About the Author
Monday, 11 May 1998. At around 4:30 in the evening, Umer Farooq, defense correspondent of The Nation and Islamabad correspondent of Jane's Defense Weekly, calls me on the mobile, breaking the news about India's three nuclear tests. "Really? I never thought they would be so quick in exploding." My instant reaction, after hearing the news about a development that has been expected since Delhi's takeover by Hindu nationalists of the Bharatiya Janata Party in March 1998. "What should we do now?" I ask Umer, who agrees with me that Pakistan is left with no option but to respond in kind to India's nuclear tests. And then start those seventeen long days, during which India carries out two more nuclear tests, bullies Pakistan on Kashmir, and on the night before May 28-the day Pakistan conducts five nuclear tests-prepares for air strike at Khan Research Laboratories, the country's key nuclear installation located in the suburbs of Islamabad. During this period, pros and cons of Pakistan's nuclear response to India are extensively debated in the national media. India's nuclear tests are perceived to endanger the very basis of Pakistan's creation: that of not accepting India's hegemony, come what may. Public opinion backs nuclear testing. So does Parliament. In the corridors of power, however, there emerges a gang of people, led by former Generals and serving bureaucrats, who oppose nuclear testing. They are not bothered about the dangerous consequences of not reacting to India. Fortunately, the civilian leadership of the country does not want to fail the people on an issue on which rests their destiny. The D-Day comes. Pakistan explodes at Chagai. Consequently, India-Pakistan military balance is restored. So is nuclear deterrence, which has established peace between the two South Asian states for over two decades.
Having written in support of Pakistan's overt nuclear option for a number of years, and experienced the day-to-day decision-making of the Nawaz Sharif government during the fateful seventeen days of May 1998, I thought it essential to publish my views on the nuclear issue in a book form. Why now? Because I feel the time has come, and the right opportunity has arrived, for the international community to settle this issue, once and for all. It is an issue that has to be settled as soon as possible, because, like many others, I have no doubt in nuclear weapons' ability to eliminate entire mankind. But I am not a nuclear disarmer, as people like General Lee Butler, former head of the US Strategic Air Command, and Robert McNamara, former secretary of defense, are. Both are now championing the cause of nuclear disarmament. They never did, while they were occupying important positions in the US establishment. Likewise, there is no dearth of nuclear pacifists in India and Pakistan. The difference between the two countries, however, is that while anti- proliferation arguments of Indian academics and writers are motivated mostly by nationalistic considerations; their Pakistani counterparts argue for the same but often for purely personal reasons, the foremost being to secure some American fellowship. How cheap? Such breed of Pakistani fellows has another quality: their nuclear perceptions keep changing. So, some of them opposed Pakistan's nuclear testing. But when it tested, they were never short of reasons as to why Pakistan had to test. Well, this duplicity among Pakistani 'scholars' is not the subject matter of this book, nor is it an attempt to pinpoint who betrayed the nation during the crucial most days of May 1998's nuclear crisis. I am not an economist, but I do oppose those who try to portray as if everything nuclear is a great burden on national economy.
Nations make mistakes. India did, by re-making China its enemy, and miscalculating Pakistan's resolve to respond in kind. Today, it is encircled by not one but two nuclear adversaries. Thanks also to the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership for internationalizing the Kashmir issue. Pakistan has also made a mistake, but it does not concern post-tests economic decision-making of the government. As a government insider, this much I can share with the readers that the way foreign currency accounts were being emptied by some unpatriotic citizens of Pakistan, the Sharif government was left with no option but to freeze these accounts. But, then, there were ways the government could have avoided the financial panic that has gripped the country ever since testing. In diplomacy, the timing factor counts a lot. And the greatest mistake that Nawaz Sharif has made is on this very account. In my opinion, after conducting its sixth nuclear test, Pakistan should have announced its readiness to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is not discriminatory towards any particular state, be it Pakistan. From mid-May until the day Pakistan tested, aggressive intentions of India's Hindu nationalist leaders against Pakistan were becoming more and more obvious with every passing day. So, after the 20th of May, it was clear that Pakistan would soon blast its own nuclear devices. On May 21, prime minister Sharif had given a go-ahead to nuclear scientists and engineers of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to conduct nuclear tests, which required one week. And, it was during that one week prior to testing its nuclear devices that Pakistan should have undertaken concrete diplomatic initiatives, signaling to the international community that while it could not prevent nuclear testing, it would sign the CTBT soon after testing, and that it would do so without any pre-conditions.
By September 1998, Pakistan was preparing for signing the CTBT. This was apparent from the outcome of the fourth round of talks between US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott and foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad, which was held on August 24 in London. The Sharif regime had decided to place the treaty before Parliament. The Foreign Office's review of the country's strategic options after nuclear testing had also favoured signing of the CTBT. But, by this time, Pakistan's economic turmoil had also reached its zenith. Standing on a weaker footing, thus, the country was not in a better position to get international benefits in exchange for its signing of the treaty. If at all the government had to decide in favour of signing the CTBT three or four months after testing nuclear arms, why did it not do so soon after conducting these tests? Had Pakistan done so, it would have been hard for the US-led West and international financial institutions under its dictation to impose economic sanctions against it. But there is no need to cry over split milk. Singing of the CTBT, even if late, is a must-for reasons narrated in detail in Part I and Part IV of this book. In my opinion, those who are trying to politicize the CTBT issue are committing a national sin.
The PAEC scientists and engineers deserve
all the praise for enabling Pakistan achieve a miracle, the real importance
of which we have not yet realized. I also commend the present political
leadership for not failing the people in perhaps the most crucial days
of the history of Pakistan. Finally, I must thank those who helped me in
the preparation of this book, including Muhammad Umer Shariq, Aamir Bashir,
Azizullah, Mushtaq Hussain and Imdad Hussain.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty-the tale of these three treaties in Pakistan, as usually narrated by media writers and propagated by politically ambitious religious personalities, is based on grave misconceptions and lies. That all of these are essentially nuclear non-proliferation pacts sponsored by the US-led Western world, is an undisputed reality. But the three treaties cannot, and should not, be treated as equally discriminatory to the interests of Pakistan, which has just entered the Nuclear Club. That, like India, it is being denied the status of an acknowledged nuclear power by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is another matter. NPT is not CTBT. Nor is CTBT the same as FMCT. What follows is an attempt to establish essential distinction among these three accords.
The NPT is totally discriminatory, since
its sole task was, and still is, to perpetuate nuclear monopoly of the
United States, Russia, Britain, France and China-the five countries recognized
as nuclear weapon states by the IAEA under Article IX of the treaty. Signed
in 1968, the NPT entered into force in March 1970 and was extended for
an indefinite period in May 1995. Under its provisions, any other state,
even if it acquires nuclear weapons potential, is deemed to be a non-nuclear
weapon state and hence cannot manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons or
other nuclear explosive devices. Also, each non-nuclear weapon state has
to accept IAEA safeguards designed to prevent diversion of nuclear energy
from peaceful uses to develop nuclear weapons. This means if Pakistan signs
the NPT, it will have to renounce its nuclear weapons, forswear its nuclear
programme and submit its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection.
NPT is discriminatory, in letter & spirit
The main discriminatory provisions of the NPT are as following: Its Article I states: "Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices." The Article II states: "Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."
As clear from the language of, and the intention behind, these two Articles, the NPT aims at confining nuclear prowess to just the so-called Big Five-even though China concluded the treaty over two decades after it entered into force.
Article III of the NPT states: "Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency's safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Procedures for the safeguards required by this Article shall be followed with respect to source or special fissionable material whether it is being produced, processed or used in any principal nuclear facility or is outside any such facility. The safeguards required by this Article shall be applied on all sources or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction, or carried out under its control anywhere." This is again a discriminatory provision. Why should IAEA safeguards be applicable only to non-nuclear weapon states?
"The safeguards required by this Article shall be implemented in a manner designed to comply with Article IV of this Treaty, and to avoid hampering the economic or technological development of the Parties or international cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities, including the international exchange of nuclear material and equipment for the processing, use or production of nuclear material for peaceful purposes in accordance with the provisions of the Article and the principle of safeguarding set forth in the Preamble of the Treaty," Article III further states. Adds Article IV: "Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Article I of this Treaty. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world."
The question is: Have the five acknowledged nuclear states been true to their promise of helping the states of "the developing areas of the world" in the pursuit of their nuclear programmes for peaceful purposes? The fact is that the little help these nuclear powers provided to non-nuclear states was done on purely selective grounds: the United States, for instance, assisted Israel and India for the purpose, despite knowing that their nuclear weapons programmes were purely weapons-oriented. On the other hand, in assisting non-nuclear states in their peaceful nuclear pursuits, the track-record of non-nuclear powers like Canada is much more appreciable than that of the recognized nuclear states. China has been an exception only because its perceptions in this regard are altogether different.
Article V of the NPT is about the same subject. "Each Party to the Treaty undertakes to ensure that, in accordance with this Treaty, under appropriate international observation and through appropriate international procedures, potential benefits from any peaceful applications of nuclear explosions will be made available to non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty on a non-discriminatory basis, and that the charge to such Parties for the explosive devices used will be as low as possible and exclude any charge for research and development. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty shall be able to obtain such benefits, pursuant to a special international agreement or agreements, through an appropriate international body with adequate representation of non-nuclear-weapon States. Negotiations on this subject shall commence as soon as possible after the Treaty enters into force. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty so desiring may also obtain such benefits pursuant to bilateral agreements."
Had the recognized nuclear states helped
the non-nuclear states in the acquisition of nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes in the last 30 years, that is, since signing of the NPT, India,
Pakistan and Israel would have concluded the Treaty years ago.
Article VI of the NPT states: "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."
The question is again the same as it was with regard to the recognized nuclear states' commitment in Articles IV and V on helping non-nuclear states in the acquisition of nuclear technology and material for peaceful purposes: Have the Big Five been true to their commitment of undertaking "general and complete disarmament"? The fact is that these powers' track-record on this front as well is utterly deplorable: while Britain, France and China are yet to enter any talks reducing their nuclear arms, the strategic arms reductions that the United States and Russia have undertaken so far are negligible. A detailed discussion on the subject is provided in the next section of this book.
The most discriminatory provision of the NPT is its Article IX, which states: "A nuclear-weapon State is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to January 1,1967." By exploding nuclear devices, India and Pakistan have, in fact, created a great dilemma for the sponsors of the NPT. If anyone had doubts about India's and Pakistan's nuclear weapons capability before they tested nuclear weapons, such doubts have disappeared after the two countries went nuclear by not just testing various categories of nuclear devices but also officially announcing their status as nuclear powers. Thus, there is no other way for the international community but to acknowledge the nuclear weapons status of not only India and Pakistan but also of Israel, which is believed to be far advanced in its nuclear weapons development and possession than India and Pakistan.
