuclear weapons became a priority for India.

The “Discriminatory” NPT

  • The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was established in 1968, creating a divide between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear states.
  • India refused to sign the treaty, as it felt it did not address its concerns about reciprocal obligations from nuclear weapons states.
  • The NPT gained widespread international acceptance, but India remained one of the few non-signatories.

Pokhran-I and its Aftermath

  • In 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test at Pokhran, known as Pokhran-I or Operation Smiling Buddha.
  • The test was described as a “peaceful nuclear explosion” but faced international condemnation and sanctions.
  • Political instability, including the Emergency in 1975, hindered India’s nuclear program’s progress.
  • Clamor for nuclear weapons resurfaced in the 1980s due to Pakistan’s advancing nuclear capabilities.

The Period between the Two Tests

  • India faced challenges due to domestic political instability and changing international dynamics.
  • The fall of the USSR in 1991 weakened India’s military alliances.
  • The US continued to support Pakistan despite concerns about its nuclear program.
  • India faced pressure to quickly develop nuclear weapons as the window of opportunity appeared to be closing.

Pokhran-II: Projecting India’s Strength

  • In 1998, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • Operation Shakti, conducted as a response to Pakistan’s missile launch, marked the culmination of India’s nuclear weaponization.
  • India declared itself a nuclear weapons state following Pokhran-II.
  • The tests faced some sanctions, but India’s growing economy and market potential helped it withstand international pressure.

 

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Celebrating India’s Nuclear Tests

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India's nuclear tests and related facts and new developments

Mains level: India's nuclear tests and its consequences

Nuclear Tests

Central Idea

  • On May 11 and 13, 1998, India conducted five nuclear tests that brought about significant changes in the country’s self-esteem and status in the world. The country’s military nuclear policy had been shrouded in ambiguity and opacity for two decades since its first test in 1974. However, with the 1998 tests, India emerged as a nuclear weapons state, which was received with mixed reactions from the international community, resulting in sanctions and isolation. Nonetheless, the tests marked a significant moment for India’s self-confidence and awareness of its potential.

Nuclear Tests

India’s nuclear tests

  • Smiling Buddha (Pokhran-I): India’s first nuclear test was conducted on May 18, 1974, in Pokhran, Rajasthan. The test was code-named “Smiling Buddha” and was a “peaceful nuclear explosion.”
  • Pokhran-II: India’s second series of nuclear tests were conducted on May 11 and 13, 1998, in Pokhran, Rajasthan. The tests included three underground nuclear tests on May 11 and two on May 13. These tests were conducted under the leadership of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and were code-named Operation Shakti.

Nuclear tests dispelled myths that had dominated international opinion

  • India’s Isolation: The myth that India would be isolated and its economy would collapse under the weight of sanctions and international opprobrium was dispelled. Instead, the US took the first steps to mainstream India, treating it as an exceptional case, which culminated in the India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2005.
  • India’s Inability to Manage nuclear weapons: The ethnocentric myth perpetuated by non-proliferation absolutists of the West that India and South Asia could not be trusted to manage nuclear weapons was also dispelled.

Facts for prelims

Treaty/Agreement Objective India’s Status
NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) To prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology Non-signatory
CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty) To ban all nuclear explosions for both civilian and military purposes Signatory
FMCT (Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty) To prohibit the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices Supporter
NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) A group of countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports Not a member but has applied for membership
New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) To limit the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems Not a signatory
MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) To limit the spread of missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction Member since 2016

Advantages of the nuclear tests: From India’s point of view

  • Deterrence: The nuclear tests provided India with a credible nuclear deterrence capability, which could potentially deter other nuclear-armed adversaries and prevent them from using nuclear weapons against India.
  • National pride and self-confidence: The successful nuclear tests were seen as a major achievement and a source of national pride for many Indians. They helped boost India’s self-confidence and reaffirmed its status as a major global power.
  • Recognition: India’s successful nuclear tests brought it international recognition and established it as a nuclear-armed state. This recognition was particularly important for India’s security and diplomatic interests.
  • Negotiating power: With its new nuclear status, India gained greater negotiating power in international forums and in its bilateral relationships with other countries.
  • Technological advancement: The development and testing of nuclear weapons required advanced scientific and technological capabilities, and the successful tests demonstrated India’s progress in these areas.

International Consequences: series of events

  • The United States imposed sanctions against India under the Glenn Amendment.
  • Pakistan conducted a series of nuclear tests in response.
  • Many other countries, including China, castigated India for what they saw as an outrageous contempt for the common will of the international community.

Nuclear Tests

Conclusion

  • India’s nuclear tests on May 11 and 13, 1998, marked a significant moment in the country’s history, boosting its self-confidence and changing its status in the world. Despite facing international criticism and sanctions, India’s nuclear program has helped to create a credible nuclear deterrent, making it a vital player in the international system.

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Also Read:

Whether The Nuclear Power in India Should Be Phased Out?

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

What is the Washington Declaration?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Washington Declaration, NPT

Mains level: US nuclear establishments near China

washington

Central Idea: The context is the recent visit of the South Korean President to the US to commemorate the 70th anniversary of US-South Korea bilateral relations. During the visit, the two countries signed the “Washington Declaration” as a nuclear deterrence strategy against North Korea’s regional aggression.

Washington Declaration: Key Terms

  • Nuke deployment by US: According to the declaration, an American nuclear ballistic submarine would be deployed in the Korean peninsula.
  • Intel mechanism: A nuclear consultative group would be formed to formulate principles of joint response tactics, and South Korea would receive Intel from the US regarding nuclear advancements.
  • Joint training: The US will strengthen South Korea’s nuclear deterrence capabilities through joint military training programs and an annual intergovernmental simulation.
  • Deterrence creation: The declaration reaffirmed the Non-Proliferation Treaty implying that South Korea would not venture into the creation of its own independent nuclear capabilities and would instead focus on deterrence measures through an alliance-based approach.

Implications of the treaty

  • Big power politics: While the existence of the agreement is based on the security needs of South Korea, the policy reflects big power politics where the interests of the larger power (US) takes precedence.
  • US proprietorship over the nukes: The US is the only ‘sole authority’ to use the nuclear arsenal of the US in the event of a nuclear confrontation.
  • Maintaining stability: The assurance that the US and its nuclear weapons would protect its allies by being responsible for maintaining stability in the region aligns with the larger goal of non-proliferation.

US Stance on South Korea’s Nuclear Capabilities

  • Fouled the SK nuclear program: South Korea’s nuclear development programme supported by former president Park Chung Hee was hindered due to US pressure.
  • Strategic arms reduction: The US withdrew one hundred nuclear weapons from South Korea in the 1990s as part of their “Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty” to make North Korea unarm itself.
  • Renewed interest after North Korea’s Rise: The Nuclear Posture Review 2022 reflects a shift in the US narrative where it is now concerned about the progressing nuclear capacities of North Korea.

Regional and domestic responses

  • China: It said it undermines the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the strategic interests of other countries.
  • North Korea: Kim Jong-Un’s sister warned that the declaration would only result in making peace and security of North-East Asia and the world be exposed to more serious danger.

Conclusion

  • Overall, the Declaration is an important step in the direction of creating a more overt and close coordination among the US allies in the Indo-Pacific.
  • It seeks to deal with not only North Korea but also moves of China and Russia.

Back2Basics: Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The NPT is an international treaty signed in 1968 that aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Key facts about the NPT include:

  • Members: There are currently 191 parties to the treaty, including the five recognized nuclear-weapon states (the US, Russia, China, France, and the UK).
  • Three main pillars: Non-proliferation, Disarmament and Peaceful use of nuclear energy.
  • Non-nuclear-weapon states: They are parties to the treaty agree not to acquire nuclear weapons and to accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on their nuclear activities.
  • Nuclear-weapon states: They are the parties to the treaty agree not to transfer nuclear weapons or technology to non-nuclear-weapon states.
  • 5 year review: The treaty is reviewed every five years at a conference of parties, with the most recent review conference taking place in 2015.
  • Criticisms: NPT has been criticized for not doing enough to promote disarmament, and for perpetuating a system of haves and have-nots in which certain states have nuclear weapons while others do not. However, proponents argue that the treaty has helped to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to promote peaceful use of nuclear energy.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

If Japan goes nuclear, should India welcome the decision?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Japan's national security strategy, India- Japan relations

nuclear

Context

  • Japan’s National Security Strategy released in December is a remarkable document. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s assertive rise, and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK-North Korea) provocations are listed as key developments creating for Japan the most severe and complex security environment since the end of the Second World War.

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nuclear

What are Japan’s new concerns?

  • Chinese increasing military power: Unconstrained by bilateral or multilateral agreements, Chinese military power is noted as growing exponentially. In less than a decade, the Chinese nuclear arsenal would match numbers currently held by the US and Russia. Expectations are low that the US would have the will or the capacity to bring China to the arms control table.
  • DPRK is riding a runaway proliferation train: Having shaken off all the limits to its nuclear programme it pretended to accept during the Trump Administration, its nuclear programme is perhaps now unstoppable.
  • The inadequacy of its current defence posture and its military alliance with the US: As underlined by the document, extended deterrence including nuclear weapons is the cornerstone of the US-Japan alliance. Its success until now allowed Japan the luxury of its three nuclear no’s policy no production, possession, or introduction of nuclear weapons on its territory.

nuclear

What worries Japan in its future adequacy and the options

  • The stated option: The National Security Strategy calls for Japan to strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of its alliance with the US, including extended deterrence by the US, backed by its full range of capabilities, including nuclear.
  • Possibility trends of nuclear-sharing by Japan: The unstated part is the possibility of nuclear-sharing by Japan. If implemented, this may be new to Asia but is a long-standing US practice with its key NATO allies in Europe. US willingness to share nuclear-powered submarines with Australia as part of AUKUS is an indicator of possible trends.
  • Possibility of Japan itself acquiring nuclear weapons: The document makes no reference to this. But there are references to the US – in Japan’s view the world’s greatest comprehensive power finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a free and open international order. Behind Japanese politeness, the message is clear.
  • Strategic autonomy in Japanese style: Significantly, the document adds that Japan would seek to strengthen its defence capabilities to the point at which Japan is able to take primary responsibility for its defence, without excluding support from the US.

nuclear

How India should view this development?

  • If Japan goes nuclear, India should welcome the decision: In our separate ways, India and Japan privileged nuclear disarmament as a priority. But there comes a time when this national preference must be subordinated to the demands of national security.
  • Understanding the reason: India reached this conclusion reluctantly but with good reason in 1998. If Japan were to reach the same conclusion, it too would have good reason to do so.
  • Ensuring self-defence capabilities and Upholding the sovereignty: Its technological capabilities are not in doubt. It is for Japan to exercise its inherent and inalienable right of ensuring the necessary means of self-defence. Thinking the unthinkable in terms of changing policy is an attribute of sovereignty, not its negation.

