Tuesday, March 28, 2006

brahma: U.S. drags India into CTBT through backdoor

mar 28th

i spoke to brahma recently, and he's extremely concerned about where the politicians are leading the country. and this is not just the congress, although they are far worse. but i remember brahma was not all that thrilled about the bjp government either. he feels that a lot of very short-sighted decisions are being made that the nation will regret in the long run. he's probably right. just as we're now regretting the giveaway of tibet, we will regret the giveaway of national security as well.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brahma

Asian Age, Front-Page, March 28, 2006

Bush traps India into CTBT

By BRAHMA CHELLANEY

The Bush administration has attached a legally binding rider to the nuclear deal with India even before the US Congress has had an opportunity to put conditions of its own. Under the administration's action plan, India would become a party to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) through a congressional piece of legislation.

            This is the first time in world history that one power has sought to bind another state to an international treaty rejected by its own legislature. The US Senate threw out the CTBT in 1999.

            Under subsection 'd' of the "waiver authority" sought by the administration from Congress, India would be precluded forever from conducting any nuclear-explosive test. If India were to violate that blanket prohibition, all civilian nuclear cooperation with it will cease, leaving any power reactors it imports high and dry, bereft of fuel.

That is exactly what happened to the US-built Tarapur power reactors when, in response to India's 1974 test, America walked out midway through a 30-year civil nuclear cooperation pact it signed in 1963. Although the 1963 pact had the force of an international treaty, the US halted all fuel and spare-parts supplies. Today, with the Indian foreign secretary in Washington to negotiate a new civil nuclear cooperation accord, India is reliving history.

For Washington, the nuclear deal has come handy to impose qualitative and quantitative ceilings on India's nuclear-deterrent capability in order to ensure that it never emerges as a full-fledged nuclear-weapons state. A permanent test ban is part of its effort to qualitatively cap the Indian deterrent, while the quantitative ceiling comes from America's success in making India agree to reduce to less than one-third the existing number of facilities producing weapons-usable fissile material.

Lucky to escape Bush's nuclear embrace, Pakistan can now seek to overtake India on nukes, as it has done on missiles. It can watch the fun as the Bush administration and US Congress entangle India in a web of capability restraints, in return for offering New Delhi dubious benefits — the right to import uneconomical power reactors dependent on imported fuel.

The White House has ingeniously used the reference to India's "unilateral moratorium" in the July 18, 2005, nuclear deal to make it legally obligatory for New Delhi to abjure testing perpetually. In other words, India is being compelled to foreswear a right America will not give up, even as the US merrily builds nuclear bunker-busting warheads and conducts sub-critical tests.

The reference to the Indian moratorium in the July 18 accord is specifically linked to the commitment therein that India "would be ready to assume the same responsibilities and practices and acquire the same benefits and advantages as other leading countries with advanced nuclear technology, such as the US". The US imposition of both a perpetual test ban and perpetual international inspections, however, shows vividly that India is being denied the "same benefits and advantages" as the US.

While parties to the CTBT can withdraw from the treaty invoking its "supreme national interest" clause, India will have no such option. It will take on US-imposed, CTBT-plus obligations.

Instead of repealing or amending provisions of its domestic law, the Bush administration has simply sought a waiver authority under which, if the President were to make seven specific determinations on India's good conduct, "the President may … exempt" nuclear cooperation with New Delhi from the requirements of Sections 123(a)(2), 128 and 129 of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act.

The seven good-conduct determinations listed in subsection 'b' of the Waiver Authority Bill include the following — that "India is working with the US for the conclusion of a multilateral Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty" (FMCT); and that India is making "satisfactory progress" with the International Atomic Energy Agency to implement an "additional protocol", which will bring India's entire civil nuclear fuel cycle and its workforce under international monitoring. 

There is also an eighth determination to be made. Marked, "Subsequent Determination", subsection 'd' reads: "A determination under subsection (b) shall not be effective if the President determines India has detonated a nuclear explosive device after the date of the enactment of this Act".

India's second-class status is being endowed with legal content, so that it stays put at that level permanently.

It began with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's announcement earlier this month that, contrary to his solemn pledge in Parliament "never to accept discrimination", he gave his word to Bush that India will accept international inspections of a type applicable only to non-nuclear states — perpetual and immutable. Bush's waiver-authority request makes clear that he would seek to grant India any exemption only after it has brought into force a legally irreversible international inspections regime.