Prior to nuclear tests by India, Pakistan had no objection to signing of the NPT, provided India signed it first. Its nuclear stand was so flexible that for the sake of global peace and security, as interpreted by the Big Five, it was ready to conclude a treaty that was discriminatory in letter and spirit. The reason was that achieving global power and prestige had never been a motive behind Pakistan's nuclear quest. It is still not, even after nuclear tests, and will never be. It is only after being forced by India to explode its own nuclear devices that Pakistan has started perceiving the nuclear issue in global perspective. In his last press conference, a few days before Pakistan tested, prime minister Nawaz Sharif stated that global nuclear non-proliferation pacts had become irrelevant for the country after India's decision to go nuclear; and, therefore, Pakistan had to re-evaluate its nuclear policy based on new realities. After Pakistan had also gone nuclear, the prime minister was quite vocal in criticizing "the established nuclear weapon states", who, he said in an interview to Emirates News (June 8), "had double standards on nuclear non-proliferation". The NPT, he said, was discriminatory, adding: "The established weapon states have sought to justify their retention of weapons on the basis of deterrence when none of them is threatened directly or indirectly in the post-Cold War era."
India's objection to the NPT primarily rests on the betrayal that the recognized nuclear states have made by not undertaking "general and complete disarmament" under Article VI of the NPT. Thus, India says that unless and until the five recognized nuclear states announce a specific deadline as to when they would eliminate their nuclear arms, India will not sign the NPT. After announcing its nuclear weapons status, India's leverage for pressing these powers towards achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament has increased significantly. Since India will never renounce its nuclear capability because of its obsession to become a world power, it is not possible for Pakistan to revert to non-nuclear status unilaterally by signing the NPT. For all practical purposes, therefore, returning to a non-nuclear South Asia is now an unrealistic proposition.
And, given that, Article IX of the NPT
has to be amended. But, how can this amendment take place when the Treaty's
procedures for amendment give undue powers to the "Depository States",
which include the acknowledged nuclear states? More important, it is only
after entering the NPT regime that India, Pakistan, or Israel will be able
to propose any such amendment. Article VIII of the NPT states: "Any Party
to the Treaty may propose amendments to this Treaty. The text of any proposed
amendment shall be submitted to the Depository Governments which shall
circulate it to all Parties to the Treaty. Thereupon, if requested to do
so by one-third or more of the Parties to the Treaty, the Depository Governments
shall convene a conference, to which they shall invite all the Parties
to the Treaty, to consider such an amendment. Any amendment to this Treaty
must be approved by a majority of the votes of all the Parties to the Treaty,
including the votes of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and
all other Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members
of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency."
Why Pakistan must sign CTBT
Article I of the CTBT states what this
treaty is all about: "Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any
nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit
and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction
or control. Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing,
encouraging or in anyway participating in the carrying out of any nuclear
weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion." The CTBT is a follow
up to the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), which prohibited "nuclear
explosions for weapons testing in the atmosphere, outer space and under
water", and the 1974 Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT), which limited "underground
nuclear testing to 120 kilotons." Until the end of the Cold War, the United
States had always opposed the conclusion of the CTBT, since it required
nuclear weapons modernization through nuclear testing in order to off-set
Soviet advances in nuclear armament. The number of known nuclear tests
carried out in the world between 1945 and 1996 is: the United States 1,054,
Russia 715, France 210, China 45, Britain 45, and India 1.
The total number of nuclear tests until 1996 was: 2,070. Thus, after India's
and Pakistan's nuclear tests, numbering in total 11, the total number of
known nuclear tests so far carried out in the world is 2,081.
Even though the aim of the CTBT is also to prevent the spread of nuclear arms to more states-a spread for which nuclear testing is a first step-the Treaty is not as discriminatory as the NPT is: nowhere does the CTBT mention that the right to acquire and possess nuclear weapons rests with only those states which had achieved nuclear weapons status until a specific date. Then, all the states which sign and ratify this Treaty are treated equally. The five acknowledged nuclear states do not have an edge over the non-nuclear states. In the CTBT Organization, Conference and Executive Council, all regions of the world are duly represented, with their respective interests served well. All decisions in the Conference will be taken by consensus.
According to Article II of the CTBT, which is about how decision-making in the CTBT Conference is to be done, "A majority of the States Parties shall constitute a quorum. Each State Party shall have one vote. The Conference shall take decision on matters of procedures by a majority of members present and voting. Decision on matters of substance shall be taken as far as possible by consensus. If consensus is not attainable when an issue comes up for decision, the President of the Conference shall defer any vote for 24 hours and during its period of deferment shall make every effort to facilitate achievement of consensus, and all during its period of deferment shall make every effort to facilitate achievement of consensus, and shall report to the Conference before the end of this period. If consensus is not possible at the end of 24 hours, the Conference shall take a decision by a two-third majority of members present and voting unless specified otherwise in this Treaty. When the issue arises as to whether the question is one of substance or not, that question shall be treated as matter of substance unless otherwise decided by the majority required for decisions on matters of substance."
"The Executive Council shall consist of 51 members. Each State Party shall have the right, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, to serve on the Executive Council. Taking into account the need for equitable geographical distribution, the Executive Council shall comprise: Ten States Parties from Africa; seven States Parties from Eastern Europe; nine States Parties from Latin America and the Caribbean; seven States Parties from the Middle East and South Asia; ten States Parties from North America and Western Europe; and eight States Parties from South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East...The members of the Executive Council shall be elected by the Conference. In this connection, each geographical region shall designate States Parties from that region for election as members of the Executive Council as follows: At least one-third of the seats allocated to each geographical region shall be filled, taking into account political and security interests of States Parties in that region designated on the basis of the nuclear capabilities relevant to the Treaty as determined by international data as well as all or any of the following indicative criteria in the order of priority determined by each region; number of monitoring facilities of the International Monitoring System; expertise and experience in monitoring technology; and contribution to the annual budget of the Organization; one of the seats allocated to each geographical region shall be filled on a rotational basis by the State Party that is first in the English alphabetical order among the States Parties in that region that have not served as members of the Executive Council for the longest period of time since becoming States Parties or since their last term, whichever is shorter."
In the NPT, decision-making is manipulated
by the recognized nuclear states. The withdrawal of any non-nuclear signatory
state from the Treaty is rather impossible. In 1994, North Korea tried,
but was eventually pressured by the United States from doing so. On the
other hand, since the CTBT is universally-oriented, withdrawal of a signatory
state from it will be easier. Article IX of the CTBT states: "Each State
Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to
withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events to the
subject matter of the Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests.
Withdrawal shall be effected by giving notice six months in advance to all other State Parties, the Executive Council, the
Depository and the United Nations Security Council. Notice of withdrawal shall include a statement of the extraordinary event or events which a State Party regards as jeopardizing its supreme interests." Thus, if India does not sign the CTBT even after Pakistan's signing and some time in future resumes nuclear testing, Pakistan can always withdraw from the CTBT by giving a six-month notice and citing the following reason: that "extraordinary events to the subject matter of the Treaty have jeopardized Pakistan's supreme interests".
The CTBT cannot enter into force unless the five recognized nuclear powers plus India, Pakistan and Israel sign and ratify it. The United States and other major powers have worked hard to obtain overwhelming endorsement of the treaty by the UN General Assembly. However, the future of CTBT is uncertain unless it is signed and ratified by India and Pakistan. The CTBT must be signed and ratified by all 44 countries, considered nuclear-capable and members of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD). Even a single country out of these can prevent the treaty from coming into force. If, by September 1999, all these 44 nuclear-capable countries, particularly India and Pakistan, did not sign the CTBT, its sponsors and signatories would have to decide whether to amend the Treaty and then seek its enforcement without India and Pakistan joining it. In such an eventuality, the Treaty would be less credible. Pakistan was one of the countries which voted in CTBT's favour, while India opposed it because, in New Delhi's perception, it did not meet its disarmament demand adequately. After its adoption by the UN General Assembly by 158 to 3 votes (India, Bhutan and Libya were the only three countries which opposed it), CTBT was opened for signature on September 24, 1996. As of November 1997, 148 signatures and 8 instruments of ratification had been obtained (the United States, Russia and China are among the countries which have yet to ratify it). Most of the signatories are expected to ratify the treaty before September 1999 when it will be reviewed.
Article XIV of the CTBT states: "This Treaty shall enter into force 180 days after date of deposit of the instruments of ratification by all States listed in Annex 2 to this Treaty, but in no case earlier than two years after its opening for signature. If this Treaty has not been entered into force three years after the date of the anniversary of its opening for signature, the Depository shall convene a Conference of the States that have already deposited their instruments of ratification on the request of a majority of those States. That Conference shall examine the extent to which the requirements set out in paragraph 1 have been met and shall consider and decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law may be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the early entry into force of this Treaty. Unless otherwise decided by the Conference referred to in paragraph 2 or other such conferences, this process shall be repeated at subsequent anniversaries of the opening for signature of this Treaty, until its entry into force.
Israel has signed but not ratified the CTBT. Before its nuclear tests, India had expressed its willingness to conclude CTBT provided the following three demands were met: that the recognized nuclear states announce a time-bound commitment to eliminate their nuclear weapons; that they acknowledge India's security concerns; and that, like them, India should also be allowed to simulate nuclear tests through computers or conduct sub-critical nuclear tests in the laboratory. Following its nuclear testing, India's demand until recently has been that it is willing to sign the CTBT if its status as nuclear weapons power is acknowledged, if it is given permanent membership of the UN Security Council, and if the recognized nuclear states guarantee to provide it the dual-purpose nuclear technology. From the outcome of the several rounds of talks which Jaswant Singh, a close aide to prime minister Atal Behari Vajpaee, has held with US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott, it is becoming increasingly clear that in the days ahead India may further dilute its obstructionist posture towards the CTBT.
