Tag Archives: Arun Vishwanathan

Nuclear Deterrence and Southern Asia

Journal of the United Services Institution of India, Vol. Issue No: CXLVI, No. 605, July-September 2016, pp. 336-343

Arun VishwanathanAssistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

usi-cover-smallIn the history of nuclear weapons and deterrence, Southern Asia is different because in the past, we have not had three nuclear armed countries sharing borders which continue to be disputed. The geographical contiguity in essence results in shorter flight times which translates into less time available to the countries’ command and control systems to plan a response and more importantly the certainty of radioactive fallout spreading across borders.
Another important factor which sets this region apart is the fact that the three countries have gone to war in the past over the contested borders. Another important factor that sets the region apart is that the three countries have gone to war in the past over the contested borders.
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India’s entry into the NSG: A Long-winded Process

Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, July-Sept 2016. pp. 217-223.

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

ifaj-july-sept-2016India’s relationship with the above multilateral export control regimes has witnessed a remarkable turnaround in recent years. From being the rationale behind the establishment of the NSG and the MTCR, India has joined the MTCR as a member, and its application for membership into the NSG is under discussion amongst the group’s members. One of the drivers for this transformation has been the growing strategic partnership between the USA and India which, among other things, has resulted in the liberalisation of American export control regulations with respect to India. The extent of the policy shift towards India becomes apparent from the fact that, post 2009, only 0.3 percent of US exports to India require export licence from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). This is a substantial reduction from the close to 25 percent of US exports which required export licences in the year 2000.

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National Security Reform

National Police Academy, Hyderabad, September 2, 2016

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Dr. Arun Vishwanathan spoke to senior civil and police officers at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad on the issue of National Security Reform. The lecture was part of the Senior Officers Course on “National Security” which was held between August 29-September 2, 2016. The Lecture touched up the need for a National Security Strategy, Need for Institutionalized Coordination and Follow-up mechanism, Reforms in Intelligence Agencies and Higher Defence Organisation. 

Ready to Soar: Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is all set for IAF induction

First Post,  July 1, 2016

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

First PostOn Friday, the Air Force will induct two Tejas aircraft manufactured by the HAL under the Series Production (SP1 and SP2) along with a trainer aircraft into the IAF’s Number 45 Squadron, the Flying Daggers. The induction is set to take place at the Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in Bengaluru. This follows HAL’s handing over of the first Series Production version of the LCA to the Air Force in January 2015.

The induction of the LCA Tejas into the Air Force will allow the pilots and the crew to become more familiar with the aircraft, develop a sense of ownership for the aircraft. It will also ensure that the developers receive valuable feedback to improve future versions of the aircraft. The Air Force seems to be following this tack with decision to base LCA squadron in Bengaluru for the first two years before moving the aircraft to the Sulur base in Tamil Nadu.

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NSG Membership and India

Eenadu, (Telugu) June 24, 2016

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Eenadu vyakyanam-logoIn the normal course of things, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) does not receive much attention. Established in 1975 as a response to the May 1974 nuclear tests by India, the 48-member grouping attempts to control the export of fissile material, nuclear materials and technologies including dual-use items. The group members control roughly 80 percent of the global uranium reserves and close to 80 percent of the global uranium production. The aim of the group is to ensure the peaceful use of nuclear energy and prevent the possible diversion of nuclear material or technology for building nuclear weapons. However, in recent weeks, after India and Pakistan submitted their applications to join the NSG, and China publicly opposed India’s membership, the NSG has got entangled in a geo-political tug of war between the United States and China.

To read the complete article (PDF) click here

Nuclear Stability at Low Numbers: The South Asian Challenge

Cornell University, Washington DC, May 3, 2016

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Cornell_University_7508474Dr. Arun Vishwanathan made a presentation on “Complex Deterrence” at the Cornell University’s Workshop on “Nuclear Stability at Low Numbers: The South Asian Challenge” held on May 2-3, 2016 at the Cosmos Club, Washington DC. For the workshop program click here.

The presentation dwelt on Chinese and Pakistani thinking about nuclear weapons and the challenges for deterrence in the region in light of expanding capabilities and acquisition of advanced weapon systems.