Way ahead

  • Japan’s turn towards an explicit nuclear option will come, if at all, not out of choice but out of necessity.
  • Its strategic predicament, laid bare by the document, is compounded by the lack of easy answers, a predicament that India should view with sympathy and understanding of a fellow Asian country.
  • Japan is also a strong supporter of the NPT, and its derivative non-proliferation regime but it is also painfully aware that the NPT does precious little to constrain China, nor for that matter DPRK.
  • The gap between Japan’s security needs in a nuclearized world and its non-nuclear public sentiment was papered over in the past by US extended deterrence. It looks less likely that will be the case in the future.

Conclusion

  • A multipolar Indo-Pacific can be truly multipolar only if Japan is assured of national defence through the means of its choosing. As a strategic partner and friend, we must keep faith that Japan will make the right decision at the right time.

Mains question

Q. Recently Japan released its National security strategy. In this backdrop discuss what concerns Japan and how India should view this development?

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

China reiterates ‘No First Use’ Nuke Policy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: 'No First Use' Policy

Mains level: Nuclear disarmament

China responded to a US report alleging a major build-up in Beijing’s nuclear capabilities. It said, it adheres to its policy of no first use of nuclear weapons.

What is the news?

  • The Pentagon released an annual China security report that warned Beijing would likely have 1,500 nuclear.
  • China currently has 350 nuclear warheads.
  • As of 2022, Russia possesses a total of 5,977 nuclear warheads compared to 5,428 in the US inventory.

What is ‘No First Use’ Doctrine?

  • In nuclear ethics and deterrence theory, NFU is a commitment to never use nuclear weapons first under any circumstances, whether as a pre-emptive attack or first strike, or in response to non-nuclear attack of any kind.

Where do nuclear-armed countries stand on No First Use?

  • China is the only nuclear-armed country to have an unconditional NFU policy.
  • India maintains a policy of NFU with exceptions for a response to chemical or biological attacks.
  • France, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the UK and the US maintain policies that permit the first use of nuclear weapons in a conflict.
  • Israel does not acknowledge the existence of its nuclear arsenal so has no publicly known position.

Why advocate for global NFU commitments now?

  • The world after US bombing of Japan has never faced any crises that could escalate to nuclear conflict.
  • In addition to the precarious situation on the Korean peninsula, we’re running acceptably high risks of nuclear weapons use between-
  1. NATO and Russia: Amid ongoing Ukrainian Invasion
  2. India and Pakistan: Jihadist acquiring nuclear weapons
  3. US and China: Due to provocations over the South China Sea and Taiwan
  • In fact right now the chances that nuclear weapons will be used — intentionally, accidentally, or due to miscalculation — are the highest they’ve been since the worst days of the Cold War.
  • Establishing global NFU would immediately make the world safer by resolving uncertainty about what a nuclear-armed country might do in a crisis.
  • It removes pressure and incentive for any one country to “go nuclear” first in a crisis and thus create a moral obligation on others.

Consequences of nuclear war

  • Any use of a nuclear weapon would invite massive retaliation.
  • Not to mention the horrific aftermath of nuclear war.
  • A 2014 study shows that so-called “limited” nuclear war in South Asia, in which 100 nuclear weapons are used, would have global consequences.
  • Millions of tons of smoke would be sent into the atmosphere, plunging temperatures and damaging the global food supply.
  • Two billion people would be at risk of death by starvation.

What lies ahead?

  • Global No First Use would be an important step toward making nuclear weapons irrelevant to national security.
  • These policies would strip nuclear weapons of value in the eyes of military planners, enable future nuclear disarmament negotiations, and accelerate the dismantling of these weapons.
  • It would also serve as a “confidence-building measure” that establishes greater trust among nuclear-armed countries.
  • It thus makes it easier to work together to reduce nuclear risks and ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Hwasong-17: North Korea’s new ‘monster missile’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Hwasong-17  

Mains level: Nuclear Proliferation by N Korea

hwasong

North Korea said it test-fired its massive new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Hwasong-17  

  • The Hwasong-17 is nuclear-armed North Korea’s biggest missile yet, and is the largest road-mobile, liquid-fuelled ICBM in the world.
  • Its diameter is estimated to be between 2.4 and 2.5 metres, and its total mass, when fully fuelled, is likely somewhere between 80,000 and 110,000 kg.
  • Unlike North Korea’s earlier ICBMs, the Hwasong-17 is launched directly from a transporter, erector, and launcher (TEL) vehicle with 11 axles, photos by state media showed.

How far can it fly?

  • The missile launched on Friday flew nearly 1,000 km (621 miles) for about 69 minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 6,041 km.
  • The weapon could travel as far as 15,000 km (9,320 miles), enough to reach the continental United States.

What is North Korea trying to demonstrate with the missile launches?

  • North Korea is wary of joint drills between the US and South Korea and believes them to be a rehearsal for invasion and proof of hostile policies.
  • Notably, Pyongyang’s record launches this year began even before military exercises between the allies, one also involving Japan.
  • While it says it is responding to the “provocative” drills, some analysts believe that Kim Jong-un must be setting the stage for something bigger— the resumption of nuclear testing after five years.
  • Pyongyang may also be showcasing its pre-emptive abilities in response to South Korea’s own pre-emptive “kill chain” strategy.

Failure of diplomacy

  • North Korea pulled out of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in January 2003 and has conducted six nuclear tests so far since 2006.
  • Diplomatic talks have been starting and halting over the past two decades.
  • The Six-Party Talks involving South and North Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States, started in 2003, have since stalled with changing geopolitical dynamics.
  • Former U.S. President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un thrice between 2018 and 2019 but talks broke down and resulted in more sanctions from the West and increased testing by Pyongyang.
  • The Joe Biden administration did make attempts to restart talks, and North Korea has not seemed keen either.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Strong nuclear diplomacy brings opportunities for India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: credible minimum deterrence’

Mains level: Nuclear diplomacy and foreign policy

nuclear diplomacyContext

  • The return of nuclear weapons on the global platform. After 1998, India premised its strategy on building ‘credible minimum deterrence’. The time has come to reflect on what is ‘credible’ and redefine what ‘minimum’ might be to strengthen nuclear diplomacy.

Definition of nuclear diplomacy

  • Nuclear diplomacy deals with prevention of nuclear war and peacetime proliferation. It also deals with the use of threat of nuclear warfare to achieve diplomatic goals.

nuclear diplomacyTheme of article

  • India, one of the world’s nuclear weapon powers, ought to be paying a lot more attention to the international nuclear discourse that is acquiring new dimensions and taking a fresh look at its own civilian and military nuclear programmes.
  • Nuclear cooperation has brought a new dimension to India’s nuclear diplomacy in the 21st India’s status as a responsible nuclear power is predicated upon the civil relationships in the nuclear domain that it has established with major powers.

What is credible minimum deterrence?

  • Credible minimum deterrence is the principle on which India’s nuclear diplomacy is based. It underlines no first use (NFU) with an assured second strike capability and falls under minimal deterrence, as opposed to mutually assured destruction.

nuclear diplomacyWhy do countries proliferate nuclear weapons?

  • Proliferation models centred on security concerns or dilemmas dominate nuclear literature.
  • Nuclear weapons provide an overwhelmingly destructive force that increases a state’s relative power in comparison to its neighbours.
  • It provides a powerful tool in an anarchic system where superpowers dominate other nation-states sovereignty.
  • Hence weaponizing helps establish a deterrence to prevent war.

Why relook is needed?

  • Possessing nuclear weapons can confer India increased leverage to conduct foreign policy in both regional and international contexts.
  • There are two ways in which the possession of nuclear weapons can affect a state’s conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy.
  • The first involves military and strategic signalling. This includes military-oriented functions of deterrence, coercion, and brinkmanship.
  • The second, deals with non-military affairs.

Way forward

  • It should be noted that India’s quest to be a “responsible nuclear state” has given it considerable diplomatic capital in the West.
  • It would be unfortunate for India to squander such gain owing to the lack of carefully considered foreign policy that leverages its nuclear status for its national interest.

Conclusion

  • India’s civil nuclear engagements with the global community have strengthened its position in the global civil nuclear order, there is a need for the country to push for greater engagements with more key suppliers and stakeholders to fulfill its military nuclear potential and assert its status as a responsible nuclear state.

Mains question

Q. India has been a nuclear weapons state for 22 years. Has this affected India’s foreign policy in a direct manner? Express your views in context of the return of nuclear weapons on the global platform.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Russia blocks agreement on Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

Mains level: Read the attached story

Russia has blocked the agreement on the final document of a four-week review of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Why in news?

  • The NPT review conference is supposed to be held every five years but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This marked the second failure of its 191 state parties to produce an outcome document.
  • The last review conference in 2015 ended without an agreement because of serious differences over establishing a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

About Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • Between 1965 and 1968, the treaty was negotiated by the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament, a United Nations-sponsored organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Opened for signature in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970.
  • The NPT is an international treaty whose objective is
  1. To prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology
  2. To promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and
  3. To further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament
  • The treaty defines nuclear-weapon states as those that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before 1 January 1967; these are the United States (1945), Russia (1949), the United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964).

Non-members of the treaty

  • Four UN member states have never accepted the NPT, three of which possess or are thought to possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, and Pakistan.
  • In addition, South Sudan, founded in 2011, has not joined.

Issues in Nuclear Disarmament

  • Notion of Nuclear ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’: The proponents of disarmaments are themselves nuclear armed countries thus creating a nuclear monopoly.
  • Concept of Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE): conducted for non-military purposes such as mining.

Why didn’t India join NPT?

  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.
  • India always considered the NPT as discriminatory and had refused to sign it.
  • India maintains that they are selectively applicable to the non-nuclear powers and legitimised the monopoly of the five nuclear weapons powers.

India’s commitment for de-nuclearization

India has always batted for a universal commitment and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework.

  • It has outlined a working paper on Nuclear Disarmament submitted to the UN General Assembly in 2006.
  • India participated in the Nuclear Security Summit process and has regularly participated in the International Conferences on Nuclear Security organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • India is also a member of the Nuclear Security Contact Group (but has signed off the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)).
  • India has expressed its readiness to support the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
  • India couldn’t join the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) due to several concerns raised by India.
  • India has piloted an annual UNGA Resolution on “Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction” since 2002, which is adopted by consensus.