That India is preparing for signing the CTBT, is apparent from the fact that even some of the top Indian strategists who played a key role in the BJP government's decision to go nuclear are now arguing in favour of India's conclusion of the CTBT. Birjesh Mishra, principal secretary to the Indian prime minister, has made it clear that "we would convert the moratorium into a formal obligation", a euphemism for signing CTBT. Sunil Narula in his article, "Testing the Heavy Water" (Outlook, July 20) quoted Jasjit Singh, director of the Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA), as saying, "The most logical thing for India is to sign the treaty. India has two types of objections, technical and substantive. Among the substantive objections are India's security concerns, lack of linkage of the treaty to time-bound nuclear disarmament and a test ban that is not comprehensive in that it allows sub-critical tests and computer simulation. The problem with the intrusive verification regime is a technical objection. As for disarmament, India itself is moving towards arming itself with nuclear weapons. Having tested, India is now on the other side of the disarmament debate. Besides, with its new leverage it can push for time-bound nuclear disarmament. Earlier it wanted the treaty to be linked to this. Now that India too can conduct sub-critical tests and computer simulation, its earlier objections that the treaty was not comprehensive enough to ban all kinds of testing have been diluted. The verification regime, earlier rejected as too intrusive, is now dubbed non-discriminatory. Now that India has tested, its security concerns have also been addressed."
Like Birjesh, Jasjit was one of the persons who were involved in India's nuclear decision making while it went nuclear. He was a member of the Task Force constituted by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to review national security affairs days before India went nuclear. For its part, the United States has also started showing some flexibility on the CTBT issue insofar as its on-going talks with India on the matter are concerned. According to Bhabani Sen Gupta (The Tribune, July 29), Strobe Talbott, in his talks with Jaswant Singh, has offered to revise the language of the CTBT at September 1999's CTBT review conference to describe India (and Pakistan) as countries that have tested nuclear weapons, but not as nuclear weapon powers. This falls short of the BJP coalition's major demand. The US, argues Bhabani, wants the Indian government to sign CTBT unconditionally but with an American commitment that certain linguistic changes will be made in the treaty next year.
By September 1998, Pakistan also appeared willing to conclude the CTBT. The Strategic Review undertaken by its Foreign Office to "assess the level of Indian weaponization and, in the light of this, see as to what its own national security requirements are" reportedly favoured signing of the CTBT. For the purpose, the Review gave the following reasons: that, after conducting six nuclear tests of various categories, Pakistan had achieved its minimum nuclear deterrent vis-a-vis India. Therefore, there was no need to compete with India in the sphere of nuclear testing, a competition that can drain national resources. Secondly, signing of the CTBT would not have a legally binding effect on the country until and unless it ratified the treaty. Even after ratification, Pakistan could always withdraw from the CTBT if any development undermining its vital national security interests required doing so. By September 1998, the Nawaz Sharif government had also decided to present the treaty before the parliament, where the Opposition led by Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party was also in favour of signing the CTBT. Still, however, the country's political non-entities such as the Jama'at-e-Islami were opposing signing of the CTBT on grounds which wrongly portrayed CTBT as discriminatory as the NPT was.
As Fahd Husain, The Nation's Islamabad editor, argued in a recent article, "there were fears among Pakistanis, some real some imaginary, about the possibility of CTBT somehow clamping restrictions on the nuclear programme and stifling its further development and refinement in future." According to him, many of these fears are borne from a general confusion about NPT and CTBT, "since many people have been heard saying that signing the CTBT would amount to signing the death warrant of Pakistan's nuclear programme. This is rather inaccurate, but such an impression has been manufactured to create public doubts about an issue which is not as complicated as some quarters have tried to make it." To sign or not to sign the treaty, according to Fahd, "now depends on what incentive Pakistan is offered in return for pledging not to conduct a nuclear test again until there is a dire threat to its national security, in which case it can opt out of the treaty."
One of the initiatives proposed by former foreign minister Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali in his article, "A Nuclear Doctrine for Survival", The News, July 12, was that Pakistan must open negotiations for entry into the CTBT on two conditions that economic sanctions are suspended during the course of negotiations; that if India enters the CTBT in future, no special status or concessions should be given to it; and that Pakistan will be entitled to dual-use nuclear technology if the same is permitted to India. Pakistan can always withdraw under Article IX (2) and (3) of the CTBT after signing it if its sovereign interest demands. Ratification of the treaty should be subject to the above conditions."
The CTBT does not differentiate between
the five members of the Nuclear Club and the non-nuclear weapons states.
Under it, each state party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon
test explosions or any other nuclear explosion. CTBT's main objective,
as explained in the preamble, is cessation of all nuclear weapon test explosions
through the conclusion of a universal and internationally and effectively
verifiable comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. Even after signing CTBT,
if necessary, Pakistan can go for sub-critical nuclear tests, including
non-explosive nuclear testing, computer simulation, as they are not specified
in CTBT. If the five members of the nuclear club can conduct sub-critical
tests after signing CTBT, so can Pakistan. These tests are not forbidden
under the treaty. Under Article IX of CTBT, each state party shall, in
exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from CTBT
if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of
CTBT have jeopardized its supreme interest. The main objective of CTBT
is to prevent the emergence of new nuclear powers. Since Pakistan, by its
recent nuclear tests, has already emerged as a de facto nuclear weapons
state, it can sign CTBT without causing any harm to its national interests.
Pakistan can sign the CTBT but withhold its ratification until India reciprocates
for one year, a time limit permissible under the CTBT.
FMCT & fissile material disparities
Essentially a nuclear non-proliferation accord, the FMCT is not less discriminatory than the NPT. Its discrimination is of a different form. The treaty, still at the negotiating stage, will put a universal ban on the production of fissile material-the material used for making nuclear weapons, including weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium, and plutonium. According to a report of the Rand Corporation, a US think-tank, "The purpose of the treaty is not only to stop production of fissile material but also to place sensitive facilities and the material produced from them under IAEA safeguards. The treaty is aimed particularly at India, Pakistan and Israel, which are resisting the NPT. The proposed treaty offers a new avenue towards placing their sensitive facilities and material under safeguards."
The FMCT would cap Pakistan's fissile material at a level far lower than that of India. Before carrying out nuclear tests, India sought to link its signing of the FMCT to a time-bound framework for nuclear disarmament. Afterwards, it is willing to consider a global cutoff without any limits on existing fissile material stockpiles. The reason is that the existing fissile material stockpiles of India are sufficient enough to enable it to produce an array of nuclear weapons with which it can ensure credible deterrence against China. This should be a matter of grave concern for Pakistan, because India's achievement of credible deterrence vis-a-vis China means its nuclear superiority over Pakistan. But, then, the purpose of Pakistan's nuclear policy is not to match India's every nuclear weapons-oriented effort; rather, it is to have such nuclear weapons capability with which the country can effectively neutralize India's conventional arms edge over it. Since Pakistan is believed to have exhausted most of its fissile material stock in the nuclear tests, signing of the FMCT at an earlier date will amount to compromising its vital national security interest.
Former foreign minister Agha Shahi has
always cautioned against signing of the FMCT by Pakistan due to the treaty's
inherently discriminatory nature. He recently wrote: "On the FMCT, negotiations
in the CD have yet to take off. Pakistan will of course be participating
in them even though the "agreed mandate" for these negotiations is seriously
flawed. Hence, it would be highly premature for Pakistan to commit itself
before how the text of the Convention turns out to be, particularly its
provisions for verification of fissile material production. Also, India
may well become less enthusiastic about submitting its present inspection
free reactors producing plutonium, its preprocessing plants and other plutonium
related facilities to international inspection. The FMCT is likely to take
several years from now to enter into force. De-linking from India at this
stage is not called for."
On the United States and Russia, the FMCT will have little impact since they already have a surplus. France and Britain have less surplus fissile material than the US and Russia, but can manage. All of them have ceased production of fissile material. Even after the planned elimination of hundreds of tonnes of weapons grade plutonium and uranium, Russia and the US will retain enough fissile material to make 10,000 thermo-nuclear warheads. In September 1998, the CD was in the process of appointing an ad hoc committee, which would start preparing the draft of the FMCT once a president was elected to head this body. The working sessions of the CD on the FMCT were to conclude by the end of September and then resume in January 1999. So, it will take some months to prepare the draft of this treaty, which is intended to put total ban on the production of fissile material for military purposes. CD's negotiations on the FMCT had been lying dormant since 1996, primarily due to Pakistan's reservations. Now that they are making progress is only because Pakistan has agreed to participate in the process, no matter how uneven it is insofar as the country's national interests are concerned.
The global nuclear debate is all about discrepancies, inequalities and discriminations. India says it will sign the CTBT if the United States and other Western powers agree to provide it the necessary technology for computer simulation required to upgrade and modernize its nuclear weapons potential. India says so, because one of the main reasons why the five recognized nuclear powers signed the CTBT was that they did not need any more nuclear tests. And this was because the purpose that nuclear testing served in past could now be fulfilled through computer simulations and laboratory-based sub-critical nuclear tests. Before signing the CTBT in 1996, France had also resumed nuclear testing for some months, since the Jacques Chirac regime felt the country had not gathered enough data from past nuclear tests which could help it in computer simulation. The moment it felt that enough data for the purpose had been collected, France declared moratorium on nuclear testing and then signed the CTBT. Israel's case is similar. With significant nuclear assistance by France and other Western powers, Israel is said to have built some 200 nuclear warheads, and its nuclear potential is also said to be so advance that it has gathered enough nuclear tests data for computer simulation. Therefore, Israel's signing of the CTBT will not have any harmful impact on its nuclear weapons capability. After nuclear tests, Pakistan should be in a position to sign this accord, if it has the alternative of laboratory-based nuclear testing capability. India claims it has such capability.
Indian nuclear scientists have claimed they have gathered important data from nuclear tests which will enable them to upgrade the country's nuclear potential through laboratory tests. India's CTBT position that it is prepared to sign it if it is externally supported in the sphere of computer simulation technology means the level of India's technical know-how for laboratory nuclear testing is still far below that of the recognized nuclear powers. The same is the case with Delhi's fissile material stockpiles-which, to Pakistan, may appear gigantic, but if compared with, for instance, that of the United States, amount to nothing. For years, the United States has stopped the production of fissile material. That it has done because it has already stockpiled enough highly enriched plutonium and uranium, which can be consumed by the existing nuclear warheads as they become redundant or are improved in quality and design through sub-critical tests or computer simulation. It's not that the Indians are ahead of Pakistan only in fissile material stockpiles and are increasing this disparity with every passing day, they also possess a far superior indigenous computer software and hardware technology. Only some days prior to nuclear tests, Delhi had also claimed to have produced a super-computer. So, in the months ahead, India may be willing to sign not just the FMCT but also the CTBT, provided it feels that it has achieved the required technological level to test its nuclear weapons in the laboratory and also has produced the desired amount of fissile material for these weapons.
