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PostPosted: Jul 12, 2009 11:12 am 
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This is from Delhi Compass - a publication under the Hindu group.
http://blogs.thehindu.com/delhi/?p=25713
Quote:
G8 ban is sign India’s nuclear quest is not over

Jul 11th, 2009 | By editor | Category: Opinion, Viewing News
Reversal raises questions about effectiveness of Indian diplomacy

Siddharth Varadarajan

New Delhi: In diplomacy, as in football, smart players know the consequences of losing sight of the ball. The blink of an eye is all it takes to miss a goal or lose a hard-won advantage.

2008 was a signal year for Indian diplomacy when a set of international restrictions that had starved the country’s nuclear industry of fuel and equipment for two decades was lifted on terms less restrictive than what Washington — which initiated the drive to make an exception for India — had been prepared to grant New Delhi.

In the months that followed the successful campaign to lift trading restrictions on India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group, however, a complacent establishment decided to rest on its laurels and forgot about the obstacles and dangers still remaining. And then, seemingly out of the blue, came the first American attempt at clawback: on Thursday, the G8 agreed to adopt new rules prohibiting the sale of ENR components and technology to countries like India which have not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Much to the consternation of U.S. legislators, last year’s NSG exemption placed American nuclear vendors at a disadvantage by making imports from the U.S. far less attractive than comparable purchases from elsewhere, especially Russia and France. The 123 agreement, which governs bilateral commerce between the U.S. and India, allowed for the sale of reactors and fuel to India but these came saddled with a risky ‘right of return’ clause in the event that Washington terminated cooperation. At India’s insistence, enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) items were not excluded but their sale was made conditional on a subsequent agreement that both sides knew would never see the light of day. Reprocessing of spent fuel was allowed but only in a new, permanently safeguarded facility and that too, under yet-to-be-negotiated arrangements and procedures.

By comparison, the NSG’s exemption made no provision for ‘right of return’ and allowed U.S. competitors to make ENR transfers so long as they were satisfied these would not be misused by India. The spent fuel could also be reprocessed in existing Indian facilities provided the reprocessing was done under safeguards. Net-net, this made non-U.S. reactors more attractive.

Somewhere along the line, the Indians assumed the game was over. The whistle blown at L’Aquila is a reminder that the U.S. has plenty of extra time in hand.

Of course, the tell-tale signs were all around: in the U.S. State Department’s answers to pointed queries from Congress about the need for a ‘level playing field’ at the NSG. And in the assurances Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave to Capitol Hill in order to ensure the speedy ratification of the 123 agreement last October.

Getting the NSG to agree to prohibit the export of ENR equipment and technology to states such as India that are not members of the NPT would be the United States’ “highest priority,” Dr. Rice told Congressman Howard Berman at the time.

The fact that the NSG held intensive consultations on the issue last November was also well known, as was the fact that the U.S. was managing to create a consensus around NPT conditionality, even as other issues like adherence to the Additional Protocol was opposed by some NSG members like Brazil and uranium-rich countries like Canada objected to ENR sales being restricted to so-called black-box technologies which could prevent them from developing their own enrichment know-how.
Full cooperation

Although India is technologically self-sufficient in reprocessing and enrichment technology, the inclusion of ENR components in the nuclear deal was a matter of principle, positioning and ‘paisa’. That is why Indian negotiators insisted in July 2005 that they would settle for nothing less than “full civil nuclear cooperation.”

After all, if an exception was being made for India because of its status as a responsible country with advanced nuclear technology, excluding sensitive technologies made no sense. India was also aware of the role ENR services would play in the future evolution of the global nuclear industry. With attempts under way to monopolise the fuel cycle, India needed to ensure its status as a ‘supplier’ country was recognised. Finally, costs were also an issue. Why spend crores producing components for ENR plants when the parts could be imported for a fraction of the cost? When push came to shove, the U.S. reneged on “full cooperation” but allowed India to get what it wanted at the NSG. Now, that is in jeopardy too.