Analysis of North Korea’s February 2016 Successful Space Launch

Analysis of North Korea’s February 2016 Successful Space Launch

Authors: S. Chandrashekar, N. Ramani, Arun Vishwanathan

To read the complete report click here

To cite: S. Chandrashekar, N. Ramani, Arun Vishwanathan. Analysis of North Korea’s February 2016 Successful Space Launch. ISSSP Report No. 02-2016. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, April 2016, available at http://isssp.in/analysis-of-north-koreas-february-2016-successful-space-launch/

DPRK Feb 2016 Unha3The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea succeeded in placing a 100 kg Earth Observation (EO) satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 into a Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) on February 7, 2016. As it had done in earlier launches, the DPRK used its Unha-3 launch vehicle for the latest mission. The launch was conducted from the Sohae Space Center in Ch’o’lsan County, North Pyongyang Province.

North Korea has so far conducted six space launches. The last two launches conducted in December 2012 and the recent February 2016 launch have been successful in placing small remote sensing satellites into “more difficult to reach” sun synchronous orbits.

Based on available information put out by various agencies including official North Korean sources this report attempts to reconstruct the trajectory of the February 2016 launch. Using this reconstruction of the trajectory it goes on to make inferences about the technical parameters of the launcher. It builds upon and complements an earlier study carried out by the ISSSP on North Korea’s successful launch of 2012 to provide an update on North Korea’s launch and space capabilities.

On February 2, 2016, the North Koreans had released information about an impending space launch to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The statement indicated a launch window stretching from February 8 to February 25, 2016. It also provided the area coordinates or impact zones for the spent stages and the shroud. On February 6, 2016, the DPRK narrowed down the launch window to February 7-14. The launch took place on February 7, 2016, the first day of the revised launch window.

Analysis of the Unha-3 Launch using NIAS Quo Vadis Trajectory Software

The analysis was carried out using the Quo Vadis trajectory software developed at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. Using an iterative trial and error process involving changes in the various launch vehicle parameters very similar to those used in our analysis of the 2012 launch we attempted to arrive at a trajectory in which the impact points of the first stage, second stage and shroud are closely matched with the nominal impact points put out by North Korea. Along with this we also introduced needed maneuvers to the first, second and third stages for realizing an orbit that matched well with the NORAD orbital data. 

With two successful satellite launches, North Korea has indicated its capability to indigenously design, develop, test and integrate advanced technologies like a new engine for its launch vehicle. More importantly, the two launches have highlighted the North Korean capability to bring together the hard technologies with the softer parts of the launch like mission planning and management.

For placing the satellite into a sun synchronous orbit, North Korea has to carry out maneuvers after liftoff, pitch down the second stage after the first stage separation and also carry out a yaw maneuver of the third stage before injection of the satellite into orbit.

Successful mastery of these difficult technologies and a complex mission indicates the progress in rocket and missile technology that the North Koreans have achieved since their first failed launch in April 2012. The launch trajectory and the initial orbits of the February 2016 launch of the Unha-3 as computed by the Quo Vadis software is depicted in Figure below.

unha3 feb 2016 launch trajectory

Unha-3 February 2016 Launch Trajectory

Click here to download the KMZ file for the Unha-3 Trajectory

Unha-3 as a long-range Ballistic Missile

North Korea conducted four nuclear tests with the latest test in January 2016. In addition it has successfully put a satellite into orbit twice – in December 2012 and February 2016. With these capabilities, North Korea is moving towards the capability to miniaturize its nuclear warhead and delivering them on long range missiles.

Though the Unha-3 is primarily designed for a space mission, it can be modified into a long range ballistic missile. Trajectory analysis using the NIAS trajectory modelling software – Quo Vadis – shows that a due North East launch (25o azimuth) of the Unha from a suitable location with a 1000kg payload (sufficient to carry a nuclear warhead) can reach all of Alaska and some parts of northern Canada. As indicated in an earlier ISSSP, NIAS report, if North Korea manages to reduce the payload mass to 800kg it will be able to successfully deliver a nuclear warhead on parts of western coast of the continental United States including the states of Washington, Oregon and northern parts of California.

Figure below provides a visual representation of the range of the Unha 3 launcher if it is deployed as a long range missile.

Unha-3 as a BM

Unha-3 as a Long Range Ballistic Missile

About the Authors

S. Chandrashekar is JRD Tata Chair Professor in the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, NIAS, Bangalore. He can be reached at chandrashekar.schandra[at]gmail.com

N. Ramani is Visiting Professor in the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, NIAS, Bangalore. He can be reached at narayan.ramani[at]gmail.com

Arun Vishwanathan is Assistant Professor in the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, NIAS, Bangalore. He can be reached at arun_summerhll[at]yahoo.com


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.

To read the complete article (in PDF) click here

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.

To read the complete article click here

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.

To read the complete article click here

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