The Nuclear Suppliers Group - Principles vs. Power Interests

Written By: Brian Cloughley

On May 12, 2016, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs, told the Senate, “even though the U.S. State Department has been consistently underlining the importance of good relations with Pakistan, there are broader geo-political issues which must be kept in view.” He spoke in the context of the negative attitude displayed by many members of the U.S. legislature concerning the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan, but the government has obviously been examining all aspects of U.S.-Pakistan relations, especially in the light of the Washington-Delhi defence cum commercial nexus.

India is seeking membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is “a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through implementation of two sets of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.” One of the NSG’s main stipulations, adopted in 1994, is that any supplier of nuclear-associated material or technology “authorises a transfer only when satisfied that the transfer would not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

It could not be clearer that this international agreement forbids provision of nuclear expertise or material to a country that has not ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which the U.S. State Department describes as “the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime.”


theneuclera.jpgBut even cornerstones can be undermined, and that process began when President George W. Bush started negotiations with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July 2005 to produce a U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement. It took considerable effort by both sides to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement whereby India would have access to nuclear material and technology consistent with the primary U.S. aim of entry to the potentially large Indian market for nuclear power stations. The commercially-based Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India concerning Peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy of August 2007 is known as the 123 Agreement because it was necessary to amend Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act 1954 which governs ‘Cooperation with Other Nations.’ India declined to abide by the Act’s specification that “non-nuclear-weapon states [e.g. India] partners [which India has now become] must have full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, essentially covering all major nuclear facilities,” because this would involve inspection of defence-related establishments.

The modified Act seemed to clear the way for nuclear collaboration on a major scale, but in spite of seemingly generous terms in the Cooperation Agreement there has been no involvement by U.S. nuclear plant manufacturers, mainly because they do not want to be held financially responsible for a nuclear accident at a power station which they designed or built.

It is accepted worldwide that national nuclear plant operators are accountable in the event of accidents, but India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, and Rule 24 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Rules, 2011, provide for the right of recourse, pursuit of which would involve foreign enterprises, be they suppliers or operators, being held liable for damages. In spite of lobbying by U.S. President Obama during his visit to India in 2015, which was much praised as having achieved a “breakthrough” in removing the liability barriers which India’s parliament strongly supported, there has been no radical change that would encourage U.S. firms to seek major contracts. (The Westinghouse Electric Company, generally thought to be American, which is negotiating to build six nuclear plants in India, has been owned by Japan’s Toshiba since 2006.)

In February 2015 India’s Ministry of External Affairs stated that the Civil Liability Act “channels all legal liability for nuclear damage exclusively to the operator” — but Clause 17 of the Act specifies that operators are permitted to seek financial recourse from suppliers after paying compensation for “patent or latent defects or sub-standard services,” which are, naturally, open to legal interpretation in the event of a disaster.

It is notable that on May 19, 2016 it was reported in the U.S. that after a 26-year legal battle 15,000 homeowners in Colorado had succeeded in obtaining a $375 million settlement because plutonium leakage from a nuclear weapons plant had adversely affected their health and devalued their property. Rockwell International Corporation and Dow Chemical Company “agreed” to pay the money after fighting the lawsuit for over a quarter of a century. The media noted that “after a $7 billion clean-up that took 10 years . . . the most heavily contaminated area remains off-limits to the public” which is no doubt being borne in mind by India’s legislators who have not forgotten the 1984 disaster at the Union Carbide pesticide plant at Bhopal that killed and maimed many thousands of people. (Dow Chemical now owns Union Carbide. In 2012 it was revealed that Dow had engaged the intelligence company Stratfor to obtain information about the personal lives of activists engaged in seeking redress for negligence.)

While there have as yet been no commercial benefits to the U.S. from its nuclear agreement with India, there have been other effects, including some that are less than desirable in the context of “proliferation of nuclear weapons” which is condemned by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The Arms Control Association states that “In September 2008, in a move led by the United States, the Nuclear Suppliers Group eased long-standing restrictions on nuclear trade with India by the group members. NSG rules generally forbid the sale of nuclear goods, such as reactors and fuel, to non-NPT countries.” Before this ‘easing’ of international constraints, India had been unable to import uranium and was therefore entirely reliant on its own mines, which although producing only low-grade ore are extensive and in the long term capable of providing fuel to any number of nuclear facilities, civilian and military.

As a result of annulment of the international stipulation requiring its adherence to the NPT before being permitted to import nuclear fuel and technology, India negotiated nuclear cooperation arrangements with eleven nations, including the holder of the world’s largest uranium deposits, Australia, whose government’s 1977 Uranium Export Policy had specified that “customer countries must at a minimum be a party to the NPT and have concluded a full-scope safeguards Agreement with the IAEA.” But profit beats morality, and, as noted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, “Australia was the last domino to fall when it created an exception for India to its export policies in December 2011.” The agreement was tied up in November 2015 and a parliamentary committee noted that it could increase export revenues by $1.7 billion. (Canada’s current uranium contract is valued at $350 million; there is little public information concerning financial arrangements with other suppliers.)

Countries involved in nuclear cooperation with India are expected to observe similar rules to those of Australia which specifies that its uranium “may only be exported for peaceful non-explosive purposes,” and it is almost impossible that any foreign-supplied uranium could be used to produce nuclear weapons. These are manufactured at installations using India’s abundant indigenous ore which is no longer needed to fuel civilian nuclear power stations.

Following the U.S.-India 123 Agreement the President of the Federation of American Scientists, Charles D. Ferguson, wrote in Arms Control Today that, “by granting India access to uranium, the deal allows India to divert its indigenously-mined uranium to military applications without detracting fuel from the civilian program” — and that is the crux of the entire affair.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group, at the urging of the United States, approved a measure that encourages India to produce nuclear weapons more economically. The “cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime” has been dealt a massive blow. Although the U.S. Hyde Act of 2006 governing U.S.-India nuclear cooperation requires, inter alia, that the President must inform Congress of non-compliance with “the provision of nuclear fuel in such a manner as to facilitate the increased production by India of highly enriched uranium or plutonium in unsafeguarded nuclear facilities”, it is impossible for the U.S. to certify publicly that this is not taking place because there is no provision for on-site verification.

India regards membership of the NSG as a major foreign policy goal, and the U.S. support for its ambition was indicated in a joint statement on January 27, 2015, by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi which “committed [them] to continue to work towards India’s phased entry” in to the Group.