As part of the NSG exemption, New Delhi pledged voluntary adherence to the cartel’s present and future rules. But the NSG also said it would “consult” with India prior to new rules being adopted. If these consultations have been held, New Delhi has clearly not been effective in putting its views across. The fact that the cartel is still some distance away from reaching a final decision provides cold comfort: the G8’s endorsement of last November’s “clean text” will certainly have the effect of speeding up the deliberative process at Vienna.

India had a chance to press its case with friends and allies and also to leverage the massive expenditure it is prepared to make on Russian, French and American nuclear reactors in order to ensure it does not become the target of fresh restrictions. By failing to be proactive, however, it has allowed the U.S. to gain the first mover advantage.

If a formal consensus does not emerge in the Nuclear Suppliers Group by the time the next plenary is held, India may have a small window to undo the symbolic and substantive damage that has occurred at L’Aquila. But it needs to lobby hard to ensure the interim ban adopted on ENR sales is not carried over to next year’s G8 statement.

Otherwise it should prepare for several rounds of bruising negotiations ahead. The second U.S. target will be spent fuel reprocessing. Existing agreements with Russia and France do not stipulate a new standalone facility or more intensive safeguards. And as the Obama administration presses ahead with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, attempts could be made to get the NSG to adopt a version of the U.S. ‘right of return’ for exported items in the event that India is seen as deviating from the disarmament and non-proliferation commitments it made last September.


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PostPosted: Jul 12, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Thanks -- very interesting article.

One gets the impression that because the G8 can't do anything about the bullies of the world (like N. Korea, Iran, Sudan, etc.), they go beating up on the good citizens of the world.
It sucks.
But its also somewhat reminiscent of civilian police activity: the vast majority of their time is spent handing out tickets to ordinary folks, while real crime operates largely unimpeded....


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PostPosted: Jul 12, 2009 5:33 pm 
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jaro wrote:
Thanks -- very interesting article.

One gets the impression that because the G8 can't do anything about the bullies of the world (like N. Korea, Iran, Sudan, etc.), they go beating up on the good citizens of the world.


That's what it looks like to me too, but with the caveat that there is the possibility that this is part of the pressure being put on India over foreign ownership rules which have been very restrictive there in some sectors. This has been a sore point with many of the G8, and this might be a way of signaling New Delhi that the tepid reforms that have just gone through on this matter are not enough. Given the potential size of the Indian market, and it's growing importance given the current economic downturn, politics like this cannot be ruled out.

The other thing that may be behind this is the current American administration's goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons, a central element in its nuclear policy. It has already sent signals to the U.K. that it expects the British to unilaterally reduce its arsenal in response to the bilateral reductions the U.S and Russia agreed with. Certainly too this move against India by the G8 was American sponsored. It will be interesting to see if this sort of pressure can be kept up for an extended period of time.

Nevertheless if India does tell everyone to go to Hell and starts an independent thorium program, the World may find itself looking at a third axis that will not be bulled anymore and that owes them nothing.


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PostPosted: Jul 12, 2009 6:19 pm 
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DV82XL wrote:
The other thing that may be behind this is the current American administration's goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons, a central element in its nuclear policy. It has already sent signals to the U.K. that it expects the British to unilaterally reduce its arsenal in response to the bilateral reductions the U.S and Russia agreed with. Certainly too this move against India by the G8 was American sponsored. It will be interesting to see if this sort of pressure can be kept up for an extended period of time.

Nevertheless if India does tell everyone to go to Hell and starts an independent thorium program, the World may find itself looking at a third axis that will not be bulled anymore and that owes them nothing.


It is a good sign, for Obama to actually come out and talk about nuclear disarmament. Your comment about sending a signal to UK was news to me. Thanks.

But, as far as I can tell (correct me if I am wrong) - India was perhaps among the first to officially air the issue of total nuclear disarmament, even before the current NPT came to be signed. Lately, they have been calling for total nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework, a proposal that was at the time rejected by the P5.

