India concerned ISIS may get access to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons

India is concerned that extremist groups such as Islamic State may get their hands on nuclear weapons from Pakistan, according to Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh. “With the rise of ISIS in West Asia, one is afraid to an extent that perhaps they might get access to a nuclear arsenal from states like Pakistan,” Singh said at a regional security conference in Singapore.

Terrorism has killed more than 50,000 people in Pakistan since 2001 and given rise to concern about the security of its weapons. Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear weapons program in the world, according to the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, with an arsenal of 100 to 120 warheads, compared with China’s 250 and India with 90 to 100.

India has also been criticized for the quality of its nuclear security. The Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative said last year that security conditions were adversely affected by continued increase in the quantity of India’s nuclear material, as well as high levels of corruption among public officials.

Pakistan ranked 22nd and India ranked 23rd out of 25 countries in the NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index, only above Iran and North Korea.

– edited from Bloomberg, May 30, 2015
PeaceMeal, May/June 2015

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India nuclear submarine ‘threatens peace’

India has launched a nuclear-powered submarine that will be able to launch missiles at targets 700 km (440 miles) away. Unveiled at a ceremony on July 26, the 6,000 tonne Arihant submarine will be deployed after a few years of trials. At the launch, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India had no aggressive designs on anyone, but that it was necessary to keep pace with technological advancements worldwide. He added that the sea was becoming increasingly relevant to India’s security concerns.

Neighboring Pakistan, which has fought four wars with India since the country was partitioned after World War II, called the sub a threat to regional peace and security. Foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said, “The continued induction of new lethal weapon systems by India is detrimental to regional peace and stability. Pakistan believes the maintenance of strategic balance is essential for peace and security in the region.” He added, “Pakistan will take appropriate steps to safeguard its security without entering an arms race.”

Launching of the Arihant is seen as a clear sign that India is looking to blunt the threat from China, which has a major naval presence in the region. India plans to build five nuclear submarines to complete a triad of nuclear weapon launch capability — from land, air and sea. Concurrently, it is developing the K-15 ballistic missile, which can be nuclear-tipped and launched from subrines.

India is engaged in a wide-ranging, $50 billion (U.S.) military modernization program, provoked in part by the November 2008 shooting and bombing attacks on Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India’s financial capital and largest city, which killed at least 173 people and wounded more than 300. The attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based terrorist organization, who accessed the coastal city by sea. In addition to the navy, others branches of the Indian military are also now pushing for more upgrades and additions. The air force is seeking ten more fighter jet squadrons and the army is seeking more tanks and howitzer field guns.

– edited from BBC News and Asia Times
PeaceMeal, Sept/October 2009

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Nuclear proliferation a done-deal with India

On 18 December 2006, President George Bush signed controversial legislation that allows transfer of nuclear materials and technology from the United States to India. The bill, jammed through by the Senate just before the holiday recess, blows a hole in United States law regarding non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The legislation makes an India-specific exemption to decades-old rules restricting civilian nuclear commerce with states, such as India, that have refused to allow “full-scope” international safeguards over all of their nuclear facilities. In exchange, India says it will accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections for 14 of its 22 nuclear reactors — a meaningless gesture because it will keep its extensive and secret nuclear weapons production complex off-limits. Put simply, the deal grants India the benefits of being a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty without requiring it to meet all of the responsibilities expected of responsible states.

Congress spurned provisions that would have required commitments from India to restrain its production of nuclear weapons and nuclear bomb material. The legislation also ignores the U.S. obligation to uphold U.N. Security Council Resolution 1172 of June 1998, which calls upon both India and Pakistan to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, stop nuclear weapons deployments, and halt the production of fissile material. Nor does it require the President to certify that U.S. civilian nuclear assistance is not aiding India’s bomb program.

India has been outside the mainstream of international nuclear controls since it improperly used Canadian and U.S. civilian nuclear assistance to conduct its initial nuclear weapon test in 1974, refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and conducted additional nuclear tests in 1998. As a result, India had been cut off from most U.S. civilian nuclear assistance since 1978 and most international assistance since 1992.