Way forward

  • India has actively supported and contributed to the strengthening of the global nuclear security architecture.
  • There is a need for the international community to pay closer attention to the illicit proliferation of networks of nuclear weapons, their delivery systems, components and relevant technologies.
  • India hopes that the international community will continue to work towards realising our collective aspiration for a nuclear weapon-free world.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

What is the New START treaty?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: New Start Treaty, INF Treaty

Mains level: Not Much

Russia is ready for talks with the United States on nuclear arms control even as Moscow and Washington have remained locked in a tense stand-off over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The New START, INF and the Open Skies …. Be clear about the differences of these treaties. For example- to check if their inception was during cold war era etc.

New START Treaty

  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) pact limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers and is due to expire in 2021 unless renewed.
  • The treaty limits the US and Russia to a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, well below Cold War caps.
  • It was signed in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
  • It is one of the key controls on the superpower deployment of nuclear weapons.

Background of US-Russia Nuclear Relations

  • The US formally QUIT the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF)
  • The agreement obliged the two countries to eliminate all ground-based missiles of ranges between 500 and 5,500 km.

When did nuclear disarmament begin?

  • In 1985, the two countries entered into arms control negotiations on three tracks.
  • The first dealt with strategic weapons with ranges of over 5,500 km, leading to the START agreement in 1991.
  • It limited both sides to 1,600 strategic delivery vehicles and 6,000 warheads.
  • A second track dealt with intermediate-range missiles and this led to the INF Treaty in 1987.
  • A third track, Nuclear, and Space Talks was intended to address Soviet concerns regarding the U.S.’s Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) but this did not yield any outcome.

Success of INF

  • The INF Treaty was hailed as a great disarmament pact even though no nuclear warheads were dismantled.
  • As it is a bilateral agreement, it did not restrict other countries.
  • By 1991, the INF was implemented. USSR destroyed 1,846 and the US destroyed 846 Pershing and cruise missiles. 
  • Associated production facilities were also closed down.
  • INF Treaty was the first pact to include intensive verification measures, including on-site inspections.

How has the nuclear behavior been?

  • With the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the USSR in end-1991, former Soviet allies were joining NATO and becoming EU members.
  • The U.S. was investing in missile defense and conventional global precision strike capabilities to expand its technological lead.
  • In 2001, the U.S. announced its unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty).
  • The US also blamed Russia for not complying with the ‘zero-yield’ standard imposed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). This may indicate the beginning of a new nuclear arms race.

Implications of the New Start

  • The 2011 New START lapsed in 2021. It may meet the fate of the INF Treaty.
  • The 2018 NPR envisaged the development of new nuclear weapons, including low-yield weapons.
  • China is preparing to operate its test site year-round with its goals for its nuclear force.
  • CTBT requires ratification by U.S., China, and Iran, Israel and Egypt and adherence by India, Pakistan and North Korea. It is unlikely to ever enter into force.

Conclusion

  • A new nuclear arms race could just be the beginning. It may be more complicated because of multiple countries being involved.
  • Technological changes are bringing cyber and space domains into contention. It raises the risks of escalation.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

With partners, India and Japan can form credible deterrence

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: AUKUS

Mains level: Paper 2- Rethinking the nuclear policy

Context

Last week’s report on Asian nuclear transitions by Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Japan’s debate on its atomic options underline the shared security challenges for Delhi and Tokyo.

Common nuclear challenge for India and Japan and need for rethink

  • At the root of that common nuclear challenge is the continuing growth in Chinese military power and the rapid modernisation of Beijing’s nuclear arsenal.
  • 1] Modernising and expansion by China: China is modernising and expanding its nuclear arsenal as part of the general military transformation. Some estimates say China’s arsenal could grow to 1,000 warheads by 2030 from about 350 now.
  • 2] Muscular approach of China:  Xi Jinping’s China has taken a more muscular approach to its territorial disputes, including with India and Japan.
  • 3] Reluctance of the world to confront nuclear power: The Ukraine crisis has revealed that if a nuclear weapon power invades and seizes the territory of a neighbour, the rest of the world is reluctant to directly confront the aggression for fear of an escalation to the nuclear level.
  • Russia made this amply clear with its threat to use nuclear weapons if the US and NATO decide to join the war.

Nuclear disarmament challenge

  • Indian and Japanese capacity to deter China is eroding steadily thanks to the problems with India’s minimum deterrence posture and the US nuclear umbrella over Japan.
  • India and Japan have long presented themselves as champions of nuclear disarmament.
  • Despite its call for total nuclear disarmament, India never agreed to give up its own nuclear weapons.
  •  Japan, as the world’s victim of nuclear bombing, had even a higher moral claim than India as the champion for the global abolition of nuclear weapons.
  • But Japan’s narrative is shaded by one reality—Tokyo’s reliance on the US nuclear umbrella.
  • Today neither Delhi nor Tokyo is ready to sign the 2017 Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
  • It is the problem presented by the expanding Chinese nuclear arsenal and its growing sophistication.
  • Locked in a confrontation with the US, China is determined to raise its nuclear profile.
  • As China closes the economic and military gap with the US, there is a darkening shadow over the credibility of the US-extended deterrence for Japan.
  • This uncertainty is transforming the Japanese security debate.
  • For India, the question is whether its nuclear restraint and policy of minimum deterrence are enough to prevent China’s bullying.

How Japan is responding to the challenge?

  • In Japan, former prime minister Shinzo Abe had called for a fresh look at Japan’s nuclear policy.
  • He was suggesting that Tokyo must consider “nuclear weapon sharing” with the US.
  • The model is Europe, where several countries including Belgium, Italy, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have arrangements to participate in the US nuclear weapon deployment and use.
  • This proposal was rejected by the current prime minister.
  • While rejecting nuclear solutions to the problem of deterring China, Japan’s focus has been on raising the defence expenditure, developing sophisticated conventional weapons, beefing up the alliance with the US and widening the circle of Asian as well as European military partners,

Suggestions in the report

  • Unlike Japan, India has no constraints on its nuclear weapons programme except the ones it has imposed on itself.
  • In the wake of the nuclear tests of 1998, India quickly announced a policy of minimum deterrence and a doctrine of no-first-use of nuclear weapons.
  • The big question is whether this conservatism in India’s nuclear posture can or should be sustained in the face of China’s military modernisation, nuclear expansion and strategic assertiveness.
  • Fresh debate on nuclear policies: The Tellis report, detailed and technical, should provide a basis for a fresh Indian debate about its nuclear weapons policies.
  • Revising US attitude to India’s nuclear weapons: Tellis also calls on the US to revise its attitudes to India’s nuclear weapons programme.
  • In the past, the US insisted on constraining India’s nuclear weapon programme.
  • Today a strong Indian nuclear deterrent against China is critical for the geopolitical stability of Asia and the Indo-Pacific and in the US interest.
  • Facilitating more sophisticated nuclear warheads: Tellis suggests that the US should be prepared to facilitate India’s development of more sophisticated nuclear warheads as well as improve the survivability of the Indian deterrent against the expanding Chinese nuclear arsenal.
  • The US should midwife an agreement under which France would help India accelerate the development of an Indian underwater deterrent based on ballistic missile carrying submarines (SSBN) as well as nuclear attack submarines (SSN),

Conclusion

Tellis is calling both Delhi and Washington to reconsider entrenched nuclear assumptions in the two capitals. While the resistance to his ideas will be strong, Delhi and Washington will have to respond, sooner than later, to the dramatic changes in the global environment triggered by the rise and assertion of China.

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Back2Basics: Nuclear umbrella

  • At the dawn of the nuclear age, to encourage friendly countries to refrain from building nuclear weapons, the United States promised to protect them with U.S. nuclear weapons.
  • This arrangement came to be called the nuclear umbrella. The experts call it extended nuclear deterrence.
  • The umbrella covers the countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Japan, South Korea, and Australia.
  • It is not a binding legal arrangement included in their security treaties with the United States.
  • It is an informal assurance reinforced by dialogue and, in the case of NATO, cooperative arrangements to deliver U.S. nuclear weapons if authorized by a U.S. president.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India is expanding its nuclear arsenal: SIPRI

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: India’s Nuclear Doctrine, Nuclear Proliferation

India had 160 nuclear warheads as on January 2022 and it appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal, said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a defense think tank.

What is the news?

  • India’s nuclear stockpile increased from 156 in January 2021 to 160 in January 2022.

Nukes in thy neighbour

  • Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile has remained at 165, SIPRI claimed.
  • China is in the middle of a substantial expansion of its nuclear weapon arsenal, which satellite images indicate includes the construction of over 300 new missile silos.
  • China had 350 nuclear warheads in January 2021 and 2022.

Why do countries proliferate nuclear weapons?

  • Proliferation models centered on security concerns or dilemmas dominate nuclear literature.
  • Nuclear weapons provide an overwhelmingly destructive force that increases a state’s relative power in comparison to its neighbors.
  • It provides a powerful tool in an anarchic system where superpowers dominate other nation-states sovereignty.
  • Hence weaponizing helps establish a deterrence to prevent war.

What is the Deterrence Theory?

  • Deterrence is widely defined as any use of threats (implicit or explicit) or limited force intended to dissuade an actor from taking an action (i.e. maintain the status quo).
  • The topic gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons.
  • It is related to but distinct from the concept of mutual assured destruction, which models the preventative nature of full-scale nuclear attack that would devastate both parties in a nuclear war.
  • The central problem of deterrence revolves around how to credibly threaten military action or nuclear punishment on the adversary despite its costs to the deterrer.

Issues in Nuclear Disarmament

  • Notion of Nuclear ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’: The proponents of disarmaments are themselves nuclear armed countries thus creating a nuclear monopoly.
  • Concept of Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE): conducted for non-military purposes such as mining.

India’s commitment for de-nuclearization

India has always batted for a universal commitment and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework.

  • It has outlined a working paper on Nuclear Disarmament submitted to the UN General Assembly in 2006.
  • India participated in the Nuclear Security Summit process and has regularly participated in the International Conferences on Nuclear Security organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • India is also a member of the Nuclear Security Contact Group (but has signed off the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)).
  • India has expressed its readiness to support the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
  • India couldn’t join the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) due to several concerns raised by India.
  • India has piloted an annual UNGA Resolution on “Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction” since 2002, which is adopted by consensus.

Back2Basics: India’s Nuclear Doctrine

  • This was first articulated by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on May 27, 1998, days after India had undertaken a series of nuclear tests in Pokhran.
  • It outlined various principles:
  1. Building and maintaining a Credible Minimum Deterrence
  2. Posture of ‘No First Use’– nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian Territory or on Indian forces anywhere
  3. Massive Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be designed to inflict unacceptable damage
  4. Non-use against non-nuclear states
  5. In response to biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Amending the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: WMD Bill

Mains level: WMD terrorism

Recently the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022 was passed in the Lok Sabha.

What is the WMD Bill?

  • The Bill amends the WMD and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005 which prohibits the unlawful manufacture, transport, or transfer of WMD (chemical, biological and nuclear weapons) and their means of delivery.
  • It is popularly referred to as the WMD Act.
  • The recent amendment extends the scope of banned activities to include financing of already prohibited activities.
  • The WMD and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act came into being in July 2005.

