Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

[op-ed snap] An end to arms control consensusop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CTBT, NPT

Mains level : Implications of INF treaty withdrawal


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

Background of US-Russia nuclear relations

  1. In 1985, the two countries entered into arms control negotiations on three tracks.
    1. 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. 
    2. A second track dealt with intermediate-range missiles and this led to the INF Treaty in 1987. 
    3. 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

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

US history of nuclear behavior

  1. 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. 
  2. The U.S. was investing in missile defense and conventional global precision strike capabilities to expand its technological lead. 
  3. In 2001, the U.S. announced its unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty).
  4. 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.

Working of INF treaty

  1. The INF Treaty had been under threat for some time. 
  2. The U.S. started voicing concerns about Novator 9M729 missile tests. Russia began production of the missiles. 
  3. Russia blamed the U.S. for deploying missile defense interceptors in Poland and Romania, using dual-purpose launchers that could also launch Tomahawk missiles.
  4. The U.S. used its technological lead to gain an advantage. Russia began modernisation and diversification of its nuclear arsenal.
  5. The U.S.’s 2017 National Security Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) sought a more expansive role for nuclear weapons
  6. With the geopolitical shift to the Indo-Pacific, U.S. believes that the INF Treaty was putting it at a disadvantage compared to China which is rapidly modernising and currently has 95% of its ballistic and cruise missile inventory in the INF range. 


  1. The 2011 New START lapses in 2021 unless extended for a five-year period. It may meet the fate of the INF Treaty. 
  2. The 2018 NPR envisaged the development of new nuclear weapons, including low-yield weapons. 
  3. China is preparing to operate its test site year-round with its goals for its nuclear force. 
  4. CTBT requires ratification by U.S., China, Iran, Israel and Egypt and adherence by India, Pakistan and North Korea. It is unlikely to ever enter into force. 
  5. A new nuclear arms race could just be the beginning. It may be more complicated because of multiple countries being involved. 
  6. Technological changes are bringing cyber and space domains into contention. It raises the risks of escalation.


[Prelims Spotlight] NPT, CTBT

Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

[op-ed snap] An intervention that leads to more questionsop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NFU, NSG, MTCR, Australia Group, Wassenaar Arragement

Mains level : Nuclear doctrine of India


Defence Minister tweeted that India’s ‘future’ commitment to a posture of No First Use of nuclear weapons ‘depends on the circumstances’

Background of NFU

  1. India is one of the two countries that adhere to a doctrine of No First Use (NFU) along with China.
  2. India has maintained that it will not strike first with nuclear weapons.
  3. But India reserves the right to retaliate to any nuclear first strike against it (or any ‘major’ use of weapons of mass destruction against Indian forces) with a nuclear strike ‘that will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage’.

How it benefited us

  1. NFU simply raises the nuclear threshold in order to bring stability to a volatile environment.
  2. The adoption of the nuclear doctrine came soon after Operation Parakram (2001-02).
  3. The public adoption of the doctrine an attempt by India to restate its commitment to restraint and to being a responsible nuclear power.
  4. India used this restraint to repulse the intruders in Kargil and regain occupied land. despite India and Pakistan’s nuclear tests of 1998.
  5. It gave India the space for conventional operations and gained it sympathy in foreign capitals despite the fears of nuclear miscalculation.
  6. India’s self-proclaimed restraint brought it into the nuclear mainstream
    1. the initial application for the waiver in 2008 from the Nuclear Suppliers Group
    2. membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group
    3. ongoing attempts to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group

Need for change in stance

  1. Revoking the commitment to NFU does not necessarily equate with abandoning restraint
  2. Many advocate a more muscular nuclear policy for India. Bharat Karnad, a member of the first National Security Advisory Board considered NFU ‘a fraud’ which would be ‘the first casualty’, if war were to break out.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Explained: India’s doctrine of Nuclear No First UseExplainedPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the doctrine

Mains level : Time-test of India's NFU doctrine

  • Raksha Mantri has said that while India has strictly adhered to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) of nuclear weapons, it can be reconsidered on future circumstances.
  • It was not immediately clear if policymakers are willing to revisit it.

Doctrine in making

  • A commitment to not be the first to use a nuclear weapon in a conflict has long been India’s stated policy.
  • India first adopted a “No first use” policy after its second nuclear tests Pokhran-II, in 1998.
  • In August 1999, the govt. released a draft of the doctrine which asserts that nuclear weapons are solely for deterrence and that India will pursue a policy of “retaliation only”.
  • Pakistan, by contrast, has openly threatened India with the use of nuclear weapons on multiple occasions beginning from the time the two nations were not even acknowledged nuclear powers.

No First Use doctrine

  • Among the major points in the doctrine was “a posture of No First Use”, which was described as follows:
  1. Nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere”.
  2. India’s nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.
  3. Also in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons.
  4. Nuclear retaliatory attacks can only be authorised by the civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority. (The Nuclear Command Authority comprises a Political Council and an Executive Council. The Political Council is chaired by the PM.)
  5. India would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
  6. India would continue to put strict controls on the export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participate in the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations, and continue to observe the moratorium on nuclear tests.
  7. India remains committed to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.

Why in news?

  • The successive governments are following Vajpayee’s doctrine and have directly or indirectly reaffirmed their commitment to NFU.
  • However, the doctrine has been questioned at various times by strategic experts in domestic policy debates, and the idea that India should revisit this position has been put forward at various high-level fora.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

2019 Yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)IOCR


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SIPRI

Mains level : Progress in nuclear disarmament

  • A report by a think-thank has found that the worldwide total of nuclear warheads has decreased since 2018 but countries are modernizing their nuclear arsenals.