There are 48 nations in the NSG, and their attitude to accession by India varies from most supportive (U.S., France, UK, Australia) vis the majority who are fence-sitting and non-committal, to those opposed which include Ireland, Sweden, Pakistan and China.

Pakistan’s application for accession, officially submitted on May 18, 2016, notes that the NSG needs to “adopt a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach for NSG membership of the countries that have never been party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.” It is considered, however, that this was more a record of protest than a reasoned bid to join an organisation whose amendment of basic principle to permit international supply of uranium to India was an indication of ethical flexibility.


theneuclera1.jpgOn May 13, 2015, the U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby was asked about India’s bid to join the NSG and he replied, “I’d point you back to what the President said during his visit to India in 2015, where he reaffirmed that the U.S. view was that India meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for NSG membership.”

The U.S. has made it clear that it will continue to support India’s efforts to achieve its objective, and that it will attempt to influence NSG members accordingly, as it did before succeeding in having them exempt India from the condition that there must be no nuclear cooperation with countries that have not acceded to the NPT. It is not surprising, therefore, that Mr. Sartaj Aziz observed that in Pakistan-U.S. relations there are “broader geo-political issues which must be kept in view.”


The writer is a France based retired officer of Australian Army and is an expert on South Asian affairs. He is also author of various books, and contributes extensively in international media.

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Following the U.S.-India 123 Agreement the President of the Federation of American Scientists, Charles D. Ferguson, wrote in Arms Control Today that, “by granting India access to uranium, the deal allows India to divert its indigenously-mined uranium to military applications without detracting fuel from the civilian program” — and that is the crux of the entire affair.


While there have as yet been no commercial benefits to the U.S. from its nuclear agreement with India, there have been other effects, including some that are less than desirable in the context of “proliferation of nuclear weapons” which is condemned by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Efficacy of the Nuclear Supplier Group & Pakistan's Membership

Written By: Dr Rizwana Abbasi

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about  war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.” (Omar Nelson Bradley)

The world is familiar with the devastation of nuclear weapons and the enduring impact that they have on the lives of those who had suffered in the horrors of war or tragic accidents around the globe. Practical use of nuclear weapons may have been brought under a check, nonetheless, the proliferation of this dangerous technology is a concern that remains a factor for 'strategic turbulence' in our time. Transformation of crude nuclear technology and fissile material into weapons of mass destruction, somewhat true, has become a thesis for two distinct aspects: one, the institutionalization of regimes and treaties to control and finally disarm the nuclear weapons; second, casus belli for intervention into other States and regime changes. Such proliferation concerns have been the reasons of realization of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other subsequent mechanism. Significant amongst those is the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG)  that somehow brings in NPT and (now struggles to adjust some of the non-NPT signatories) into a single cohesive framework. This article attempts to expound on its efficacy and discusses Pakistan's membership of NSG. It also endeavours to propose a comprehensive single framework whereby various export control regimes can be converged.

In the contemporary international security environment, the NSG membership debate has emerged as an urgent issue for the states in Asia. It is, therefore, important to seek answers to some relevant key questions: why the group was established and what is its structure and efficacy in today's security environment? What are the problems attached to this group and why violations occur within its designed structure? Why this group is important for the future security and what will happen if it is not fixed? Why is it imperative for Pakistan to attain a membership state status in the NSG and how would that be achievable?

It is important to understand that the NSG is an important part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime (NPR). NPR consists of different treaties, regimes and arrangements which build interaction among states to promote non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, arms control and disarmament. Some of the instruments are more formal such as treaties, conventions and agreements. Others may be informal and voluntary arrangements or in the form of agreed guidelines that participants accept or choose to disregard, as they deem appropriate.

Within this, the first institutional effort to strengthen norms against proliferation of nuclear material took place when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was approved in 1954 and became operational later in 1957. The purpose was to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy ensuring that 'assistance provided by it or at its request, or under its supervision or control is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose' under the IAEA statute, Article II. The Article III A.5 of the IAEA authorizes this agency 'to establish and administer safeguards' and make institutional safeguards mandatory for Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) party to the NPT.  This was a successful institutional effort to create a system of safeguards. For instance, NNWS agreed to report to the IAEA with their civilian activities and also to keep their facilities open for inspection by the IAEA inspectors to ensure that there was no diversion of material from civilian to military purposes.

The most significant and debated measure of the regime, the NPT, was introduced in 1968 and came into force in 1970, with a range of obligations for NWS and NNWS. It was established under the belief that the proliferation of nuclear weapons would enhance the risks of a nuclear war. Thus, the treaty required the NWS not to transfer nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosives or control over such devices or assistance to NNWS (Article I  Pillar I). The treaty envisages the NNWS not to acquire, manufacture, or seek assistance in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons or explosive devices, (Article II). The treaty gives right for the peaceful uses of nuclear technology without discrimination highlighted under the Article (IV  Pillar II) while the NWS were to disarm and subsequently eliminate nuclear weapons (VI  Pillar III). Additionally, the treaty gives party states the right to withdrawal by giving a three month-notice. Finally, the provisions of the treaty, particularly Article VIII, paragraph 3, envisaged a review of the operation of the treaty every five years.

After it came into force, the NPT assigned the IAEA the responsibility for verifying its safeguards system at the global level. The IAEA was given a formal responsibility to implement Article III of the NPT and additionally, it serves two purposes of the NPT. The first purpose is in accordance with Article IV.2 of the treaty and the second function deals with international nuclear safeguards in accordance with the article III of the treaty. Under these clauses the IAEA verifies the fulfilment of non-proliferation commitments. These legally binding facts demonstrate that the NPT represented the foundation for an international regime to establish a codified norm against proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world. In addition to the above developments, some important informal measures had been introduced to reinforce the NPT norms and facilitate coordination among its member states. Since the final text of the NPT had yet no clear implementation and enforcement strategy for its article II commitments, therefore, the multilateral negotiations on nuclear export control resulted in the establishment of two separate mechanisms for dealing with nuclear exports, viz, Zannger Committee (ZC), Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Wassenaar Arrangement (WA). In addition to the above developments, some important informal measures had been introduced to reinforce the NPT norms and facilitate coordination among its member states. Since the final text of the NPT had yet no clear implementation and enforcement strategy for its article II commitments, therefore, the multilateral negotiations on nuclear export control resulted in the establishment of two separate mechanisms for dealing with nuclear exports, viz, Zannger Committee (ZC), Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Wassenaar Arrangement (WA).

