19 November 2007

And some global viewpoints on nuclear proliferation ..

The Economic and Political Weekly carries many fine articles on India's political, economic and social system.

I went hunting there to see the nuclear items they publish.

What IS interesting is that moral questions find room to be published so that they can be publically debated, and most of the articles will even highlight that that is the POINT.

Here are the links as listed and then below I have chosen a comment from one of them to show you how well crafted and timely these articles actually are. I think that they are all worth a read.

Nuclear Weapons

South Asia Needs a Bomb-Less Deal

Pervez Hoodbhoy

Nuclear Disarmament

Achin Vanaik

North Korea Test as Spur to Nuclear Disarmament

Ramesh Thakur

Fallout from Nuclear Deal

R Rajaraman

A Nation’s Shame


Nuclear Power

Economics of Nuclear Power: Subsidies and Competitiveness

M V Ramana

Nuclear Power in India

M R Srinivasan , R B Grover , S A Bhardwaj

High Costs, Questionable Benefits of Reprocessing

J Y Suchitra , M V Ramana

Economics of Nuclear Power in India

Sudhinder Thakur

False Assumption of Nuclear Deal

Amulya K N Reddy

Heavy Subsidies in Heavy Water: Economics of Nuclear Power in India

M V Ramana

<<:>> <<:>> <<:>>

South Asia Needs a Bomb-Less Deal


The US-India nuclear accord will exacerbate the arms race between
India and Pakistan and threatens to accelerate nuclear
weaponisation by both countries. The sane course is for the two
countries to negotiate a fissile cut-off pact, which may well create
positive ripple effects in China and the US as well.
Criminal Behaviour

But instances of criminal nuclear
behaviour are to be found even in the very
recent past. For example, India’s defence
minister George Fernandes told the International
Herald Tribune on June 3, 2002
that “India can survive a nuclear attack,
but Pakistan cannot”. Indian defence secretary
Yogendra Narain had at that time
taken things a step further in an interview
with Outlook: “A surgical strike is the
answer”, adding that if this failed to resolve
things, “We must be prepared for
total mutual destruction”. On the Pakistani
side, at the peak of the 2002 crisis, General
Musharraf had threatened that Pakistan
would use “unconventional means” against
India if necessary.

Given the roller coaster nature of regional
politics, it is quite likely that similar tense
times will return at some point in the future.
But Indian and Pakistani leaders are likely
to once again abdicate from their own responsibilities
whenever that happens.

Instead, they will again entrust disaster
prevention to US diplomats and officials,
as well occasionally to those from Britain.
Of course, it would be absurd to lay the
blame on the US for all that has gone
wrong between the two countries. Surely
the US does not want to destabilise the
subcontinent, and it does not want a south
Asian holocaust. But one must be aware
that for the US this is only a peripheral
interest – the core of its interest in south
Asian nuclear issues stems from the need
to limit Chinese power and influence, fear
of Al Qaida and Muslim extremism, and
the associated threat of nuclear terrorism.
The Americans will sort out their business
and priorities as they see fit. But it
is unwise to participate in a game that
leaves the south Asian neighbours at each
other’s throats while benefiting a power
that sits on the other end of the globe. The
real question is: what actions would best
serve the interest of the peoples of India
and Pakistan, as well as of China? The
answer lies in moving away from the mad
homicidal urges that have come to possess
south Asian ruling elites.

Many years ago, all three countries
crossed the point where they could lay
cities to waste and kill millions in a matter
of minutes. The fantastically cruel logic,
known as nuclear deterrence, requires only
the certainty that one nuclear bomb will
be able to penetrate the adversary’s defences
and land in the heart of a city. No
one has the slightest doubt that this capability
was crossed multiple times over
during the past few decades.
Delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons
have also multiplied and increased in accuracy,
as well the ability to avoid detection
and interception. Indian militarism is far
more ambitious than Pakistan’s – which
is fundamentally constrained by economic
and manpower resources. India is reportedly
developing MIRV capability for
delivering its nuclear warheads. A latent
worry in the US is that India may even
develop an intercontinental ballistic missile
(ICBM), and perhaps also develop countermeasures
to penetrate American missile
defences. Technological progress will
inevitably bring with it limitless dangerous
possibilities. Unless rationality is brought
to bear, every crazy idea will be pursued
just because it is possible to do so.

Best Hope

The time for a fissile material cut-off is
now. It offers the best hope to limit the
upward spiral in warhead numbers. Instead
of threatening to create more Kahutas,
Pakistan should offer to stop production
of highly enriched uranium while India
should respond by ceasing to reprocess its
reactor wastes. Previous stockpiles possessed
by either country should not be
brought into issue because their credible
verification is extremely difficult and would
inevitably derail an agreement. Years of
negotiation at the Conference on Disarmament
in Geneva came to naught for this
very reason. A series of “nuclear risk
reduction” talks between Pakistan and India
have also produced zero results. The cessation
of fissile material production is
completely absent from the agenda; it must
be made a central item now.

If a Pakistan-India bilateral agreement
could somehow come through, it would
have fantastically positive effects elsewhere.
China – which is the major target of US
nuclear weapons – may not have enough
warheads to match the US but has more than
a sufficient number to constitute a nuclear
deterrent. Inspired by an Indian cut-off, it
could declare a moratorium on fissile
material production. The US, which no longer
produces fissile materials because it has
a huge excess, could encourage the Chinese
action by offering to suspend work on its
Nuclear Missile Defence system.

Unfortunately, the US is not acting as
a force for peace in south Asia. Confronted
by the accusation that it is pumping arms
into a region that some of its leaders had
once described as a “nuclear tinder box”,
US officials have responded defensively
with answers such as: you have to deal with
the world as it is and the Indian programme
cannot be rolled back; India is a democracy;
India needs to import nuclear fuel
and technology and we need to sell them.
But such replies sweep under the carpet
the disturbing history of near-nuclear
conflict on the subcontinent for which the
US has often taken credit for defusing.
By proceeding with the nuclear deal with
India the US may destabilise south Asia.
Equally, if it forces a change in the global
nuclear order by creating an exception for
India, it will have bartered away one of
its fundamental interests. “What will Russia
say when they want to supply more nuclear
materials or technology to Iran?” angrily
asked congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
Indeed, the US-India nuclear deal
will deeply damage the NPT, take the heat
off Iran and North Korea, open the door
for Japan to convert its plutonium stocks
into bombs, and create the conditions for
eventual global nuclear anarchy.

Email: pervezhoodbhoy@yahoo.com

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