Worldwide nuclear arsenal

  • The 2019 Yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is part-funded by the Swedish government.
  • It said that nine nuclear-armed countries (including India) had a total of some 13,865 nuclear weapons at the start of 2019, which is a decrease of 600 nuclear weapons from 14,465 at the start of 2018.
  • Figures for North Korea were not added to the total on account of uncertainty.
  • The report separately counts “deployed warheads” (warheads placed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces) and “other warheads” (stored or reserve warheads and retired warheads awaiting dismantlement).

Why decrease?

  • It attributed the decrease mainly to Russia and the US.
  • They together still account for over 90 per cent of all nuclear weapons.
  • They are further reducing their strategic nuclear arms pursuant to the implementation of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START).


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 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.
  • In February, US withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), accusing Moscow of violating the agreement.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India calls for constructive engagement to review OPCWIOCR


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Chemical Weapons Convention

Mains level: India’s track record in chemical disarmament.


  • At the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties held on November 23, India called for constructive engagement, dialogue and unity of purpose to reviewing the Operation of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Convention.

Unforeseen challenges

  1. There are daunting challenges ahead such as the discovery of new toxic chemicals, advancements in deployment and dissemination techniques.
  2. There is an increasing threat of use of chemical weapons by non-state actors such as IS and other terror outfits.
  3. The growing complexity of the global security environment calls for greater vigilance and continued efforts by both OPCW and the member states towards achieving general and complete chemical disarmament.
  4. Despite best efforts, there has been an increase in allegations and incidents of use of chemical weapons in different parts of the world such as Malaysia, UK and Northern Ireland, the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.

Need for long lasting solutions

  1. Any long-lasting and effective solution to the challenges being faced by the OPCW can only be found through wide-ranging consultations involving all States Parties.
  2. The aim of the Chemical Weapons Convention is to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons.

India’s stand on chemical weapons

  1. As a founding member of OPCW, India has always emphasized the importance of the principle of consensus enshrined in the Convention.
  2. The destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles nears completion.
  3. OPCW must continue to implement its disarmament mandate by focusing on preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons as well as the risk of their proliferation.
  4. This is vital in fulfilling the OPCW’s crucial role in enhancing international peace and security.

Way Forward

  1. The use of these weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances is unjustifiable.
  2. India bats for the perpetrators of these despicable acts must be held accountable.
  3. The efforts in the OPCW should be aimed at eliminating all the possibilities of any future use of chemical weapons.


Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

  1. The OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997.
  2. The OPCW, with its 193 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons.
  3. The organisation promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction.
  4. Verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by member states and onsite inspections.
  5. The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
  6. The organisation is not an agency of the United Nations, but cooperates both on policy and practical issues.
  7. India is one of its founding members.*
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

[op-ed snap] The significance of Arihantop-ed snapPriority 1


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievements of Indians in science & technology

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: INS Arihant, India’s nuclear triad

Mains level: Shortcomings in India’s nuclear triad and how to overcome those


India’s nuclear triad complete

  1. India achieved a significant milestone in its strategic nuclear posture when it announced the completion of its survivable nuclear triad by adding maritime strike capability to land and air-based delivery platforms for nuclear weapons
  2. With the country’s first nuclear ballistic missile submarine, INS Arihant, completing its maiden “deterrence” patrol, India joined the select group of five — US, Russia, China, France and UK — which can boast of this capability

Importance of INS Arihant’s deterrence patrol

  1. A deterrence patrol, as the term signifies, is meant to deter the adversary from conducting the first nuclear strike, as a nuclear ballistic missile submarine provides India with an assured second-strike capability
  2. The success of INS Arihant gives a fitting response to those who indulge in nuclear blackmail
  3. As a nation committed to “no first use” (NFU), it is of critical importance that an adversary contemplating a nuclear (first) strike should never be in doubt about the credibility of India’s nuclear deterrent and the assurance of a swift, devastating response
  4. Given the kind of transparency provided by satellites and other technical means, the land-based legs of our nuclear triad (missile sites and air-bases) remain exposed to enemy attack
  5. Once the submarine disappears underwater, it becomes virtually impossible to locate and can remain on patrol for months, with its ballistic missiles ready for launch on the PM’s orders
  6. This is the kind of credibility that Arihant and other submarines will provide to India’s nuclear deterrence in the future