In fact, the reason India did not sign the modified NPT eventually, (they claim) is that instead of aiming for total disarmament, the wording got twisted and became discriminatory, allowing nuclear powers to continue to have, and increase, their arsenal while advising those that did not have the bomb - not to have a bomb.

In fact, the Embassy of India website (http://www.indianembassy.org/policy/CTB ... ration.htm) has the following text :

Quote:
The principles for a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) were first proposed by India in 1965. India eventually refused to sign the NPT when it became clear that, instead of addressing the central objective of universal and comprehensive non-proliferation, the treaty only legitimized the continuing possession and multiplication of nuclear stockpiles by those few states possessing them.


As far as I know, Japan and Australia were two other strong proponents of global banning of all nuclear weapons. Even the official Chinese news agencies time to time come out with a call for pushing universal disarmament.

SO, if disarmament is the ultimate goal, which it should be, then perhaps India should be the first to sign such a treaty, which should impose conditions not only on nations such as India on its plans on nuclear weapons, but also on US, Russia, China, France, UK Israel and the rest. In that regard, it seems odd to be attempting to isolate India on that specific score. This would have also likely leveled the field and removed a lot of confusion towards research and development of nuclear power plants, with Thorium as a fuel.

So, it is hard to guess what's going on, but one cannot fault Obama for trying to reverse the tide, and accepting that, with regard to eliminating threats of a nuclear winter, charity begins at home.


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PostPosted: Jul 12, 2009 7:03 pm 
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India's issue with the current Non-Proliferation Treaty is that it licensed some privileged nations (the P5) to continue to hold nuclear weapons while forbidding all others from acquiring them. At the time India had positioned themselves as leader of the Non-Aligned World and the elimination of all nuclear weapons was the stand of that bloc at the time. Later India came to feel that it had just as much need for an independent nuclear deterrent as say, France par exemple.

Nor is it alone. Consider the comment of Japanese political leader Ichiro Ozawa, who said in 2002 that it would be "easy" for Japan to make nuclear warheads and that it had enough plutonium to make several thousand weapons When one contemplates a number like that, one sees that a substantial role in nonproliferation has been played by the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Without that, some and perhaps a fair number of other countries would feel the necessity of having their own nuclear capabilities. India has never felt, or sought the protection of the US, so its desire for an independent nuclear deterrent is understandable.

Mr. Obama likes to talk about his vision of a nuclear-free world, and in Moscow he and Mr. Medvedev signed an agreement setting targets for sweeping reductions in the world's largest nuclear arsenals, but this needs to be put in perspective. Russia is happy to sign because the devices that they are going to scrap were time expired anyway. What they are getting out of this is a free reduction on the US side without any real change in their strategic position. The reason is that Russian weapons have a ten year shelf-life, where as American weapons last almost thirty years. So while this has to be seen as good news, it isn't nearly as monumental as it is being spun out to be.

As far as total nuclear disarmament goes this is just never going to happen. Go ahead and wish for a nuclear-free world, but pray that you don't get it. A world without nukes would be even more dangerous than a world with them. What we would wind up with a number of countries sitting around with breakout capabilities or rumors of breakout capabilities for intimidation purposes (like North Korea is doing now) and probably, a number of small clandestine stockpiles (like the Israelis have right now.) Frankly it is like the 1929 Kellogg-Briand Pact renouncing war as an instrument of national policy. It's not based upon an understanding of reality.


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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 4:22 pm 
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An Arms race is on in earnest in South Asia with India determined to reach parity with their long time rival China. The accumulation of bomb material in India is forcing Pakistan to keep pace. This nuclear weapons activity in Pakistan then forces India to expand their program to counter Pakistani activity.


