Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Posts Tagged ‘India’

Blog-On-Blog: What Jeremy Kahn Misses On the US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by K.E. White on June 29, 2010

Jeremy Kahn, a former managing editor for TNR, offers a snappy piece (cautiously) defending the U.S. India nuclear.  The article boiled down:  don’t blame India for the regime falling apart; rather, blame the regime itself (and the Bush administration).

But his logic-chain derails a few times.

First, he concedes the Bush administration “gutted” the NPT regime.

While a critic of the deal myself, this claim strikes me as glaringly swallow—for either gleeful supporters or staunch defenders of the NPT to parrot.  India (and Pakistan, Israel, North Korea) have to be brought into the nuclear system.  And none of these countries will give up their weapons, or get a reform to the NPT that would gain them entry.

Ad hoc deals are the only solution.

But was an NSG exception the best way to go?  Clearly not:  logically, it demanded response a response from US rivals—a la the China-Pakistan nuclear deal.

But the biggest weakness remains its failure to promote non-proliferation within the terms of the US-India deal.  The US could–and should–have negotiated more stringent nuclear disclosure and inspection requirements.  By blatantly tying the N-deal to a sloppily thought out strategic aim (countering Chinese influence), the US caused more problems—and alienated key allies.

And India—at least in the near term—lost a chance to become a true leader on nonproliferation and disarmament.

The US-India nuclear deal did not, and has not, made the NPT irrelevant.  And the US-India nuclear deal hasn’t made it easier for Iran to get the bomb.

Iran, like most countries, will get the bomb it if decides to do so.  What the nuclear deal did was to lower the diplomatic pain it would feel.

But the real problem remains the P-5 members treating proliferation concerns secondary to other strategic interests.  Hence the real flaw with the NPT.

Kahn is right to defend India from being lumped in with other proliferators.  But, in doing so, he misses out on the costs of such an approach when it comes to nonproliferation.

In so doing, Kahn fails to imagine a world where India’s neighbors have nukes on hair-trigger alert.  Then how has either India or global non-proliferation been strengthened?

So who is to blame?  Nonproliferation remains a collective nuclear responsibility.

And, even with its flaws, the NPT has worked to prevent a nuclear attack for over 50 years.

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Is A Spy Tripping Up the India-Pakistan Peace Process?

Posted by K.E. White on December 23, 2009

Has a Pakistani James Bond, with a US cover job, derailed India-Pakistan relations?

David Coleman Hedley recently arrested for aiding in in last year’s Mumbai attacks (time-line available here), has not helped peace talks between India and Pakistan:

An American with a Pakistani father serves as an agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency. He is covertly trained by the Pakistani army, and is also an operative of the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. He has a Moroccan wife and many stiletto-heeled girlfriends from Bollywood. After his arrest by U.S. authorities, Indian officials discover that he was given a long-term business visa for India. After his capture in early October, his papers mysteriously go missing from the Indian consulate in Chicago.

The tale of the alleged double agent David Coleman Headley, also known as Daood Sayed Gilani, is now in the middle of a very real investigation by the FBI and at the center of a diplomatic maelstrom that is blowing from Washington to New Delhi.

He is charged with six counts of criminal conspiracy in a case filed in federal court in Chicago. The case names him as a key architect of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Indian authorities also say Headley traveled seamlessly between borders, investigating further sites to attack.

The official investigation and daily exposes appearing in the Indian media have aided in further destabilizing relations between India and Pakistan. But the FBI’s handling of the Headley case, and reports that it has attempted to keep Headley away from Indian investigators, have also fueled suspicion toward the United States, seen here for decades as a Pakistan ally.

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Round-Up: India’s Surprising Election

Posted by K.E. White on May 19, 2009

With all the attention given to Pakistan’s extremist threat, insufficient attention has been paid to India’s recent parliamentary election.

What’s the big news? The incumbent Congress Party (and its allies under the United Progress Alliance) won a resounding re-election. The UPA’s opposition on the right—the more hawkish and socially conservative BJP—lost seats, while its leftist critics were routed. These results defied predictions of a much tighter race.

