Tag Archives: nuclear

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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NTI’s 2016 Nuclear Security Index Report

ISSSP Reflections No. 38, February 24, 2016

Author: Beenish Altaf
Print Print
NSS 2014

Source: MEA Website

After encountering the frenzy and blazing debates on the repercussions of 2012 and 2014 NTI reports, the year is again open to the same heated arguments once again. Being a national of the South Asian country where the matter of nuclear security always remained an important issue, this article is an attempt to analyse the 2016 NTI Nuclear Security Index.

Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) founded by US Senator Sam Nunn and CNN Founder, Ted Turner, works to strengthen global security by reducing the unauthorized and accidental use of nuclear weapons, preventing the spread of biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear weapons.  In addition, the NTI also assesses and evaluates the safety at nuclear facilities worldwide.

Worldwide Theft/Sabotage Ranking

The NTI 2016 Nuclear Security Index ranks 25 countries that possess “one kilogram or more of weapons-usable nuclear materials.” Both India and Pakistan fall into this category. In Asia, while China is ranked 20th, India and Pakistan are placed 23rd and 22nd in the index out of the 24 states with weapons-usable nuclear materials. Japan occupies the 13th position but has moved up 6 places from 2012 NTI ranking. The top position has been retained by Australia. Among the nuclear weapons states, France is placed at the 7th position, United Kingdom and United States occupy the 11th position.

The third edition of the NTI Report released in January 2016 is prepared in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). This year’s report has a new addition to the index that is the sabotage ranking, which reviews the nuclear security environment in 45 countries based on potential sabotage risks. The theft ranking and sabotage ranking scores assesses the contribution of 24 states across five broad categories (1) Quantities and Sites, (2) Security and Control Measures, (3) Global Norms, (4) Domestic Commitments and Capacity, and (5) Risk Environment.

The table below depicts the country-wise ranking in the 2016 NTI reports and the change from the 2012 NTI Report.

Beenish NTI Pic

Source: NTI Index Website www[dot]ntiindex[dot]org

The Nuclear Security Summit Process

The fourth and final gathering of the world leaders for Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is planned for March 31 – April 1, 2016 in Washington D.C.  The 2016 Washington NSS will culminate the series of three summits held in Washington, DC (2010), Seoul (2012), and at The Hague (2014). All the three summits tried to draw attention to the threat of nuclear sabotage, security of facilities and sites, safety of fissile materials including while in transportation and nuclear terrorism and establish a mechanism to enforce the countries to take stronger measures to prevent nuclear terrorism.

Speaking about the NSS process, NTI Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Nunn stated, “President Obama launched the summit process and he and his team as well as a host of committed world leaders, deserve credit for their achievements so far … and the work is not complete, however, and a plan to sustain high-level political attention on nuclear security must be a top priority at the Summit in Washington DC.” This statement creates an impression that the process of NSS has to go beyond the Obama Administration. However, there is no authentic information in the public domain as of yet whether the NSS process is likely to continue.

Likewise the NTI President Joan Rohlfing said “The current global nuclear security system has dangerous gaps that prevent it from being truly comprehensive and effective … Until those gaps are closed, terrorists will seek to exploit them. Leaders must commit to a path forward when they meet this spring. The consequences of inaction in the face of new and evolving threats are simply too great.” Rohlfing’s statement too reflects the desire to continue the NSS process beyond the 2016 NSS Summit.

It is pertinent to mention here that even though nuclear security is solely the sovereign right of a state, many countries should take the collective and mutually agreed steps to guarantee safety and security against the existing global threats. By and large, the NSS outcomes cannot be expected as a binding legal instrument and its operating mechanism are political in nature unless the states have signed the conventions. This situation creates an imperative to continue the NSS process beyond 2016 Washington DC summit .