If India's nuclear grievances are seen purely in the context of the existing global nuclear order, they do make some sense: how can the Americans ask India, Pakistan and Israel to disband their nuclear weapons programmes when they still consider their own nuclear weapons potential as a vital and crucial element of military and defense potential? The United States can afford to sign the FMCT, since it has sufficient fissile material stockpiles. So can Russia, Britain, France, and China. All of these five powers signed the NPT, because the treaty gave only them the right to officially possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan, therefore, has to stick to such a nuclear stand which suits its national interest. Since the FMCT suits India, it may not object to the creation of an ad hoc committee of the CD to formulate the draft of the treaty. Since all of CD's decisions are taken by consensus, by the time the draft text of the FMCT takes the form of the actual pact ready for signatures within the next few months or early next year, India may also vote in its favour. For, by then, it would have achieved the desired level of fissile material stockpiles.
Unlike the FMCT, the CTBT forbids only nuclear explosions and testing; all other nuclear research and activities, including nuclear power, fissile material production, even making and designing of nuclear weapons are outside the purview of the Treaty and are by definition permissible activities. The monitoring and verification under the CTBT is for area monitoring detecting nuclear explosions. Testing or explosion sites may be physically inspected based on remote monitoring evidence. Remote sensing technologies, including sensors, linked to regional and global monitoring devices and computers, will be installed. Any earth movement or shock of more than one kiloton would be detectable. Then, this Treaty provides for effective safeguards against frivolous and intrusive verification activities. There is a provision of respect of confidentiality regarding activities and processes that fall beyond the purview of the Treaty. Thus, those in Pakistan opposing the CTBT on the ground that it will expose the country's nuclear installations to international monitoring, are basically lying to the nation.
Reducing Nuclear Danger
Big Five's Track-recorWhy should the international community exclusively focus on India's or Pakistan's nuclear pursuit alone? That nuclear weapons pose a principal threat to international peace and security, is a fact. But this threat originates more from the nuclear weapons possessed by the recognized nuclear states than those acquired by the de facto or threshold nuclear states. Reducing the nuclear danger, as it confronts the entire world, should, therefore, be treated as a collective responsibility of the international community. At the same time, the needs and aspirations of de facto or threshold nuclear states should not be ignored. Over 90 per cent of the world's nuclear weapon stockpiles are in the hands of the United States and Russia. The rest are possessed by China, France, Britain, India, Pakistan and Israel. Surely, those having the largest number of nuclear weapons have to surrender the most in order to reduce the nuclear danger. This is the first requirement. Only then, a real march towards nuclear abolition can start. How true the United States, Russia and three other recognized nuclear states have been to their NPT commitment of undertaking "general and complete disarmament", is quite visible from the discussion that follows in this part of the book-which covers the post-Cold War nuclear outlook of the so-called Big Five nations, the US-Russian strategic arms reduction process as it currently stands, and how it can be made credible enough to reduce nuclear danger from the world in cooperation with the de facto and threshold nuclear states.
If the nuclear arsenals continue to exist
at the same scale and without effective international safeguards, there
will always be a possibility-no matter how remote it is-that nuclear weapons
may be used, especially in a crisis when the chances of misjudgment, miscalculation
and misinformation are always very high. Although Western writers like
Scott D Sagan-who authored The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents
and Nuclear Weapons, an interesting book on the subject-give an exaggerated
account of the risks associated with an unauthorized launch of nuclear
first-strike, this does not rule out such a possibility. This is because,
even years after the end of the Cold War, the number of nuclear arms possessed
by the United States and Russia alone still runs into many thousands, not
few hundreds. The post-Cold War world's foremost danger, however, is linked
to the use of nuclear weapons, not to their possession. The possession
of nuclear weapons stabilized political relationship between great powers
in past and prevented them from causing a conventional catastrophe of the
scale of the two world wars. That has happened due to the existence
of nuclear deterrence between nuclear states. None of them attacked
the other fearing massive retaliation. The utility of nuclear weapons
arises from their possession, not from their use. If nuclear weapons
maintained peace and deterred aggression in past, they would perform the
same role in future as well.
That nuclear weapons have played a stabilizing role in international politics, however, does not mean they should be retained at the existing level. They have to be reduced at the deepest possible level. This is required in the wake of the recent radical political transformation that has changed global power configuration drastically. Consequently, the role of nuclear weapons has also declined in international politics. Today economic power is more important than military potential. But this is not to say that nuclear weapons have altogether become irrelevant to the international system. Their role in deterring aggression and maintaining peace remains as valid today as before. The purpose of nuclear arms control now is to further neutralize the role of nuclear weapons in international politics and to ensure that they are not used in critical times. What is needed today is not nuclear deterrence with Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) as its underlying principle; rather, a more cooperative foundation rationalizing the existence of nuclear weapons as they are gradually reduced to a level as minimum as possible. That is, the Mutual Assured Survival (MAS)-as described by the American Nuclear Posture Review of 1994.
When the Cold War ended, some arms control
analysts were quick to interpret it as the end of arms control as well.
Why pursue arms control, when arms race is no more there? They argued.
But this was a narrow interpretation of the concept of arms control, which,
in fact, is a much broader concept, encompassing a whole gamut of safety
and security related issues. Arms control is not merely about limiting
or reducing arms, it includes all measures to prevent the occurrence of
war or to limit its scope should it occur. Thus arises the need for
rethinking arms control in accordance with the spirit of the time. This
part of the book is about the impracticality of the idea of nuclear disarmament,
and about the feasibility and desirability of reducing nuclear weapons
in the hands of the recognized nuclear states to the minimum deterrence
level. The option of minimum deterrence will be both stable and credible
provided nuclear weapons that are finally retained are deployed in survivable
ways so that none of the nuclear powers will ever think of resorting to
a first-strike in the belief that, consequently, it will be destroyed due
to a retaliatory strike from the power being attacked first.
The road to strategic arms reductions
The destructiveness of nuclear weapons and their spread across the world were two main factors which motivated the United States and the former Soviet Union to constrain their strategic or long-range arsenal soon after the nuclear age began. But, till the early 1980s, nothing much could be accomplished as the political relationship between the two superpowers was characterized by over-blown suspicion of each other's intentions. The two Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties ( START I and II) became possible only after cooperation came to characterize Washington-Moscow ties. The United States and the former Soviet Union developed and modernized their strategic weapons during the Cold War era. The maintenance of a credible and stable nuclear deterrence, however, was deemed essential for preventing Cold War from turning into an all-out war. The war-fighting, not war-prevention, role of nuclear weapons was emphasized, and counter-force options were preferred over those of counter-value. Each side developed such weapons as gave it the capability to strike back effectively in the case of first-strike from the other. But every new weapon which one side developed was considered first-strike weapon by the other. That was how the race for arms was fuelled.
Arms control also stalled exactly for the same reason: the United States wanted Russia to reduce drastically that component of its strategic nuclear triad which was perceived by American arms control negotiators as allowing the Russians a first-strike capability. The Russians wanted the same. Even during the seventies, when the spirit of d?tente came to characterize US-Soviet political relationship, the two sides did not abandon their quest for strategic weapons. In fact, during this period, the strategic arms race took a turn for the worse: the race for the deadliest of all weapons, ballistic missiles with multiple warheads, started and picked up with no end in sight. This development resulted from the failure of the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) to constrain the US-Soviet strategic arms potential qualitatively. The SALT II agreement did include some provisions for the purpose, but it was not ratified. The two agreements, however, set important precedents for future strategic arms control efforts.
In the beginning of the 1980s, the Americans were concerned about the first-strike potential of Soviet ICBMs, especially heavy ballistic missiles. Both sides also realized that it was needless to maintain an "overkill" strategic capability, when the strategic weapons strength of each side, especially of the former Soviet Union, had reached a level beyond which its economy could sustain. Thus began a long and cumbersome negotiating process in the early eighties, the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks. With Gorbachev's political will, and the corresponding political will of American leaders, their mutual concern about the dangers of retaining a huge nuclear arsenal and realization about what caused the failure of SALT-all these factors led to the signing of START I in July 1991 and START II in January 1993. The primary reason for the conclusion of the two treaties, however, was the great international political change that started with democratic upsurge in eastern and central Europe in the late 1980s.
Taken together, the two START treaties set many precedents for another strategic arms reduction treaty, START III, the United States and Russia have agreed to sign. They include stringent verification provisions that ensure transparency of strategic arsenals and predictability about their deployment modes. They eliminate the most destabilizing strategic arsenal ever conceived: Multiple Independently Targeted Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs). They reduce the over all attack potential of the United States and Russia. They have helped reverse the arms race. Whatever these agreements include must, therefore, be made irreversible. START I and II agreements have generated hopes about deeper cuts. If Russia and the United States are no longer enemies, why should they need 3,000-3,500 warheads each, the post-START II limit for the two countries, respectively? This concern for much deeper reductions, in fact, goes back to the pre-START II period.
In September 1991, about three months before the Soviet collapse, the US National Academy of Sciences released a study which concluded that if positive trends continued, and other nuclear powers accepted appropriate strategic arms limitations, the United States and Russia could reduce their strategic arsenals to 1,000-2,000 warheads each, respectively. Then there are proposals for reducing strategic arsenals to as low as 200. The proposals for strategic arms reductions beyond the levels included in START II have also raised the question of including France, Britain and China in a legally binding nuclear arms reduction regime. More than anything else, it is the new international alignment that has prompted nuclear strategists in the United States to address the following question: how low can we go? The answer to this question will depend on the purposes one assigns to nuclear weapons. If these weapons are to be used exclusively for deterrence, a few hundred may be sufficient-as France and Great Britain have concluded.
Deterrence, both in theory and practice, may continue to exist as long as nuclear weapons are there. And nuclear weapons will be there as long as there are risks of armed conflict. Even the end of Cold War has not reduced the risks of armed conflict. The post-Cold War world has seen the depressing resurgence of old ethnic conflicts that remained repressed in some of the former communist regions and which the world had hoped to forget. It is against this pessimistic reading of the trends that predictions about future nuclear deterrence must be made. Therefore, even if START II is implemented, strategic relationship between the United States and Russia based on MAD will remain intact.
However, in recent times, the traditional
theory of deterrence has undergone significant changes to cope with the
drastic transformation of international system. Previously the main
argument about nuclear deterrence was between those favouring minimum deterrence
and those backing war fighting. Through START, the United States
and Russia have worked for stable deterrence, for a security regime of
cooperative behaviour. In case the START process made credible head
way, deterrence in the next century would take a more cooperative form-instead
of the traditionally provocative offensive force structures and doctrines
of the Cold War era. Despite the easing of tension between the United
States and Russia, a cooperative, reciprocal deterrence between them will
continue to be as important as nuclear weapons and their utility.
The new concept is based on common security percepts, which emphasize the
need for mutual reassurance and the acceptance by the United States and
Russia of the legitimate security interests of each other. The underlying
notion behind this new form of deterrence, however, is still based on the
concept of Mutual Assured Destruction: that both sides should maintain
the capability to match the destructiveness, range and accuracy of each
other's nuclear arsenal.
