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Because we have learnt to live with nuclear weapons for 68 years, we have become desensitized to the gravity and immediacy of the threat they pose.

A nuclear catastrophe could destroy us any time.

The tyranny of complacency could yet exact a fearful price if we sleep walk our way into a nuclear Armageddon.

This series of post is a layman attempt to lift the shroud of the mushroom cloud from the international body politic that governs Nuclear Power.

The next member in the Nuclear Club is India. 

The world’s largest democracy and second most populous country (over 1.18 billion people) has emerged as a major power after a period of foreign rule and several decades during which its economy was virtually closed.

Often seen by outsiders as a crippled country, emaciated by poverty, and emasculated by philosophy India tested its first fission device in May 1974, and now possesses full nuclear fuel cycle capabilities.

It is supposed to have a declared nuclear no-first-use policy and is in the process of developing a nuclear doctrine based on “credible minimum deterrence, a policy of “retaliation only.  (Without of course defining what ‘‘minimum’’ meant or toward whom.)

On No First Use (NFU): is away with the fairies as it implies probable large-scale destruction of India before it presses the button with constraints. “It will not be the first to initiate a nuclear first strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail.”  Pull the other leg.

India has closely guarded the details of its nuclear posture since it became an overt nuclear weapons state in 1998. Its entire nuclear journey has been shrouded in remarkable secrecy.

Like its fellow members of the club it is addicted to power. It enjoys submitting to it, the aesthetic of it. I would venture to say that it is not concerned with any practical reality, but with hypotheses or dogma.  Its to old to care. With its sense of hierarchy which contributes to the bafflement of India reality is a deception.

Indian acquired its nuclear weapons with the intention of deterring China’s territorial ambitions. It failed to achieve that purpose and—worse—provoked a weaker power, Pakistan, to develop a nuclear deterrent to its benefit. China pursued a policy until the early 1990s of supporting Pakistan’s nascent nuclear program, a move very much directed at containing India. Chinese assistance proved an impetus for India’s nuclear-weapon pursuit, not the other way around.

For a relatively mature democracy with a vibrant political culture, the level of opacity surrounding India’s nuclear posture is extraordinary.

A pluralistic, multilingual and multicultural society that these days has no need for a Nuclear Warhead.  India voted against the UN General Assembly resolution endorsing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) or the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which was adopted on September 10, 1996.

It now has a stockpile of approximately 30-35 nuclear warheads and claims that it is producing additional nuclear materials which we are told is held in a disassembled state. ( A complete myth for obvious reasons)

How has India benefited from its nuclear weapons?

You tell me.  I can see no benefit other than have a  mutual deterrence, a facade of corrupt power which it has in abundance.

Would you mind telling we what is the use of building an indigenous nuclear-powered submarine armed with the ‘K’ series nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, named  the INS Arihant.  After all, nuclear weapons did not prevent American and Soviet allies from killing tens of millions of each other’s people between 1945 and 1991, nor did they deter the 9/11 attacks.

It might be a good idea if some one in the Club released that 50 Hiroshima-size bombs, are enough to kills up to a billion people around the world, and in addition to direct blast, heat and radiation deaths would severely disrupt global food production and markets and cause a nuclear war-induced famine.

This why nuclear powers must accept defeat at the hands of non-nuclear states rather than escalate armed conflict to the nuclear level.  Nor can they be used for defense against nuclear-armed rivals.

The normative taboo against this most indiscriminately inhumane weapon ever invented is so comprehensive and powerful that under no conceivable circumstances will its use against a non-nuclear state compensate for the political costs.

As long as anyone has nuclear weapons, others will want them; as long as nuclear weapons exist, they will be used again some day by design, accident, miscalculation or rogue launch; any nuclear exchange anywhere would have catastrophic consequences for the whole world.

The prospects of major conflict are ever more remote.

Nuclear weapons cannot be credited with these developments.

Nuclear weapons again cannot be credited or blamed for the contrasting fortunes of the two subcontinental powers, but perhaps India did stand to gain in relative terms from the modicum of stability they provided.

In April 2013, Canada and India signed a bilateral safeguards agreement for trade in nuclear materials and technology used in IAEA safeguarded facilities. India has long sought to secure a bilateral civilian nuclear agreement with Japan. However, the stalemate continues since the two parties failed to secure an agreement during a five-day meeting between the two Prime Ministers in September 2014.  Also in September 2014, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott and India’s Narendra Modi signed a nuclear cooperation agreement. This agreement paves the way for Australia to export uranium for India’s civilian nuclear program.“nuclear weapons are an integral part of our national security and will remain so pending the global elimination of all nuclear weapons.”

Both the benefits and limitations of nuclear weapons are best captured by a single fact:

Of all nuclear-armed adversaries, only the Soviet Union and China in 1969 and India and Pakistan in 1999 ever fought a war with one another.

The fact that such conflict took place at all and that military competition between and against nuclear powers often took other forms, including the use of proxies and non state actors.

Amid volatile energy costs, the accompanying push to expand nuclear energy, growing concerns about the environmental impact of fossil fuels, and the continued diffusion of scientific and technical knowledge, access to dual-use technologies seems destined to grow.

The shortcomings of the Treaties to reduce or total remove nuclear weapons are equally obvious: They have proven inadequate to arrest the spread of nuclear technology, never mind the odd warhead.

International instruments for combating nuclear proliferation are proving unable to meet today’s challenges not a single known or suspected case of proliferation since the early 1990s—Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, or Syria—was deterred or reversed by the multilateral institutions created for this purpose.

 

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