What was the purpose of the original WMD Act?

  • Its primary objective was to provide an integrated and overarching legislation on prohibiting unlawful activities in relation to all three types of WMD, their delivery systems and related materials, equipment and technologies.
  • It instituted penalties for contravention of these provisions such as imprisonment for a term not less than five years (extendable for life) as well as fines.
  • The Act was passed to meet an international obligation enforced by the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 of 2004.

What is the UNSCR 1540?

  • In April 2004 the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1540 to address the growing threat of non-state actors gaining access to WMD material, equipment or technology to undertake acts of terrorism.
  • In order to address this challenge to international peace and security, UNSCR 1540 established binding obligations on all UN member states under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
  • Nations were mandated to take and enforce effective measures against proliferation of WMD, their means of delivery and related materials to non-state actors.
  • It was to punish the unlawful and unauthorised manufacture, acquisition, possession, development and transport of WMD became necessary.

UNSCR 1540 enforced three primary obligations upon nation states —

  1. To not provide any form of support to non-state actors seeking to acquire WMD, related materials, or their means of delivery;
  2. To adopt and enforce laws criminalising the possession and acquisition of such items by non-state actors;
  3. To adopt and enforce domestic controls over relevant materials, in order to prevent their proliferation.

What has the Amendment added to the existing Act?

  • The Amendment expands the scope to include prohibition of financing of any activity related to WMD and their delivery systems.
  • To prevent such financing, the Central government shall have the power to freeze, seize or attach funds, financial assets, or economic resources of suspected individuals (whether owned, held, or controlled directly or indirectly).
  • It also prohibits persons from making finances or related services available for other persons indulging in such activity.

Why was this Amendment necessary?

  • India echoes these developments for having made the Amendment necessary.
  • Two specific gaps are being addressed-
  1. As the relevant organisations at the international level, such as the Financial Action Task Force have expanded the scope of targeted financial sanctions and India’s own legislation has been harmonised to align with international benchmarks.
  2. With advancements in technologies, new kinds of threats have emerged that were not sufficiently catered for in the existing legislation.
  • These notably include developments in the field of drones or unauthorised work in biomedical labs that could maliciously be used for terrorist activity.
  • Therefore, the Amendment keeps pace with evolving threats.

What more should India do?

  • India’s responsible behaviour and actions on non-proliferation are well recognised.
  • It has a strong statutory national export control system and is committed to preventing proliferation of WMD.
  • This includes transit and trans-shipment controls, retransfer control, technology transfer controls, brokering controls and end-use based controls.
  • Every time India takes additional steps to fulfil new obligations, it must showcase its legislative, regulatory and enforcement frameworks to the international community.
  • It is also necessary that India keeps WMD security in international focus.

Setting up a precedence

  • There is no room for complacency.
  • Even countries which do not have WMD technology have to be sensitised to their role in the control framework to prevent weak links in the global control system.
  • India can offer help to other countries on developing national legislation, institutions and regulatory framework through the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) or on bilateral basis.

Could the Amendment become troublesome to people on account of mistaken identity?

  • In the discussion on the Bill in Parliament, some members expressed concern on whether the new legislation could make existing business entities or people in the specific sector susceptible to a case of mistaken identity.
  • The External Affairs Minister, however, assured the House that such chances were minimal since identification of concerned individuals/entities would be based on a long list of specifics.

What is the international significance of these legislation?

  • Preventing acts of terrorism that involve WMD or their delivery systems requires building a network of national and international measures in which all nation states are equally invested.
  • Such actions are necessary to strengthen global enforcement of standards relating to the export of sensitive items and to prohibit even the financing of such activities.

Way forward

  • Sharing of best practices on legislations and their implementation can enable harmonization of global WMD controls.
  • India initially had reservations on enacting laws mandated by the UNSCR.
  • This is not seen by India as an appropriate body for making such a demand.
  • However, given the danger of WMD terrorism that India faces in view of the difficult neighbourhood that it inhabits, the country supported the Resolution and has fulfilled its requirements.

Conclusion

  • It is in India’s interest to facilitate highest controls at the international level and adopt them at the domestic level.
  • Having now updated its own legislation, India can demand the same of others, especially from those in its neighbourhood that have a history of proliferation and of supporting terrorist organisations.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

What are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: WMD

Mains level: Nuclear Non-Proliferation

The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022 has been unanimously passed in Lok Sabha.

WMD Bill

  • The Bill seeks to amend The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005.
  • It aims to provide against the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in line with India’s international obligations.
  • The 2005 Act prohibited the manufacturing, transport, and transfer of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery.

Need for the Bill

  • In recent times, regulations relating to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems by international organisations have expanded.
  • The UNSCs targeted financial sanctions and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force have mandated against financing of proliferation of WMD and their their delivery systems.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • The expression “weapon of mass destruction” (WMD) is usually considered to have been used first by the leader of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1937.
  • They usually refer to the aerial bombing of civilians in the Basque town of Guernica by German and Italian fascists in support of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
  • The expression WMD entered the vocabularies of people and countries around the world in the early 2000s after the US under President George W Bush and the UK under PM Tony Blair justified the invasion of Iraq.
  • They invaded Iraq on the grounds that the government of Saddam Hussain was hiding these weapons in the country. However, no WMDs were ever found.

What are NBC weapons?

  • While there is no single, authoritative definition of a WMD in international law, the expression is usually understood to cover nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons.
  • WMD can be any nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological, or other device that is intended to harm a large number of people.

India’s 2005 WMD Act defines-

  1. Biological Weapons” as “microbial or other biological agents, or toxins…of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes; and weapons, equipment or delivery systems specially designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict”; and
  2. Chemical Weapons” as “toxic chemicals and their precursors” except where used for peaceful, protective, and certain specified military and law enforcement purposes; “munitions and devices specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals”; and any equipment specifically designed for use in connection with the employment of these munitions and devices.

Control over use of WMDs

  • The use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons is regulated by a number of international treaties and agreements.
  • Among them are the Geneva Protocol, 1925, that banned the use of chemical and biological weapons; and the Biological Weapons Convention, 1972, and Chemical Weapons Convention, 1992, which put comprehensive bans on the biological and chemical weapons respectively.
  • India has signed and ratified both the 1972 and 1992 treaties.
  • There are very few non-signatory countries to these treaties, even though several countries have been accused of non-compliance.
  • The use and proliferation of nuclear weapons is regulated by treaties such as Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Back2Basics:

Nuclear Security Contact Group

  • The NSCG was established in 2016.
  • The NSCG or “Contact Group” has been established with the aim of facilitating cooperation and sustaining engagement on nuclear security after the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit process.
  • The Contact Group is tasked with:
  1. Convening annually on the margins of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and, as may be useful, in connection with other related meetings
  2. Discussing a broad range of nuclear security-related issues, including identifying emerging trends that may require more focused attention

Nuclear Suppliers Group

  • NSG is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
  • The NSG was set up as a response to India’s nuclear tests conducted in 1974.
  • The aim of the NSG is to ensure that nuclear trade for peaceful purposes does not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

  • CTBT was negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.
  • The Treaty intends to ban all nuclear explosions – everywhere, by everyone.
  • It was opened for signature in 1996 and since then 182 countries have signed the Treaty, most recently Ghana has ratified the treaty in 2011.

Fissile material cut-off treaty

  • FMCT is a proposed international agreement that would prohibit the production of the two main components of nuclear weapons: highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium.
  • Discussions on this subject have taken place at the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD), a body of 65 member nations established as the sole multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament.
  • The CD operates by consensus and is often stagnant, impeding progress on an FMCT.
  • Those nations that joined the nuclear NPT as non-weapon states are already prohibited from producing or acquiring fissile material for weapons.
  • An FMCT would provide new restrictions for the five recognized nuclear weapon states (NWS—United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China), and for the four nations that are not NPT members (Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea).

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)

Mains level: Not Much

India has emphasized on following the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) at the UNSC meeting on Ukraine.

Why in news?

  • The meeting came after a request from Russia, who claimed that the US is involved in bioweapon manufacture in war-torn Ukraine.
  • However, Washington has strongly dismissed this claim.

What is BTWC?

  • The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) was the first multilateral treaty categorically banning a class of weapon.
  • It is a treaty that came into force in 1975 and prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of biological weapons.
  • A total of 183 countries are party to the treaty that outlaws bioweapons, including US, Russia and Ukraine.

Obligations of the treaty

  • The treaty prohibits the development, stockpile, production, or transfer of biological agents and toxins of “types and quantities” that have no justification for protective or peaceful use.
  • Furthermore, the treaty bans the development of weapons, equipment, or delivery systems to disseminate such agents or toxins.
  • Should a state possess any agent, toxin, or delivery system for them, they have nine months from entry into force of the treaty to destroy their stockpiles, or divert them for peaceful use.
  • The convention stipulates that states shall cooperate bilaterally or multilaterally to solve compliance issues.
  • States may also submit complaints to the UNSCR should they believe another state is violating the treaty.

Issues with the treaty

  • There is no implementation body of the BTWC, allowing for blatant violations as seen in the past.
  • There is only a review conference that too every five years to review the convention’s implementation, and establish confidence-building measures.

Signatories to the BTWC

  • The Convention currently has 183 states-parties, including Palestine, and four signatories (Egypt, Haiti, Somalia, and Syria).
  • Ten states have neither signed nor ratified the BWC: Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Israel, Kiribati, Micronesia, Namibia, South Sudan, and Tuvalu.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

How invasion of Ukraine could transform nuclear landscape of Asia

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Mains level: Paper 2- Russia-Ukraine war

Context

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear sabre-rattling in Ukraine, has triggered a far more consequential debate on the importance of atomic weapons in deterring Chinese expansionism.

Background

  • Ukraine agreed in 1994 to give up the nuclear weapons that it inherited from the Soviet Union in return for guarantees on Kyiv’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • Clearly, those legal guarantees were no substitute for nuclear weapons.

Changing stand on nuclear weapons

  • Debate in Japan: In an important statement last week, the former prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, called for a national debate on hosting American nuclear weapons on Japanese soil.
  • One element of the debate is the fact that nuclear weapons remain the greatest deterrent, especially against a vastly superior adversary.
  • Korea strengthening nuclear deterrence: In South Korea, which is electing its president this week, front-runner Yoon Suk-yeol has talked of strengthening Seoul’s nuclear deterrence against both Pyongyang and Beijing.
  • Taiwan and Australia developing nuclear submarine: Taiwan, is reportedly developing a nuclear-powered submarine that could offer some deterrence against a Chinese invading force.
  • Australia, which is working with the UK and the US to build nuclear-powered submarines, is accelerating the project after the Ukraine invasion.