Nuclear-free world: pros and cons
That deterrence is to stay as a workable concept, means there is no chance in near future to move towards a nuclear-free world. Still, ever since the Cold War's end, the desirability and feasibility of moving towards such a goal has been debated by the arms control community-more than ever before. Although the arguments for a nuclear-free world have not changed in any fundamental sense, their salience has dramatically increased in the post-Cold War period, when the United States and its European allies no more face as dangerous a military threat as the former Soviet Union and its Warsaw Past allies once posed. This has resulted in a pronounced shift in the cost-benefit calculus of retaining nuclear weapons. The retention of thousands of nuclear weapons is both costly and dangerous. Nuclear proliferation poses another problem. Therefore, the alternative of a nuclear-free world appears increasingly attractive. The argument for zero nuclear weapons rests on the assumption that nuclear weapons have only limited utility, which is to prevent their use by others: if nuclear weapons are useful solely to deter others from using them, then nothing is lost by getting rid of them altogether.
Since the development of nuclear weapons and their use by the United States in Second World War against Japan, the debate on nuclear disarmament has been going on. What, however, was missing in it as long as the Cold War continued, was a credible and realistic initiative from states possessing nuclear weapons or aspiring to develop them. Consequently, the talk about nuclear disarmament remained idealistic, confined to resolutions of the United Nations or the Non-Aligned Movement. The initiative always came from non-nuclear weapon states, while nuclear states dithered on the matter. The difference this time is that the initiative for nuclear disarmament is coming from the nuclear nations themselves, even though not officially as much but from their former top officials and non-government think-tanks.
One significant proposal towards this end has come from the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. In its August 1996 report, the Commission proposed a phased elimination of nuclear arms. Some former top US government and military officials and Western media analysts have also argued strongly for the elimination of nuclear weapons. For instance, General Lee Butler has argued against the continued validity of the US nuclear capability in the country's global agenda. He says: "Nuclear weapons are inherently dangerous, hugely expensive, militarily inefficient and morally indefensible." In its report, the Canberra Commission, of which General Butler was also a member, gives the following arguments to justify the case of elimination of nuclear weapons: "One, the destructiveness of nuclear weapons is so great that they have no military utility against a comparably equipped opponent, other than the belief that they deter that opponent from using nuclear weapons. Use of weapons against a non-nuclear weapon state is politically and morally indefensible; two, the indefinite deployment of the weapons carries a high risk of their ultimate use through accident or inadvertence; and, three, the possession of the weapons by some states stimulates other nations to acquire them, reducing the security of all."
The goal of nuclear disarmament is as old as the development of nuclear weapons itself. The very first resolution of the first session of the United Nations in 1946 had talked of eliminating the nuclear danger. The United States was the first country to make a nuclear disarmament proposal in the 1950s, the so-called Atom for Peace proposal. But the Soviet Union, whose communist influence in the world the US had started containing soon after the end of the Second World War, took this proposal as an American attempt to retain its nuclear monopoly. Then, in the following years, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, and China became nuclear powers one after another. Until the early 1960s, all of them paid only lip-service to the idea of nuclear disarmament, despite the fact that, during this period, non-nuclear states were arguing strongly in its favour at the various sessions of the UN Conference on Disarmament.
In the mid 1960s, nuclear states put the idea of nuclear disarmament on the back-burner replacing it with that of nuclear arms control. Rooted in the notion that nuclear weapons are essential to preserve national security, the arms control thesis emphasized the importance of managing the competition and stabilizing the deterrence-based relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. The new talk was about achieving strategic parity and ensuring MAD. The primary objective was to prevent nuclear war, rather than run after the utopian idea of nuclear disarmament. For the purpose, some treaties, such as the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which banned nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, outer space and under water, were also signed. Nuclear powers did talk about disarmament when the question of the spread of nuclear weapons to states other than them arose in the late sixties. Thus, the NPT, which they sponsored, was signed in 1968. In Article VI of the NPT, as discussed in detail in the first part of this book, nuclear powers pledged to eliminate their own nuclear weapons, although without giving a specific deadline for this elimination.
Following the entry into force of NPT in 1970, the United States and the former Soviet Union started the SALT process to freeze their strategic nuclear weapon capabilities. SALT collapsed with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Then, in the beginning of 1980s, START started to actually reduce such weapons, a process which eventually resulted in the signing of two START treaties in the early 1990s. From the start of SALT until the signing of START treaties, nuclear disarmament was never the aim of US-Soviet arms control negotiators. It has never been since the conclusion of START II. Since then, however, the only difference has been the emergence of concern for nuclear abolition among a significant number of nuclear experts in the recognized nuclear states, particularly in the United States.
As clear from the Canberra Commission report, these nuclear abolitionists argue for the elimination of nuclear weapons on moral grounds. For instance, McNamara has argued that there are about 40,000 nuclear warheads in the world with a total destructive power more than a million times that of the Hiroshima bomb. Even assuming that reductions required by the two strategic arms treaties are carried out, the stock of warheads of the five declared nuclear powers is not likely to be reduced below 10,000 by the early next century. Moreover, the end of the Cold War does not mean the end of international conflict, but it needs not mean a return to an earlier style of international relations based on the balance of power and shifting alliances. The unlimited destructiveness of nuclear weapons call into question the utility of war as a policy instrument. So does recognition that wars fail to settle conflicts that lead to them.
The arguments in favour of moving towards a nuclear-free world are powerful. But not only is such movement practically impossible, it will not be feasible, both for political and strategic reasons. The practical argument against moving down to zero nuclear weapons rests on a sober consideration of the magnitude of the task at hand. To be effective, a nuclear-free world would have to construct a system of airtight verification and assured enforcement, neither of which seems practically feasible. A particular verification problem is the existence of large quantities of plutonium from dismantled weapons. The US National Academy of Sciences estimates that, by the end of the century, the world stockpiles of plutonium will be 1,600 to 1,700 metric tonnes, only about half of which is contained in spent fuel. Because a few kilograms of reactor-grade plutonium are sufficient to build a nuclear weapon with a yield in the kiloton range, and because no one knows what the actual inventory of fissile material in the world really is, few countries are likely to be confident that all materials and weapons-making capability have been accounted for. There can be no certainty that someone is not cheating. There is no guarantee that the plutonium stockpiles collected from dismantled strategic systems, under START agreements, will not find their way back once again into the same systems.
For a non-nuclear world, what is needed
is the perfect operation of a collective security system. But there
are both practical and historical reasons to doubt that collective security
will in fact operate perfectly, especially when participation in collective
action is likely to increase the threat to oneself. Collective security
requires collective interests and a collective will. But history
and logic suggest that it is a feeble foundation on which to base one's
security. Thus, unless an effective security system has first been
created, which will require an unprecedented devolution of sovereignty,
no state that currently depends on nuclear weapons for some of its security
is likely to agree to their elimination. The political case against
zero nuclear weapons follows logically from this conclusion.
Disarmament: neither possible nor feasible
So long as nuclear weapons have value to
their possessors, so long as they are perceived to have value, their agreed
elimination is not possible. And however much some may want to believe
otherwise, nuclear weapons are still valued by their possessors, many of
whom continue to believe that their relative power resides in possessing
these weapons. For instance, Russian president Yeltsin recently argued,
"It is no secret that Russia's status as a great power depends on its armed
forces having nuclear weapons." Also, despite nuclear weapons reductions
and fundamental international change, the US policy in retaining nuclear
weapons in thousands remains unchanged. The United States still believes
that it should have sufficient nuclear strength to withstand a nuclear
first-strike from an adversary and inflict an unacceptable damage on the
In September 1994, the US Department of Defense had announced its Nuclear Posture Review, which concluded that it was too soon to commit to cuts in strategic forces below START II levels. Two days before the Review was announced, defense secretary William Perry summarized its results in a Washington speech, saying the United States could not make strategic force reductions below the 3,500-warhead level, as required under START II, until the treaty was "implemented fully". To justify his argument that an American commitment to go below START levels would be premature, Perry said reforms in Russia might fail, and the United States should be prepared to respond if necessary. He said under the Review's proposed force structure, the United States would retain a capability to "reconstitute" its strategic forces rapidly by "uploading" warheads on its Minuteman III ICBMs (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles) and Trident II SLBMs (Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles). In the Nuclear Posture Review, US force posture decisions, made essentially on Cold War assumptions, were presumed to be in line with a radically different strategic landscape in the post-Cold War period. Accordingly, strategic forces were to be reduced to 3,500 weapons deployed on a triad of land, sea and air-based modes. One significant departure was the much greater emphasis on the safety and security of nuclear forces that remained, and the stated intention to move from the world of MAD to MAS.
The Nuclear Posture Review codifies American unwillingness to go for nuclear disarmament. The Russians are also unwilling to disarm. Strategic perceptions in both countries continue to be guided by the following notion: that the elimination of weapons does not eliminate the perceived need for their possession. The existence and accumulation of weapons are a function of actual or potential conflict between states. Eliminating weapons no more means peace than that their possession means war. If disarmament is to make war unlikely, then it must reduce the incentives to war. In short, the problem is not so much the existence of nuclear weapons as that international society is organized around a system of states which lacks central authority. In such a system, conflict and war are always possible. Because nuclear weapons cannot be uninvented, and because neither airtight verification nor assured enforcement is possible in a world without a central authority, states will always lack confidence in the ability of an international treaty to prevent nuclear armament at some point in future.
The very concept of a world without nuclear weapons is an illusion. Assume for a moment that all nuclear weapons have been destroyed. Unless the means for building them are also destroyed, or placed under some airtight supervision, a number of nations would still be able to produce them quickly. The knowledge of how to produce nuclear weapons cannot be erased. A world in which nations destroyed their nuclear weapons but knew how to produce them would not be a more secure world. To imagine a world free of nuclear weapons is to imagine a world in which nations truly cooperate in enforcing inviolable restraints on their own knowledge, permit controls over all of their nuclear facilities and accept verification inspections in all parts of their territories, including their military and industrial plants. A world free of nuclear weapons might also become dangerously safe for conventional war. Never in history have two dominant powers competed so intensely-during the Cold War period, so fraught with provocations and indirect conflicts-and yet avoided open warfare. Making the world safe for resumption of conventional warfare can hardly be considered a major advance for humanity.
For a world free of nuclear weapons to
be safe, the end of US-Russian rivalry is just one requirement; all the
regional and international conflicts will need to be resolved. A
serious commitment requires abandoning much more than nuclear weapons.
It will demand a radical shift in the basic assumptions about power that
have guided the United States and other nations for the last 50 years.