By making a special exemption for a favored ally, the India deal will make it even more difficult to enforce existing rules with states such as Iran and North Korea and to convince other states to accept tougher non-proliferation standards in the years ahead.

The national security interests of the United States were overruled by business and political interests. Supporters of the legislation want U.S. nuclear suppliers allowed into a lucrative market. And the Bush Administration actually welcomes a larger Indian nuclear arsenal as balance to China.

India already has enough fissile material for some 60 to 100 nuclear weapons. Allowing foreign nuclear fuel supplies to India will free up the country’s existing domestic supply of uranium to be singularly devoted to weapons production in the future. India could thereby increase its current production capacity from six to 10 nuclear warheads a year to several dozen per year. That could very well spark a nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan, who have already fought three wars with each other over the still-disputed Kashmir region.

The final legislation does require that existing U.S. trade restrictions cannot be lifted until and unless the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group agrees to change its rules. The NSG currently prohibits trade with the states — India, Pakistan and Israel — that are not members of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and do not allow safeguards over all their nuclear facilities. However, following his signature of the legislation, President Bush released another one of his “signing statements” saying that he reserves the right to ignore that provision. The Bush statement said, “A serious question would exist as to whether the provision unconstitutionally delegated legislative power to an international body.”

A serious question also exists as to whether the President can constitutionally ignore at will any provision of a bill he signs without violating his oath of office to uphold the laws of the United States.

– edited from Arms Control Association ( and Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
PeaceMeal, Jan/February 2007

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House approves nuke proliferation with India

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly July 26 to overturn United States law and the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to end a three-decade ban on the sale of nuclear fuel and reactor components to India, a country that has acquired a nuclear arsenal and has refused to sign the NPT. President Bush threw out the longstanding previous policy on March 2nd with the announcement that he and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had reached agreement on a deal for the U.S. to sell nuclear technology to India, even as India continues to produce nuclear weapons in facilities not open to inspection. Pakistan, India’s nuclear-armed neighbor and arch-rival, has not been offered a similar deal by the Administration, even though that country is ostensibly our ally in the “war on terror.”

Some lawmakers strongly questioned the deal, arguing that it would undermine the world’s premier non-proliferation treaty and could lead to the United States supporting a large buildup of India’s nuclear weapon stockpile. Democratic Congressman Ed Markey portrayed the House action as a “historic failure” that “pours nuclear fuel on the fire of an India-Pakistan nuclear arms race.” India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947, with the disputed territory of Kashmir between them being a prime bone of contention. President Bush and other supporters say the deal allows U.S. nuclear suppliers to crack a lucrative market.

 The House action came on the heels of a statement by Dr. Hans Blix, the former chief United Nations weapons inspector, that American unwillingness to cooperate in international arms agreements was undermining the effectiveness of efforts to curb nuclear weapons. Dr. Blix said it was essential that Washington act to end the stagnation of arms limitation: “If it takes the lead, the world is likely to follow. If it does not take the lead, there could be more nuclear tests and new nuclear arms races.”

Dr. Blix, 77, a Swedish constitutional lawyer and the director general of the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency from 1981 to 1997, made his comments in the introduction to a report on nuclear disarmament by an international commission, which was delivered June 1 to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The commission concluded that treaty-based disarmament was being set back by “an increased U.S. skepticism regarding the effectiveness of international institutions and instruments, coupled with a drive for freedom of action to maintain an absolute global superiority in weaponry and means of their delivery.”

The United States has not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and in 2001 the Bush Administration unilaterally withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, one of the cornerstones of nuclear disarmament.

The commission said nuclear weapons — there are 27,000 in the world, with 12,000 of them deployed — should be banned the way biological and chemical weapons were. “Weapons of mass destruction cannot be uninvented,” the report said. “But they can be outlawed, as biological and chemical weapons already have been, and their use made unthinkable.”

The Senate has yet to vote on the U.S.-India nuclear deal.

– compiled from The Associated Press and The New York Times
PeaceMeal, Sept/October 2006

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)