In 1974 the export control committee known as Zannger Committee (ZC) was established as an intergovernmental group to coordinate export controls on the nuclear material. Under the ZC the NPT article III.2 (focused on safeguarding of nuclear exports to non nuclear weapon states) had been redefined. Whereas the NSG later renamed from its original name London Group (an offshoot of the NPT) was emerged in response to the 1974 Indian explosions with the purpose of halting the further proliferation of nuclear weapons. The aim was to reinforce the NPT's article III and IV to ensure that transfers of nuclear material would not be diverted to unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycles and nuclear explosive activities. It is important to understand here that the NSG further elaborated the NPT article III.2 and IV, thus, its agreements and mechanism flows from the NPT. Thus, the ZC and the NSG are informal arrangements but directly serve the NPT's purpose and strengthen its normative structure.

Question arises why violations occur in this institutional arrangement? Answer in the first place relates to the fundamental structure of the NPT. Had there been no loopholes in the NPT, NSG would have served its purpose more rationally.  Since the violations inside the NSG are directly related to some fundamental structural flaws and problems, attached to the formation of the NPT (which is the most powerful organ of the NPR), which weaken the disposition of the NSG, thus, it could not serve the NPT's normative purpose. What are these loopholes?

First, under the NPT, five countries are considered as recognized NWS while the rest of the Treaty's signatories are regarded as NNWS and barred from acquiring nuclear weapons, which is a big question mark. This special arrangement legitimizes the continuous possession of nuclear weapons by five NWS and endorses disarmament of unarmed states. Such arrangement has raised global criticism towards this regime's discriminatory framework.

Second, there is a problem of non-universal role of the NPT, that is, within the NPR, from the outset, most states adhere to a greater or lesser extent to the terms initiated by the NPT, but India, Israel, and Pakistan have never joined the NPT, although India (exploded nuclear devises first in 1974 and later in 1998) and Pakistan (followed the Indian tests in 1998) developed nuclear arsenals and declared themselves to be nuclear weapons states, whilst Israel has maintained the policy of 'nuclear opacity' and ambiguity since 1968. India and Pakistan assert their sovereign right to possess nuclear weapons and have strong reservations towards the status of the NPT from the outset, regarding it as a 'discriminatory treaty'. India, nevertheless, has abruptly changed its policy posture towards the NPT after 1998 test and no longer considers the NPT as a discriminatory treaty because it struggles to create some space in the international nuclear politics. North Korea first joined the NPT, withdrew in 2003, and later tested nuclear devices and now building ballistic missile capability, thus violating the NPT norms.  The NPR is incomplete when these four de facto nuclear weapon states remain outside the NPT treaty, because they are not being accepted as NWS as per NPT conventions.

Within this, third problem is attached to the article IV of the NPT, which has failed to restrict states' access to the full fuel cycle, to prevent the diversion of peaceful technology for the development of nuclear weapons. Thus, the North Korean behaviour has tested the efficacy of the NPT's article IV. The danger is, Iran might follow the North Korean steps. Another issue is that within the NPT article III and IV, vaguely defined NSG has been used to give waiver to state to transfer nuclear technology. The Indo-US civil nuclear deal is glaring example in this case, which damaged the original essence of the NPT. Fourth, no progress has been made towards the article VI (disarmament – because Treaty gives no time-frame) which has not been fulfilled by the established nuclear weapon states thus, aggravating the 'crisis of trust' in the NPT regime.

Fifth, within the NPR, export control regimes (particularly the NSG) are under immense challenge because of globalization. The consequence of which has been the easy exchange and transfer of knowledge and the flow of dual-use technologies. Rapid technological advance  bringing a decrease in the value of old technology and an increase in the supply of discarded technology  increases the risk of the proliferation of nuclear-related material and technologies. Additionally, these export control regimes are fairly weak with no legal legitimacy.

Finally, over the last 35 years, the IAEA safeguards system under the NPT has played a vital role in detecting and curbing the diversion of civil uranium to military usage and verifying states' nuclear facilities. However, these IAEA safeguards confront a number of challenges, such as detecting undeclared nuclear activities; risks from the states, which have not joined the NPT; and states which have significant unsafeguarded activities. Nuclear fuel making  which is regarded as a right under Article IV of the NPT  creates many problems because verifying enrichment or reprocessing facilities is a difficult task. If the IAEA cannot effectively safeguard nuclear materials needed for civilian purposes, then this is a severe weakness in the agency's ability to prevent such virtual NWS from becoming actual NWS. The Additional Protocol (which reinforces the IAEA safeguards is not universal yet) addresses such gaps; without this protocol, the agency cannot monitor the research and development activities.

These above facts powerfully demonstrate that today the entire non-proliferation regime is widely considered as a 'system in distresses'. There are mounting apprehensions about the regime's efficacy as a cordon to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is of paramount importance that the NPT regime be systematically strengthened in this environment to meet present challenges. If the current challenges attached to NPT are not addressed, there remains question about its future adequacy given the significant rise in interest in pursuing nuclear power in a globalized environment.

With NPT in distress, the NSG has become far more relevant today. Due to rising economic interests and maintaining a flourishing trade, more and more states aspire to adhere to the export control regimes. For example, many analysts have lauded that the present century belongs to Asia. It is due to the fact that Asia is a continent with large, fast-growing economies that will demand a great deal of energy including nuclear energy. It is observed that more and more states are acquiring additional reactors and connecting to the grid in Asian region. Conversely, today, several countries that have achieved mastery in the nuclear fuel cycle remain outside the NSG umbrella. Certain other countries, which may not have the requisite expertise over the entire nuclear fuel cycle but still possess resources or expertise valuable to one or more stages of the fuel cycle, have not gained membership either.

The NSG has to recognize its potential role to make it consistent with current realities. Question arises, is it ready to meet today's challenges? In times, the NSG will have to reflect emerging trends such as in the global nuclear power industry. As agreed in the NPT article IV, the group, by no means, will oppose development of peaceful nuclear energy, even as it remains strongly opposed to proliferation and proliferation networks. The current guidelines, which were written in 1978, specify that supplier states exercise “restraint” in exporting enrichment and reprocessing items. Moreover, the NSG lacks legal legitimacy, institutional mechanism to address states’ power demands on the given criteria.