Security can be strengthened by gradual and progressive mutual accommodation
in arms control negotiations, and also by unilateral actions. Therefore,
step-by-step reductions, meant to reduce the threat of a first-strike,
should be the objective of a nuclear arms reduction process involving all
the recognized nuclear states. It must also be noted that, as in
the case of START I and II, reduction in warhead numbers is not the only
means of nuclear restraint. The same objective can also be achieved
by reducing vulnerability, improving controls, avoiding destabilizing surprises,
and controlling and limiting weapons-grade material.
Neutralizing the role of nuclear weapons
There is convincing evidence that recognized nuclear states are not willing to totally eliminate their nuclear weapons. Every one of the five recognized nuclear powers would like to keep some weapons as long as any of the others do for the very end of maintaining a stable and credible deterrence. States that have nuclear weapons regard them as the ultimate guarantee of their security in an uncertain world where there is no dependable central authority. Therefore, the abolition of nuclear weapons is not a practical objective at this time. What, however, is possible today is the adoption of measures aimed at neutralizing the importance attached to the possession of nuclear weapons. Once nuclear weapons are actually neutralized, they will cease to be a major factor in international politics.
The existence, quantity and quality, and distribution of nuclear weapons have played a critical role in defining the character of international environment after the Second World War. Nuclear weapons had the effect of making the major powers much more cautious and far less inclined to consider war as a means of rationally settling the differences between them. In the post-Cold War period, what has declined is the war-fighting role of nuclear weapons. They have depreciated in their value as a currency in international relations. However, even in the wake of their devaluation, nuclear weapons will retain their general importance in preserving peace among the major powers. The major powers will no longer be concerned with deterring an adversary which is presumed to be considering aggression. Rather, they will be interested in using nuclear weapons as a hedge in the event that international relations should deteriorate and as a means of keeping the major power competition at the political and economic, not the military level.
The depreciation of nuclear weapons as a political and strategic instrument in shaping major power relations is highly desirable, as it is a reflection of the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless, it also reflects a major power vacuum that has emerged in world politics. The international environment is now being more predominantly shaped by non-nuclear and non-military factors, some of which are not under the control of the major powers, and which may in fact be uncontrollable. The international environment is, and will remain for some time, highly uncertain. The Cold War has ended, but the character of international relations remains undetermined, so does the various stances the principal nations have to adopt to define their respective interests, in order to cope with the new global realities. However, the fact that nuclear weapons will certainly not disappear cannot be ignored. Thus, avoiding nuclear war will remain a significant consideration, and the war-prevention function of nuclear weapons will remain important.
No escape from post-START II cuts
The conclusion that nuclear weapons cannot be eliminated in given circumstances, however, does not mean the United States and Russia should stop at START II. The foremost factor that pushed the two countries towards START I and II reduction levels was the radically changed nature of their political relationship, characterized less by futile competition and more by fruitful cooperation. And this is what makes useless the retention of an arsenal even as big as that will result after the implementation of START II. Some members of the American arms control community still argue that the United States should not go beyond START II. For instance, asking the Clinton administration not to go beyond START II levels, Paul H Nitze, former US arms control negotiator, argues: "For the immediate future, our chief concern is likely to remain the arsenal of the former Soviet Union. Even after all the prospective cuts in the arsenal are implemented, a process that will require many years, it will remain formidable. Whoever controls it or substantial portions of it, will retain the ability to inflict catastrophic damage on us, our allies and friends worldwide. Because we cannot be sure that such control will not some day revert to a leadership hostile to our interests, we must continue to rely on nuclear weapons as an insurance policy, to deter any future leader who may control all, or a major portion, of the former Soviet arsenal and contemplate using it. At the same time, we should use our possession of nuclear weapons as a leverage to negotiate changes that will render that arsenal smaller, less threatening, safer, and more secure."
Arguments like this are seconded by officials of the Clinton administration. The problem with the opponents of post-START II reductions, however, is that they have not de-linked START from Cold War concerns. The arms control treaties that the United States and Russia have so far concluded, including START I and II, have not aimed at disarming the two sides to the point where the resort to war as an instrument of politics becomes impossible. They were about controlling superpowers' rivalry. The rationale for going beyond START II is, thus, obvious: in view of the current global realities, the number of START II warheads for each side is still mindlessly high, and no better connected to military rationality and strategic purpose. How does the United States with even 3,500 strategic warheads in its pocket make the point that one warhead in India's or Pakistan's pocket is one too many? For their part, and benefit as well, the United States and Russia must, therefore, reduce their strategic weapons to such an extent that, for each of them, the resort to war as an instrument of politics becomes impossible. The rest of the three recognized nuclear states should follow suit. Such levels of nuclear weapons will never be possible if alarmist considerations like the ones maintained by Nitze continue to characterize American arms control decision-making in the post-Cold War period.
The US Nuclear Posture Review avoided any commitment to negotiate cuts beyond START II. Instead, it emphasized the continuing role of nuclear weapons in American strategy, pointing to the potential threat from Russia. Any reductions below the START II level, says the Review, will depend on progress towards "a more democratic and more peaceful Russia." Yet in the same week the Review was announced, President Yeltsin offered to negotiate a START III agreement, accompanied by a "treaty on nuclear security and strategic stability" in which all five nuclear powers would agree to set targets for continuing arms cuts. It was in 1997 that the United States offered to negotiate a third START treaty, to bring the level of strategic warheads possessed by the two countries down to 1,000 each. But nuclear nationalism in Moscow is intensified by the widespread perception that Washington exacted unfair terms in the START II agreement at a time when Russia was weak. Therefore, unless the United States agrees to discuss Russian concerns in START III negotiations, it is increasingly unlikely that the Russian parliament will ratify START II.
Russian hardliners are quite justified in pointing out anomalies in START II. The treaty was negotiated and signed at a time when Russia's international position was weak and, internally as well, its situation was troublesome. When START I was concluded, both domestically and globally, Russia stood on a much weaker footing, as it was facing the negative fall-out of the Soviet collapse. In such circumstances, president Mikhail Gorbachev could not bargain effectively in strategic arms reduction talks, whose outcome did not favour Russia. The Americans succeeded in retaining a considerable portion of their key strategic forces: the SLBMs and long-range bombers. Traditionally, in both areas, the United States enjoyed a clear-cut advantage over the former Soviet Union, whose main strategic strength rested on the heavy, land-based ballistic missiles, the SS-18s and the land-based mobile ballistic missiles, the SS-24s and SS-25s. Traditionally, the land-based, heavy ICBMs have formed core of the Russian strategic capability. It is in this area that START II discriminates. It aims at eliminating the entire Russian arsenal of heavy and mobile ICBMs either by simply depriving Russia of this capability or by reducing the number of warheads these missiles can carry.
There is no escape from the fact that nuclear weapons have to be reduced. The question that remains unanswered is, what can be the lowest possible post-START II level of nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia should retain to ensure a stable and credible deterrence between them? Although the achievement of a credible and stable deterrence in the Cold War period was presumably linked to the deployment of thousands of nuclear weapons, this is no longer the case today. A small, highly survivable force of a few hundred weapons is sufficient to meet the two sides' security requirements. In addition, under current conditions, it is no longer plausible to maintain that deterrence works only if the United States can hold at risk the entire array of military, strategic, and leadership targets within the vast Russian landmass, as was deemed crucial during the Cold War period. Rather, the purpose of nuclear weapons today is to remind any regime with potential hostile intent of its own inevitable vulnerability. Considering the character of nuclear weapons, the prospect of just a few weapons-tens rather than hundreds, and certainly not thousands-exploding on one's territory would be a stark reminder of one's inescapable vulnerability. Therefore, a force of just a few hundred survivable and deliverable nuclear weapons would be sufficient to deter an attack on the United States. The same applies to Russia. The decisive point is that lower and more stable forces are preferable not only for the two countries but also for their contribution to keeping the Cold War from revival.
With the end of the Cold War, the purpose and the role of nuclear weapons also need to be stated in new terms. Leaving aside the hawkish concerns of some officials of the Clinton administration about post-START II reductions, and the opposition to START II by nationalist elements in the Russian parliament, the leaders of both the United States and Russia now seem to agree that a new stage can be considered after START II. Insofar as the role of nuclear weapons in deterring aggression and maintaining peace is concerned, both sides still agree that it remains as valid as in past. No rational government or leader can seriously contemplate a conflict fought with strategic nuclear weapons. Yet the certainty that a nuclear first-strike should be met with nuclear retaliation and the element of doubt that persists in an aggressor's mind that his opponent might use nuclear weapons in the last resort, has kept peace between Russia and the United States, and in Europe, for 50 years. It is this war prevention role of nuclear weapons that remains unchanged in the post-Cold War world. Thus, the right recipe for future arms control negotiations is not to abandon nuclear weapons altogether. It is to reduce them progressively to much more reasonable proportions than START I and II have done.
Extended deterrence still valid
In the Cold War period, besides ensuring deterrence between the United States and the Soviet Union, nuclear weapons fulfilled another purpose for the latter: reassurance. Because Germany, Japan and other allies of the United States could rely on the American nuclear guarantee, they faced no incentive to acquire nuclear weapons even though most were technically capable of doing so. Unlike Russia, therefore, any American decision to go beyond START II ceilings also depends on the following question: how many nuclear weapons are sufficient today to convince these countries that the American nuclear guarantee is credible and thus to forestall new incentives for proliferation?
The countries which have so far abstained from nuclear weapons acquisition, thinking that American nuclear umbrella offered them protection, will continue to do so even if American nuclear force levels decline to lower levels. But there is a pre-condition: that nuclear weapons that threaten these states-especially Russia's-are also reduced the same way. Thus, further reductions in American strategic forces should occur in tandem with Russia's and should also be accompanied by cuts in the forces of the other acknowledged nuclear powers. Regarding extended deterrence, however, what counts in current circumstances is whether the interest to be defended is vital to the United States, not the size of the nuclear forces defending it. If the United States can be defended by that force, then nations vital to American interests can also be defended by that force. Extended deterrence is possible with minimum deterrence.
The end of the Cold War does not, therefore, mean the end of extended deterrence as an American objective. The common perception today is that, with the disappearance of communist threat in Europe, the strategy of extended deterrence has also lost its value. There have been calls for dismantling the NATO itself, since it has lost the logic for which it was created. As a result, in the last few years, NATO's defense strategy has been restructured significantly to deter potential threats from ethnic turmoil in Europe and the threat of nuclear proliferation from across the Mediterranean. Russia's future remains uncertain. That explains why the United States is interested in expanding NATO. START II, if ratified by Russia, will take over a decade to complete. During this period, given the growing wave of nationalism in Russia, US-Russian relations may worsen. Even after the implementation of START agreements, Russian nuclear forces will be formidable. Moreover, China continues upgrading its strategic nuclear arsenal. Therefore, even though no nuclear adversary presently threatens American allies in Europe, there is still a rationale for extending the American nuclear umbrella to them. This will dampen national incentives for acquiring nuclear weapons.