It is estimated that India has enough material for 90 weapons and may be building an arsenal of up to a figure in the lower three digits. The numbers of weapons required has to take into account the size of China's arsenal, which is about 300-400 weapons. To ensure second strike capability with respect to China, India would require about 200 weapons, according to one estimate.


The US Congressional Research Service report of 15 May 2009 has brought out that despite having an assessed 60 weapons, "Pakistan continues fissile material production for weapons, and is adding to its weapons production facilities and delivery vehicles". This has been explained as Pakistan's attempt at creating a second strike capability. If this contributes to nuclear stability by enhancing its deterrence against India, it may be a benign development. However, when taken in conjunction with India's own weaponisation, this could equally herald a nuclear arms race.


It appears that India is moving away from its earlier position that nuclear weapons are political weapons for deterrence alone. In such a formulation, the very possibility of nuclear retaliation is sufficient to deter first strike. This is known as 'existential deterrence'. The developments on the nuclear front however indicate that more than suggesting a capability, India would like to demonstrate the 'certainty' of a response. This implies higher numbers of weapons, and attendant other requirements and higher costs. The accent is more on the word 'credible' rather than on 'minimum' in the phrase 'credible minimum deterrence'.


China is likely to Increase its weapons stockpile to counter Indian actions as the arms race expands.


Pakistan's apprehensions of a first strike threat are particularly incited by India's anti-missile defenses. Since these defenses would degrade its retaliatory second strike, it feels compelled to build up its numbers - not only for surviving an Indian first strike but also to have a capability of inflicting adequate damage in second strike despite India's missile defences. Incidentally, the US impetus in the Bush years for missile defenses, supposedly directed at rogue regimes, is prompting China to increase its arsenal - which would in turn impact numbers in South Asia.


Such apprehensions must be addressed. Not only would Pakistan not be able to afford keeping up with India; but any attempt to do so would make Pakistan unravel faster. An unstable nuclear Pakistan is not in India's interest. To avert the possibility of further build up in both countries, political oversight of the strategic arms complexes in both states is needed, along with mutually negotiated avoidance of an arms race.


With the US fighting a was in Afghanistan, it is important for the United States to take effective measures to stabilize Pakistan, And slowing down the South Asian arms race is one facet of that strategy. China is a willing partner in the effort since the increase in Indian nuclear capability is in not in China’s national interest.


All this focus on the buildup of bomb material is destructive of the Indian civilian nuclear power effort. The resources that are redirected to weapons development is diverted from the civilian nuclear power sector.


The production of thorium based fuel is the last priority for the Indian nuclear effort, slowing the arms race in South Asia is a positive aspect of the international effort to limit weapons production in Asia from getting out of control.

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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 4:56 pm 
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Axil

Do you have anything to back up what you have written above, or is this just your personal analysis of the situation?


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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Re: Arms race: India: “We will eat grass”

http://www.chowk.com/ilogs/72762/48173

India is planning to raise its military budget by 50% to almost $40 billion, making military expenditure 3% of the annual gross domestic product (GDP), the Indian defense minister said.

"Our current defense spending is lower than 2% [of GDP]...and it should be at least 3%," A. K. Antony said at a meeting with top military commanders on Tuesday, without specifying a time-frame. India raised its defense spending in February by 10% to $26.5 billion for the fiscal year 2008-2009, but it still fell below 2% of GDP for the first time in at least a decade.

India's neighbors and long-term rivals, Pakistan and China, allocate around 3.5% and 4.3% of GDP to defense, respectively. The minister said top priority must be given to the modernization of the Indian Armed Forces and half of the defense budget should be allocated for the purchase of new military equipment.

Currently two-thirds of India's budget is allocated for military, paramilitary, police, various security forces and debt servicing. That leaves one-third for everything else, including infrastructure development projects, education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and various human services. This new arms buildup by India will leave even less for what India needs most: to lift hundreds of millions of its citizens from abject poverty, hunger, squalor and disease.