Spotting Pakistan

Although Pakistan is one rank ahead of India in the NTI 2016 rankings, it still falls in the bottom of ranking for theft of nuclear weapon use-able material. The current NTI Index admits that Pakistan passed new cyber security regulations but it argues that the process of progress was too diminutive to upgrade its score. This is of course a subjective assessment that ignores their own statistics as given in the table.  Pakistan is taking steps to update its nuclear security regulations and to implement nuclear security best practices.

The NTI Report mentions that Pakistan’s improvement is primarily due to an “increased score for on-site physical protection resulting from new laws and regulations requiring licensees to provide physical protection to nuclear sites and on-site reviews of security.” Regarding the on-site physical protection the report mentions that “Pakistan, improved its score by three points compared with 2012, and demonstrated the largest improvement by any nuclear-armed state.” It is also pertinent to mention here that Pakistan has well-designed, skilled and committed nuclear security force approx 30,000 in number, which is geared to provide security, control and physical protection of its nuclear facilities and materials during transportation.

Despite deteriorating law and order situation in Pakistan not a single event of nuclear facility or radiological material’s theft has been reported so far which is commendable indeed. However, there is always a room for improvement and Pakistan needs to be vigilant to take measures to further improve the safety and security of its sensitive facilities to further improve its ranking in future.

About the Author

Beenish Altaf works for the Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad. She is currently pursuing projects related to the strategic issues of south Asia, South Asian quest for the export control group’s membership and Pakistan-India nuclear equation. She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Stimson Center, Washington DC. Her work has appeared in The National Interest, South Asian Voices, international blogs and various dailies. She can be reached at beenishaltaf7[at]gmail[dot]com

China Cancels Uranium Plant

Chennai Centre for China Studies, C3S Paper No.1177, July 20, 2013

L.V. Krishnan, Adjunct Faculty, NIAS, Bangalore

c3s logo-newCancellation by China of a uranium processing facility in Guangdong due to public protests hogged the headlines in almost every newspaper a few days ago. These reports pointed out how, in recent times, public protests have been successful also in halting construction of many chemical plants and urbanisation projects in China, but provided no information on the nature of the now cancelled nuclear facility.

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Troubling Tehran: Reflections on Geopolitics

Troubling Tehran: Reflections on Geopolitics, Pentagon Press, 2013, pp.xviii+140, ISBN: 978-81-8274-723-4

Editors: Arun Vishwanathan and Rajaram Nagappa

The book can be bought from Flipkart | Bookadda | Amazon | Amazon India

Troubling TehranWhat is the best approach for resolving differences over the Iranian nuclear programme and preventing a conflict? How would a conflict possibly unravel given Iranian military, asymmetric and missile capabilities? What does a military conflict over Iran mean for international order and India in particular? These are some of the questions that the book, Troubling Tehran: Reflections on Geopolitics analyses and seeks answers to.

The Iranian nuclear programme is a complex subject plagued by fundamental differences on how best to resolve it. While some advocate diplomacy and economic sanctions as a way forward, others push for a military response arguing that pursuing diplomacy provides Iran additional time to achieve a break-out capability. However, military coercion may not yield desired results, given the dispersed nature of Iranian nuclear facilities. A strike in fact is likely to accelerate Iranian nuclear weaponisation programme. The recent sanctioning of Iran’s oil sector adds to the regime’s cup of woes which is already overflowing due to a host of economic problems. However, the jury is still out on the question of whether sanctions would spark public disaffection against the regime.

The implications of a military conflict involving Iran are serious for Asia, particularly India. About 85 percent of Iranian oil exports are eastward bound. Dependence on crude and natural gas imports from the Middle East and North Africa region including Iran poses a dilemma for Indian policy makers. New Delhi thus needs to strike a fine balance while basing its policy on realpolitik and national interest.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction – Arun Vishwanathan and Rajaram Nagappa
  2. Iran: A War has Begun – Vijay Shankar
  3. Iran’s Nuclear Programme: Where is it headed? –  Arun Vishwanathan
  4. Iran’s Nuclear Activities: A Technical Appraisal of Declared Intentions and Reality – L V Krishnan
  5. Iran’s Missile Capabilities – Rajaram Nagappa and S. Chandrashekar
  6. Iran’s Military Capability, Asymmetric Warfare and its Efficacy – P J Jacob
  7. Iran: An Insider’s Account – Masoud Imani Kalesar
  8. World Dependence on Iranian Oil: Sanctions on Iran and Impact on India – V Raghuraman
  9. Iran: The Road Ahead – K C Singh
  10. Conclusion and Recommendations – Arun Vishwanathan and Rajaram Nagappa

Arun Vishwanathan is Assistant Professor, International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore.

