Category Archives: Outreach Publications

10 Years of Fighting Pirates in Asia

The Diplomat, September 01, 2016

Prakash Panneerselvam, Post Doctoral Associate, ISSSP, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore

DipThis year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Center (ISC) in Singapore. In those ten years, ReCAAP ISC has grown into a true multilateral organization comprising 20 nations across globe working toward the safety and security of the maritime commons. Information sharing and confidence building measures between law enforcement agencies have made a tangible contribution to anti-piracy efforts; ReCAAP ISC has achieved a great deal in reversing the rising trend in piracy incidents in the region.

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No cause for worry

Deccan Herald, August 29, 2016

Vice Admiral R.N. Ganesh, Adjunct Faculty, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore

DHThe recent expose in an Australian newspaper of restricted data about the French company DCNS, designer and builder of the Scorpene class submarine under construction at Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai, caused consternation in India. Undoubtedly, it was a major breach in information security. Whether or not the nature of classified data revealed adversely impacts the operational effectiveness of the Scorpene as the mainstay of the Indian Navy’s (IN) submarine force, is the issue. Typically, the overwhelming majority of all documentation which pertains to a submarine is technical and comprises operational, maintenance and repair instructions, which may be relevant to rival commercial entities – but minimal use for an adversary at sea. The frequent reference to the number of pages that have been “leaked” should be seen in this background.

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Advancing India’s relationship with Japan and South Korea: Quest for Middle-Power Cooperation

Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Issue Brief #262, August 2016

Prakash Panneerselvam, Post Doctoral Associate, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore


The security environment in the Asia-Pacific region is undergoing significant changes. The rise of China as a dominant power is seriously undermining US paramountcy in the region. Further, the competition between the US and China is only bound to grow as China seeks to expand its military and economic strength. The US pivot to Asia and its strengthening of partnerships with key regional allies has not deterred China from increasingly aggressive postures. In the wake of this turmoil, India’s relations with Japan and South Korea have assumed salience, with the possibility of middle power cooperative balancing in the region. As middle powers, India, Japan and South Korea have limited influence upon the international system, but through a more constructive multilateral mechanism, it could generate a huge influence on the affairs of the Asia-Pacific. India enjoys a strategic relationship with both Japan and South Korea, which can be expanded to address both global and regional challenges.

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India and Nuclear Suppliers Group

Chennai Centre for China Studies, June 27, 2016

LV Krishnan, Adjunct Faculty, ISSSP, NIAS

c3s logo-newWith four meetings in 20 months and the last within two months, Modi and Obama had to find some long unfinished items and a few innocuousness for the meeting in June 2016. For India, NSG entry is a promise Obama made to India some six years ago and naturally the choice fell on it.

The story of NSG is linked to NPT that entered into force in 1970. The Treaty is more about concern that nuclear weapons could spread beyond the original five than about nuclear disarmament. It only asks members not to export to Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) that are outside NPT (a) source material, meaning uranium and special fissionable material and other equipment and (b) especially designed or processed equipment for production of special fissionable material,without insisting on IAEA safeguards.

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Chinese New Maritime Silk Route Initiative: Opportunity or Threat for India?

“Chinese New Maritime Silk Route Initiative: Opportunity or Threat for India?” in R. Sidda Goud and Manisha Mookherjee, Eds., Sino-Indian Relations: Contemporary Perspective, Allied Publishers, 2016.

M. Mayilvaganan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Sino India Relations Goud MookherjeeChina is increasingly demonstrating its assertiveness and employs various strategies to maximize its interest in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Chinese president Xi Jinping declaration of Beijing’s plans to establish a “New 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR),” part of the One Belt, One Road initiative is the latest initiative that envisage greater economic cooperation and connectivity from Quanzhou in Fujian to Red Sea (into the Mediterranean via Athens) and then linking up with its land silk route at Venice. With the pledged US$40 billion (in the Silk Road Fund) Chinas intend to develop infrastructure along the route and through these makes efforts to consolidate its existing projects. This scheme not only opens up greater economic opportunities for China and its corporation but will also contribute in enlarging its sphere of influence.

Significantly, the response from the countries in the region to China’s MSR proposal ranges from mixed to lukewarm. Many of the countries in Asia-Pacific have welcomed and keen to join, whereas on the other hand countries like India have maintained silence. The China’s massive investment and projects in many of the littoral states in India’s neighbourhood, New Delhi joining Beijing’s New Silk Road seems far from reality. The dynamics of India-China relations and the apprehension among policy makers and security establishment is primary rationale. Even though India may benefit from the projects to an extent (for instance, development of Northeast India or coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal) the MSR poses challenges to India’s commercial, economic and political interest. The book chapter largely focused on understanding the MSR from India’s strategic interest perspective and in this context analyses Whether the Chinese MSR project is an opportunity or threat to India? Even if it’s going to benefit India, the question is how much India stands to gain from this China’s Belt and Road Initiative?