India and Pakistan are aspirant states, which seek to add more reactors to their power grid.  The NSG members in search of their geostrategic interests and trade expansion, exempted India from the existing rules and India escaped the constraints associated with its status. Nevertheless, being a political arrangement with no  legitimacy, in my opinion, NSG may not decide on expanding membership outside its defined criteria. NSG member states clearly laid down the admission criteria of new states in 2001 Aspen Plenary: item 4 of 5 on the list that says: the new aspirant states should be a party to the NPT and have in force a full-scope safeguard with the IAEA. Nevertheless, India, a non-NPT party state, did not place its facilities under the IAEA full-scope safeguards, thus, is not entitled to enjoy the benefits of the NPT membership and was subjected to the NSG rules that forbid nuclear cooperation with states that have unsafeguarded facilities. India has not signed CTBT and has not addressed matter of moratorium on fissile material (FM) production yet within the conference on disarmament (CD). Therefore, as a result of Indo-US deal, its eight nuclear reactors are under the IAEA question mark. Without addressing apprehensions on these urgent matters, Group membership extension would damage the efficacy, spirit and structure of the NPT and entire NPR may appear to be ineffective. Through selective admission for individual states, the NSG will undermine its credibility not only within the NSG but within the NPT NNWS and outside.

Pakistan also seeks membership in the NSG and MTCR, but directed by a 'criterion-based approach', which may create a new mechanism to build nuclear cooperation with these new nuclear weapon states. Such a proposition, pragmatic in nature and consistent with time-sensitive strategic urgency, is paramount for Pakistan as it aspires to institute three additional nuclear power plants to generate 8800 MW of electricity by 2030 and 40,000 MW by 2050 to make up for the ominous power deficiency that has rattled it so far. Pakistan has already initiated a nuclear power plant Kanupp-2 (K-2) in Karachi. Pakistan plans to lay down two additional plants, NPPs, Chasma-1 and Chasma-2. Thus these evidence compel Pakistan seek membership in the NSG as an urgent case.

How then the criterion based approach can be adopted, which Pakistan has floated? How to legalize the role of the NSG and formally attach it to the NPT? In author's view, there is an urgent need to revive the non-proliferation regime and enhance the role of non-NPT states in the full spectrum of non-proliferation and disarmament standards and obligations instead of breaking the designed structure of the NPT on selective basis. Less restrictive rules for some states and greater demands on the others will surely exacerbate the crisis of trust in the NPT regime. Within this the NSG guidelines and structure necessitate a revision in line with emerging and potential developments and set new criteria for membership considering the Non-NPT states.

The contention is that a new broad formula needs to be defined for export control policies that can meet current and future challenges in the realm of inhibition of proliferation. States which are not member to the NPT should be considered on a separate legal formula recognizing the security paradigm and security imperatives of these states. This document new formula or document would be linked with export control regimes. This document would recognize the new realities facing the world today such as globalization, rise in energy demands, information revolution and changing nature of security constructs. Secondly, dual-use technology considerations under the NSG are very critical. There is need to address sensitive technologies more clearly and consider their registration carefully, with emphasis on greater transparency in nuclear export controls. Denial Information is not shared outside the Group, whereas in my considered opinion, openness does not have an alternative, therefore sharing of best practices at the international level is exceedingly important for better manifestation of the effectiveness of export control regimes. More of the dual-use items are tangible and can be controlled but it is difficult to control intangible technological transfer and that demands more focused and practically durable operational procedures in that area. Most important of all, the export control process needs to be formally linked to the NPT.

Instead of having four multilateral regimes in institutionalized manner, there should be one regime, may be called Comprehensive Nuclear Proliferation Inhibition Regime (CONPIR) merging the four into one to develop more effective export control mechanism worldwide. This arrangement may take these factors into account:

•It should be cognizant of the fact that Pakistan and India are declared nuclear states and, therefore, they should be treated as NWS as per provisions of the NPT.

•Further testing and acquisition of NWS status should be banned.

•Unsafeguarded nuclear facilities of new NWS and of those NNWS, which aspire to become part of the NPT framework, for peaceful uses of nuclear technology, should be subjected to IAEA mechanism of inspection.

•Access of nuclear material and technology for peaceful uses must be conditioned with signing of the NPT and an unambiguously declared moratorium on testing of any nuclear devices under any circumstances or conditions.

•A realistic and workable framework for nuclear disarmament  with defined time-lines to achieve disarmament objectives.

In my reckoning, the major challenge would be to create some space for India and Pakistan within the non-proliferation regime so that they come under the same obligation as NPT's description of NWS, as outlined under the article VI of the NPT. India and Pakistan are independent sovereign nuclear weapon states and can be incorporated within the NPT through the 2015 NPT review conference. If it is too late to pursue India and Pakistan to give up their nuclear weapons, then we should introduce new arrangements through which the two states can be attached to the NPT so that they become full partner to the regional and global disarmament process. Pakistan had been advocating for long either amending the NPT or creating a protocol so that Pakistan may be attached to broader ambit of NPT. This would allow them to retain their nuclear weapons and restrict them to restrain their further developments.

After this process, the cooperation with international export controls may become more viable. This will create an effective and enduring 'criteria based approach' for these states to join NSG, prohibit the explosive testing of nuclear devices and call for the phased elimination of fissile material production, which should include the existing stockpile into it. Further benefit would be that both the states would abide by the obligations of the NPT. Such a regime like CONPIR will strengthen international framework rather than weaken it. Since these countries have no legal non-proliferation obligations, and Indian role in the NSG will raise question for south Asian regional balance, therefore, inclusion of these states into the NPT through CONPIR will create a strategic stability in the region.

The writer is a PhD in International Security and Nuclear Non-Proloferation from University of Leicester, UK and is on the faculty of NDU, Islamabad

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India’s Non-proliferation Credentials: Myth or Reality

Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil

India claims that it has a flawless non-proliferation record and it should be made part of the mainstream nuclear club. It also wants a membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) partially based on this “spotless” non-proliferation record. In reality India’s non-proliferation record, however, is not as clean as it would have us believe. One of the most glaring examples is the 1974 nuclear explosion itself, for which India diverted nuclear fuel from Canadian reactors – supplied for peaceful and civilian use – to conduct a nuclear weapons test. Ironically, the NSG was created in the wake of this explosion specifically aimed at preventing the diversion of civil nuclear technology for military purposes in future. While India has always taken the moral high ground in non-proliferation by demanding complete nuclear disarmament and non-discriminatory approach, in practice it has pursued an aggressive nuclear weapons programme in order to achieve a major regional and global power status. India’s path to a nuclear weapon status is replete with many proliferation activities like illicit procurement, centrifuge know-how leakage, and a poor implementation of national export control system. Moreover, the safety and security of its nuclear installations is also in question where there are many instances of nuclear thefts and security breaches. India’s non-proliferation record is far from impeccable as it claims due to long list of documented breaches.