Threat of escalation to nuclear war

  • The threat of escalation to the nuclear level was very much in the mind of NATO’s military planners when the alliance refused to be drawn into a firefight with Russia in Ukraine.
  • Moscow is also conscious of the fact that there are two nuclear weapon powers in Europe — Britain and France.
  • Nuclear sharing arrangement: Russia is also aware of the “nuclear sharing” arrangements between the US and some European allies — Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.
  • Under this framework, European allies host US nuclear weapons on their soil and authorise their armed forces to deliver American nuclear weapons on Russia.
  • Nuclear sharing also involves continuous consultations on nuclear doctrine and the planning of nuclear operations.
  • The US and its allies are also pursuing a “hybrid war” that boosts Ukrainian resistance against Russian armed forces and raises military, economic, and political costs of Moscow’s aggression.

Threat of China invading Taiwan

  • Taiwan is far more important for Asian (and global) security than Ukraine is for Europe.
  • Taiwan sits at the heart of the Western Pacific and straddles the sea line of communication in the world’s most dynamic economic arena.
  • It is the main source of silicon chips for the world.
  • When China conquers Taiwan it will dramatically transform the geopolitics of Asia.
  • As Putin becomes more dependent on China, Russia is bound to back Xi Jinping’s ambitions in Asia.
  • This is the context in which China’s eastern neighbours are taking a fresh look at the nuclear option.
  • Nuclear sharing arrangement: On the nuclear front, the debate in Japan and South Korea is about potential nuclear sharing arrangements with the US.
  • In Taiwan and Australia, the emphasis is on developing nuclear-powered submarines.
  • Deployment of strategic weapons: The US too is debating the deployment of new strategic weapon systems in Asia that might encourage China to pause before trying to emulate Russia’s Ukraine adventure.

Consider the question ” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is going to transform the nuclear landscape of Asia. Comment.”

Conclusion

One way or another, Russia’s war in Ukraine is bound to transform the Asian nuclear landscape.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Places in news: Chernobyl

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Chernobyl Disaster

Mains level: Not Much

 

Ukrainian authorities said that radiation levels had increased in the Chernobyl exclusion zone after the Russian Invasion.

What is Chernobyl Disaster?

  • The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of Ukraine (formerly USSR).
  • It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history both in cost and casualties.
  • It is one of only two nuclear energy accidents rated at seven—the maximum severity—on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
  • The other such incident was the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

Destruction caused

  • Some sources state that two people were killed in the initial explosions, whereas others report that the figure was closer to 50.
  • Dozens more people contracted serious radiation sickness; some of them later died.
  • Between 50 and 185 million curies of radionuclides (radioactive forms of chemical elements) escaped into the atmosphere.
  • This is several times more radioactivity than that created by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
  • This radioactivity was spread by the wind over Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine and soon reached as far west as France and Italy.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Why UNSC joint statement on nuclear weapons is important

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- P5 joint statement on nuclear weapons

Context

The leaders of five nuclear-weapons States — the US, Russia, China, the UK, and France, also known as the P5 issued a joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding the ongoing global arms race.

Overview of the P5 statement

  • It is not a binding resolution and reiterates some of the core obligations of the NPT.
  • The P5 statement reaffirms that a “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” because of its “far-reaching consequences”.
  • The statement also expresses a commitment to the group’s Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) obligations and “to prevent the unauthorized or unintended use of nuclear weapons”.
  • Declaring that an arms race would benefit none and endanger all, the P5 have undertaken to:
  • (1) work with all states to create a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons.
  • (2) continue seeking bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military confrontations, strengthen stability and predictability, increase mutual understanding and confidence”.
  • (3) pursue “constructive dialogue with mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s security interests and concerns”.

Bold action on 6 measures

  • Bold action on six fronts is necessary.
  • 1) Chart a path for nuclear disarmament: That member states should chart a path forward on nuclear disarmament.
  • 2) Transparency and dialogue: They should agree to new measures of “transparency and dialogue”.
  • 3) Address nuclear crises: They should address the “simmering” nuclear crises in the Middle East and Asia.
  • 4) Strengthen global bodies: They should strengthen the existing global bodies that support non-proliferation, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • 5) Peaceful use of nuclear technology: They should promote the peaceful use of nuclear technology.
  • 6) Elimination of nuclear weapons: they should remind “the world’s people that eliminating nuclear weapons is the only way to guarantee that they will never be used.

Peace education and the right to peace

  • Peace is necessary for rights, freedom, equality, and justice, and for that reason, we need what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. called “education in the obvious”— namely, peace education.
  • This is required at multiple levels, ranging across the planetary, global, supranational, regional, national, and local levels of social cognition and action.
  •  UN Resolution 39/11 (November 12, 1984) proclaims that the peoples of our planet have a sacred right to peace and equally solemnly declares that the “preservation of the right of peoples to peace and the promotion of its implementation constitute a fundamental obligation of each State”.
  • The subsequent UN Resolution 53/243 B, declaring a program of action for a culture of peace (1999) also owes a great deal to Gandhi’s legacy and mission.

Conclusion

The statement is politically significant given the unimaginable danger posed by the 13,000 nuclear weapons currently believed to be held by a handful of countries, and the growing specter of loose nukes, which may be deployed by armed terrorist groups for nefarious purposes.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installations, prisoners

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement

Mains level: Nuclear Non-Proliferation

India and Pakistan has exchanged a list of their nuclear installations that cannot be attacked in case of an escalation in hostilities, as part of an annual ritual that has been in practice between the two neighbours for more than three decades.

Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement

  • The Non-nuclear aggression agreement is a bilateral and nuclear weapons control treaty between India and Pakistan, on the reduction (or limitation) of nuclear arms.
  • Both pledged not to attack or assist foreign powers to attack on each others nuclear installations and facilities.
  • The treaty was drafted in 1988, and signed by the PM Rajiv Gandhi and his counterpart Benazir Bhutto on 21 December 1988; it entered into force on January 1991.
  • The treaty barred its signatories to carry out a surprise attack (or to assist foreign power to attack) on each other’s nuclear installations and facilities.
  • Starting in January 1992, India and Pakistan have annually exchanged lists of their respective military and civilian nuclear-related facilities.

Need for the treaty

  • In 1986-87, the massive exercise, ‘Brasstacks’ was carried out by the Indian Army, raising the fears of an Indian attack on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.
  • Since then, the Foreign ministries of both countries had been negotiating to reach an understanding towards the control of nuclear weapons.

Significance of the agreement

  • The treaty barred its signatories to carry out a surprise attack (or to assist foreign power to attack) on each other’s nuclear installations and facilities.
  • The treaty provides a confidence-building security measure environment.

Other: Sharing of Prisoners information

  • Both nations do simultaneously share the list of prisoners in each others’ custody.
  • These lists are exchanged under the provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access signed in May 2008.
  • Under this pact, the two countries should exchange comprehensive lists on January 1 and July 1 every year (i.e. twice a year).

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Iran invites UN nuclear body chief to Tehran for talks

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), IAEA

Mains level: Nuclear disarmament

Iran has invited the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for talks after the UN official expressed concern over a lack of contact with Iranian authorities.

What is IAEA?

  • The IAEA is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • As the preeminent nuclear watchdog under the UN, the IAEA is entrusted with the task of upholding the principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1970.
  • It was established as an autonomous organization on July 29, 1957, at the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
  • Though established independently of the UN through its own international treaty, the agency reports to both the UN General Assembly and the UNSC.

IAEA Missions

The IAEA is generally described as having three main missions:

  • Peaceful uses: Promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy by its member states,
  • Safeguards: Implementing safeguards to verify that nuclear energy is not used for military purposes, and
  • Nuclear safety: Promoting high standards for nuclear safety

What are its safeguards?

  • Safeguards are activities by which the IAEA can verify that a State is living up to its international commitments not to use nuclear programs for nuclear weapons purposes.
  • Safeguards are based on assessments of the correctness and completeness of a State’s declared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities.
  • Verification measures include on-site inspections, visits, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

Basically, two sets of measures are carried out in accordance with the type of safeguards agreements in force with a State.

  1. Verifying state reports of declared nuclear material and activities.
  2. Verifying the non-diversion of declared nuclear material and providing assurances as to the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State.

Try this question from CSP 2020:

Q.In India, why are some nuclear reactors kept under “IAEA Safeguards” while others are not?

(a) Some use Uranium and others use thorium.

(b) Some use imported uranium and others use domestic supplies.

(c) Some are operated by foreign enterprises and others are operated by domestic enterprises.

(d) Some are State- owned and others are privately-owned.

 

Post your answers here.
4
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 

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Back2Basics: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.
  • Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970.
  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.
  • India always considered the NPT as discriminatory and had refused to sign it.

 

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Illicit Proliferation of networks of N-weapons

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Various treaties mentioned

Mains level: Nuclear disarmament

India has underlined the need for the international community to pay closer attention to the “illicit proliferation” of networks of nuclear weapons, their delivery systems, components and relevant technologies.

Key takeaways from India’s remarks

  • India’s remarks appeared to be a veiled reference to China and its “all-weather ally” Pakistan.
  • China’s nuclear cooperation with Pakistan was in contravention with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
  • Several concerns have been raised over the export of nuclear materials to Islamabad by Beijing and that they are in violation of international norms and established procedures.

Do you know?

India has played a leading role in global efforts towards nuclear disarmament and was the first country to call for a ban on nuclear testing in 1954 and a non-discriminatory treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, as distinct from non-dissemination, in 1965. Its no-first-use doctrine is a worldwide appreciated strategy.

Issues in Nuclear Disarmament

  • Notion of Nuclear ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’: The proponents of disarmaments are themselves nuclear armed countries thus creating a nuclear monopoly.
  • Concept of Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE): conducted for non-military purposes such as mining.

India’s commitment for de-nuclearization

India has always batted for a universal commitment and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework.

  • It has outlined a working paper on Nuclear Disarmament submitted to the UN General Assembly in 2006.
  • India participated in the Nuclear Security Summit process and has regularly participated in the International Conferences on Nuclear Security organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • India is also a member of the Nuclear Security Contact Group (but has signed off the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)).
  • India has expressed its readiness to support the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
  • India couldn’t join the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) due to several concerns raised by India.
  • India has piloted an annual UNGA Resolution on “Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction” since 2002, which is adopted by consensus.

Why didn’t India join NPT?

  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.
  • India always considered the NPT as discriminatory and had refused to sign it.
  • India maintains that they are selectively applicable to the non-nuclear powers and legitimised the monopoly of the five nuclear weapons powers.

Way forward

  • India has actively supported and contributed to the strengthening of the global nuclear security architecture.
  • There is a need for the international community to pay closer attention to the illicit proliferation of networks of nuclear weapons, their delivery systems, components and relevant technologies.
  • India hopes that the international community will continue to work towards realising our collective aspiration for a nuclear weapon-free world.