6 Months Later: The ‘Comfort Women’ Agreement

The Diplomat, May 11, 2016

Prakash Panneerselvam, Post Doctoral Associate, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore

Sandhya Puthanveedu, Research Intern, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore

The DiplomatOn December 28th 2015, the foreign minister of Japan and Republic of Korea reached an agreement on the”comfort women” issue, supposedly bringing an end to a decades-old bilateral issue. Nearly six months later, the agreement reached at the foreign minister level needs to be formally implemented by both sides. But the growing discontent in both countries over the agreement and growing popularity for comfort women statues across the globe pose more serious challenge to both the agreement and the overall Japan-Korea relationship.

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Indian Defence Research and Development (R&D): Transitioning from ‘Make in India’ to ‘Made in India’

Synergy: Journal of the Center for Joint Warfare Studies, December 2015, pp. 45-62.

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Synergy_CENJOWSCurrently about 60% of India’s defence equipment is procured from abroad. There are imminent risks of such a situation to India’s national security as seen during the 1965, 1971 Indo-Pak Wars and 1999 Kargil conflict.  The success of the “Make in India” programme is critical to increase the share of defence equipment produced within the country. International arms suppliers are however unlikely to undertake complete transfer of technology especially in critical materials and technologies.

The article argues that in the long term, there is no alternative to strengthening domestic defence research and development (R&D) if the larger objective of increasing self-reliance in defence has to be met. The article flags three bottlenecks which need to be done away with in order to strengthen India’s domestic R&D efforts. These include adequate long-term funding for research & development; augmentation of national capacity and capability to support R&D efforts; and compressing development timelines and ensuring quicker induction of the platform into the Services in large numbers.

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Monitoring Uranium Mining and Milling using Commercial Observation Satellites

ESARDA Bulletin, No. 53, December 2015, pp. 73-82.

Lalitha Sundaresan, Chandrashekar Srinivasan and Bhupendra Jasani

ESARDA Bulletin CoverAll the states that have signed the Additional Protocol to their Safeguards Agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will need to submit description and information specifying the location of their nuclear fuel cycle activities, including their operational and shut down uranium mines. While satellite imagery is useful for monitoring changes in the declared nuclear facilities, there has not been much discussion of using this imagery to monitor the early part of the nuclear fuel cycle namely uranium mining and milling. The availability of satellite data cost free on the Google Earth web site and commercially from various imagery providers makes it possible for analysts to make assessments concerning the nuclear fuel cycle activities of various countries of interest. The mining of uranium and its conversion through a milling process into U3O8 (yellowcake) is the first step of a complex conversion cycle that determines how the mined material will be used. Our study discusses the use of satellite imagery for identifying and monitoring uranium mining and milling activities.

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Iranian Nuclear Agreement: Understanding the Nonproliferation Paradigm

Contemporary Review of the Middle East, Vol. 3 No. 1, March 2016, pp. 1-20.

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

CRME_coverThe Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was successfully negotiated between Iran and the P5+1 comprising United States, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom, and Germany on July 14, 2015. The result of multilateral diplomacy spanning over a decade, the agreement resolved international concerns about the military nature of the Iranian nuclear program. The agreement expands the scope and nature of international safeguards and verification of the Iranian nuclear program. It physically blocks both the plutonium and the uranium route that Iran can pursue to build nuclear weapons. These measures increase the lead time available to the international community in case Iran decides to build nuclear weapons any time in the future. In sum, the agreement successfully alleviates global concerns about Iran building a nuclear weapon, builds trust between Iran and the West, and opens up the possibility of collaboration to tackle the challenges faced by the region as a whole.

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India’s Nuclear Concerns: Obama Responds

South Asian Voices, March 28, 2016

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

sav-logoI trust my letter finds you well. I look forward to welcoming you to Washington for the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). With the cherry blossoms blooming across the city, it is an excellent time to visit. 

The NSS process, which began in 2010, has been an interesting journey. As a result of this process and the commitment shown by world leaders like yourself, the number of countries ratifying the International Convention on Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) and the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM/A) has gone up. In addition, the global stocks of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) in the civilian sector have also come down.

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