Diversion of Foreign Civil Nuclear Assistance for Weapons Use
The single most important and glaring example of India’s nuclear proliferation is the 1974 nuclear explosion, called the ‘Smiling Buddha.’ The nuclear explosion used the plutonium from the nuclear reactor supplied by Canada. Thus, India is the first country that diverted plutonium from reactors supplied for peaceful purposes towards making a nuclear bomb. The plutonium was produced in the Canadian-Indian Reactor, U.S. (CIRUS), which had been operating since 1960. It was built by Canada under the “Atoms for Peace” programme. The 21 tons of heavy water needed to operate the reactor were supplied by the U.S. In return, India had a written agreement with the suppliers that obliged it to use the nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes. Once confronted, India claimed that it was a “peaceful nuclear explosion.”


indianonpro.jpgIndia had another agreement with the U.S. in 1963, which covered the two nuclear power reactors at Tarapur and their fuel. The spent fuel from these reactors is in storage and contains India’s most reactor grade plutonium. India claims that it can reprocess the spent fuel to extract plutonium for use in its civilian power reactors as fuel. That plutonium can be used for nuclear weapons. Reportedly, the plutonium from Tarapur reactors is enough to make hundreds of nuclear warheads. However, the 1963 agreement required India to get approval from the U.S. for reprocessing the plutonium placed at its disposal. India disputes this and insists that it is free to reprocess the spent fuel at any time. The U.S. has kept the matter dormant because it is an irritant in relations between the two countries. This is yet another glaring instance of nuclear proliferation done by Indian.

Illicit Procurement
Indian nuclear entities and companies have procured nuclear dual-use material and equipment without revealing to the supplier that the end user is an unsafeguarded uranium enrichment plant. The Institute of Science and International Security (ISIS) released two reports in 2006, which give details of India’s proliferation activities.1 The ISIS reports reveal that India has a tendering process for acquiring equipment for its gas centrifuge programme. The Department of Atomic Energy’s (DAE) sub-entity Indian Rare Earths (IRE) uses websites and newspapers to invite companies for supply or manufacture of equipment without specifying that the end user is a gas centrifuge programme under the DAE. According to the ISIS report, this process has been going on for years with hundreds of advertisements for tenders.

Another instance is when in August 2005, an Indian ordnance factory attempted to use a Polish and a Europe-based Egyptian firm to obtain a controlled item – a three-roller four-axis CNC flow-forming machine from a European supplier. The accompanying specifications showed that it could be used to manufacture missile casings.2

The ISIS 2008 report establishes Indian illicit procurements of Tributyl Phosphate (TBP), which is a dual use chemical used in nuclear programme to separate plutonium. India used her trading companies to procure TBP secretly from German and Russian suppliers. The end user for the substance was Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad. These middle companies procured the TBP without the supplier knowing that the substance was meant for unsafeguarded nuclear programme.3

Centrifuge Know-How Leakage
The ISIS reports also reveal that India’s tendering process for acquiring equipment for its gas centrifuge programme also leaks sensitive gas centrifuge information. Interested bidders can purchase documents, which cost around U.S. $10, and some of them contain detailed drawings and manufacturing instructions for direct use centrifuge components and other sensitive centrifuge related items. The tender advertisements do not indicate to the bidder that the items will be used in a gas centrifuge facility. However, the whole tendering process was meant to outfit the Indian gas centrifuge programme, codenamed Rare Materials Project (RMP) under the DAE. The tender documents contain drawings and precise specifications. The level of detail is such that these documents would be considered classified in supplier countries. The bidding companies may leak the designs for secret nuclear programmes. Therefore, this opens many direct and indirect avenues for proliferation.

Poorly-Implemented National Export Control System
Indian export controls are poorly implemented with a greater possibility of onward proliferation. An ISIS report raises the issue that under inadequate Indian export controls, once imported items are re-exported it can be a great source of concern vis-à-vis onward proliferation. This turns more dangerous as proliferant states are known to target Indian industries.6 With the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal coming through and many other Western countries engaging in nuclear trade with India, there will be a dramatic increase in nuclear dual-use items. This will further strain an already inadequate export control system.

Illicit Heavy Water Acquisitions
India's nuclear programme requires a steady stream of heavy water. During the 1980s, India arranged secret shipments of Chinese, Soviet and Norwegian heavy water to help start the Madras and Dhruva reactors through a West German nuclear materials broker named Alfred Hempel. Between 1983 and 1989 India received at least 80 tons of Soviet heavy water under the table, and 26.5 tons of Norwegian heavy water through diversions.7

Nuclear Thefts and Accident
India has had a long history of thefts of nuclear material and mishaps or near-accidents at its nuclear facilities. This raises concerns over onward proliferation of nuclear materials as well as the safety and security of its nuclear facilities. Limited access to fissile material and international safeguards on nuclear facilities are the main barriers to nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. However, India has a poor record on both counts. In fulfilment of the terms of the India-U.S. nuclear deal, India has placed 22 of its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.8 But there is a long list of incidents of theft of nuclear material as well as concerns over the safety of its nuclear installations. Potential effects of plutonium or uranium thefts go beyond national borders with the possibility of onward proliferation and threats of nuclear terrorism.

According to a 1996 report made available to IAEA, Indian nuclear facilities have had 130 instances of safety related concerns, of which 95 required urgent action.9 According to an Indian parliamentary report, 147 mishaps or security related occurrences were reported in Indian atomic energy plants between the period 1995 to 1998. Out of these instances, 28 were of acute nature and 9 of these occurred in nuclear power installations.10

The incidents of nuclear theft date back to the 1980s but increased manifold in the 1990s and 2000s. This article would just mention a few of the theft cases. In July 1998, Indian Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) uncovered a theft racket of Uranium in Tamil Nadu. Of the 8 kg seized, 6 kg was weapons grade unenriched uranium.11 This led to cases of further seizure of uranium on July 31, 1998 of 2kg uranium. Samples showed 2.2% enrichment which indicated that it had come from an atomic research centre. On May 1, 2000 Mumbai police seized 8.3 kg uranium from scrap dealers which originated from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which was said to be depleted but radioactive.12