Rajaram Nagappa is Head, International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore.

So That A Nuclear Weapon Free World Can Come To Be

So That A Nuclear Weapon Free World Can Come To Be: Putting Nuclear Weapons to Politco-Diplomatic Use

Author: Ambassador Saurabh Kumar (Retd.)

The entire report in pdf can be read here

slider-nuclear weapons free worldThis NIAS Working Paper (WP) is in response to the question “what can be done to actualise the vision of the 1988 Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan” (for a world without nuclear weapons) that challenged the ‘Informal Group on the 1988 Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for a Nuclear Weapon Free and Non-Violent World’ set up in December 2010 under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar. The WP paper is an edited version of the inputs contributed to this group.

The possibility of finding, or forging, synergies with the ideas and endeavours of others active in the field of nuclear disarmament presented itself naturally as an obvious first choice for exploration, along with other currents in the mainstream of activity in the international security arena such as the NPT (Treaty on Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) and its review process.

Assessing the Indo-US Deal on Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Managing Risks and Opportunities

Assessing the Indo-US Deal on Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Managing Risks and Opportunities

Authors: Sonika Gupta, Arvind Kumar, S. Chandrashekar

To read complete report in pdf click here

us-deal risks and oppThere has been a lot of debate in India on the risks associated with entering into civil nuclear cooperation with the US. The deal raises interrelated political, strategic and operational risks. The Henry J. Hyde Act passed by the US Congress lays down the legal framework within which the US must negotiate the bilateral 123 Agreement with India. This study undertakes critical analysis of the Indo-US deal and assesses the risks associated with entering into this deal and suggests strategies to manage these risks.

This report also contains two annexures. Annexure I analyses the major provisions of the Hyde Act. Annexure II examines the economic implications of creating and maintaining a strategic fuel reserve over the lifetime of each imported reactor.

Assessing the Indo-US Deal on Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Forging a New Partnership

Assessing the Indo-US Deal on Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Forging a New Partnership

Authors: Sonika Gupta, Arvind Kumar, S. Chandrashekar

To read complete report in pdf click here

us deal new partnershipThe Indo-US nuclear deal has generated a heated debate in India.  The debate so far has been characterized more by ideological posturing rather than by an objective assessment of the pros and cons of the deal.  Many in India have commented that the Act passed by the House of Representatives has altered the goal posts agreed to in the Joint Statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W. Bush.

How valid are these concerns? Do the promises implicit in the Joint Statement truly reflect US intentions and will they be translated into actions? Can the US be trusted on matters that are crucial for India’s security such as nuclear weapons and energy? How valid are the fears that the deal would erode India’s independence of action in world affairs? These are all genuine worries and need to be addressed. This paper will evaluate the progress on the deal using the July 18, 2005 Joint Statement between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George Bush as the baseline. As the bill introduced in the Senate remains to be passed, this study will only analyse the Act passed on July 26, 2006 by the US House of Representatives.

The paper shall trace the related developments to assess whether both countries have adhered to the underlying parameters agreed upon in the Joint Statement. In so doing the authors shall also address the various concerns raised by critics of the deal and try to see how these could affect the approaches of the two sides towards the deal. While it is still too early to comment on the outcome with any certainty, the study will try to prioritise the various issues and concerns in terms of their impact on the ongoing negotiations between India and the US. Can India and the US indeed finalise a suitable arrangement that is satisfactory to both sides?