Towards minimum deterrence
There are two reasons why strategic force levels lower that the START II ceilings are preferable. First, the need for increased attention to the safety and security of the nuclear weapons that remain. After the Soviet fall, strategic forces remained deployed on the territory of four newly independent states, with adequate control in some doubt. However, given the political instability in Russia, ensuring effective control over nuclear weapons and materials has become a priority for American policy. The second reason for preferring lower force levels relates to discouraging proliferation. A deliberate strategy designed to cut nuclear force levels can help to reduce the perception that nuclear weapons endow their possessors with power, prestige, and international stature-a perception that in itself contributes to proliferation.
Is it really in the American interest to advertise the centrality of nuclear weapons to power in international affairs at a time when countries like Germany and Japan aspire to a greater role in, and responsibility for, preserving international security? Surely the United States has much to gain and very little to lose in arguing for the opposite-that power and responsibility reside in the political and economic well-being of nations rather than in their nuclear status. One of the foremost reasons for India to test the nuclear devices and declare itself a nuclear state is that India wants a big power status, a permanent seat in the Security Council. Power and prestige are two key determinants of India's nuclear weapons quest.
The United States and Russia must, therefore, strive to reduce their nuclear weapons to a few hundred weapons. This may be a hard task. The difficulties in securing Russian ratification of the START II treaty underscore that even a modest reduction process is far from easy to achieve. More radical reductions would face even greater obstacles, particularly because these would have to be accompanied not just by cuts in American and Russian forces, but also by limitations on French, British, and Chinese nuclear weapons and a cap on the ability of other countries to expand their nuclear capabilities. The task is indeed hard; it is not impossible now that, with the completion of START I reductions, many of the difficulties associated with the breakup of the Soviet Union have been overcome.
What kind of additional nuclear reductions and force posture changes should take place beyond START II levels? Aside from nationalist opposition, the main Russian concern regarding START II is that although the force limitations enshrined in the treaty conform closely to the structure of American strategic forces, provisions like the elimination of MIRVed ICBMs, the most modern and capable element in Russian forces, would compel a fundamental restructuring of Russian strategic forces, or abandonment of Russia's commitment to nuclear parity; none of which Russia finds acceptable. A commitment to seek further reductions-especially if the specific force configurations conform more closely to Russian concerns-may, therefore, be important to alleviating Russian opposition to the START II agreement.
Addressing Russian concerns and securing START II's entry into force is a necessary element in any new arms control strategy. But it is not sufficient. Two additional factors must also be taken into account. One is to secure the participation of Britain, France and China in the nuclear arms reduction process. None of these three recognized powers has formally engaged in arms control negotiations affecting the size and disposition of its nuclear forces. If a continuing improvement in US-Russian nuclear relations permits the two countries two to agree on reductions beyond START II levels, there may emerge a parallel preference in other nuclear powers as well. To date, British, French and Chinese leaders have indicated they are not yet ready to participate in the arms reduction process. They argue that, although deep cuts are to be made in American and Russian nuclear weapons, the nuclear superpowers still plan to field five to ten times as many nuclear weapons as Britain, France and China have. This arithmetic has led officials in these countries to argue that they should not and will not join the arms reduction process until the United States and Russia reduce their forces much more. Chinese officials have insisted that the United States and Russia must reduce their forces to China's level before Beijing contemplates cuts of its own.
Only one basic requirement remains for the strategic forces of the United States and Russia: they should be considered fully adequate, in each country, to ensure against attack from the other. This deterrent requirement has been central for both sides throughout the nuclear age, and today it is the only one left that matters. Neither side now asks that its strategic forces be able it to win some general nuclear war, because both sides now recognize openly that in such a war there will be only losers. An American force that is sufficient to balance the Russian force will be capable enough for every lesser job. The same thing is now true on the Russian side. During the Cold War, it was possible to think that Soviet planners must consider the nightmare of having to face three or four strategic nuclear enemies at the same time. They certainly had deep political differences with all four of the other recognized nuclear weapon states. But there is no justification for such Russian nightmares today. Force requirements for minimum deterrence depend on how vulnerable those forces are to pre-emptive attack. Neither side needs to win, because winning is understood to be impossible. Therefore, both sides have no immediate need for strategic nuclear forces beyond that required for deterrence of nuclear attack by other nuclear powers. Top-level control over any use of nuclear weapons will remain as long as nuclear weapons exist. Command and control structures should be improved as technology permits. Nuclear deterrence has always depended on the ability of the major powers to maintain responsible and adequate command and control of their forces, so that nuclear attack could not be launched without proper authorization. The START treaties have laid down a firm basis for shared strategic moderation, for a stable and peaceful balance, at a great long-run reduction in cost, tension and danger.
The case for a minimum deterrence rests on the proposition that stability depends not on the size of a nation's strategic nuclear forces, rather on their degree of survivability in a surprise attack. The more warheads that can survive an attack, the smaller the initial force needs to be. Both the United States and Russia can build such a deterrent constrained within their current strategic force structures. It is one that will be less expensive to maintain. If such a force is militarily safe, technologically feasible and more fiscally prudent, why not pursue it? The true interest of both sides is that each step towards lower and less threatening deployments should be seen as a step forward by them, so that nuclear moderation remains for both a broadly popular policy. In particular, the United States should avoid the temptation to use a time of great Russian economic stress to secure one-sided advantages.
The role of defense policy is to be prepared not only for immediate, but for unexpected future threats to national and international security. In future, both the United States and Russia can keep sustained assurance that there will be no nuclear break-out on either side without warnings that give more than enough time for any necessary response. Minimum deterrence is now possible because stability has come to depend not only on the threat of nuclear attack, but also on a shared preference for peace over war.
Ban on ballistic missiles
Eliminating all long-range ballistic missiles can be one of the targets of any post-START II reductions agreement. Ballistic missiles pose the greatest threat to stability. These missiles combine high vulnerability to attack with great accuracy and speed; which makes them prime target in an initial strike, inevitably reducing the response time available to the defender. Although the ban on MIRVed ICBMs has gone some way to alleviate this danger, the elimination of all ballistic missiles would remove the worry altogether. In START I and II, neither side was willing to give up long-range missiles entirely for the reason that both of them considered such missiles as the most survivable single system of delivery. Survivability is properly prized as an essential element in strategic stability. The fact, however, speaks for the opposite: so long as ballistic missiles are there, neither side can escape the possibility of a sudden surprise attack. In spite of careful technology, and the sanity and sobriety of those in control of such forces, this possibility will exist as long as these weapons exist.
With the nuclear forces of both sides limited
to bombers and cruise missiles, neither would have to worry that it might
have to launch its nuclear forces through a pre-emptive strike because
the other side had launched, or was about to launch, a first-strike.
The objective of arms control agreements should not be confined to reducing
the number of nuclear weapons only, it should also be to avoid either side's
ever resorting to their use. Nothing will do that more than dispensing
with ballistic missiles. The most important lesson of the last nearly
four decades of living with a delicate balance of nuclear weapons is that
no one has used them. The irrationality of any calculated nuclear
attack has been apparent to leaders of the two sides.
The danger that the world faces today is that rationality will be set aside some day in a moment of confused fear, probably based on misinformation. Without ballistic missiles, such pressures and risks are bound to be less. In addition, long-range ballistic missiles are, of course, not deployed only by the United States and Russia. There are missiles in other countries, including China, India, Israel and Pakistan, that have nuclear warheads to put on them. The renunciation of long-range ballistic missiles would have to be world-wide. However, there will not be much international progress away from long-range missiles while Washington and Moscow continue to rely on them. A US-Russian agreement to ban all land-based missiles would provide stronger nations with political leverage in their campaign to convince other countries to forego developing their own capabilities and, ultimately, to eliminate missile capabilities that have already been deployed.
As it is the case with the nuclear arms
race, the blame for introducing the ballistic missile race in South Asia
goes to India. So far, the short-range Prithvi and medium-range Agni are
the two most lethal ballistic missile systems that India has test-fired.
Both can be equipped with nuclear warheads. Prithvi has been deployed or
'stored' in Julundhar, close to Pakistan's Punjab frontier with India;
while BJP-led Hindu nationalist government has given a go-ahead to the
Defense Research and Development Organization, India's chief missile research
and development setup, to produce Agni. The BJP regime has threatened to
equip Prithvi with nuclear warheads. India also intends to develop an ICBM,
Suriya. It was basically India's mad quest for ballistic missiles which
forced Pakistan to develop its own medium-range ballistic missile, Ghauri.
Since the two nuclear powers of South Asia share borders, and the missile
flight time is also extremely short, the ballistic missile possession by
the two countries increases the chances of an unintended, accidental nuclear
war between them. Thus, it is in the interest of the United States and
other big powers to conclude a global treaty banning the production and
possession of ballistic missiles.
START's essential linkage to nuclear proliferation
START cannot be seen in isolation from
the issue of nuclear proliferation. The threat to international security
posed by the post-Soviet nuclear risks has been more or less tackled. Now,
besides pursuing strategic arms reductions, a process that must include
three other recognized nuclear states, the United States and Russia have
to take an initiative to end the discrepancies inherent in the NPT on the
lines as proposed in Part I of this book. The NPT was extended indefinitely
on 11 May 1995; but such an extension will have little credibility as long
as the two unrecognized nuclear states, India and Pakistan and the last
remaining threshold state, Israel, are not part of the NPT regime. Therefore,
START must be designed to deal simultaneously with the problems of vertical
proliferation and compliance of the recognized nuclear states with the
provisions of the NPT.
If the United States, Russia and other nuclear powers wish to diminish significantly the perceived political utility of nuclear forces in international politics so that other states will not find them of value, then they should reduce their forces far beyond START II levels. The nuclear powers cannot call upon the unrecognized or threshold nuclear states to forego the acquisition of nuclear weapons when they show by their own example how much political utility they have. There is an apparent contradiction between the logic of the NPT and the doctrine of nuclear powers that nuclear weapons are essential to deter aggression and maintain peace. Why, the unrecognized, threshold or non-nuclear states can safely ask, do some states require their own national deterrent for these purposes, while others are expected either to seek a nuclear guarantee from their allies or-if that is not available, or comes at an unacceptable political price-simply to rely on some vague notion of collective security and "new world order."