 

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Back2Basics:

Nuclear Security Contact Group

  • The NSCG was established in 2016.
  • The NSCG or “Contact Group” has been established with the aim of facilitating cooperation and sustaining engagement on nuclear security after the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit process.
  • The Contact Group is tasked with:
  1. Convening annually on the margins of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and, as may be useful, in connection with other related meetings
  2. Discussing a broad range of nuclear security-related issues, including identifying emerging trends that may require more focused attention

Nuclear Suppliers Group

  • NSG is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
  • The NSG was set up as a response to India’s nuclear tests conducted in 1974.
  • The aim of the NSG is to ensure that nuclear trade for peaceful purposes does not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

  • CTBT was negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.
  • The Treaty intends to ban all nuclear explosions – everywhere, by everyone.
  • It was opened for signature in 1996 and since then 182 countries have signed the Treaty, most recently Ghana has ratified the treaty in 2011.

Fissile material cut-off treaty

  • FMCT is a proposed international agreement that would prohibit the production of the two main components of nuclear weapons: highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium.
  • Discussions on this subject have taken place at the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD), a body of 65 member nations established as the sole multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament.
  • The CD operates by consensus and is often stagnant, impeding progress on an FMCT.
  • Those nations that joined the nuclear NPT as non-weapon states are already prohibited from producing or acquiring fissile material for weapons.
  • An FMCT would provide new restrictions for the five recognized nuclear weapon states (NWS—United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China), and for the four nations that are not NPT members (Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea).

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Stand-off over North Korea reinforces the hollowness of the doctrine of deterrence

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Light water reactor

Mains level: Paper 2- North Korea's nuclear program

Context

The resumption of North Korea’s largest fissile material production reactor, has sparked speculation about its real and symbolic significance.

Background of North Korea’s nuclear weapons development

  • In 1994, Pyongyang barred IAEA access to the Yongbyon complex amid suspicions that the country was generating plutonium from spent fuel.
  • 1994 Agreed Framework, an executive agreement signed by President Bill Clinton, required Pyongyang to freeze all nuclear activity and allow inspection of its military sites in return for the construction of two light water reactors.
  • The accord broke down in 2002.
  • In June 2008, in order to express its denuclearisation commitment to the U.S. and four other countries, Pyongyang blew up the cooling tower at the Yongbyon complex.
  • A few months in 2008, Pyongyang barred IAEA inspectors access to its reprocessing plant in the Yongbyon complex and eventually expelled them the following April.
  • In November 2010 American scientist Siegfried Hecker confirmed accounts that North Korea had rapidly built a uranium enrichment plant at Yongbyon.

Why does resumption nuclear reactor matter?

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has underlined that the restart of activity in Yongbyon constitutes a violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
  • Reprocessing of fuel: The reactor at the Yongbyon complex has been central to the North Korean reprocessing of spent fuel rods to generate plutonium.
  • Enrichment of fuel: Besides the production of highly enriched uranium for the development of atomic bombs.

Way forward

  • Negotiations: The Biden administration has adopted a pragmatic path of declaring its readiness to resume negotiations with Pyongyang.
  • UN treaty on complete abolition of nuclear arms: The UN treaty on complete abolition of atomic arms, whose deliberations were boycotted by all nuclear weapons states, is the morally superior alternative.

Conclusion

The protracted stand-off over North Korea reinforces the hollowness of the doctrine of deterrence and begs the question whether proliferation can ever be prevented just because nuclear weapons states want to perpetuate their dominance.

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Back2Basics: IAEA

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency is the world’s central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field.
  • It works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, contributing to international peace and security and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The IAEA was created in 1957 in response to the deep fears and expectations generated by the discoveries and diverse uses of nuclear technology.
  • The Agency’s genesis was U.S. President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 8 December 1953.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Iran to allow nuclear surveillance under IAEA

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Mains level: IAEA standards

Iran has agreed to allow international inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to install new memory cards into surveillance cameras at its sensitive nuclear sites and to continue filming there, potentially averting a diplomatic showdown this week.

Try this question from CSP 2020:

Q.In India, why are some nuclear reactors kept under “IAEA Safeguards” while others are not?

(a) Some use Uranium and others use thorium.

(b) Some use imported uranium and others use domestic supplies.

(c) Some are operated by foreign enterprises and others are operated by domestic enterprises.

(d) Some are State- owned and others are privately-owned.

 

Post your answers here.
2
Please leave a feedback on thisx

What is IAEA?

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • As the preeminent nuclear watchdog under the UN, the IAEA is entrusted with the task of upholding the principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970.
  • It was established as an autonomous organization on July 29, 1957, at the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
  • Though established independently of the UN through its own international treaty, the agency reports to both the UN General Assembly and the UNSC.

What are its safeguards?

  • Safeguards are activities by which the IAEA can verify that a State is living up to its international commitments not to use nuclear programs for nuclear weapons purposes.
  • Safeguards are based on assessments of the correctness and completeness of a State’s declared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities.
  • Verification measures include on-site inspections, visits, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

Basically, two sets of measures are carried out in accordance with the type of safeguards agreements in force with a State.

  1. One set relates to verifying State reports of declared nuclear material and activities.
  2. Another set enables the IAEA not only to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material but also to provide assurances as to the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Little progress since years after Indo-US nuclear deal

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), IAEA

Mains level: India's nunclear energy programme

Other than the imported Russian-built reactor-based project in Tamil Nadu, which is grandfathered under an earlier 1998 agreement, progress of greenfield projects since the Indo-US nuclear deal has been tardy.

Indo-US Nuclear Deal

  • The deal was signed in 2008 jointly by then Indian PM Dr. Manmohan Singh and then US President George Bush.
  • India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and to place all its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
  • In exchange, the United States agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India.
  • The implementation of this waiver made India the only known country with nuclear weapons which is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but still allowed to carry out global nuclear commerce.

Q. In India, why are some nuclear reactors kept under “IAEA Safeguards” while others are not? (CSP 2020)

(a) Some use Uranium and others use thorium.

(b) Some use imported uranium and others use domestic supplies.

(c) Some are operated by foreign enterprises and others are operated by domestic enterprises.

(d) Some are State-owned and others are privately-owned.

 

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Implementation not in spirit

  • The US has been discussing the sale of nuclear reactors to India since the 2008 pact, two subsequent agreements were signed only in 2016 and 2019.
  • A “project proposal” to set up six reactors in collaboration with Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) has been announced, but work is yet to begin.
  • WEC, alongside Wilmington-based GE Hitachi Nuclear, has been negotiating to build reactors in India since the nuclear deal was inked.
  • The project, however, came under a cloud after WEC filed for bankruptcy in mid-2017 following cost overruns on reactors coming up in the US.
  • The GE Hitachi project has barely made any progress.

Back2Basics: Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is:
  1. to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology,
  2. to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and
  3. to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament
  • Between 1965 and 1968, the treaty was negotiated by a Committee on Disarmament, an UN-sponsored organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The treaty defines nuclear-weapon states as those that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before 1 January 1967; these are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China.
  • Four UN member states have never accepted the NPT, three of which possess or are thought to possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, and Pakistan.
  • In addition, South Sudan, founded in 2011, has not joined.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

What is Havana Syndrome?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Havana syndrome

Mains level: Threats of microwave warfare

Nearly four years after a mysterious neurological illness started to affect American diplomats in Cuba, China, and other countries, a report has found “directed” microwave radiation to be its “plausible” cause.

Q.Microwave warfare is the new nuke. Discuss.

The ‘Havana syndrome’

  • In late 2016, US diplomats in Havana reported feeling ill after hearing strange sounds and experiencing odd physical sensations in their hotel rooms or homes.
  • The symptoms included nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, and hearing loss, which have since come to be known as “Havana Syndrome”.
  • Cuba had denied any knowledge of the illnesses even though the US had accused it of carrying out “sonic attacks”, leading to an increase in tensions.

Possible factor: Microwave Weapons

  • “Microwave weapons” are supposed to be a type of direct energy weapons, which aim highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser, or microwaves, at a target.
  • People exposed to high-intensity microwave pulses have reported a clicking or buzzing sound as if seeming to be coming from within your head.
  • It can have both acute and long-term effects — without leaving signs of physical damage.
  • These weapons are considered to be the cause of the “syndrome” whose symptoms include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties.

How did researchers deduce that?

  • The researchers have examined four possibilities to explain the symptoms — infection, chemicals, psychological factors and microwave energy.
  • The experts examined the symptoms of about 40 government employees.
  • The report concluded that directed pulsed RF (radio frequency) energy appears to be the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases among those that the committee considered.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Conference on Disarmament (CD)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Conference on Disarmament (CD)

Mains level: Nuclear disarmament

India has supported the holding of negotiations on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention at the Conference on Disarmament (CD). It reiterated its commitment to the disarmament of nuclear weapons in a step-by-step non-discriminatory process.

List out various factors which are preventing the nuclear disarmaments amongst the nations.

About the Conference on Disarmament (CD)

  • The CD is a multilateral disarmament forum established by the international community to negotiate arms control and disarmament agreements based at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
  • The Conference meets annually in three separate sessions in Geneva.
  • The Conference was first established in 1979 as the Committee on Disarmament as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community.
  • It was renamed the Conference on Disarmament in 1984.

Recent developments from India

  • India has not revised its key principles regarding the weapons in its arsenal.
  • Raksha Mantri has earlier hinted at a possibility of changing the No First Use (NFU) principle by declaring that ‘circumstances’ will determine the “No First Use” stance.

India stands committed

  • India believes that nuclear disarmament can be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework.
  • India remains convinced of the need for meaningful dialogue among all states possessing nuclear weapons, for building trust and confidence.
  • India also remains committed to negotiations regarding a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the CD on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator or CD/1299 which dates to March 24, 1995.

B2BASICS

India’s No first use doctrine

For India, Nuclear weapons are political weapons and not weapons of war and their sole purpose is to deter the use of nuclear weapons by India’s adversaries. India has nit only established itself as a responsible nuclear state, but guided the world about how to be a responsible nuclear state through No first use policy.

Features of India’s nuclear doctrine:

  1. Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent.
  2. A “No First Use” policy i.e. nuclear weapons to be used only in case of any nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere.
  3. Non use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
  4. Nuclear retaliatory attacks to be authorised only by civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
  5. Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.
  6. India may retaliate with nuclear weapons to retaliate against attack  with biological or chemical weapons.
  7. Strict controls on export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies.
  8. A commitment to goal of nuclear weapon free world.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Issues with the nuclear deterrence

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Nuclear deterrence and issues with it

On 6 August 1945 world witnessed the destructive potential of the nuclear weapons. Today’s nuclear weapons are several times more destructive than the one used there. This calls for the close scrutiny of the idea of the nuclear deterrence. This article dwells over the same issue.

