'US feared India would follow China in conducting nuclear tests'

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    Amid reports that China was planning to conduct nuclear tests, the US in early 1960s feared that neighbouring countries like India would follow suit and it directed its officials to address India's security concerns, according to newly declassified documents.
    WASHINGTON: Amid reports that China was planning to conduct nuclear tests, the US in early 1960s feared that neighbouring countries like India would follow suit and it directed its officials to address India's security concerns, according to newly declassified documents.

    China conducted its nuclear tests in Inner Mongolia on October 16, 1964.

    According to latest classified documents released in the US today, the State Department in 1963 prepared a major report on the potential consequences of a nuclear-armed China.

    The report did not believe this event would "alter the real relations of power among the major states," but the US would have to find ways to reassure US allies, in part to forestall "the possibility of development of independent nuclear capabilities by Asian countries (especially India)."

    China joined the nuclear club 50 years ago when it tested a nuclear device at its Lop Nur test site in Inner Mongolia.

    US intelligence had been monitoring Chinese developments for some years but the lack of adequate sources made reliable estimates difficult.

    As prospects for a nuclear test began to appear imminent in the early 1960s, a lively debate commenced within the US government over how soon it would happen and what its implications would be.

    Amid questions over whether Beijing would be "truculent" or "cautious" were proposals for taking preventive military action, possibly with Moscow's cooperation, or for finding ways such as reassuring Asian allies and changing the US military posture to adjust to the reality of a nuclear China.

    The US feared that some of China's key neighbours like India would follow suit and as such directed its officials to address New Delhi's security concerns including a defence guarantee proposal as part of its effort to prevent India from conducting any nuclear test.

    According to the declassified documents, the Chinese leadership sought nuclear weapons because of their experience in confrontations with the United States during the 1950s.

    In this respect, the 1955 Taiwan Straits crisis had central importance in Mao's decisions.

    In another secret report dated June 1, 1964, the US discussed the possibility of a covert operation against the Chinese nuclear weapons programme.

    The report said that the elimination of China's nuclear capability would greatly reduce the immediate incentive for Indian nuclear weapons development and possible subsequent movement by Japan to acquire such a capability.

    The United States, however, could not be sure that its action would fully eliminate China's capability and in any case it could reconstruct its facilities.

    The report also discusses alternatives such as broad US-Soviet defence guarantees, guarantees applicable only to India and an Asian nuclear-free zone.

    'US feared India would follow China in conducting nuclear tests' - The Economic Times
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    What was the readiness of the Indian nuclear device in 1964? How far had we progressed then? On the other hand, was the Chinese N-test a warning to India in 1964 not to try and avenge 1962? Perhaps it was just a sequence of events.
     
  4. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    can't guarantee complete accuracy but good read for a summing up
    India | Country Profiles | NTI
    History

    Developing a Peaceful Nuclear Program: 1947 to 1974

    India's nuclear program was conceived in the pre-independence era by a small group of influential scientists, notably Homi Bhabha, who grasped the significance of nuclear energy and persuaded political leaders to invest resources in the nuclear sector.[15] In the aftermath of independence in August 1947, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru launched an ambitious nuclear program meant to boost the country’s prestige and self-reliance in energy. The primary focus of the program was the production of inexpensive electricity; however, the decision to develop the complete nuclear fuel cycle also gave India the technical capability to pursue nuclear weapons.[16]

    In the years that followed, the internal debate over whether India should develop a nuclear explosive device continued. On the one hand, the scientific establishment wanted to prove that it was technically capable of detonating a nuclear device, and hawks within Parliament pointed to security developments in China and elsewhere as necessitating a nuclear deterrent.[17] On the other hand, many politicians opposed nuclear weapons both for economic and moral reasons, arguing that nuclear weapons would not make India safer, and that the solution to nuclear proliferation was comprehensive global nuclear disarmament.[18] A consensus emerged on both sides that India should not sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) when it was opened for signature in 1968 unless the nuclear weapon states agreed to a clear plan for nuclear disarmament.[19]

    Although averse to the idea of nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri authorized theoretical work on the Subterranean Nuclear Explosion for Peaceful Purposes (SNEPP) project in November 1964.[20] In the late 1960s nuclear scientists continued to develop the technical capacity for a nuclear explosion, although the political decision had not yet been made to carry out the test.[21] Ultimately, on 18 May 1974, India tested a fission device which it described as a “peaceful nuclear explosion” (PNE). The decision was partly based on security considerations, but equally important were the scientific community’s desire to display its successes and the domestic political desire to win support. George Perkovich argues that, “the final decision to conduct the test was the result of an ad hoc, intuitive process that lacked rigorous security analysis.”[22]