Also in November 2000, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported two incidents of uranium theft in India. In one incident, the Indian police seized three uranium rods and arrested eight persons on charges of illicit trafficking of nuclear material. In the second incident, the Indian police seized 57 pounds of uranium and arrested two men on charges of illicit trafficking of radioactive material.13 Again in November 2000, the Indian intelligence seized 25kg of highly radioactive uranium from a scrap dealer in Bibi Cancer Hospital.14 In August 2001, the revelation of 200 grams of semi-processed uranium theft in West Bengal led to the arrest of a uranium smuggling gang.15 In December 2006, a container packed with radioactive material was stolen from Indian fortified research atomic facility near Mumbai. Again in September 2008, Police in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya arrested five people on charges of smuggling uranium ore.16

In March 2010, a gamma unit containing Cobalt-60 pencils was improperly disposed off by University of Delhi in violation of national regulations for radiation protection and safety of radioactive sources. This incident resulted in the material landing in the hand of a scrap dealer in West Delhi which led to the death of one person and seven were reportedly affected by radiation injuries.17 Also in 2013, leftist guerrillas in Northeast India illegally obtained uranium ore from a government-run milling complex and strapped it to high explosives to make a crude bomb before they were caught by the police.18

There have been instances in India where employees have carried out damaging activities within a nuclear facility. For instance, in 2009, a disgruntled employee at the Kaiga Atomic Power Station in Karnataka was reportedly responsible for contaminating drinking water supply with heavy water from the plant which led to the poisoning of 45 employees. Similarly, there have been media reports that there have been 25 intrusions at Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in the last two years.19

The long list of nuclear thefts in India raises concerns over the presence of a nuclear mafia in India and organised crime relating to nuclear materials. This has been a great source of concern since the effects of national nuclear theft go beyond national borders. Such incidents are likely to lead to nuclear terrorism which is an international issue of concern.

Of even greater concern are finding of a 2012 analysis by the British Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi which highlighted the potential of theft of material suitable for use in weapons of mass destruction from insufficiently protected nuclear and chemical facilities in India. The report concluded that there is a potentially high risk of the material falling into the hands of wrong elements and radiological material being used in the form of a “dirty bomb” in terrorist activities.20

Another analysis published by the Foreign Policy magazine expresses grave concerns that India is not adequately safeguarding its fast-expanding nuclear installations and materials. An incident in October 2014 raised fresh concerns over the safety of Indian nuclear facilities when a person of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which was assigned to protect India's nuclear facilities and weapons related materials and installations, opened fire and killed several people in the very facility he was assigned to protect.21

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an estimated 90 to 110 nuclear warheads are stored in six or so nuclear sites which are guarded by CISF. A 2013 confidential draft report of the Home Ministry revealed that the force is short staffed, ill equipped and inadequately trained.22

The U.S. and other Western countries have long expressed concerns over the safety of India’s nuclear facilities. However, India refuses any help from the U.S. in improving its nuclear safety and its nuclear programme that still remains shrouded in secrecy. This, however, is a matter of grave concern, especially with India-U.S. civil nuclear deal coming through. Moreover, many other countries are eagerly engaging in nuclear trade with India. This means that close to 60 reactors may be operational in the next two decades. With a poor nuclear safety and security record, it only means that there would be dozens more nuclear reactors that would be vulnerable to theft and accidents.

Of even greater concern are latest reports that India is also building a top secret nuclear city to produce thermonuclear weapons in Southern Karnataka. Reportedly, it will be the subcontinent’s largest complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic research laboratories and weapons testing facilities and is expected to be completed in 2017.23 Of much significance are the reports that India is building thermonuclear weapons which have a much greater explosive force. This again follows the same clandestine pattern where India exploded its first “peaceful” nuclear device, when it tested first in 1998, and is now pursuing thermonuclear weapons without the international community and especially the U.S. being aware of it. This signifies that India is the engine of nuclear proliferation and nuclear competition in South Asia. This will not only further heighten Pakistan’s threat perceptions and that of China, but may give them an incentive to pursue thermonuclear weapons of their own. This would only fuel a pointless nuclear arms race. Moreover, having a nuclear city means adding to the already extensive number of Indian nuclear facilities that need to be safeguarded. The safety and security of India’s nuclear facilities thus becomes a matter of even graver concern. This may lead to onward proliferation or nuclear terrorism, or both.

It is clear that India has a poor nuclear materials safety record. According to the 2014 NTI (Nuclear Materials Security Index), which assesses the security of nuclear materials around the world, India scores below Pakistan, and is ranked only above North Korea and Iran.

Black Diamonds Incident
Black diamonds are found naturally and considered rare. However, Indian scientists have been trying to create them artificially through radioactive processes. In 1992, scientists from BARC were reportedly involved in exporting ‘black diamonds’ internationally. Scientists were using research reactor APSARA to irradiate natural diamonds, making them darker and radioactive and selling them on the international market. These diamonds have dangerously high levels of radioactivity.24 BARC is central to India’s nuclear weapons infrastructure. The fact that scientists from this facility were willing to engage in illegal and dangerous practices heightens fears that other nuclear material may also be available for illicit trade.

Proliferation by Individuals and Entities: Links with Iranian and Iraqi Programmes
India has a history of cooperation with Iran.25 It had a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran signed in 1975. During the period of 1980-3, India helped in building the Bushehr nuclear plant and also sent scientists and personnel to Iran in 1982. India negotiated a deal for the sale of a 10 MW nuclear reactor to Iran in 1991 despite U.S. displeasure. Nuclear scientist Dr. Prasad, head of the Nuclear Corporation of India worked in Bushehr after his retirement. Another scientist Narander Singh also worked in Iranian nuclear facilities.26

President George W. Bush administration sanctioned several Indian entities for transferring technologies and know-how to Iraq and Iran that could contribute to chemical or biological weapons programmes.27 The U.S. clamped sanctions on five Indian entities and four individuals for their involvement in proliferation. In 2002-03, the U.S. imposed sanctions on the Indian entity Hans Raj Shiv for transferring WMD equipment and technology to Iraq.28 Protech Consultants Pvt Ltd came under sanctions in 2003 for transfers to Iraq. NEC Engineers Pvt Limited came under the U.S. sanctions in 2003 for proliferation activities related to chemical and biological weapons.29

An Indian scientist Dr. Prasad and former Chairman of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited Dr. Surendar came under sanctions in 2004 for facilitating WMD and missile related programme.30 In 2007, two Indian nationals Sudarshan and Mythili were arrested in the U.S. for illegally transferring latest computer technology meant for missile guidance system for their government’s research and development entities.31 Likewise, Sabero Organic and Sandhya Organic Chemicals Pvt Ltd were sanctioned in 2005 for proliferation to Iran.