Some shortcomings still present

  • The issue of missile ranges
  1. From a submarine patrol area in mid-Bay of Bengal, Islamabad is 2,500 km, while Beijing and Shanghai are over 4,000 km
  2. Therefore, to target cities and nuclear forces deep inside China or Pakistan, from a “safe haven”, India needs a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) of 6,000-8,000-km range
  3. The missile, reportedly, carried by the Arihant is the K-15, whose range falls below 1,000 km
  • Lack of coordination
  1. India has, so far, followed an unorthodox system, in which the National Command Authority (NCA) manages the nuclear deterrent through a “troika” consisting of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), the Department of Atomic Energy and DRDO
  2. While scientists are the custodians of nuclear warheads and help mate them with the SFC’s missiles and IAF fighter-bombers, the MoD and Raksha Mantri remain out of the loop
  3. Since Arihant and her sisters will carry “cannisterised” missiles, with pre-mated warheads, scientists have been eliminated from the chain, with custody and control of weapons devolving on the submarine’s captain
  4. Although “fail-safe” electronic permissive action links (PAL) have been installed to ensure instant compliance with an authorised “launch” command from the NCA, while preventing accidental launch, structural and doctrinal changes are also urgently required
  • Effective command and control structure
  1. The Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) is, notionally, a key functionary in the nuclear command chain, responsible to the PM for the functioning of the SFC
  2. With the operationalisation of Arihant, his role assumes greater criticality
  3. Under existing rules, the appointment of chairman is tenable by the senior-most service chief who may (depending on his retirement date) serve for durations, varying from 30 days to 18 months
  4. He discharges this duty on a part-time basis, in addition to running his own service
  5. No other nuclear weapon state has such a farcical arrangement, and this impinges on the credibility of our deterrent
  6. Given the gravity and magnitude of his responsibilities, in the context of the nuclear triad, the Chairman COSC, in his current avatar, needs to be urgently replaced either by a Chief of Defence Staff or a Permanent Chairman COSC, with an independent charter and a fixed tenure
  • Need of more submarines
  1. The nuclear-reactors of our SSBNs will need re-fuelling (with fresh Uranium rods) every few years
  2. The process being a rather lengthy one, India would require an inventory of at least 3-4 SSBNs to maintain one on deterrent patrol off each seaboard
  3. A small force of nuclear attack submarines (SSN) would be required for the protection of SSBNs and other roles
  4. Thus, in a 50-60 year perspective, India should be looking at a nuclear submarine force of 8-12 SSBNs and SSNs

INS Arihant’s role in Make in India

  1. Apart from its strategic significance, the Arihant is a live manifestation of PM Modi’s “make in India” vision
  2. A number of major private-sector companies contributed to the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme by mastering esoteric technologies to design and fabricate systems for the vessel
  3. This Navy-managed DRDO project has also spawned a huge country-wide indigenisation process by which small and medium industries, have contributed components manufactured to high precision and reliability specifications

Way forward

  1. India’s nuclear triad and its accessories are going to cost the nation trillions of rupees in the decades ahead
  2. It would be delusionary to imagine that a large military, and nuclear weapons, just by themselves, can assure India’s security and bequeath “great power” status on it
  3. A grand-strategic vision that integrates military power with a national security doctrine will certainly achieve both

With inputs from editorial: Sea change

Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India’s nuclear triad is complete with INS Arihant ending its first deterrence patrolPriority 1

Image result for nuclear triad of india


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievements of Indians in science & technology

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: INS Arihant, Nuclear Triad, ATV project

Mains level: Boost to India’s security establishment with nuclear triad becoming operational

India announces complete nuclear deterrence

  1. India has declared that its nuclear triad, stated in its nuclear doctrine, is operational
  2. This was after indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarine INS Arihant achieved a milestone by conducting its first deterrence patrol
  3. It essentially means that Arihant is now prowling the deep seas carrying ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads
  4. The second submarine in the series, Arighat is now undergoing sea trials after which it will be inducted into service

Development of INS Arihant

  1. INS Arihant, a strategic asset, was developed for over two decades under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme
  2. INS Arihant is India’s first indigenously-designed, developed and manufactured nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, and three more such submarines are reportedly under various stages of construction
  3. INS Arihant development project was officially acknowledged in 1998 and the submarine was launched in 2009
  4. The nuclear reactor of the submarine went critical in 2013 and it was commissioned three years later

Reliability of INS Arihant

  1. It comes directly under the Nuclear Command Authority headed by the Prime Minister
  2. Given India’s stated position of ‘No-First-Use’ (NFU) in launching nuclear weapons, the SSBN is the most dependable platform for a second-strike
  3. Because they are powered by nuclear reactors, these submarines can stay underwater indefinitely without the adversary detecting it. The other two platforms — land-based and air-launched are far easier to detect
  4. This places India in the league of the few countries that can design, construct and operate SSBN

About NFU policy

  1. In 1998, India conducted nuclear tests under Pokhran-II and in 2003, it declared its nuclear doctrine based on credible minimum deterrence and an NFU policy while reserving the right of massive retaliation if struck with nuclear weapons first
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

INMAS develops India’s first indigenous anti-nuclear medical kitPrelims OnlyPriority 1


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Indigenization of technology & developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: INMAS kit

Mains level: India’s preparedness against nuclear hazard.



  1. Scientists at Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) have developed India’s first indigenous medical kit that may ensure protection from serious injuries and faster healing of wounds resulting from nuclear warfare or radioactive leakage.
  2. INMAS is the medical face of DRDO.


  1. The drugs in the medical kit are ‘Made in India’, without any foreign counterpart and come with the tag of cost-effective and industrial networking.
  2. The kit has over 25 items, including radio-protectors that provide 80-90 per cent protection against radiation and nerve gas agents, bandages that absorb radiation as well as tablets and ointments.
  3. The kit has been developed for the armed, paramilitary and police forces only as they are the first ones likely to get exposed to radiation – be it during nuclear, chemical and biomedical (NCB) warfare or a rescue operation after a nuclear accident.