I see hunger and poverty and lack of opportunity as the root cause of most of the ethnic, religious and other forms of violence. The situation is further complicated when nations with the largest number of poor and hungry choose to spend more on military than on fighting poverty, hunger and disease.

In fact, letting millions die of hunger each year, is what Amatya Sen calls "quiet violence", a form of ongoing brutality that claims far more lives than all of the other causes of violence combined.

Neither Pakistan nor India can or should continue their misguided arms race, with India using China as its excuse, and Pakistan citing India's current arms buildup, the largest in its history. In Poverty-Hunger Index(PHI), designed to measure progress toward UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), China, ranked 31, is closest to achieving these goals, followed by laggards such as Pakistan at 45, India at 62, and Bangladesh at 67. And clearly, India, lagging behind both China and Pakistan in terms of basic social indicators of hunger and poverty, is fueling this crazy South Asian arms race. India continues to show a total lack of leadership on this front.

The South Asian rivals need to recognize, in words and in deeds, that their people are their biggest resource, who must be developed and made much more productive to make the nations more competitive and powerful economically, politically and militarily

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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 5:30 pm 
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You do know that Riaz Haq is just a blogger and chowk.com is an open board that just about anyone can post on. I hardly consider this source all that credible. I would no more consider what is written there reliable than I would something on an antinuclear site.

BTW India has a stated nuclear doctrine that includes a no first use clause.


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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 5:39 pm 
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Nuclear Aims By Pakistan, India Prompt U.S. Concern

Sometime next year, at a tightly guarded site south of its capital, Pakistan will be ready to start churning out a new stream of plutonium for its nuclear arsenal, which will eventually include warheads for ballistic missiles and cruise missiles capable of being launched from ships, submarines or aircraft.


About 1,000 miles to the southwest, engineers in India are designing cruise missiles to carry nuclear warheads, relying partly on Russian missile-design assistance. India is also trying to equip its Agni ballistic missiles with such warheads and to deploy them on submarines. Its rudimentary missile-defense capability is slated for a major upgrade next year.


The apparent detonation of a North Korean nuclear device on Monday has renewed concerns over that country's efforts to build up its atomic arsenal. At the same time, U.S. and allied officials and experts who have tracked developments in South Asia have grown increasingly worried over the rapid growth of the region's more mature nuclear programs, in part because of the risk that weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.


Proximity to Taliban

While Pakistan's nuclear program has lately attracted the most worry, because of the close proximity to the capital of Taliban insurgents, many U.S. experts say that it should not be considered in isolation from India's own nuclear expansion.
Some experts say that a civil nuclear cooperation agreement that Bush signed with India in October benefits the country's weapons programs, because it sanctions India's import of uranium and allows the military to draw on enriched uranium produced by eight reactors that might otherwise be needed for civil power. In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency last July, Pakistan's ambassador in Vienna warned that the deal would increase "the chances of a nuclear arms race on the sub-continent."

Ken Luongo, a former senior adviser on nonproliferation at the Energy Department who recently returned from meetings with Pakistani officials, said the deal exacerbated Pakistan's fears of losing a technological race; others say that, at the least, it provided a rationalization to keep going.


Feroz Hassan Khan, a retired Pakistani general in charge of arms control, said Pakistan perceives a real risk of a preemptive strike by India. Because of Indian superiority in conventional forces, "Pakistan is compelled to rely more heavily on nuclear weapons to counter the threat," Khan said. "It would be highly foolish not to produce more and better weapons."

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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 6:11 pm 
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Well in as much as no one has been able to bring Pakistan to heal on the issue of nuclear weapons, I hardly think that it will be controlled by getting India to sign the NPT. India is not going to disarm no matter what others might want and I will be very surprised if they are allowed to sign as a recognized nuclear state.

As it stands there are several members of the NSG that are not so happy about this sudden roll back the clean exemption of the 123 Agreement. It will be interesting to see what happens when Hillary Clinton meets with the India government next week as one of the things that was supposed to happen there is the final agreement on the two US built reactors that India promised to buy. Not being permitted the fuel for them may put a dent in their enthusiasm.