India has time and again claimed that the country has a spotless non-proliferation record. However, the long list of proliferation activities ranging from nuclear theft and accidents, diversion of peaceful material for weapons use, illegal nuclear materials procurement, centrifuge know-how leakage prove that this claim is a myth, far removed from the reality. In fact, “the spotless nonproliferation record” is a narrative that India is being aided and abetted by its Western allies firstly, because their strategic interests are converging and building India as a strong regional power to counter a rising China is in their interest. Secondly, the narrative also helps pave a smooth path for Western countries to engage in lucrative nuclear business with India.


The writer is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad and focuses on nuclear and arms control & disarmament issues.

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1 David Albright and Susan Basu, “India’s Gas Centrifuge Program: Stopping Illicit Procurement and the Leakage of Technical Centrifuge Know-How,” Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) Report, March 10, 2006, http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/indianprocurement.pdf, and David Albright and Susan Basu, “Neither a Determined Proliferator Nor a Responsible Nuclear State,” Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) Report, April 5, 2006, http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/indiacritique.pdf
2 David Albright and Susan Basu, “India’s Gas Centrifuge Program: Stopping Illicit Procurement and the Leakage of Technical Centrifuge Know-How,” op.cit, p. 5.
3 David Albright and Paul Brannan, “Indian Nuclear Export Controls and Information Security: Important Questions Remain,” September 18, 2008,http://www.isis-online.org/publications/southasia/India_18September2008.pdf
4 David Albright and Susan Basu, “Neither a Determined Proliferator Nor a Responsible Nuclear State,”op.cit, p. 3.
5 David Albright and Susan Basu, “Neither a Determined Proliferator Nor a Responsible Nuclear State,” op.cit, p. 4.
6 David Albright and Susan Basu, “Neither a Determined Proliferator Nor a Responsible Nuclear State,”op.cit, p. 2.
7 India Moves From Smuggling to Exporting Heavy Water, The Risk Report, Volume 1 Number 2 (March 1995)
8 India country profile –Nuclear, http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/india/nuclear/
9 NayanChanda, “The Perils of Power”, Far Eastern Economic Review, February 4. 1999, pp.10–17
10 Ritu Sarin, “Hunt for yellow cake,” The Indian Express, June 4, 1998.
11 “Uranium Racket unearthed,” Press Trust of India, July 24, 1998.
12 The Times of India, May 6, 2000.
13 Dr. Shireen Mazari and Maria Sultan, “Nuclear Safety and Terrorism: A Case Study of India,” Issue 19, Islamabad Papers, 2001, ISSI
14 Ibid.
15 “Uranium smugglers caught in India,” BBC News, August 27. 2001
16 “India Arrests for ‘uranium theft’”, BBC News, September 10, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7608984.stm
17 Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, “Nuclear Security in India,” Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
18 Adrian Levy and Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive and Out of Control,”Foreign Policy, December 17, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/17/fast-radioactive-and-out-of-control-india-nuclear-safeguards/
19 Ibid.
20 “Report cites risk of WMD material theft in India,”June 19, 2012, http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/report-highlights-risks-cbrn-material-theft-india/
21 Adrian Levy and Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive and Out of Control,”Foreign Policy, op.cit.
22 Referred to in Adrian Levy and Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive and Out of Control,” Foreign Policy, op.cit.
23 Adrian Levy, “India is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, expert say,”Foreign Policy, December 16, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/16/india_nuclear_city_top_secret_china_pakistan_barc/
24 Dr.ShireenMazari and Maria Sultan, “Nuclear Safety and Terrorism: A Case Study of India,”op.cit.
25 Iran has long been accused and sanctioned for pursuing the path to nuclear weapons development and a deal was recently finalized that hoped to halt or considerably slow down the progress on producing nuclear weapons grade fissile material.
26 “India’s Proliferation Record,”http://ssii.com.pk/str/articles.php?subaction=showfull&id=1353849362&ucat=13&template=Headlines&value1news=value1news&var1news=value1news
27 Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: India, https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/indiaprofile
28 U.S. Senate Report to Committee on Foreign Relations on U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation and U.S. Additional Protocol Implementation Act, 20 July 2006, available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-109srpt288/html/CRPT-109srpt288.htm
29 Ibid.
30 Paul K. Kerr, “U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress,” CRS (November, 2009), p.8, available at http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/132243.pdf
31 Indians held in U.S. for selling missile parts,” The Dawn, 5 April 2007, available at http://www.dawn.com/news/240828/indians-held-in-us-for-selling-missile-parts



India’s Expansionist Nuclear Ambition

Written By: Tahir Mahmood Azad

India is rapidly increasing its military muscle both in terms of conventional and unconventional forces. Indian aggressive military doctrine is not limited to a specific single agenda. It is in pursuit of regional hegemony and to fulfil its global aspirations. Presently, Indian armed forces consist of approximately 1.4 million men, possessing sophisticated military technology, nuclear weapons, long-range ballistic missiles and an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capability. The rapid expansion of Indian military capabilities puts a question mark over the peaceful future of the South Asian region. According to an analysis, “Indian defence spending has doubled in real terms since 1997, growing at an average of 6.3 per cent per year.”1


 indiaexpect1.jpgAccording to SIPRI reports, Indian political leadership seems more ambitious in building military forces rather than focusing on socio-economic development. Recently, Narendra Modi’s government has announced a further 11 per cent hike and has raised military budget to U.S.$39.8 billion in 2015-2016.2 According to SIPRI's report, Indian defence expenditure in 2015 is $51.3 billion – higher than the previous year.3 India is the world’s leading buyer of conventional arms, with upwards of $100 billion estimated to be spent on developing its conventional [defence] forces over the next decade.4  There are speculations that the Indian estimated defence spending could be even higher in the coming years.