    The Slow Path Toward Weaponization: 1974 to 1998

    India’s 1974 nuclear test was condemned by many countries as a violation of the peaceful-use agreements underlying U.S. and Canadian-supplied nuclear technology and material transfers, and was a major contributing factor to the formation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).[23] The United States responded to the test by imposing a number of sanctions on India.[24] However, despite international alarm about the military implications of its nuclear explosion, India did not follow the 1974 test with subsequent tests, nor did it immediately weaponize the device design that it had tested.[25] Itty Abraham argues that it was not until roughly 1986 that India could be considered a “nuclear weapons-capable state.”[26] At that time, advances in Pakistan's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and the oblique nuclear threats issued by Islamabad in the wake of the 1986 to 1987 Brasstacks crisis appear to have persuaded Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to authorize weaponization of India's nuclear capability.[27]

    At the same time, India continued to support efforts for nuclear disarmament. In 1988, Prime Minister Gandhi submitted an Action Plan for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free and Non-Violent World Order to the United Nations General Assembly.[28] As negotiations on the CTBT rapidly progressed in the early 1990s, Indian elites came to regard the CTBT as an instrument of nonproliferation that sought to freeze countries’ nuclear capabilities. This, along with the indefinite extension of the NPT, reignited domestic political pressure for India to risk economic sanctions by conducting further tests.[29]

    In 1995 the Narasimha Rao government considered an accelerated program of nuclear tests. However, India's test preparations were detected by U.S. intelligence agencies, and the resultant U.S. diplomatic pressure convinced the Rao government to postpone the tests.[30] Plans for testing were renewed when the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to power for a brief period in 1996, but the BJP decided not to go through with the tests.[31] When it returned to power in 1998, the BJP authorized two rounds of nuclear tests on 11 and 13 May 1998, after which it formally declared India to be a nuclear-weapon state.[32] Almost no one outside of India foresaw the test; however, geospatial analysis by Vipin Gupta and Frank Pabian had identified a likely site and timeframe for the test.[33]

    India as a Declared Nuclear Power: 1998 to the Present

    India’s nuclear tests were followed within a month by a similar set of tests by Pakistan, resulting in fears in the international community of an arms race or an escalation of conflict between the two openly declared nuclear powers in South Asia.[34] The 1999 Kargil War and the 2001 to 2002 Twin Peaks Crisis heightened tensions between the two countries, although these low-level conventional conflicts did not escalate to the nuclear level.[35]

    After the 1998 tests the Indian government established a National Security Advisory Board, which issued a Draft Report on Indian Nuclear Doctrine in 1999 that broadly outlined India’s nuclear no-first-use policy and defensive posture of “credible minimum nuclear deterrence.”[36] In January 2003, a Ministry of External Affairs press release maintained adherence to no-first-use, although with the condition that nuclear weapons could also be used in retaliation for a biological or chemical attack, or to protect Indian forces operating in Pakistan.[37] Internal debate about the future role of nuclear weapons continued: a task force established by the Ministry of External Affairs to review India's nuclear posture recommended in 2007 “a comprehensive and integrated nuclear defense capability," taking into account the persistent political instability in the region and China's continued nuclear cooperation with Pakistan.[38]

    In line with this posture, India does not maintain a constituted nuclear force on a heightened state of alert. The country’s nuclear weapons remain under the control of the civilian Nuclear Command Authority (NCA), comprised of a Political Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, which is “the sole body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons;” and an Executive Council, led by the National Security Advisor, which “provides inputs for decision making… and executes the directives given to it by the Political Council.”[39] The Indian mission to the United Nations has submitted several draft recommendations on “reducing nuclear danger,” which include “steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through de-alerting and de-targeting nuclear weapons.”[40]

    The U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement and India's Participation in Nuclear Commerce

    A key development in recent years has been the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement, plans for which were first unveiled in July 2005. This agreement and the subsequent endorsement of India's case by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) enabled India to engage in international nuclear trade. In return, New Delhi agreed to allow safeguards on a select number of its nuclear facilities that are classified as "civilian" in purpose. The remaining "military" facilities remain off-limits to international inspectors.

    The agreement process required navigating a number of diplomatic and legal hurdles. The U.S. Congress passed the Hyde Act in January 2006 to exempt nuclear cooperation with India from provisions of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, allowing for the adoption of a bilateral 123 nuclear cooperation agreement in August 2007.[41] In September 2008, the NSG approved an exemption allowing the members of this export control regime to conduct nuclear trade with India.[42] Finally, a safeguards agreement for select civilian nuclear facilities was concluded between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in February 2009, after approval by the IAEA Board of Governors the previous year.[43]

    In October 2009 India submitted a separation plan, updated in 2010, to put 12 nuclear reactors and the Nuclear Fuel Complex at Hyderabad under IAEA safeguards by 2014.[44] The first two nuclear power plants, units at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS), have been formally placed under the safeguards agreement.[45] In late July 2010, India and the United States signed a bilateral agreement allowing India to reprocess U.S.-obligated nuclear material at two new reprocessing facilities, to be constructed and placed under IAEA safeguards.[46]