Prospects for Stability in a Nuclear Subcontinent

Prospects for Stability in a Nuclear Subcontinent, National Institute of Advanced Studies, 2003, pp. 175, ISBN:81-87663-44-8.

Editors: S. Rajagopal and Sridhar K. Chari

rsz_prospectsThis book, which sets out to explore the prospects for stability in a nuclear sub-continent, brings together papers by top strategic thinkers from India, Russia, the United States, China and Bangladesh. The papers are drawn from those presented at an international roundtable conference at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India in September 2002.

Also included are the intense and productive discussions that followed these presentations, and a critical Introduction and Conclusion. This volume is offered as a contribution to policy and decision-making and to international relations scholarship in general.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction – S. Rajagopal and Sridhar K. Chari
  2. The Nonproliferation Regimes and Nuclear Threat Reduction – Victor N Mikhailov
  3. Nonproliferation Regimes and South Asia – Ronald F. Lehman II
  4. Maintaining a Threshold of Strategic Autonomy at Least Cost: Continuity in the Evolution of India’s Nuclear Policies – Roddam Narasimha
  5. Role of Nuclear Doctrines and State of Armed Forces in South Asia – Vladmir E. Novikov
  6. Nuclear Weapons, Deterrence and Stability in the International System: South Asian Dynamics – Sridhar K Chari
  7. Assessing China’s Asian Role and Security Policies – Sun Xiangli
  8. Kargil War to Current Threat of War: Prospects for Stability – Jasjit Singh
  9. Discussion – Marco Di Capua
  10. International Terrorism and its Impact on South Asian Stability – S. Gopal
  11. A View from Bangladesh  – Waliur Rehman
  12. Report on the Concluding Session
  13. Conclusion – S. Rajagopal and Sridhar K. Chari
  14. List of Participants

S. Rajagopal was Homi Bhabha Visiting Professor at NIAS and previously headed the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme at NIAS, Bangalore.

Sridhar K. Chari was Research Associate at the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme at NIAS, Bangalore.

Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine

Report on the Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine, National Institute of Advanced Studies, 2001, pp x+45, ISBN: 81-87663-14-6.

Editor: Arvind Kumar

Nuclear DoctorineThe report is based on a workshop held (November 26-27 1999) at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore shortly after the Government of India released the draft document on the Indian nuclear doctrine in August 1999 for public debate and discussion. The workshop provided a platform for the academics and members of the strategic community to exchange views on the draft doctrine.


Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. Acknowledgement
  4. Introduction
  5. An Overview on the Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine
  6. India’s Strategic Thinking in the New Millennium
  7. Notions of Deterrence
  8. No First-use Policy: Its Genesis in the Indian Context and its Relevance
  9. Does India need a Triad?
  10. Impact of the Nuclear Doctrine on Conventional Conflicts
  11. Conclusions and Policy Options
  12. Annexure I: Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine
  13. Annexure II: The Triad: Concept and Features
  14. Annexure IIi: Discussion on Questions from an Indian Perspective
  15. Annexure IV: List of Participants

Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and Options for India

Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and Options for India

Author: S Rajagopal

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FMCTThis study is the first Report of a comprehensive analysis of a variety of important nuclear treaties and agreements and their linkages and implications for India, being undertaken by the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. The purpose of this Report on the FMCT is to analyse various options and formulate recommendations to serve as an aid to policy initiatives. The methodology involves analysing both benefits and risks of each option in the context of national security in particular.

Prior to taking up the analysis of options, the study provides the broad context within which to view the FMCT. The first section provides a summary of the evolution of the FMCT. The second looks at the FMCT’s role in the global nonproliferation and disarmament regimes. The third section focuses on key international and regional players in the nuclear arena and their positions on the FMCT. The fourth section turns to an overview of the Indian situation vis-a-vis the FMCT, and tries to identify the most critical issues facing India in this regard. Subsequently, an analysis of the options for India on the FMCT is presented.

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