After being the only nuclear power to accept perpetual, enveloping inspections, India now stands out as the only nuclear-weapons state whose test "moratorium" will cease to be voluntary or revocable. Although still to build a single Beijing-reachable weapon in its nuclear arsenal, India will have no right to test even if China, Pakistan or the US resumed testing.

Having set out to drag India into the CTBT through the backdoor, the US is positioning itself to also haul New Delhi into a fissile-material production ban even before an FMCT has been negotiated, let alone brought into force. This objective could be facilitated either through a congressionally imposed condition requiring New Delhi to halt all fissile-material production or through what Undersecretary of State Robert Joseph has called "additional non-proliferation results" in "separate discussions".

The new bilateral civil nuclear cooperation accord under negotiation offers yet another avenue to Washington to enforce an FMCT-equivalent prohibition on India. In any case, once India places orders to import power reactors and locks itself into an external fuel-supply dependency, Washington will have all the leverage to cut off further Indian fissile-material production.

            The Bush administration, in its written replies earlier this year to scores of questions posed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, did not seek to dissuade Congress from considering the imposition of additional conditions on India, despite a specific query on new riders. In other words, the administration may not be averse to Congress attaching any additional rider as long as it is not a deal-buster. But given the way India has relinquished the central elements of the July 18 deal, the US might believe that it can make New Delhi bend more.

What US-inspired technology controls against India could not achieve over three decades, the PM has been willing to do, in order to import power reactors that make no economic or strategic sense — retard the country's nuclear-deterrent capability. He has offered no explanation, for example, for agreeing to shut down the Cirus plutonium-production reactor without ordering a replacement.

The irony is that a nominated PM, who has never won a single popular election in his career, has agreed to a deal with an outside power under which India's nuclear-weapons potential is to be cut by more than two-thirds without he being required to get Parliament's approval either for the accord or his civil-military separation plan. But the same deal needs to be vetted thoroughly by US Congress!

 

For a country that prides itself as the world's biggest representative democracy, India needs to ask itself what sort of democracy it is when its Parliament passes its national budget without any deliberation, and limitations imposed on its most important security programme escape legislative scrutiny.

 

12 comments:

KapiDhwaja said...

Hey Rajeev, is there any way out? We are being led by the UPA like lemmings over the cliff. Also I am not sure if the US Congress will kill the deal.So, assuming they pass the deal, what exit route do we have? What does Brahma say about it? I know he too shares your view that US Cong. will kill the deal.

We cant expect the Indian scientists and other Nationalists to take to the streets yet again against the UPA Govt. So I would like to know what you and Brahma think of the worst case scenario, i.e the deal does get passed by the US Cong.

Ragz said...

This is extremely disturbing. I used to wonder how could Nehru screw up the country so bad. What were people around him doing then. For the benefit of this generation Manmohan is reliving Nehru. A couple of weeks back I asked if our Parliament has to ratify this deal too. How stupid of me. Our 'honorable' members didn't even discuss it. Where are commies these days? Their silence is another pointer that this deal is good.... for China and Pakistan. Congress is screwing the country while the rest of it is blissfully ignorant. And I think we will better, if we stop calling this nautanki a democracy.

thedal said...

I agree with you. What is the BJP doing? It is very sad that they are not behaving like a responsible opposition party. There are so many very real issues that should be raised and discussed. They seem to be wasting their energy in stupid yatras and pointless protests asking the tyagi to resign (like resigning is going to make any difference). Such are the times that we are pinning our hopes on commies would rake up the issue or the US Congress would scuttle it. What is an effective way to expose this suicidal supplication?

PS. I have long been a passive viewer of this blog. I hope to add my 5p in future.

Sailesh Ganesh said...

Is Manmohan Singh an idiot or what? Even the short-term implications of this nuclear deal seem to be getting more and more dangerous with these reports. Just what is the congress trying to play here? It is understandable (not condonable) if they do something keeping the party's benefit in mind, but this is nothing but sending the country down the drain. How the hell could this be beneficial to anybody in India? Unless the US has promised to make India a dictatorship with the congress in charge!

DarkStorm said...

Rajeev, and everyone,

I think the level of nukeys we have achieved is enough for 50 years. Maybe we really dont need to test for a long period of time. A nuke is a nuke is a nuke. Now that we can make them, we can make more of them through our reactors which are not under intl treaties.

We can use our scarce uranium which was earlier needed for power plants to now run the strategic reactors.

Unless there is some big technological achievement, do we need to test. Does it really matter if it produces 20% more or less explosion than expected. Its a damn bomb. Two of them, much less potent, brought a country on its knees within 3 days. Fifty of ours can kick anyones a*se.