Context

  • While Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been the last two cities to be destroyed by nuclear weapons, we cannot be sure that they will be the last.
  • Since 1945, several countries have armed themselves with nuclear weapons that have much more destructive power in comparison to those that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Vulnerability

  • Over 1,26,000 nuclear weapons have been built since the beginning of the atomic age.
  • There is no realistic way to protect ourselves against nuclear weapons.
  • The invention of ballistic missiles has made it impossible to intercept nuclear weapons once they are launched.
  • Neither fallout shelters nor ballistic missile defence systems have succeeded in negating this vulnerability.
  • Nuclear weapon states are targets of other nuclear-weapon states, but non-nuclear-weapon states are vulnerable as well.

Idea of nuclear deterrence

The idea of nuclear deterrence consists of following two proposition.

  • 1) That nuclear weapons are so destructive that no country would use them.
  • 2) Such use would invite retaliation in kind, and no political leader would be willing to risk the possible death of millions of their citizens.

Issues with the idea of deterrence

  • 1) It is claimed that nuclear weapons do not just protect countries against use of nuclear weapons by others, but even prevent war and promote stability.
  • These claims do not hold up to evidence.
  • 2) The apparent efficacy of deterrence in some cases may have been due to the more credible prospect of retaliation with conventional weapons.
  • 3) Implicitly, however, all nuclear-weapon states have admitted to the possibility that deterrence could fail.
  • they have made plans for using nuclear weapons, in effect, preparing to fight nuclear war.
  • 4) The desire to believe in the perfect controllability and safety of nuclear weapons creates overconfidence, which is dangerous.
  • Overconfidence is more likely to lead to accidents and possibly to the use of nuclear weapons.

So, what prevented the nuclear war if not deterrence?

  • While a comprehensive answer to this question will necessarily involve diverse and contingent factors, one essential element in key episodes is just plain luck.

Consider the question “What are the problems involved in the idea of nuclear deterrence. Also, examine the factors responsible for the failure of nuclear disarmament.”

Conclusion

Humanity has luckily survived 75 years without experiencing nuclear war, can one expect luck to last indefinitely?

Original articles:

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/taking-nuclear-vulnerabilities-seriously/article32279584.ece

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

SIPRI Report on Nuclear Stockpiles

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: OST, INF Treaty, New START policy

Mains level: Global nuclear stockpiles and its threats

All nations that have nuclear weapons continue to modernize their nuclear arsenals, while India and China increased their nuclear warheads in the last one year, according to a latest report by Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

About SIPRI

  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an international institute based in Sweden, dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
  • Established in 1966, the Stockholm based SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.

Practice question for Mains:

Q.“Nuclear disarmament of the world seems a distant dream”. Comment.

Nuclear arsenals are on rise in ‘thy neighbourhood’

  • China is in the middle of a significant modernization of its nuclear arsenal.
  • It is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft.
  • China’s nuclear arsenal had gone up from 290 warheads in 2019 to 320 in 2020, while India’s went up from 130-140 in 2019 to 150 in 2020.
  • Pakistan’s arsenal was estimated to be between 150-160 in 2019 and has reached 160 in 2020.
  • Both China and Pakistan continue to have larger nuclear arsenals than India.

A general decline across the globe

  • Together with the nine nuclear-armed states — the U.S., Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — possessed an estimated 13,400 nuclear weapons at the start of 2020.
  • This marked a decrease from an estimated 13,865 nuclear weapons at the beginning of 2019.
  • The decrease in the overall numbers was largely due to the dismantlement of old nuclear weapons by Russia and the U.S., which together possess over 90% of the global nuclear weapons.

Major issue in reporting: Low levels of disclosure

  • The availability of reliable information on the status of the nuclear arsenals and capabilities of the nuclear-armed states varied considerably, the report noted.
  • The U.S. had disclosed important information about its stockpile and nuclear capabilities, but in 2019, the administration ended the practice of publicly disclosing the size of its stockpile.
  • The governments of India and Pakistan make statements about some of their missile tests but provide little information about the status or size of their arsenals, the report said.

New START seems to ‘STOP’ very soon

  • The U.S. and Russia have reduced their nuclear arsenals under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) but it will lapse in February 2021 unless both parties agree to prolong it.
  • However, discussions to extend the New START or negotiate a new treaty made no progress with the U.S.’s insistence that China must join any future nuclear arms reduction talks, which China has categorically ruled out.
  • The deadlock over the New START and the collapse of the 1987 Soviet–U.S. Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) in 2019 suggest that the era of bilateral nuclear arms control agreements between Russia and the U.S. might be coming to an end.
  • Russia and the U.S. have already announced extensive plans to replace and modernize their nuclear warheads and delivery systems.
  • Both countries have also given new or expanded roles to nuclear weapons in their military plans and doctrines, which marks a significant reversal of the post-Cold War trend towards the gradual marginalisation of nuclear weapons.

Back2Basics: INF Treaty

  • Under the INF treaty, the US and Soviet Union agreed not to develop, produce, possess or deploy any ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles that have a range between 500 and 5,500 km.
  • It exempted the air-launched and sea-based missile systems in the same range.
  • The INF treaty helped address the fears of an imminent nuclear war in Europe.
  • It also built some trust between Washington and Moscow and contributed to the end of the Cold War.

New START Policy

  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) pact limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers and is due to expire in 2021 unless renewed.
  • The treaty limits the US and Russia to a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, well below Cold War caps.
  • It was signed in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
  • It is one of the key controls on superpower deployment of nuclear weapons.
  • If it falls, it will be the second nuclear weapons treaty to collapse under the leadership of US President Donald Trump.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: IAEA and its mandate

Mains level: Nuclear ambitions and its rise

The UN nuclear watchdog IAEA’s governing body began meeting as a row brews over Iran’s refusal to allow access to two sites where nuclear activity may have occurred in the past.

Practice question for mains:

Q. Discuss the role of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in enhancing nuclear accountability of the world.

Concerns over Iran

  • The latest row over access comes as a landmark deal between Iran and world powers in 2015 continues to unravel.
  • If IAEA passes a resolution critical of Iran, it would be the first of its kind since 2012.
  • Even though the two sites are not thought to be key to Iran’s current activities, the agency says it needs to know if past activities going back almost two decades have been properly declared and all materials accounted for.

About IAEA

  • The IAEA is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. It was established as an autonomous organisation on 29 July 1957.
  • Though established independently of the UN through its own international treaty, the IAEA reports to both the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council.

Functions of IAEA

  • The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide.
  • The programs of the IAEA encourage the development of the peaceful applications of nuclear energy, science and technology, provide international safeguards against misuse of nuclear technology and nuclear materials, and promote nuclear safety (including radiation protection) and nuclear security standards and their implementation.

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Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

World at the edge of a new nuclear arms race

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CTBT, New START, INF etc.

Mains level: Paper 2- CTBT and reasons for India's decision to withdraw from the talks.

The focus of this article is on the possible revival of the nuclear arms race among the US, China and Russia. In this context, the purpose and present status of the CTBT, which was aimed at ending the nuclear arms race is also discussed. The article ends by predicting the beginning of new arms race and possible demise of the CTBT.

What were the findings of US compliance report?

  • State Department Report: In mid-April, a report was issued by the United States State Department on “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments (Compliance Report).
  • Tests with low yields by China: The report raised concerns that China might be conducting nuclear tests with low yields at its Lop Nur test site.
  • And these tests are conducted in violation of its Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty (CTBT)
  • Violation by Russia: The U.S. report also claims that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons experiments that produced a nuclear yield and were inconsistent with ‘zero yield’ understanding underlying the CTBT.
  • Though it was uncertain about how many such experiments had been conducted by Russia.
  • Russia and China have rejected the U.S.’s claims.
  • New nuclear arms race: With growing rivalry among major powers the report is a likely harbinger of a new nuclear arms race.
  • The demise of CTBT: This new nuclear arms race would also mark the demise of the CTBT that came into being in 1996 but has failed to enter into force even after a quarter-century.

Background of the CTBT

  • Test ban-first step: For decades, a ban on nuclear testing was seen as the necessary first step towards curbing the nuclear arms race but Cold War politics made it impossible.
  • A Partial Test Ban Treaty was concluded in 1963 banning underwater and atmospheric tests but this only drove testing underground.
  • By the time the CTBT negotiations began in Geneva in 1994, global politics had changed. The Cold War had ended and the nuclear arms race was over.
  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the USSR, had broken up and its principal testing site, Semipalatinsk, was in Kazakhstan (Russia still had access to Novaya Zemlya near the Arctic circle).
  • In 1991, Russia declared a unilateral moratorium on testing, followed by the U.S. in 1992.
  • By this time, the U.S. had conducted 1,054 tests and Russia, 715.
  • Negotiations were often contentious.
  • Eventually, the U.S. came up with the idea of defining the “comprehensive test ban” as a “zero yield” test ban that would prohibit supercritical hydro-nuclear tests but not sub-critical hydrodynamic nuclear tests.

Make note of the points mentioned under “entry-into-force” provision given below. The reasons for India’s withdrawal from the negotiation are important from the UPSC perspective.

“Entry-into-force” provision and India’s objections to it

  • Another controversy arose regarding the entry-into-force provisions (Article 14) of the treaty.
  • Why India withdrew from negotiations? After India’s proposals for anchoring the CTBT in a disarmament framework did not find acceptance, in June 1996, India announced its decision to withdraw from the negotiations.
  • Unhappy at this turn, the U.K., China and Pakistan took the lead in revising the entry-into-force provisions.
  • What is “entry-into-force” provision? The new provisions listed 44 countries by name whose ratification was necessary for the treaty to enter into force and included India.
  • India’s objection: India protested that this attempt at arm-twisting violated a country’s sovereign right to decide if it wanted to join a treaty but was ignored.
  • The CTBT was adopted by a majority vote and opened for signature.
  • Of the 44 listed countries, to date, only 36 have ratified the treaty.
  • Signed but not ratified: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the U.S. have signed but not ratified.
  • China maintains that it will only ratify it after the U.S. does so but the Republican-dominated Senate had rejected it in 1999.
  • Not signed, not ratified: In addition, North Korea, India and Pakistan are the three who have not signed.
  • All three have also undertaken tests after 1996; India and Pakistan in May 1998 and North Korea six times between 2006 and 2017.
  • The CTBT has therefore not entered into force and lacks legal authority.

