Indo-US N-deal smacks of double standards

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ajtr, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Indo-US N-deal smacks of double standards: Chinese scholar

    BEIJING: Defending China's cooperation with Pakistan in the nuclear technology field, a Chinese academic today questioned US-India nuclear deal, saying that it smacked of double standards.

    "China's cooperation with Pakistan in nuclear power is for peaceful means and is supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA). =heheh

    The US always questions Pakistan's nuclear activities, but how about its latest nuclear deal with India?," Chinese newspaper Global Times quoted He Maochun, Director of the Research Centre for Economic Diplomacy Studies of Tsinghua University as saying.

    He Maochun, the newspaper said was referring to an agreement reached on Monday between India and US on reprocessing nuclear material, which would allow India to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from the US, thus clearing a major hurdle in putting into operation a landmark nuclear deal signed between the two sides in 2008.

    He made the comments while reacting to report by the CIA carried in the Washington Times stating that China's proliferation activities of nuclear and missile technology have threatened nuclear security and some Chinese companies were linked to nuclear and missile programmes of Pakistan and Iran.

    Richard Fisher, a senior fellow of Asian military affairs at the US based International Assessment and Strategy Centre stated in Washington Times that China sold plenty of nuclear and missile technology to Pakistan, Iran and North Korea long before Beijing put export-control laws onto the books.

    He said, "Fisher's allegations smacks of US double standards. His comments are typical US double-standard on the issue."

    Accusing US of putting out reports linking Chinese companies to Pakistan and Iran's nuclear programme as a retaliation for Beijing's refusal to back UN sanctions against Iran, He Maochun said, "Beijing is not standing by Washington on the Iran nuclear issue, so here comes the media pressure."

    "The nuclear issues involving Iran and North Korea have multiple influential factors and a complex historic background.

    Singling out China in those issues is unfair and irresponsible," He Maochun said.
  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    U.S. makes new nuke concessions to India

    The United States has made new concessions as part of its civilian nuclear agreement with India, further angering arms control advocates, while New Delhi has yet to make it possible for U.S. companies to benefit from the unprecedented deal.

    In the most recent accord completed late last month, Washington agreed to Indian demands to increase the number of plants allowed to reprocess U.S.-supplied nuclear fuel from one to two, with the option of another two if India's needs grow in the future.

    At the same time, India thus far has failed to pass legislation that would release U.S. companies from liability in case of accidents related to equipment they have provided for two reactors expected to be built under the 2007 U.S.-Indian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. That effectively prevents those firms from starting businesses in the South Asian country.

    The U.S. government understands "the need for sufficient indigenous Indian capacity to reprocess or otherwise alter in form or content, under [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards, U.S.-obligated nuclear material," says the new document, which was released by the State Department.

    In 2008, the Bush administration restricted Indian reprocessing to one plant in an effort to limit potential proliferation of dangerous dual-use technology, which could be used for military or civilian purposes.

    However, last month's agreement refers to "two new national reprocessing facilities established by the government of India." It also says that "the management of separated safeguarded plutonium … shall take into account the need to avoid contributing to the risks of nuclear proliferation, the need to protect the environment, workers and the public."

    Arms control experts denounced the new deal, saying it adds to the "damage" done by the original agreement. In an unprecedented move at the time, the Bush administration went against established norms and allowed a country that has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to use U.S.-supplied fuel to make plutonium, though for strictly civilian purposes.

    "It will further undermine U.S. efforts to stop the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies," Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said of the March deal. "It should be rejected by Congress because it is inconsistent with the terms outlined in" the original agreement.

    The new document does not need congressional approval and will go into force unless Congress stops it within 30 days. Administration officials and analysts said they do not expect any hurdles on Capitol Hill.

    "There was never a possibility that the arms control people would like the U.S.-India agreement — they hated it from the beginning," said Teresita Schaffer, director of the South Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The number of reprocessing facilities "shouldn't be a deal-breaker," she added.

    A State Department official said the administration agreed to allow two plants instead of one to avoid long-distance transportation of dangerous materials to just one reprocessing facility from two nuclear reactors on opposite sides of India.

    Under the initial agreement, U.S. companies are allowed to help build the two reactors. The sites that the Indian government chose for those facilities are in the western state of Gujarat and the eastern state of Andhra Pradesh. "Highly radioactive spent fuel" will have to be "carried in big storage casks" to the reprocessing plant from those sites, and it is safer to have two plants close to each reactor than to move the casks across the country to only one plant, the official said.

    Lisa Curtis, senior research fellow for South Asia at the Heritage Foundation, said "U.S. companies can't take advantage of the deal" and export equipment for the Indian reactors because "the Indian government hasn't presented in parliament nuclear liability legislation."

    The State Department official said the government in New Delhi planned to submit the legislation recently but decided against it because of a "big backlash" from several political parties that want the Americans "to pony up in the event of an accident." The law would bring Indian legislation in line with international standards, under which the equipment operator — not the supplier — is liable in accidents.

    Even though the 2007 agreement allows American companies to export equipment for the Indian reactors, they still are banned by U.S. law from selling India reprocessing and enrichment technology.

    Mr. Kimball said the Indians most likely will seek such technology from other countries in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which "maintains a policy of 'restraint' regarding the transfer of reprocessing or enrichment equipment" but does not ban it.