Most important is that we dont stop our research because we are getting what we want. Research should continue on thorium plants, and better ways to utilize nuclear fuel. This is more important, I hope the cheap 12 o clocked Sardar (he is a kalank on the Sikhs) does not stop research or funding.

Of course, I agree on the discrimination part, The Sardar without Balls did not negotiate much and meekly accepted whatever was thrown at him. Too bad he is used to it, he has been a lapdog all his life. First the Gandhis, then PVN Rao, and now the Italian Barmaid (thanks, 100).

What do you guys think. Please let me know with constructive criticism (read without abuse) if I am wrong somewhere. These are just my thoughts, maybe I dont know a lot of things.

KapiDhwaja said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KapiDhwaja said...

OK DarkStorm, here goes. The constructive criticism part. I don't claim to be an expert, but I guess I do a lot more reading on matters related to defence, just out of interest.

I agree with the funding for Research part that you espoused. It is definitely needed.

But regarding 50 bombs being sufficient, I am afraid you haven't quite taken into consideration all the worst case scenarios that India might face in the uncertain future.

50 bombs by itself is enough and nice if you have all of them safe in your hands and able to deliver safely to your enemies like a courier service. But the reality is, in a war, in a first strike by the enemy, most of those bombs would be neutralized, and what would be left with us would be a handful. Those handful(say maybe 5) of bombs is not enough to deter an evil big bad country like China. It will take the hits of those 5 bombs, but in turn would vaporize the whole of India into oblivion.

Hence we need atleast 1000-1500 Nuke weapons of all sizes dispersed in land, air, and under-sea(in submarines), to face any eventuality in the future. Remember India has a no-first-use policy, i.e it will take a hit first, and then retaliate with whatever its got. So out of those 1000-1500 bombs, if we are lucky, we might have a 100 bombs left with us after absorbing a devastating first-strike by say China or the US. We have China and the Islamic terrorist world to contend with. Also the US follows the British policy of Gun-Boat diplomacy at the drop of a hat. They always send their fearsome Aircraft Carrier Battle group to any trouble spot in the world just to sabre-rattle. Remember 1971. The US sent its 7th fleet to Bay of Bengal to Nuke India.

Now about testing. Testing is very essential at regular intervals to keep the powder dry. New bomb designs always come up, and also there is the issue of Nuke decay of old weapons. Better to be safe than sorry. Why find out that the new weapon design is a dud over Shanghai or Beijing? The US & UK these days conducts sub-critical tests in the lab to tests its weapons. Not sure if India has got that tech.

I could go on and on. Sorry for the long post. Tell me what you think.

DarkStorm said...

KapiDhwaja, I mostly agree with you.

Yes, I agree, 50 is not enough. Five bombs that are 20 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bombs, are enough, but not for China or the Muslim jehadi countries.

I wonder what are the chances that an arsenal of 50 weapons is reduced to 5 in a first strike. If that happens, surely we are in a soup. As far as I know, the number of bombs we have is in three digits. Am I right?

Ok. Nuke decay of old weapons is something that always happens and can be calculated or measured. Its new bomb designs that need to be tested.

We cannot test new bomb designs, thats effectively capping "new nuclear capability". I hope the deal does not go through, or that US quickly walks out of the treaty over some minor "disagreement" with the Indian govt. So through the backdoor, we have got CTBT, for some "civilian nuke cooperation".

DarkStorm said...

What I earlier had in mind was : Ok this new bomb design gives about 5% more yield. So doesnt make much of a difference. I dont think that yields can grow exponentially now. So its not much of a difference that a bomb is 20 times or 21 times stronger than the Hiroshima bomb.

Thanks.

KapiDhwaja said...

Thanks for replying DarkStorm.

I wonder what are the chances that an arsenal of 50 weapons is reduced to 5 in a first strike. If that happens, surely we are in a soup. As far as I know, the number of bombs we have is in three digits. Am I right?


The US and the Soviets have war-gamed the effects of a devastating first-strike against each other. So the above numbers for India roughly extrapolates from those cold-war era studies.

Yes we are rumored to have between 100-150 bombs. Not enough for absorbing a first strike. For that the safe number is 1000-1500 bombs.

DarkStorm said...

Ok, I did not know about those war-games, and so no idea about "what our minimum credible deterrent" should be.

O-rings & Things said...

Please comment on the viability of the scenario in which India harnesses the power of Thorium (of which it has 30% of the world's reserves)