An organisation to verify CTBT

  • Even though CTBT has not entered into force, an international organisation to verify the CTBT was established in Vienna with a staff of about 230 persons and an annual budget of $130 million.
  • Ironically, the U.S. is the largest contributor with a share of $17 million.
  • The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) runs an elaborate verification system built around a network of over 325 seismic, radionuclide, infrasound and hydroacoustic (underwater) monitoring stations.
  • The CTBTO has refrained from backing the U.S.’s allegations.

The revival of the nuclear arms race

  • End of the unipolar world for the US: The key change from the 1990s is that the S.’s unipolar moment is over and strategic competition among major powers is back.
  • The U.S. now identifies Russia and China as ‘rivals’.
  • Its Nuclear Posture Review asserts that the U.S. faces new nuclear threats because both Russia and China are increasing their reliance on nuclear weapons.
  • The U.S., therefore, has to expand the role of its nuclear weapons and have a more usable and diversified nuclear arsenal.
  • The Trump administration has embarked on a 30-year modernisation plan with a price tag of $1.2 trillion, which could go up over the years.
  • Concerns of Russia and China: Russia and China have been concerned about the U.S.’s growing technological lead particularly in missile defence and conventional global precision-strike capabilities.
  • Russia has responded by exploring hypersonic delivery systems and theatre systems while China has embarked on a modernisation programme to enhance the survivability of its arsenal which is considerably smaller.
  • Cyber capabilities being increased: In addition, both countries are also investing heavily in offensive cyber capabilities.
  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) limits U.S. and Russian arsenals but will expire in 2021
  • And U.S. President Donald Trump has already indicated that he does not plan to extend New START.
  • Instead, the Trump administration would like to bring China into some kind of nuclear arms control talks.
  • But China has avoided such talks by pointing to the fact that the S. and Russia still account for over 90% of global nuclear arsenals.

Context of the US backtracking from negotiated agreements

  • Both China and Russia have dismissed the U.S.’s allegations.
  • They pointed to the Trump administration’s backtracking from other negotiated agreements such as the Iran nuclear deal or the U.S.-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF)
  • Tensions with China are already high with trade and technology disputes, militarisation in the South China Sea and most recently, with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • The U.S. could also be preparing the ground for resuming testing at Nevada.

In the context of the latest developments, a question can be asked by the UPSC, for ex- “In the light of the latest developments on the global platform which are pointing to the revival of the nuclear arms race, how far India’s decision to not sign the CTBT is justified?”

Conclusion

New rivalries have already emerged. Resumption of nuclear testing may signal the demise of the ill-fated CTBT, marking the beginnings of a new nuclear arms race. 


Back2Basics: What is “zero-yield test?”

  • This means that the agreement prohibits all nuclear explosions that produce a self-sustaining, supercritical chain reaction of any kind whether for weapons or peaceful purposes.
  • The decision not to include a specific definition of scope in the Treaty was a deliberate decision by the negotiating parties, including the United States, made to ensure that no loopholes were created by including a highly technical and specific list of what specific activities were and were not permitted under the Treaty.
  • A thorough review of the history of the Treaty negotiation process, as well as statements by world leaders and the negotiators of the agreement, shows that all states understand and accept the CTBT as a “zero-yield” treaty.

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Here’s what we are going the explain in this writeup:

  • The Backstory
  • What is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?
  • What does India need to do to get in?
  • Does joining the MTCR make getting missile technology easier?
  • Does the MTCR actually stop the spread of missile technology?
  • Are there any sanctions for breaking MTCR rules?
  • Does the MTCR actually stop the spread of missile technology?
  • Why does India want to be in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)?
  • Why does the US want India in the NSG?
  • Why doesn’t Pakistan want India in?
  • And what is China’s problem?
  • Why then did China go along with the NSG waiver in 2008?
  • Why does India want to join Proliferation control regimes?
  • Why is India’s Bid for NSG being criticized?

source

The Backstory

  • Since 2008, India has been pushing forward to become an NSG member, where decisions are consensus based and not based on majority votes
  • It has also been looking for membership of other groups such as MTCR
  • India recently became the Member of MTCR, however its bid for getting membership of NSG was not successful because of opposition from China and 12 other NSG members

#1. All about MTCR

What is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?

Established in April 1987, it is a voluntary association of 35 countries and 4 “unilateral adherents” that follow its rules: Israel, Romania, Slovakia, Macedonia.

The group aims to slow the spread of missiles and other unmanned delivery technology that could be used for chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.

The regime urges members, which include most of the world’s major missile manufacturers, to restrict exports of missiles and related technologies capable of carrying a 500 kg payload at least 300 km, or delivering any type of weapon of mass destruction.

How does one become a member of MTCR?

  • Prospective members must win consensus approval from existing members. United States policy had been that members that are not recognised nuclear-weapon states — including India — must eliminate or forgo ballistic missiles able to deliver a 500 kg payload at least 300 km
  • The US, however, made an exception in 1998 for Ukraine, permitting it to retain Scud missiles and, in October 2012, South Korea was allowed to keep ballistic missiles with an 800-km range and 500-kg payload that could target all of North Korea
  • For India, the US have waived these terms, allowing it retain its missile arsenal

Does joining the MTCR make getting missile technology easier?

  • There are no special concessions for MTCR members. But India hopes its MTCR membership will be one more reason for the US to consider exporting Category 1 UAVs, Reaper and Global Hawk, which have been key to counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen
  • These drones have so far been sold to only one country, the UK, though unarmed versions have also been made available to Italy and South Korea
  • The US has been rethinking rules on exports, aware that competitors in Israel, Russia and China are working on similar products — and India wants to be at the head of the queue when the Reaper and the Global Hawk go on the market

Are there any sanctions for breaking MTCR rules?

  • Rule breakers can’t be punished.
  • However, US law mandates sanctions for companies and governments that export MTCR-controlled items. The sanctioned entity can’t sign contracts, buy arms and receive aid for two years or more.

Does the MTCR actually stop the spread of missile technology?

  • Yes and no. North Korea, Iran and Pakistan acquired ballistic missile technology from China. But then, China began to feel the pinch of US technology sanctions — and announced, in November 2000, that it would stop exporting ballistic missile technology.
  • Four years later, it applied for MTCR membership — but has been denied entry because of suspicion that some companies in the country are secretly supplying technology to North Korea.
  • Many others dropped missile programmes because of MTCR pressure: Argentina abandoned its Condor II ballistic missile programme (on which it was working with Egypt and Iraq) to join the regime. Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Taiwan shelved or eliminated missile or space launch vehicle programmes. Poland and the Czech Republic destroyed their ballistic missiles.

It is possible China may now seek some kind of bargain, whereby it is given entry to the MTCR in return for letting India get into the NSG, where it wields a veto.

What after MTCR?

  • Admission to the MTCR would open the way for India to buy high-end missile technology
  • It will also make India’s aspiration to buy state-of-the-art surveillance drones such as the U.S. Predator, made by General Atomics.

#2. All about NSG

Why does India want to be in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)?

Following India’s 1974 nuclear tests, the US pushed for setting up a club of nuclear equipment and fissile material suppliers.

The 48-nation group frames and implements agreed rules for exporting nuclear equipment, with a view to controlling the spread of nuclear weapons; members are admitted only by consensus.

India has been trying, since 2008, to join the group, which would give it a place at the high table where the rules of nuclear commerce are decided — and, eventually, the ability to sell equipment.

Many countries that initially opposed its entry, like Australia, have changed stance; Mexico and Switzerland are the latest to voice support. India’s effort has been to chip away at the resistance, leaving only one holdout — China. But until China accepts India’s entry, there is no hope of membership.

Why does the US want India in the NSG?

The answer lies in the US effort to strengthen the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, whose centrepiece is the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, or NPT.

The NPT defines “nuclear weapons states” as those that tested devices before January 1, 1967 — which means India cannot ever be one.

India — like Israel and Pakistan — thus refused to sign the treaty. From 2005, though, President George W Bush’s administration sought ways to deepen strategic cooperation with India.

Nuclear energy was a key means to strengthen cooperation, but since India wasn’t a member of the NPT, technology couldn’t be shared. Then, a way forward was found — the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement.

India agreed to separate its civilian and military nuclear programmes, and put the civilian part under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

India also changed its export laws to line up with the NSG, MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Australia Group — the 4 key nuclear control regimes.

The US agreed to shepherd India’s entry into these regimes, which meant India would for all practical purposes be treated like an NPT member, even though it wasn’t one.

Why doesn’t Pakistan want India in?

The Pakistani argument is that giving India easy access to fissile material and technology for its civilian nuclear programme means it would have that much more material for its military nuclear programme.

Thus, Pakistan says, the move to give India NSG membership is fuelling a nuclear arms race.

But this argument falls apart because Pakistan is resolutely opposed to a key international agreement called the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), which would cap the military nuclear stockpiles of all countries. The FMCT ought to put an end to Pakistan’s fears, but Islamabad has refused to sign.

Why has China opposed India’s Bid for NSG?

Chinese diplomats say Beijing wants NSG entry to be norm-based , in other words, whatever rules govern Indian entry should apply to others too.

Norm-based entry would, presumably, help Pakistan gain entry, something many in the NSG are certain to resist because of the country’s record as a proliferator of nuclear-weapons technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Why then did China go along with the NSG waiver in 2008?

Geopolitics!

The 2008 one-time waiver allowed nuclear commerce between NSG members and India — the agreement that now allows Westinghouse, and its competitors in France or South Korea, to bid to set up civilian reactors in India.

The waiver came only after President Bush rang President Hu Jintao and called in a favour. Back then, US-China relations were riding high — on the back of surging trade, and a common vision of how the international order should be structured.

Today, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping are at odds over Chinese muscle-flexing in the South China Sea. The odds of a phone call changing the state of play are next to zero.

Why does India want to join Proliferation control regimes?

  • India’s membership of the NSG and other proliferation control regimes notably the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement is important in order to shatter the myth of it being an “outlier” to the non-proliferation regime as also to facilitate its trade, both imports and exports, of nuclear, missile and other related sensitive technologies.
  • Membership of these regimes will enhance India’s status in this critical area from merely an adherent to a rule maker.
  • It will also enable India to ensure that these regimes perform their mandated role of promoting non-proliferation effectively and not hurt its commercial interests.

Why India’s recent NSG bid is being criticized?

  • Many experts believe that after the clean waiver of 2008 and the 2011 amendment of the NSG rules (that non-NPT countries would not be entitled to the transfer of the reprocessing and enrichment technology), there is not much merit in seeking a membership of the NSG.
  • The worst outcome of this aggressive bidding was that at NSG forum India’s nuclear regime got hyphenated with Pakistan. It has taken a great deal of effort on the part of successive governments in India to kill the idea of that hyphenation.
  • It suits China ideally to put India in the same bracket as Pakistan. However for India it is diminishing to get itself compared with rogue state like Pakistan who have a dismal track record with respect to Nuclear Proliferation.

References:

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