But the game has just started, we shall see how it is played out


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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 7:07 pm 
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Well, there is cause for worry on the so called "Arms Race" between India-Pakistan, though I understand that India-Pakistan has been effectively de-hyphenated and India is increasingly being hyphenated with China these days. If both India and China feel the same way (i.e. more interested in each others military capacity and positioning of their missiles across the Himalayas) - then whatever Pakistan does might be a side issue for them. As it has been stated here, Pakistan might go broke trying to ballance India.

But, given the rise in arms buildup and concern therein - why was USA so hell bent on striking a deal with India on nuclear cooperation in the first place ? What could be the objective ? The domestic market in India for US made nuclear power plants ? That does not sound logical, since USA has not made any nuclear power plant itself for a generation, and given the history, India is more likely to purchase such plants from Russia or France anyway.

Besides, if I read the news correctly, India is more interested in acquiring Uranium rather than power plants for an interim period, so as to go over the hump till they can have enough converted fissile material to be eventually self reliant on Thorium alone.

As explained here and on the news, India is not likely to sign the current form of NPT no matter what. So, why this push by Mr. Bush to make a deal with India, and why did Obama not shut the door?


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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 7:26 pm 
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Bush is becoming recognized by various observers of foreign US policy as the worst US leader in US history including those that died very early in office. Incompetence could be the reason. It will take at least a decade for the US to recover from his administration.

It is clear from US officials such as DOE Dr. Chu that the US does not have a nuclear industry. All the builders of nuclear reactors are multi-national companies that don’t reflect any nationalistic favoritism. Their only motivation is to do well for their base of international stock holders; increasingly sovereign wealth funds (SWF).

In this age of confusion, it is easy to miss the cover of civilian nuclear power for weapons material production; I can now see the reason for the Indian three step plan. It is a cover to build up the Indian Uranium based weapons program.

The pure thorium fuel cycle will remove this linkage and expose the dangers associated by the misrepresentation of the Uranium fuel cycle by weapons producing state actors. Increasing and uncontrolled nuclear proliferation will waste vast sums of money from small and impoverished countries that can least afford the tragic misuse of limited wealth even if a nuclear exchange does not occur.

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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 8:31 pm 
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Axil wrote:
In this age of confusions, it is easy to miss the cover of civilian nuclear power for weapons material production; I can now see the reason for the Indian three step plan. It is a cover to build up the Indian Uranium based weapons program.


India became a nuclear-capable State in 1974, when it tested its first device, however for over two decades after that it kept an ambivalent position on weaponization and only decided to pursue a full-fledged program in the late '80's after A.Q. Khan developed and tested Pakistan's bomb. Up until that time India was at the forefront, as leader of the non-aligned bloc, in voicing its frustration at the slow pace of global nuclear disarmament.

The were a number of factors that pushed it over the edge: the extension of the NPT in perpetuity; and pressure to make India sign the CTBT - which meant China would always have nuclear weapons, and they would not. This was part of the reason that Bharatiya Janata led coalition was dragged by nationalistic forces into pursuing a full program after the tests by Pakistan at Chagai Hills.

But long before this India had gone to the Western Powers for nuclear protection after the Chinese tests in 1962 and its original refusal to sign the NPT was due to the refusal of the nuclear weapons states (NWS) to fully guarantee non-nuclear states (NNS) against a first use nuclear attack. It didn't help when Nixon sent nuclear armed ships to Bay of Bengal to protect West Pakistan (now Bangladesh) from Indian intervention in the civil war there in 1971.

However it is Pakistan that has used the threat of First Use for its own gain against India in 1987, 1990, 1999 and 2002 in the Kashmir dispute, each time making territorial gains. The most blatant example being the Kargil operation. India has been the one to show restraint and has maintained true to its 'no first use' policy, where as Pakistan nuclear doctrine clearly states that they will use the nuclear option to counter what they refer to as an 'asymmetric' situation.