Major Contents of the Kit

  1. The contents include an advanced form of Prussian blue tablets, highly effective in incorporating Radio Cesium (Cs-137) and Radio Thallium, among the most feared radioisotopes in nuclear bombs that destroy human body cells.
  2. The kit also has an Ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) injection that traps uranium in the guts and blood of victims during a nuclear accident or warfare.
  3. The kit also has Ca-EDTA Respiratory Fluid, which is the inhalation formula for chelation, or grabbing, of heavy metals and radioactive elements deposited in lungs through inhalation at nuclear accident sites.
  4. The medicine reduces the body burden of radioactivity by 30-40 per cent in controlled conditions and is highly useful for the rescue teams and victims after a nuclear accident.

Utility of the Kit

  1. The kit has Radioactive Blood Mopping Dressing, a special kind of bandage that absorbs radiation.
  2. The kit also has a radioactive urine/biofluid collector which is cost-effective, easy to store and can safely dispose of the urine of a person affected by radiation.
  3. Also part of the kit is the Amifostine injection, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved conventional radiopharmaceutical that limits damage from gamma radiation.
  4. Another medicine in the form of a tablet is Indranil 150 mg introduced as a reserve emergency drug for rescue personnels where high acute exposures are expected and lives will be at stake.

Way Forward

  1. The kit is a potential alternative to those being procured from nations such as the US and Russia at much higher prices.
  2. Such medicines will help everyone and not just soldiers. This will also help the victims affected in terrorist attacks.
  3. Due to a very small market, availability is a major issue.
  4. While INMAS gets set to ramp up production of the kits for the security forces, doctors at AIIMS feel the kits can be made available to civilians at a later stage.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

UN Chief appeals for Ratification of CTBT to India and USIOCRPrelims OnlyPriority 1

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CTBT

Mains level: India’s track record in nuclear disarmament and its current position across various international groupings and organizations.



  1. UN chief Antonio Guterres reiterated his appeal to eight nations, including India and the US, to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
  2. More than 180 countries have signed the CTBT, and mostly ratified it.
  3. The treaty can only enter into force after it is ratified by eight countries with nuclear technology capacity i.e. China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

  1. The CTBT is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments.
  2. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but has not entered into force as eight specific states have not ratified the treaty.

No enforcement since negotiation

  1. More than 20 years since its negotiation, the Treaty has yet to enter into force.
  2. The failure to bring the treaty into force prevents its full implementation and undermines its permanence in the international security architecture.

The Korean Deviance

  1. Since the turn of the century only the North Korea, has broken this norm, leading to condemnation from the Security Council and repeated imposition of sanctions.
  2. These tests have shown that no ad hoc measure can replace a global, legally binding ban on nuclear-testing.

India’s stance on CTBT

  1. India did not support the treaty in 1996 — and still does not — but it had been very supportive during negotiations.
  2. The roots of that exuberance can be traced to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous initiative in 1954 for a “standstill agreement” on nuclear testing.
  3. His intervention came at a time when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were detonating powerful nuclear weapons with increasing frequency.
  4. Nehru played an important role in building international momentum for the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which India joined.
  5. India has been observing a unilateral moratorium since 1998 and is a champion of nuclear disarmament.

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

  1. On the annual observance of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, Guterres highlighted the inextricable connection” between testing and eliminating nuclear weapons across the world.
  2. He recalled the testimony of the survivors, the ‘Hibakusha.
  3. Hibakusha is the Japanese word for the surviving victims of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  4. The word literally translates as “explosion-affected people” and is used to refer to people who were exposed to radiation from the bombings.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India votes against draft decision on chemical weapons use at OPCW meetPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Chemical Weapons Convention

Mains level: India’s track record in nuclear disarmament and its current position across various international groupings and organizations

Addressing the threat from chemical weapons

  1. India has voted against the draft decision on addressing the threat from chemical weapons use at a special conference of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  2. India has a view that the draft decision of such far-reaching importance and implications should be the end result of a comprehensive and extensive consultation
  3. India believes that on an issue of such grave importance, the consultations conducted by the sponsors remain incomplete

About the conference

  1. The conference has been called by the UK, the US and the West to have discussions on upholding the global ban against the use of chemical weapons
  2. The UK has reportedly proposed to consider empowering the OPCW to identify the organization or government responsible for chemical attacks in addition to its existing power of carrying out the investigation into such cases
  3. The special session is being held in the backdrop of the widespread concern over reports of use of chemical weapons in Malaysia, the UK, Northern Ireland, Syria and Iraq

Chemical Weapons Convention

  1. The global ban against chemical weapons is the fundamental goal for which the Chemical Weapons Convention has been adopted
  2. The use of chemical weapons is reprehensible and contrary to the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention


Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

  1. OPCW is an intergovernmental organization and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997
  2. The OPCW, with its 193 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavor for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons
  3. The organization promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction
  4. Verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by member states and onsite inspections
  5. The OPCW has the power to say whether chemical weapons were used in an attack it has investigated
  6. The organization was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Opposed to ‘weaponisation’ of outer space: India to UNIOCR


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC), NAM, Conference on Disarmament, Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty

Mains level: Threats posed by weaponization of outer space and international efforts to stop that

Keeping outer space safe

  1. India has voiced opposition to the “weaponization” of outer space, saying it should not become an area of conflict
  2. India has called for collective efforts to strengthen safety and security of the space-based assets
  3. This was said at the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC)
  4. India attaches much importance to the UNDC as the specialized deliberative leg of the disarmament machinery

New agenda of outer space

  1. Deliberations will begin on the new agenda of outer space – the first in the last 18 years
  2. The group of governmental experts on outer space will meet in Geneva in August later this year
  3. It has been mandated to make recommendations on the substantive elements of an international legally-binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space

