Strategic trade with India ‘to push third outbreak of nukes’

Agencies/London
June 19, 2017 0 Comments INTERNATIONAL 299 Views

Apparently timed to appear before upcoming plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) from June 22-23, King’s College London has released a damning report on Indian nuclear programme.
The report by Project Alpha concludes that the strategic trade with India will enhance its nuclear weapons latency and enable it to push for a third `breakout’ of nuclear weapons.
This British assessment raises fears that India surreptitiously superseded even the United Kingdom and France in their arsenal size and could pose a serious threat to their security once geopolitical alliances shift.
A similar conclusion was drawn by Harvard University Belfer Centre’s recent report, titled ‘Indian Nuclear Exceptionalism’, which concludes that India has ostensibly a fissile material stock worth 2,600 nuclear warheads. This assessment makes India fall in the unenviable third place after the United States and Russia.
A more modest assessment had appeared last year in a petite book by four Pakistani scholars, who placed Indian nuclear arsenal at around 500 warheads – still making it the holder Bronze Medal amongst the nuclear-armed states.
The book titled ‘Indian Unsafeguarded Nuclear Programme’ says that India has enough indigenous uranium to cover its weapons and energy requirements of more than a century.
If these assessments are true, there’s no reason that the NSG should even consider New Delhi’s application for membership because nuclear trade will only help the country vertically proliferate and at some stage become a threat even to its benefactors.
India’s nuclear self-determination as well as its interests in keeping its future options open would prevent the country from agreeing to other non-proliferation commitments, such as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
The country has the largest unsafeguarded nuclear programme in the developing world and refuses to bring a substantial part it’s so-called civil nuclear programme outside IAEA safeguards.
Likewise, Indian refusal to sign CTBT is because it is ostensibly developing thermonuclear weapons in a secret nuclear city in Karnataka’s Challakere area – producing HEU in access of its needs for fuelling nuclear submarines.
Within this context, the King’s College report highlights that international trade and other cooperation with India is contributing to India’s strategic programmes both directly and indirectly.
This report also highlights the possible erosion of political control of the nuclear arsenal. The Agni-V intercontinental range capable ballistic missile is pre-mated in the same manner as the pre-mated ballistic missiles used on-board Arihant-class SSBNs.
This will have a significant impact on nuclear policy and command and control. Indian entities are at onward-proliferation risk. The potential danger lies with the re-export of sensitive items and knowledge out of India to foreign powers.
The domestic industry supplying India’s strategic weapons complex and the country’s nuclear programme have reached sufficient technical maturity to export expertise and tangible nuclear and missile-related goods.
The supply of uranium from other countries allows India to burn this safeguarded fuel in their safeguarded facilities whilst using their sizeable natural uranium resources to breed plutonium and produce weapons-grade uranium for an expansion of their nuclear arsenal.
It’s worth recalling that the NSG was created in 1975 as a reaction to Indian nuclear proliferation since 1950s and testing of its first bomb in 1974.

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