But more importantly this election, juggling nine national parties and dozens of state parties and 400 million voters, rendered a decisive political judgment in India: awarding the Congress Party enough seats to pursue a national agenda, and not be held hostage by smaller, more insular parties.

The New York Times offers this macro-analysis of the election by Rahul Singh, who ushers in a new era of stable governance (this is the first time a majority government has won re-election in India) and the ascent of a younger, more secular worldview.

(Note: Singh’s last point is only partially true. While the number of under-40 members has increased, the average age of the lower house—Lok Sabha—is higher, making it the 3rd oldest assembly in India’s history.)

Anshul Chaturvedi blames the BJP loss not on policies, age or message but on tactics. His interesting post, drawing on years of following BJP politics, portrays a party made irrelevant by rooting its political power in coalition jockeying and neglecting its base.

The Times of India also offers this article exploring just how the Congress Party overcame the challenge of February’s Mumbai attacks. The article credits Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee’s political tactics with blunting BJP criticism of the Congress Party’s handling of homeland security.

But, as Keith Jones points out, the Congress Party’s sweeping parliamentary victory represents a mere 2 percent increase in popular support. But this line of attack obscures the greater truth. Indians, presented with two national coalition parties and gobs of local parties, opted for UPA coalition led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

How will this election affect US foreign policy? Myra MacDonald, writing for Reuters, shows that tensions between India and Pakistan are still high. This might stymie US efforts to cool tempers so Pakistan can focus on its counter-insurgency, not to mention resolving the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir. Making progress on these fronts permits strengthened civilian rule in Pakistan, which can provide stability over its border with Afghanistan and battle terrorists posing a direct threat to America and its allies.

But what MacDonald omits in her article is the significance of the US-India nuclear deal brokered by the Bush administration. The nuclear deal threatened UPA’s parliamentary control in 2008. With the Congress Party’s reestablished mandate, this nuclear linkage may assist future diplomatic engagement.

Will a now strengthened UPA, popular Obama administration and extremist-battling Pakistan be able to make tough decisions regarding Pakistan?

Maybe. But with (a perhaps duplicitous) Pakistani regime ramping up its nuclear arsenal, the road ahead will be bumpy.

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Speigel Surveys Economic Challenges Facing World Governments

Posted by proliferationpr on February 11, 2009

Speigel surveys the global impact of the economic crisis, contrasting the challenges facing the United Kingdom, France and Russia and China. While at times perhaps alarmist, I—an American who watches US media coverage on the economic crisis equating to coverage on Obama’s stimulus plan and TARP retooling—appreciated this concise, international economy primer.

And for those eager for India updates, the nation is responding to declining economic growth with a bank bailout plan of their own.

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Blog-On-Blog– The Ties that Bind, And the Ties That Don’t: US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by K.E. White on December 2, 2008

Nima Maleki argues that the nuclear deal between the United States and India “explicitly binds India into several foreign relations policies demanded of it by the US in exchange for cooperation on limited access civilian nuclear technology and fuel.

That would make the US-India nuclear deal quite the twilight accomplishment for the Bush administration. Unfortunately, such a superficial reading on the deal misses both the letter of the agreement and it’s practical impact.

First, let’s inspect the agreement itself. While Maleki is correct in noting that American presidents now have the right to suspend the nuclear cooperation if India is found to be proliferating weapons technology, performing nuclear tests or using this cooperation to enlarge their arsenal, such restrictions have proven toothless in the past.

continue reading article

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Michael Krepon & Shuja Nawaz discuss India-Pakistan Relations After Last Week’s Terrorist Attacks on PBS

Posted by K.E. White on December 2, 2008

Below is the transcript from tonight’s NewsHour discussion of India-Pakistan relations days after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center, and Shuja Nawaz, author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within, offer a refreshingly nuanced discussion about the challenges facing Pakistan, India and America after last week’s deadly events. Ray Suarez moderates the discussion.