Conference on Disarmament (CD)

  1. India has supported the proposal put forward by NAM for the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to commence negotiations on a comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention
  2. India has also supported the commencement of negotiations of an FMCT (Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty) in the CD on the basis of the agreed mandate


UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC)

  1. In 1952, the UN General Assembly created the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) under the Security Council
  2. The Disarmament Commission was re-established at the first Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament in 1978 to succeed an earlier Disarmament Commission, which ceased to convene after 1965
  3. It was created as a deliberative body, with the function of considering and making recommendations on various issues in the field of disarmament and of following up on the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special session
  4. It has a mandate to prepare proposals for a treaty for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of all armed forces and all armaments, including the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction
  5. It reports annually to the General Assembly
  6. Since 1978, the Disarmament Commission has dealt with numerous disarmament-related questions, both nuclear and conventional
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

[op-ed snap] Forging a new nuclear dealop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement, pressurised heavy water reactors

Mains level: Nuclear energy and various aspects related to it


India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement

  1. The agreement would enable American companies to build nuclear power reactors in India
  2. Its been 10 years since the memoranda of understanding were inked
  3. There is no sign yet of any concrete contract between an American company and the Indian authorities to build a reactor

Importance of the agreement

  1. The U.S. had considerably shifted its stand on non-proliferation to give India the waivers needed
  2. They were to herald India’s arrival on the global nuclear power stage

What all has changed in recent years

  1. There has been a shift in global politics,
  2. Use of renewable energy technology is rising
  3. The U.S.’s commitment to India has changed,
  4. The supplier’s capacity and ability are also in question

Changes in the deal

  1. Westinghouse (a supplier of nuclear reactors) went into major cost overruns
  • This was for building four AP1000 reactors at two projects in the U.S., the same reactors as the ones meant for India
  • When work was halted on the Westinghouse projects in South Carolina, the construction was already five years over schedule
  • India’s past record with Russian projects puts the meantime to construct a reactor here at nine years
  • This would mean that even if an India-U.S. techno-commercial contract is finally readied in 2019, it may not see fruition until 2029

2. Donald Trump’s presidency has taken a very sharp turn away from renewable energy

  • Mr. Trump said that the U.S. will now mine, export and push oil, gas, coal and shale trade into its foreign outreach
  • As a result, New Delhi may not get the support that the Obama administration had promised both on financing renewable energy projects and in facilitating India-U.S. civil nuclear power deals

3. India’s own requirements from the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal have changed

  • In May 2017, the Cabinet approved an $11 billion, 7,000 MW construction plan for 10 Indian-made pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs)
  • India hopes to have 14,600 MW of nuclear power online by 2024
  • India has also found much more comfort in its existing agreement with Russia’s Atomstroyexport

What should India focus on?

  1. Shifts in the world nuclear industry must be studied closely before heading back into negotiations with new companies
  2. Nuclear safety requirements have become more stringent
  3. Nuclear power is losing its primacy in the energy mix
  4. More countries now see nuclear power as a “base-load” option, to be kept as back-up for the unstable, but infinitely less costly and eco-friendly solar and hydroelectric power options

Way forward

  1. The India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement for commercial projects, as it was completed all those years ago, is now obsolete
  2. Reviving it will require a different template that takes into account India and the new global realities
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India joins chemical weapons parts export control bloc Australia Group


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the australian group

Mains level: Important for India’s entry into the NSG.


India joins the Australian Group

  1. India has admitted as the 43rd member of the Australia Group
  2. The group is an informal bloc of countries that keeps a tight control over exports of substances used in the making of chemical weapons

Why is it important?

  1. With its admission into the Australia Group, India is now part of three of the four key export control groups in the world
  2. This includes the Missile Technology Control Regimethe Wassenaar Arrangement
  3. The only export control group that India is not a part of is the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)


The Australian Group

  1. The Australia Group is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) and an informal group of countries (now joined by the European Commission) established in 1985 (after the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in 1984) to help member countries to identify those exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons
  2. The group, initially consisting of 15 members, held its first meeting in Brussels, Belgium, in September 1989. With the incorporation of India on January 19, 2018, it now has 43 members, including Australia, the European Commission, all 28 member states of the European Union, Ukraine, and Argentina
  3. The name comes from Australia’s initiative to create the group. Australia manages the secretariat
  4. The initial members of the group had different assessments of which chemical precursors should be subject to export control
  5. Later adherents initially had no such controls
  6. Today, members of the group maintain export controls on a uniform list of 54 compounds, including several that are not prohibited for export under the Chemical Weapons Convention, but can be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons
  7. In 2002, the group took two important steps to strengthen export control
  8. The first was the “no-undercut” requirement, which stated that any member of the group considering making an export to another state that had already been denied an export by any other member of the group must first consult with that member state before approving the export
  9. The second was the “catch-all” provision, which requires member states to halt all exports that could be used by importers in chemical or biological weapons programs, regardless of whether the export is on the group’s control lists
  10. Delegations representing the members meet every year in Paris, France
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

[op-ed snap] In an elite club: On India’s Wassenaar entryop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group

Mains level: India’s nuclear program, NSG bid and way forward


India’s admittance into the Wassenaar Arrangement

  1. This is a big step forward in India’s quest for formal acceptance as a responsible nuclear power
  2. As a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), New Delhi has been at pains to convey to the international community that it adheres to, and is invested in, a rules-based order