    Following the NSG waiver, India signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia, France, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Canada, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Namibia.[47] In October 2009, New Delhi identified two locations in the states of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh that could host reactors constructed by GE Hitachi and Westinghouse.[48] However, given the constraints on any agreement imposed by New Delhi’s civil nuclear liability law, it is unclear whether U.S. companies will conclude any reactor supply deals with India. [49]

    Recent Developments and Current Status

    India continues to participate in international nuclear trade. In April 2013, Canada and India signed a bilateral safeguards agreement for trade in nuclear materials and technology used in IAEA safeguarded facilities.[50] Negotiations are ongoing between India and Japan for a bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, which as of a late January 2014 meeting between the Japanese and Indian prime ministers, appears to be moving closer to reality.[51] In late 2011, Australia’s Labor Party approved a change to its policy position that would allow the country to export uranium to India; discussions on a bilateral safeguards agreement are ongoing, and as of Feb 2014, both sides are moving closer to an agreement.[52]

    India is tightening its export controls for dual-use technologies in an effort to get membership into the Nuclear Supiler’s Group and other export control regimes. New Delhi is seeking membership to the NSG, MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group. According to Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, “In some respects, our controls are more stringent than those practiced by the NSG and MTCR.”[53]

    In arguing for NSG membership, India has portrayed itself as a responsible nuclear power, pointing to its positive record on nonproliferation and consistent support for complete nuclear disarmament.[54] It has maintained a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and supports negotiations of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) that is "universal, non-discriminatory, and internationally verifiable."[55] At the same time, India has remained firmly outside of the NPT, arguing that “nuclear weapons are an integral part of our national security and will remain so pending the global elimination of all nuclear weapons.”[56] New Delhi has not signed the CTBT, and continues to produce fissile material for its nuclear weapons program. Although it has reiterated its commitment to no-first-use of nuclear weapons, India’s nuclear posture of credible minimum deterrence is still evolving, and the country is developing a strategic triad of nuclear delivery systems.[57]
     
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  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    We didn't have enough fissile material. Lal Bahadur Shashtri had given political go ahead. I read that even the US wanted us to test ASAP. We couldn't, the door closed later.
     
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  7. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    @Yusuf @pmaitra @AVERAGE INDIAN

    What is however NOT well known is that the Non Proliferation Treaty was specifically designed and TIMED
    to keep India out of The Club of Nuclear weapon states

    And USA used ONE simple arguement to get the signatures of 190 countries on the NPT

    It was " if you get a Nuke your Neighbouring country would also get One "

    This is How Brazil ; Argentina; South Africa ; Iran and North Korea all were pushed into Signing the NPT

    And since India's Neighbour ie China had already gone Nuclear AND China had attacked India in 1962
    and was also demanding Indian territory ;
    India's decision was simple ; just reject the NPT

    SO 1962 ie Chinese Attack has HELPED India in becoming a Nuclear Power
     
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  8. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Suppose China had Never attacked India then we too would have signed the NPT
    as a peace loving nation and would have FOREVER been under the shadow of Chinese Nukes
     
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  9. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    From an Indian standpoint, the history of NPT can be divided into three time periods: the periods of engagement, disengagement and reengagement.

    The period of engagement stretches from 1954 to 1970. India called for a standstill agreement on all nuclear testing in 1954 and signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963. It was one of the members of the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Commission (ENDC) which started negotiating the NPT in July 1965. However, as the negotiations unfolded, Indian excitement diminished. The treaty allowed possession of nuclear weapons to states that had imploded nuclear devices before 1 January 1967. However, it did not address the question of reductions of the arsenals of the NWS adequately. As is evident in article VI of the treaty, NWS only promised to negotiate in good faith towards nuclear disarmament. India also felt threatened when China, with which it has a border dispute, was included in the treaty as a NWS since China had conducted nuclear tests in 1964. By the time the treaty came into force in 1970, India’s period of disengagement had begun.

    This process lasted from 1970 to 1998. During this period, India distanced itself from the treaty. India had developed a sophisticated nuclear programme since the mid 1940’s and the NPT’s failure in meeting India’s expectations provided it with a motivation to go nuclear. India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, euphemistically called a ‘Peaceful Nuclear Explosion’. Following the blast, all international nuclear-related trade with India was heavily sanctioned. In May 1998, it conducted five nuclear tests, declaring to the world its military nuclear programme.

    However, with the coming of the bomb, came a period of reengagement, informed by two important developments. First, having gone nuclear and thus being reassured of its nuclear status, India joined the other NWS in looking at non-proliferation from the perspective of a state with nuclear weapons. It realized, for example, the destabilizing impact of the nuclear proliferation business between North Korea, China and Pakistan on the South Asian region.
     
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