One can listen to the program here, but reading the transcript—which includes helpful hyperlink resources—may help flesh-out the discussion.

Highlights:

  • Pakistan’s military stress in combating terrorist groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
  • Pakistan’s past links—through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Service—to the group thought responsible for the India attacks, Lashkar-e-Taiba
  • India’s frustrating position: facing public pressure for decisive action, but all options in front of it—full scale military movement in Pakistan, a limited military response, or air-strikes against terrorist bases in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir—have serious drawbacks
  • America’s delicate role as mediator. On the one hand, the United States must stand with India—a critical new partner in the region, with whom a nuclear deal was just approved. On the other hand, Pakistan—a domestically turbulent nuclear power—plays a critical role in battling Al Qaeda and other terrorists along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Below is the transcript from the NewsHour segment:

Ray Suarez: “Michael Krepon, today India pointed to Pakistan and said it is demanding strong action against those who perpetrated this action. What does that mean? What can Pakistan do at this point?”

read full transcript here

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India-Pakistan First: Pakstan to Send ISI Chief to India for Intelligence Sharing

Posted by proliferationpr on November 28, 2008

Reporting of the recent terrorist carnage in India can be found seemingly everywhere, but the Times of Indiain my opinion–offers the best one-stop hub for updates.

And one of those updates is the unlikely move by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to send ISI Chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha to India for inteligence sharing. The ISI is Pakistan’s military intelligence service, and boasts a grisly and controversial history–connections with previous terrorist attacks against India; ties to Islamic extremist groups; and, finally, strong-arming Pakistan’s internal politics.

This move, coming on the heels of Pakistan’s Prime Minister closing ISI’s political wing, show Pakistan’s apparent determination to 1) reel in intra-state instability and 2) prove non-involvement in the deadly, coordinated and still on-going terrorist attacks in India.

Update: Gotta love Pakistan’s new liberal order

Pakistan’s leading opposition party is already laying into Gilani’s move, criticizing Gilani for giving credence to Indian claims of Pakistani involvement in the attacks. The spokesman for the opposition PML party suggests a joint-task force would have been a better response.

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Senate Approves US-India Deal: Two Wrap-Ups of the New Nuclear Nonproliferation Wrinkle

Posted by proliferationpresswm on October 4, 2008

Time Magazine teases out the practical and symbolic effects of the nuclear deal to India. Yes, they get can now receive more sensitive technologies—but the real impact is breaking the India-Pakistan ‘hyphen’.

But—as Mother Jones notes—will the deal risk a break-down of global non-proliferation efforts? And Asia-One News tacks the deal’s winners and losers.

But one thing is clear: US President George W. Bush just profoundly shifted the international system, and with little fanfare or even notice from Americans. (Though a teetering economy, riveting presidential campaign and two on-going wars would push almost any other story before the fold)

 

Source Material

From Time.Com:

But one thing India does not doubt is that the 123 Agreement will transform the way the country is viewed in the eyes of world. According to strategic affairs analyst Manoj Joshi, without access to international nuclear trade, India “could boast of our bomb, our BPO prowess, economic growth, invites to the G-8 meetings and candidacy for the UN Security Council seat. But we were firmly at a different level from, say, China. They could import powerful computers, uranium, sensitive machine tools, software and components for satellites that were denied to us.” Today, that changed, as did the international community’s policy of equating India and Pakistan as nuclear weapons states. As Indian and U.S. officials have repeatedly pointed out, the deal has “de-hyphenated” India from Pakistan. “For decades India has chafed at the world’s tendency to lock India into a bipolar South Asian framework with Pakistan,” says Joshi. “Now, decisively, the rules have been changed for India, and pointedly not for Pakistan.” The deal also has a bearing on the regional balance of power, making clear the U.S.’s proclivity to India and sending a signal to Beijing that it has other options in the Asian region.