About Wassenaar Agreement

  1. The Wassenaar Arrangement was founded in 1996
  2. Its stated aim is “to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations.”
  3. It is clubbed with mechanisms such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Australia Group
  4. It comes on the heels of membership last year of the MTCR

Need for quiet diplomacy in sensitive nuclear issues

  1. India did a botched attempt to gain entry to the NSG last year
  2. While India’s efforts at the NSG were stopped by China, which is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement, raising the pitch publicly at the time came with costs
  3. It made the task of forging a consensus on membership to the NSG more difficult

Way forward

  1. The Wassenaar Arrangement will embed India deeper in the global non-proliferation architecture and enable access to critical technologies in the defense and space sectors
  2. The Australia Group, which focusses on biological and chemical weapons, may be easier to crack given that China is not a member
  3. As more and more countries are signing on to India’s steadily strengthening credentials in the nuclear area, there is hope that a fresh momentum will be imparted to a future bid for the NSG
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Wassenaar Arrangement decides to make India its member


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Wassenaar Arrangement, Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), MTCR, Australia Group

Mains level: Importance of joining NSG and other export control regimes by India

India joins Wassenaar agreement

  1. Elite export control regime Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) decided to admit India as its new member
  2. This is expected to raise New Delhi’s stature in the field of non-proliferation besides helping it acquire critical technologies

Strong case for NSG membership

  1. India’s entry into the export control regime would enhance its credentials in the field of non-proliferation despite not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
  2. The WA membership is also expected to build up a strong case for India’s entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
  3. China, which stonewalled India’s entry into the 48-nation NSG is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement

About Wassenaar Arrangement

  1. The Wassenaar Arrangement plays a significant role in promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies
  2. Its member countries are required to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals
  3. The aim is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists

India’s rise in non proliferation field

  1. In June last year, India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), another key export control regime, as a full member
  2. Since its civil nuclear deal with the U.S., India has been trying to get into export control regimes such as the NSG, the MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons and technologies
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India seeks probe into North Korea nuclear ties

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: North Korea’s Nuclear Test is a hot topic these days. We should know every possible aspect of it, just as in the given newscard which explains Pakistan’s link in the issue.

India’s Demand

  1. India has sought a probe into North Korea’s nuclear proliferation linkages
  2. And demanded that those responsible for it should be held accountable (in a veiled reference to Pakistan)
  3. The remarks came after North Korea had fired another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan
  4. It follows North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test which was in direct defiance of the United Nations sanctions


  1. Though there was no direct reference to Pakistan in Foreign Ministry remarks
  2. It came amid reports that Pyongyang had received nuclear enrichment technology from Pakistan when AQ Khan was at the helm of Islamabad’s nuclear programme
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

‘Uranium sale talks at advanced stage’

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Uranium Reserves around the world

Mains level: Uranium export from Australia, is very crucial for India’s rising energy needs


Uranium sale to India

  1. According to the Australian government, discussions are at a ‘well-advanced’ stage for Australia’s uranium sale to India, to fuel nuclear power plants
  2. Of the world’s proven estimated uranium reserves (5,404,000 tonnes), 31% are held in Australia (1,673,000 tonnes)

Dismissing the allegations

  1. Australian government has also dismissed the allegations that uranium supply was facing ‘delays’ due to the Australian coal mining sector ‘lobbying’ to protect its interests
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

[op-ed snap] No First Use Policy- its advantagesop-ed snap

  1. Context: Since 1998, a key pillar of India’s nuclear policy has been a pledge not to use nuclear weapons first
  2. Why India opts for NFU? India’s non-nuclear military forces are superior to Pakistan’s
  3. Very low risk of a major ground war with China given Indian defensive stopping power of the Himalayas
  4. No plausible scenarios for which the first use of nuclear weapons might be useful
  5. India’s nuclear forces are strictly to deter a WMD attack, and can be oriented entirely for retaliation
  6. Advantages of NFU: stable scenario because enemies do not have to fear that India will initiate nuclear use, which might tempt them to use nuclear weapons early and massively against India
  7. Ambiguity in nuclear doctrine is not necessarily a bad thing — it can enhance deterrence
  8. Parrikar’s remarks, however, did not introduce ambiguity into Indian nuclear doctrine. Instead, they injected confusion
  9. Confusion arises when statements by various govt officials, contradict stated government policy, this leads other countries to believe in the worst case scenario
  10. Hence, PM Modi must publicly reaffirm India’s NFU pledge
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

UN court rejects disarmament case against India

  1. The International Court of Justice rejected nuclear disarmament cases filed by the Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands against Britain, India and Pakistan
  2. Ruling (why rejected Marshall’s claim?): The Marshall Islands has failed to prove that a legal dispute over disarmament existed between it and the three nuclear powers before the case was filed in 2014, and consequently the court lacks jurisdiction
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India will never sign NPT, says Sushma Swaraj

  1. News: Govt told the Lok Sabha that it will never sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but will maintain commitment to the NPT
  2. This counts as a significant continuation of national policy on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
  3. Context: It was in response to a question if India had a clear policy about how to join the NSG without becoming a member of the NPT?
  4. How to get NSG entry? The world knows our commitment to the NPT and it was because of this that we got the waiver and it was on this basis that we will get NSG membership
  5. Background: India got waiver at the NSG in 2008 without becoming member of the NPT
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Pacific Ocean radiation nears pre-Fukushima level