India has always wanted nuclear energy for electric generation because it just doesn't have enough in the way of other sources within its own borders, to claim that the only reason that they are pursuing a power program is to cover for weapons development is ignorant to the extreme.


Axil wrote:
The pure thorium fuel cycle will remove this linkage and expose the dangers associated by the misrepresentation of the Uranium fuel cycle by weapons producing state actors. Increasing and uncontrolled nuclear proliferation will waste vast sums of money from small and impoverished countries that can least afford the tragic misuse of limited wealth even if a nuclear exchange does not occur.


The pure thorium fuel cycle is not happening soon, everyone here with some technical understanding seems to know this, and I doubt if we will ever move away from having some uranium based reactors used in places where thorium type are not suitable.


Last edited by DV82XL on Jul 13, 2009 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Jul 13, 2009 9:19 pm 
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The thorium fuel cycle has suffered greatly in the past because it can not produce plutonium. This is why current nuclear powers prefer the uranium fuel cycle. India is building up its stockpile of bomb material to match China. They are not hiding anything here. They can not waste fossil material to produce a nuclear technology that does not support their immediate national defense needs. They estimate they will be able to afford to transition to a civilian thorium fuel cycle by 2050 when they are relatively sure that they will have met this defense objectives under any circumstance into the foreseeable future.

In the past India was on its own. Both the Unites States and China favored Pakistan in the balance of power game.


Why China Helped Countries Like Pakistan, North Korea Build Nuclear Bombs

What was the Chinese strategy behind encouraging proliferation once they had mastered the atomic bomb? The way you describe the Chinese intentionally spreading nuclear technology to countries like Pakistan and North Korea seems both shockingly lax and shortsighted.

Shockingly lax? Yes. Shortsighted I'm not so sure.


Think of it as three constituencies: China in about 1982, under Deng Xiaoping, decided to proliferate nuclear technology to communists and Muslims in the third world. They did so deliberately with the theory that if nukes ended up going off in the western world from a Muslim terrorist, well that wasn't all bad. If New York was reduced to rubble without Chinese fingerprints on the attack, that left Beijing as the last man standing. That's what the old timers thought.


The current Chinese government is far more cautious, though it continued to push technology to North Korea. When the North Koreans decided to test, they clearly did so without a Chinese permit and it really frosted the Chinese because it threatened to prompt Japan and South Korea to start their own programs. They didn't worry about terrorism at all.
The younger generation is adamant about keeping a lid on nuclear technology. They don't want to see Los Angeles blown up because they just sold us 10,000 pairs of sneakers. Those last two forces are contending with each other and it remains to be seen what will happen.

Pakistan can be explained by a balance of power: India was China's enemy and Pakistan was India's enemy. The Chinese did a massive training of Pakistani scientists, (just like the Russians had done for them) brought them to China for lectures, even gave them the design of the CHIC-4 device, which was a weapon that was easy to build a model for export. There is evidence that A.Q. Khan used Chinese designs in his nuclear designs. Notes from those lectures later turned up in Libya, for instance. And the Chinese did similar things for the Saudis, North Koreans, and the Algerians.

Did the Chinese further assist in the Pakistan program?

Under Pakistani president Benazir Bhutto, the country built its first functioning nuclear weapon. We believe that during Bhutto's term in office, the People's Republic of China tested Pakistan's first bomb for her in 1990.There are numerous reasons why we believe this to be true, including the design of the weapon and information gathered from discussions with Chinese nuclear experts. That's why the smaller were so quick to respond to the Indian nuclear tests in 1998. It only took them two weeks and three days. When the Soviet Union took the United States by surprise with a test in 1961, it took the U.S. seventeen days to prepare and test, a device that had been on hand for years. The Pakistani response makes it clear that the gadget tested in May 1998 was a carefully engineered device in which they had great confidence.

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