On a slower news day, the deal might have gotten more fanfare. But in Washington, immediately after voting, the Senate went back to deliberating the financial bailout package. The Bush administration had achieved one of its most important foreign affairs successes, but there was more pressing business to be sorted out at home. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected in India later this week to ink the agreement with Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. In India, news channels interspersed images from the deal being passed with footage of Oct. 2 bomb blasts in the northeastern state of Tripura. Neither of the governments that led these historic efforts will benefit from it today. But for both, the deal will be a significant and unprecedented legacy.

From Mother Jones

The consequences of the U.S.-India nuclear deal will show themselves slowly, and perhaps in part for that reason, not much has been made of it in the press or in Congress. Immediately after casting their votes last night, Senators returned to debating the financial industry bailout package, the India deal just another piece of business checked off the list. For a measure so important to the future of the spread of nuclear weapons, said Dorgan, “never has something of such moment and such significance and so much importance been debated in such a short period of time and given such short shrift.” 

Posted in Bush administration, India, Nuclear, WMD | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Michael Krepon On US-India Nuclear Deal: The “clear legislative intent of the Congress has been subverted”

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 18, 2008

A solid interview with Michael Krepon, Co-founder, The Henry L. Stimson Center for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Two sections to highlight:

  • The government of India has been very clear in saying that the suspension of fuel supplies at its power plants would be grounds for removing Indian facilities from the IAEA safeguards agreement. What this means is, quite simply, that in the event of a resumption of Indian testing, French and Russian suppliers of fuel will argue very strenuously that fuel supplies should continue because otherwise safeguards will be removed—and there will be no consensus in the NSG. So the clear legislative intent of the Congress has been subverted by the Bush administration’s dealings with both the IAEA and the NSG.
  • Another interesting question is whether or not the government of Israel will seek exemptions from the typical rules of nuclear commerce, not necessarily for power plants, but perhaps for desalinization plants, that’s another possibility. I think the ramifications of an Israeli attempt to get exemptions from nuclear controls are worth considering. 

The interview succinctly shows the flaws with the nuclear pact, while fleshing out its the political and commercial consequences.

Posted in Diplomacy, Michael Krepon, Nuclear, U.S. India Nuclear Deal, WMD | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Interesting–if Slanted–Look at the NSG Deliberations over the US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 16, 2008

An interesting—if bombastic—pro-Indian article into the deliberations of the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) the US-India nuclear deal. 

Chief points: China mucked up passage by insisting Pakistan also receive a nuclear waiver. Also, the article highlights an interesting wrinkle of the US-India nuclear deal: Indian energy independence from Iran. 

The article also expresses the visceral Indian support for the nuclear deal; a sharp constrast from the American public’s ignorance and indifference towards the soon-to-be approved agreement. 

From Hari Sud’s article in the UPI Asia Online:

NSG works by consensus, which agrees to opinions reached by the group as a whole. Even one holdout with idealism in mind can put a spanner in the works. This is what a group lead by Austria, including New Zealand, Ireland, Netherlands and Norway did to India’s recent application for waiver. They held out for two consecutive NSG meetings and five rounds of negotiations. Idealism was the motive behind their moves. Under pressure from India and the U.S., they finally withdrew all objections and consented to the waiver of the U.S. prepared revised draft.

China played a negative role. They unenthusiastically supported the waiver, knowing fully well that the U.S. was hundred percent behind the move. They walked out of the meeting once in support of Austria, Ireland and New Zealand. In a bid to scuttle the deal, they demanded an airtight commitment from India to ban testing of any nuclear bombs, although they would not give any such commitment from their side. In addition they made a fresh case for Pakistan to be awarded the same special waiver, given to India. They knew that Pakistan is a nuclear proliferator, yet pleaded their case to endorse the Pakistani government’s support of their strategic plans in Asia. This last minute treachery from China, who earlier supported India, will never be forgotten.

If the NSG had not given the waiver, India still has adequate resources to power its growing economy with local coal and natural gas from Iran. However, this would have quadrupled India’s greenhouse gases emission from the current 1.1 billion tons a year to about 4 billion tons in 20 years and its impact on earth’s fragile environment would have been catastrophic. Nuclear energy will, however, cut India’s emissions by half.

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