  1. News: Radiation levels across the Pacific Ocean are rapidly returning to normal after 5 years, a study showed
  2. Background: An earthquake-generated tsunami in 2011 in Japan had triggered dumping of nuclear material into the world’s oceans, from Fukushima nuclear power plant
  3. Study also showed that radioactive material has been carried across the ocean as far as the shores of US
  4. The research examined radioactive caesium levels measured off Japan’s coast across the Pacific to North America
  5. Caesium is a by-product of nuclear power and is highly soluble in water, making it ideal for measuring the release of radioactive material into the ocean
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Nuclear plants insured

  1. News: India’s first insurance policy covering public liability to an atomic power plant operator has been issued to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)
  2. The insurance policy was issued by the country’s largest non-life insurer New India Assurance Company Ltd
  3. The total was around Rs 100 crore for a risk cover of Rs 1,500 crore
  4. Background: The Central government had announced the setting up of the Rs 1,500-crore India Nuclear Insurance Pool to be managed by national reinsurer GIC Re
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India enters MTCR

  1. News: India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), in a bid to boost its non-proliferation credentials
  2. MTCR: Places restrictions of proliferation of rockets and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that can carry a payload of 500kgs and a range of 300kms
  3. China, who had blocked India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), is not a member of MTCR
  4. Benefits: Will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its JVs with Russia
  5. Background: Italy, a member of MTCR, had previously blocked India’s application over the issue of detaining its marines
  6. After resolving the issue with Italy and after joining the Hague Code of Conduct, India was poised to be an MTCR member soon
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

What is Pelindaba Treaty?

  1. Pelindaba Treaty (Also known as the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty or ANWFZT) controls uranium supply from key mineral hubs in Africa
  2. As India is not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the member states of Pelindbaba treaty (ANWFZT) are not allowed to supply uranium to India
  3. Named after South Africa’s main nuclear research centre, a location where South Africa’s nuclear bombs of 1970s were developed and stored
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Namibia assures uranium supply to India

  1. News: Namibia assured that it will look into legal ways through which its uranium can be supplied to India for civil nuclear power projects
  2. Context: As India is not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Namibia, one of the member states of Pelindbaba treaty, is not allowed to supply uranium to India
  3. Namibia and India also shared similar views about the need for reforms in the United Nations
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India clears final hurdle to join missile control group

  1. The members of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) have agreed to admit India
  2. A deadline for members of the group to object to India’s admission had expired on Monday without any of them raising objections
  3. Under the ‘silent procedure‘, India’s admission follows automatically
  4. Next stage: Each of the 34 member countries need to send a diplomatic note stating formally that they accept India’s membership
  5. This could take weeks or even months, given the internal processes of each country
  6. India will also soon receive membership documents which it must ratify and return
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Swiss back India’s bid for Nuclear Suppliers Group membership

  1. Context: India has been pushing for membership of the NSG for last few years and has formally moved its application
  2. Switzerland promised India support in its efforts to become a member of NSG
  3. The NSG looks after critical issues relating to the nuclear sector and its membership will help India expand its atomic energy sector
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Let’s know more about the Hague Code of conduct

  1. The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) was established on 25 November 2002
  2. It is a voluntary legally non-binding multilateral body
  3. Aim: Preventing the spread of ballistic missiles that can deliver weapons of mass destruction
  4. It is the only normative instrument to verify the spread of ballistic missiles
  5. It does not ban ballistic missiles, but it does call for restraint in their production, testing, and export
  6. Its membership stands at 138 (including India)
  7. While the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has a similar mission, it is an export group with only 34 members
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India joins The Hague Code of Conduct

  1. India’s joining HCoC strengthened the worldwide attempt to contain the spread of ballistic missiles
  2. It signals our readiness to further strengthen the global non-proliferation regimes
  3. HCoC has been focused on West Asia, South Asia and the East Asia due to the rising missile and nuclear arms race among rival powers
  4. In the latest meeting of the HCoC, a special mention was made of the increased number of missile launches by North Korea in 2015
  5. India is on track for membership in other technology regimes like the Missile Technology Control Regime
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

China signs deals with Sudan to build nuclear reactor

  1. China has signed agreements with Sudan (its close ally in Africa) to build 600-megawatt atomic reactor, the first such project in the African country
  2. The agreements may involve a blueprint for nuclear power development in the next decade for Sudan and building the first nuclear power station in the country
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Key nuclear security initiatives

  1. Context: Modi announced key nuclear security initiatives by India during Nuclear Security Summit
  2. Initiatives: Counter nuclear smuggling and strengthen the national detection architecture for nuclear and radioactive material
  3. A dedicated counter-nuclear smuggling team has been set up.
  4. High national priority to nuclear security through strong institutional framework, independent regulatory agency and trained and specialized manpower
  5. Support IAEA’s role in nuclear security by a further contribution of $1 million to the nuclear security fund
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Kerry hails India’s role in securing its nuclear material

  1. Context: The 4th Nuclear Security Summit at US
  2. News: India has a very important role to play in securing nuclear weapons and nuclear materials
  3. It has shown responsible stewardship of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials
  4. India is deeply interested in seeing and ensuring that the safety and security of the radioactive material must be ensured
  5. Challenge: The battlefield deployments make nuclear weapons vulnerable to theft and sabotage
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Nuclear security must remain abiding national priority: Modi

  1. Context: Modi during a White House dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama that formally kicked off the two-day Nuclear Security Summit
  2. What? Nuclear security must remain an abiding national priority
  3. All States must completely abide by their international obligations
  4. Brussels attacks show how real and immediate the threat is to nuclear security from terrorism
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Modi in US to attend nuclear security summit