India’s Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) or threatened provocative proactive operations are estimated to be the most expensive military strategy. India is exceeding Pakistan in ‘revolutionary’ military resources such as high-performance aircraft, wide-area communications, reconnaissance, and battlefield awareness.5 This Indian military modernisation has further widened Pakistan’s conventional imbalance vis-à-vis India. India is also building and designing its own aircraft carrier. “The Indian Navy already has clearance to build six SSN Submersible Ships and Nuclear Submarines (nuclear-propelled but not nuclear-armed submarines).”6


India's credibility of sticking to a peaceful use of nuclear technology is already in question. The nuclear arms race in the South Asian region is a blatant consequence of non-compliance with the non-proliferation regime. Its quest for hydrogen bomb, fragile nuclear waste management system, weak nuclear security culture, lack of trained human resource, serious internal security threats and environmental effects are all a cause of grave concern for both the region with one-fifth of the world population as well as the international community.

In addition, after having received the “green signal” from the U.S., India – a non – NPT state-is expanding its nuclear program. It is making new nuclear deals with the international nuclear industry. India also plans to develop dozens of new nuclear power plants. Currently, there are 21 nuclear reactors7 already in operation. India has formulated a three-stage nuclear power program which was designed by Homi Bhabha in the 1950s:8


• Stage I – Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor [PHWR]

• Stage II – Fast Breeder Reactor

• Stage III – Thorium-based Reactors


It is a known fact that India has one of the largest shares of global thorium reserves. India plans to spend an estimated U.S. $150 billion adding dozens of new reactors around the country. According to Foreign Policy Magazine, “Within the next two decades, as many as 57 reactors could be operating (in India).”9 In order to facilitate India in the international nuclear club, the U.S. granted it a special “waiver” by violating all nuclear non-proliferation norms. Since 2008, India is being granted free access to international nuclear industry. “It has already received roughly 4,914 tons of uranium from France, Russia and Kazakhstan, and it has agreements with Canada, Mongolia, Argentina, Namibia, United Kingdom, Canada, Kazakhstan and South Korea for additional shipments.”10 Now question arises as to how much uranium India requires for civil nuclear energy purposes? What is the actual quantity of fissile material produced by India itself? What would be the criteria to check whether India will not misuse uranium from international market for military use? The technology acquired in 1970's for civil nuclear purposes from the U.S. and Canada has already been used for explosive purposes.11 India carried out its first nuclear explosion in 1974 and named it deceptively as "Smiling Buddha".


To establish and operate nuclear industry on a large scale, a huge number of trained and reliable human resources are required. Personnel and Human Reliability Programs (PRP and HRP) are a very important mechanism for a safe and secure nuclear program. To sustain a safe and secure nuclear program, a strong Nuclear Security Culture (NSC) is also vital. Is India well equipped to endorse all the criterion? According to one report, “the Indian Paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which has a total of 95,000 personnel under civilian rather than military control and a U.S. $785 million budget, is supposed to keep these nuclear materials from leaking from India’s plants but it is short-staffed, ill-equipped, and inadequately trained.”12 This implies that the safety and security of India’s nuclear facilities is not reliable.


Another source of concern is India’s pursuit of a thermonuclear bomb. Former senior British and U.S. officials have confidently stated that India is actively developing a thermonuclear bomb and we are constantly monitoring it.13 Former project leader for nuclear intelligence at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Robert Kelley, stated that after analysing the available satellite imagery, as well as studying open source material on both sites, he believes that India is pursuing a larger thermonuclear arsenal. “Its development,” he warned, “will inevitably usher in a new nuclear arms race in a volatile region.”14


India's credibility of sticking to a peaceful use of nuclear technology is already in question. The nuclear arms race in the South Asian region is a blatant consequence of non-compliance with the non-proliferation regime. Its quest for hydrogen bomb, fragile nuclear waste management system, weak nuclear security culture, lack of trained human resource, serious internal security threats and environmental effects are all a cause of grave concern for both the region with one-fifth of the world population as well as the international community.


India needs to address these concerns before applying for Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) membership. It is obligatory for the member states of NSG to seriously and impartially consider the above mentioned apprehensions if non-proliferation is desired.


Peaceful use of nuclear technology is a fundamental right of every sovereign state. However, there are various procedures and arrangements to ensure before pursuing high level expansion of nuclear technology. In addition, there is also a need to address socio-political aspects while expanding the nuclear technology. Unfortunately, India has paid minimal attention to socio-political and domestic challenges. Despite being the largest democracy of the world, its non-inclusive policies and war prone mindset to control the region is more dominant. India is rapidly building its conventional and unconventional forces.


Furthermore, what would be the consequences if India conducts a thermonuclear device test?  Such Indian moves needs to be monitored before they proceed beyond the red lines. Unconditional nuclear favours to India will have very serious implications for global nuclear non-proliferation commitments. India is on the trajectory of rapidly growing nuclear installations with the undue support of the U.S. This would have implications not only for South Asia, but for other regions as well.

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1 Walter C. Ladwig III, “Indian Military Modernization and Conventional Deterrence in South Asia,” The Journal of Strategic Studies, 2015, p.2.
2 Ibid.
3 Mateen Haider, "India's growing military spending threatens Pakistan, says NSA Janjua," DAWN (Islamabad), April 05, 2016, http://www.dawn.com/news/125012, accessed on August 22, 2016.
4 Ibid.
5 Rodney W. Jones, “Conventional Military Imbalance and Strategic Stability in South Asia,” South Asian Strategic Stability Unit, University of Bradford, March 2005, p.5.
6 “India wants to build nuclear-powered aircraft carriers,” January 13, 2016, http://apdf-magazine.com/india-wants-to-build-nuclear-powered-aircraft-carriers/, accessed on February 02, 2016.
7 According to World Nuclear Association, currently, there are 21 reactors in operation. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-G-N/India/, accessed on January 07, 2016.
8 IBP Inc., India Energy Policy, Laws and Regulations Handbook Volume 1 Strategic Information and Basic Laws, Lulu.com, 2015, pp.61-62.
9 Adrian Levy, R. Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive, and Out of Control,” Foreign Policy, December 17, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/17/fastradioactiveandoutofcontrolindianuclearsafeguards/, accessed on December 29, 2015.
10 Adrian Levy, “India Is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, Experts Say,” Foreign Policy, December 16, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/16/india_nuclear_city_top_secret_china_pakistan_barc/, accessed on December 28, 2015.
11 Mark Hibbs, “The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011, p.5,http://carnegieendowment.org/files/future_nsg.pdf, accessed on January 2015.
12 Adrian Levy, R. Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive, and Out of Control,” Foreign Policy, December 17, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/17/fastradioactiveandoutofcontrolindianuclearsafeguards/, accessed on December 29, 2015.
13 Levy, “India Is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, Experts Say,”.
14 Ibid.

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