    The State Department official expressed doubt that Western NSG members will sell such equipment to India, but Mr. Kimball cited recent reports that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "is reported to have appealed to [Russian] President [Dmitry] Medvedev for reprocessing technology and equipment transfers."

    "This is a major proliferation danger, since there is no civil-military separation plan or safeguards regime that can prevent such technology from being sold for civilian purposes, and then used or copied for use in making nuclear weapons," Mr. Kimball said.
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Exceptional India
    posted Tuesday April 20, 2010 under krepons-shoebox, india by michael_krepon
    K. Subrahmanyam may be the most exceptional strategic thinker that Western Wonks have never read. During the 1990s, we disagreed intensely about so many things that a mutual friend arranged for a cooling off session over lunch at the India International Centre in Delhi. After an awkward silence, my dining companion asked, “So what shall we talk about, the weather?” Our conversations then became far easier.

    For those unfamiliar with the Subrahmanyam oeuvre, I would recommend starting with India and the Nuclear Challenge, an edited volume published in 1986. Back then, Indian strategic analysts spoke with feeling about the immorality of the Bomb. Here are some excerpts that contemporary nuclear abolitionists can relate to:

    The doctrine of nuclear deterrence is not an eternal verity but is largely based on a belief system… If one were to accept the simplistic argument that nuclear weapons cannot be disinvented and hence nuclear deterrence will have to continue, that argument can be stretched to other means of perpetrating genocide. What prevents the other means from being used or threatened to be used as weapons of mass destruction is certain in-built restraints and norms of behaviour and values. A victor ten or fifteen centuries ago put to death all men in the conquered land… Today…it is not done because of the changes that have come about in our values and attitudes.

    This has happened in a number of areas in our own lifetime. Concepts and institutions which were considered inescapable and having no alternatives have become totally unacceptable and discarded into the dustbin of history. Slavery was a hoary institution… Monarchy and the divine right of kings had their day… No one today will fight for a king… The colour bar and discrimination based on it was prevalent even a couple of decades ago, but is no longer defended as a way of life… Colonialism is indefensible today – though in its heyday it was hailed as a civilising mission… All that has changed within our lifetime.

    It is now clear even to the followers of the cult of nuclear deterrence that nuclear wars cannot be fought and won… The sensible way out is to delegitimize and outlaw nuclear weapons as instruments of war.”

    So why would Subrahmanyam, the most eminent living Indian strategist, lobby tenaciously for an Indian bomb? Because of coercive diplomacy, international standing and, yes, deterrence:

    The nuclear challenge is not just the one posed by the Pakistani efforts to acquire nuclear weapons or even the Chinese challenge. [Writing elsewhere, Subrahmanyam estimated that Pakistan acquired a usable nuclear device three years before India.] It is a challenge arising out of the global strategic environment in which nuclear weapons have been accepted as the currency of power, nuclear capability has transformed the game of power to coercive diplomacy and the subcontinent is surrounded on all sides by nuclear weapons…

    It is imperative to… devise a strategy which will enable India to have access to the currency of international power … even while this country struggles to replace it with a more benign one. If India is to succeed in this struggle, it must first survive as a cohesive nation state, become an increasingly influential factor in the international system and develop power to induce changes in the global order.”

    Professor Raj Krishna made the same point in the April-June 1965 issue of India Quarterly after India suffered a humiliating defeat in a border war with China:

    It is an illusion to suppose that military weakness rather than military power makes a nation more influential in pressing for disarmament…. Virtue is respected only when it is backed by power; power without virtue is disastrous; but virtue without power is helpless. The fate of the merely virtuous is often decided in the assemblies of the powerful without reference to and at the expense of the virtuous.

    Today, India still finds itself betwixt and between on nuclear matters – “an intermediate caste” – to use M.C. Changla’s old characterization. While New Delhi now prides itself as being a responsible state with nuclear weapons, its sense of exceptionalism, the absence of a domestic consensus, and perhaps less than perfect nuclear test results make it hard for India to join decent company by signing the CTBT. And so India remains a fence sitter, unable to take a leadership position on nuclear disarmament while remaining apart on nuclear testing.

    Subrahmanyam was clear then and now that H bombs are “essentially terror weapons,” and that lower yields would suffice for instruments of such limited utility. Another brilliant Indian strategic thinker, now deceased, K. Sundarji, also wrote against the need for thermonuclear weapons:

    Very large yields to compensate to some extent for the lack of accuracy are also not required. As to which zone in a city gets hit, this is not of much consequence. The yield need not be very high. The weapons that struck Nagasaki and Hiroshima were between 15 and 20 kt, and the world knows the result.

    During the Cold War, thermonuclear weapons became the calling cards of the P-5, but even their nuclear weapon strategists acknowledged, when they stopped testing in the atmosphere, that yields are militarily meaningless beyond a certain point. By signing the CTBT, New Delhi could, in effect, declare that larger yields matter far, far less than the global cessation of nuclear testing and the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Pakistan would then surely sign the CTBT, removing one driver of the nuclear competition in southern Asia.

    No major power with nuclear weapons has been so bold as to declare, in effect, that thermonuclear weapons are not required for minimum, credible, nuclear deterrence. Doing so would be the most exceptional act of Indian leadership on nuclear issues since Jawaharlal Nehru led global efforts stop nuclear testing and abolish the Bomb.

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