  1. Context: The fourth and last Nuclear Security Summit hosted by Obama
  2. News: Mr. Modi is expected to lay out his vision of securing nuclear weapons
  3. He would underline some of the important measures India has taken to strengthen nuclear security
  4. Agenda: To strengthen the global nuclear security architecture, especially to ensure that non-state actors do not get access to nuclear material
  5. To deliberate on the crucial issue of threat to nuclear security caused by nuclear terrorism
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India may focus on best practices at Nuclear Security Summit

  1. Context: To highlight the “Best Practices” in the international nuclear industry and its national nuclear safety record in the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) held in March
  2. Importance: This is the last time U.S. President Obama will host the participating countries and the first time PM Modi will take part
  3. Indo-Pak Relevance: Summit may form the backdrop for a meeting between Modi and Sharif , that may thaw freeze that crept into India-Pakistan ties
  4. Background: India has been a part of the summit since it convened in 2010, but came into focus due to a critical campaign by Centre for Public Integrity, a Washington DC-based NGO
  5. Scientists Opinion: Summit provided opportunity for India to stay ahead in the field of security and safety in the nuclear industry
  6. Way ahead: India will highlight its safety and non-proliferation records in the summit
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Marshall Islands sue Britain, India and Pakistan over nuclear weapons

Archipelago where infamous Bikini Atoll test took place tells international court that nuclear powers have not lived up to disarmament obligations.


  1. It sought to persuade the UN’s highest court to take up a lawsuit, accusing the countries of failing to halt the nuclear arms race.
  2. The International Court of Justice has announced dates for separate hearings for the three cases between March 7 and March 16.
  3. In the cases brought against India and Pakistan, the court will examine whether the tribunal based in Hague is competent enough to hear the lawsuits.
  4. The hearing involving Britain will be devoted to ‘preliminary objections’ raised by London.
  5. A decision will be made at a later date as to whether the cases can proceed.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India pushes harder for NSG membership

  1. India is fast-pacing its pitch for membership to the 48-member nuclear club.
  2. The 48-member NSG works by consensus, and not majority, so India is reaching out to every possible country.
  3. Govt. is focusing on membership of NSG, as well as other major groupings: Missile Technology Control Regime, Australian and Wassenaar Arrangement.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Modi may attend US nuclear security summit next year

  1. PM is likely to travel to the US for the 4th Nuclear Security Summit in next year, an initiative of President Barack Obama.
  2. This is an international effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material, break up black markets, and detect and intercept illicitly trafficked material.
  3. These risks were mostly associated with the republics that once formed the Soviet Union and were left with a lot of nuclear material.
  4. Now, Pakistan has emerged as a core concern with the increasing risk of jihadi groups accessing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

No decision on India’s inclusion as MTCR concludes meeting

It was established in April 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Great Britain, and the United States.

  1. India has an application under submission since June 2015 to be a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
  2. MTCR is voluntary partnership between 34 countries to prevent the proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology.
  3. MTCR was supplemented by the International Code of Conduct in 2002, against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (ICOC), also known as the Hague Code of Conduct.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

What a US-Pakistan nuclear deal might mean for Indiaop-ed snap

Although the deal has been termed a potential “diplomatic blockbuster”, its inherent contradictions may make it difficult to sell in both the US and Pakistan.

pakistan, US, Pakistan US nuclear deal, Pakistan US civil nuclear deal, Washington, Islamabad, india US nuclear deal, india news


  1. As the idea of a nuclear deal between the United States and Pakistan gains some traction in Washington, Delhi is unlikely to lose much sleep.
  2. The hope for a nuclear deal between America and Pakistan was born the very moment US-India unveiled the historic civil nuclear initiative in July 2005.
  3. Pakistan simultaneously opposed the US deal with India and demanded one for itself on the same terms that Washington had offered Delhi.
  4. The Bush Administration refused to entertain any proposal for a nuclear accommodation with Pakistan.
  5. It insisted that the deal with Delhi was an exception that couldn’t be replicated with Islamabad.
  6. The US is ready to lift international restrictions against civilian nuclear commerce with Pakistan in return for significant voluntary restraints on its nuclear weapons programme.
  7. The terms of the deal with Pakistan are somewhat different from those that India had won from Washington in 2005.
  8. This will make it a hard political sell in Pakistan, which has always insisted on ‘nuclear parity’ with India.
  9. The quest for nuclear parity has only been one important theme of Pakistan’s atomic diplomacy.

Overall completes the vicious circle that has long complicated the triangular relationship between India, Pakistan and the US.

Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

Nuclear energy not viable, says German economist

  1. German green economist Ralf Fücks feels India should focus on solar energy, which is becoming cheaper by the day.
  2. India will do better to invest in solar and in wind power than in nuclear energy.
  3. Nuclear energy is economically unsustainable and needed govt. subsidies to survive.
  4. If something goes wrong then it can be catastrophic like Chernobyl and Fukushima.
  5. There was a very thin wall between civil and military nuclear applications.
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India has to homogenise liability law, says GE chief

  1. There is an extremely standard liability law that the rest of the world has adopted.
  2. The language has to be just homogenised between India and the rest of the world.
  3. The subsidies in the electricity sector should be lowered so that prices were more market-determined.
  4. GE is interested in commercial and military aviation, renewable energy as well as oil and gas and also saw a big opportunity in Make in India.

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?


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?


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.


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