The recognized nuclear states can discourage proliferation by opting for such levels of nuclear arms reductions as will neutralize the role of these arms in international politics. They can agree to a reconciliation of export controls with a non-nuclear state's "inalienable right" under Article IV of the NPT to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. From the extensive debate that took place during the time the Conference on NPT Review and Extension was being held in New York in April-May 1995, it was apparent that, if the treaty was extended indefinitely, its non-signatory states would lose the little leverage they had to ensure that recognized nuclear states comply with their obligations under Articles IV and VI.
Given that, a US-Russian decision to go far beyond START II levels will be an additional evidence that they are complying with Article VI of the NPT, which requires the existing nuclear weapon states to engage in negotiations "towards general and complete disarmament." The treaty was not designed solely to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. The non-nuclear states agreed to remain that way in return for a pledge, in Article VI, that the nuclear powers would pursue "negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament." The full promise of the NPT has not yet been realized. However, it is unlikely that recognized nuclear states will agree to give up their nuclear weapons completely before there is a functioning system of world security with a proven record of achievement and a non-proliferation regime of recognized comprehensive effectiveness. Since these conditions are not possible in foreseeable future, what is required is an approach that defines a new goal for nuclear arms control and which is realistic enough to have some long-term prospects of practical implementation.
That the United States and Russia have agreed to conclude a third START agreement to reduce the two countries' nuclear arms to 1,000 each, is indeed a good news. But, realistically speaking, unless START II accord is implemented, such news will have little practical viability. START II will not be implemented unless the Russian parliament ratifies it. As long as the Russian parliament is dominated by the hardliners, a domination that is likely to increase as Russian economic woes grow rapidly, START II's ratification will remain in limbo. Even if it is ratified, it will be only by the year 2007 that START II reductions of up to 3,000 strategic warheads for Russia and 3,500 warheads for the United States will be complete. START III can take as many years, or less, to be implemented. Even with these reductions, the two countries will not compromise their military security and political position with respect to three other recognized nuclear states. And it is only after START III's implementation that the United States and Russia will be in a position to approach China, Britain and France to devise a framework for an agreement among the five recognized nuclear states to reduce their total arsenals to no more than 200 warheads each, to separate these warheads from their delivery systems, and to place both the warheads and the delivery systems under multilateral control on the territory of the owner states. This is a long way to go.
By exploding nuclear devices, India and Pakistan have established themselves as nuclear weapon states, whether the IAEA accepts them as nuclear powers or not. Therefore, there is no way left for the US-led West but to revise the NPT, amend its Article IX, and let Pakistan, India and even Israel be internationally categorized as recognized nuclear states. In the aftermath of India-Pakistan nuclear weapons testing, the NPT regime lies in a shambles. The two countries, besides Israel, cannot remain for long a victim of discrimination inherent in the NPT, whose sole aim is to perpetuate nuclear monopoly of the five big powers that went nuclear before January 1, 1967. As apparent from the preceding discussion, it may take years or even decades for the five recognized powers to come down to the level of 200 strategic warheads each. Of course, for such a long time, India, Pakistan and Israel cannot be excluded from the nuclear club. India and Pakistan have already tested various categories of nuclear arms. Israel is believed to be in possession of a huge nuclear arsenal. Given that, the more the United States-led West attempts to deny the status of a recognized nuclear power to these three countries, the more obvious the discrepancies inherent in the NPT will become.
Moving down to 200 strategic warheads
An equal level of 200 strategic warheads
for the United States and Russia was recently proposed by Ivo H Daaldar
for reasons of negotiability: it was slightly lower than the French or
Chinese level. It is a level that will be acceptable to all the recognized
nuclear states, which may then commit themselves to dismantle all the warheads
that are reduced to reach the 200-warhead level and to place all weapons-grade
fissile material under international monitoring as reductions are carried
out. Afterwards, India, Pakistan and Israel can be given the choice
between placing their nuclear warheads or explosive devices and fissile
material in monitored storage or agreeing to their elimination. If
the three countries decide in favour of the former arrangement, that will
place their nuclear weapons under international supervision and make it
highly improbable that the weapons will ever be used. And if
they decide for the latter, they can be offered similar international security
guarantees by the nuclear states as, for instance, have been given to Ukraine.
After the Soviet fall, Ukraine had refused to transfer to Russia the nuclear
weapons stationed in its territory, taking a plea that it perceived security
threat from Russia. Then, the recognized nuclear states provided effective
negative and positive security guarantees to Ukraine, and the problem was
solved. The latter option, however, might not work in South Asia, since
India's nuclear quest is primarily motivated by its insatiable lust for
global power and prestige.
Under START I and II, the United States and Russia will eliminate only that number of nuclear weapons which they have developed since NPT's entry into force, in total violation of the treaty's Article VI. Even this elimination will be doubtful as long as START II remains unratified. Moreover, China, France and Britain have so far not participated in any nuclear arms reduction process. Accepted that nuclear proliferation is a dangerous phenomenon. But the nuclear spread must not be treated solely as an issue of 'nuclear haves versus nuclear have-nots'. The nuclear danger confronts the entire world, not just the United States or Russia. Reducing this danger is, therefore, a collective responsibility of all the states.
The post-Cold War period provides an opportunity to the recognized, unrecognized and threshold nuclear states to reduce-and, in the long run, eliminate-the risks associated with the nuclear danger. But, as mentioned earlier, even after the signing of START I and II, the ground reality today is that over 90 per cent of the world nuclear stockpiles are still in the hands of the United States and Russia. Much of this nuclear capability seems irrelevant if seen in the context of existing political and military realities. It is also clear that none of the other recognized, unrecognized or threshold nuclear nations will be serious in reducing its nuclear arms or abandoning the nuclear quest unless the United States and Russia commit to surrender as much of their respective nuclear arsenals as removes their current status as nuclear superpowers. It was the great international change occurring in recent times that made the signing of the two START treaties possible. The same factor can make possible much more else, provided the US and Russia are sincerely willing to move ahead on the road to nuclear reduction.
The nuclear arms race between the United States and the former Soviet Union was fuelled by overblown suspicion and exaggerated threats. In the Cold War period, each side developed and deployed sufficient strategic weapons for counter-force and war-fighting purposes. Neither side was able to introduce an arms control process that would keep the process of negotiations ahead of the process of building and deploying new weapon systems. Arms control agreements during the Cold War-and these include SALT I and II; and, to some extent, the START I treaty-were concluded when neither side had an appreciable advantage over the other. In the post-Cold War period, the clash of global ends between the United States and Russia appears to have largely ended; and, with that, the utility of counter-force doctrines and targeting. Suspicion and mistrust are Cold War legacies. And they should be treated as such by the Americans and the Russians. The same rationale, however, does not apply to South Asia, where the Cold War between India and Pakistan still continues. The issue of Kashmir, the main souring point in their relationship, remains unsettled. As regards the CTBT and FMCT, they are essentially nuclear non-proliferation treaties and, in no way, prove that the five recognized nuclear states are willing to fulfil their basic obligation of undertaking "general and complete" nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT.
The Cold War confrontation provided the rationale for large nuclear arsenals. In the post-Cold War period, there is no justification for retaining massive nuclear forces when the reasons for their build-up have disappeared. Arms control is not an end itself; it is a means to an end: it removes uncertainties besetting states as they seek security in an international system whose dominant features are insecurity and anarchy. The purpose of nuclear weapons today should, therefore, be to reduce the likelihood of nuclear war in a crisis. The goal can be to extend fifty years of nuclear non-use to future. By reducing their nuclear capabilities to minimum levels, the five recognized nuclear states can help achieve this goal. Arms control can play a much important role today than before. Given present global realities, the end of arms control must be to prevent the use of nuclear weapons.
The recognized nuclear states have important obligations. And one of them is a strict guarantee not to threaten or use nuclear arms against those states that do not have them. Nuclear weapons should not serve their previous role as symbols of power and status. They have to be neutralized. The final START regime, including all the recognized nuclear states, should be one of minimum deterrence based on small, well-protected strategic forces designed to constitute weapons of last resort, an insurance against the recurrence of old threats or the emergence of new ones. The limit of 200 weapons each, as recommended before, will serve all these purposes. Minimum deterrence will reduce the probability of a nuclear war, while continuing to discourage conventional wars between great powers. Fewer weapons will reduce the incentive to resort to nuclear weapons' use in times of crisis or war. In addition, small forces are easy to command and control. Minimum deterrence will also reduce the costs of defense preparation and production.
Under START I and II, warheads will only be removed, not dismantled. The steps which both the United States and Russia have so far taken to dismantle strategic warheads voluntarily are insignificant. All these warheads should be dismantled. The fissile material thus obtained should be put in safe storage, with effective monitoring and accounting. This will make the process of strategic arms reductions irreversible. As argued earlier, an additional stabilizing step can be to separate warheads from delivery systems and place both under IAEA monitoring mechanism in the owner states. The fissile material collected after dismantling warheads can be put in use for peaceful purposes. And, it can be shared with the non-nuclear states under Article IV of the NPT.
The United States and Russia can learn important lessons from their past strategic arms negotiating process. And one of these lessons is that it is very easy to negotiate arms reduction treaties in times when states happen to coexist peacefully. What is needed today is that the two countries should try to benefit the most from all the cooperative trends in their political relationship, putting aside all differences which are not as acute as they were in the Cold War period. The Russians are worried about NATO expansion. There is no end in sight of the political instability in Russia, caused by its worsening economic crisis. These and many other factors do have the potential of undermining the spirit of cooperation in the US-Russian relationship. Still cooperative trends in this relationship are more powerful, and rooted in well over a decade long history, since Gorbachev's days. START I and II are an important first step to a safer and secure world. The two START treaties must not be treated as the last. If they were, neither the spread of nuclear arms could be checked effectively, nor would any other step to reduce the danger of nuclear Armageddon ever succeed.
Complexity of nuclear danger
In the post-Cold War period, the nuclear danger has become more complex and there are greater chances of the use of nuclear weapons, argues Robert A Manning, in the Winter 1997-98 issue of Foreign Policy. According to him, nuclear nightmares of the Twenty-First Century begin with the hangovers from the superpower standoff in the Cold War era: tonnes of fissile material and inadequate command and control of weapons in Russia, raising fears of smuggling and accidental launch, and potential nuclear war such as between India and Pakistan. Not only are the catalysts of proliferation-insecurity, aggression-still there, the rapid diffusion of technology is enabling more states to acquire weapons of mass destruction capabilities. This nuclear reality contradicts popular perceptions-based on recent nuclear arms control achievements-that the world has renounced nuclear weapons as an instrument of war.
Manning's arguments are worth-narrating, as they are very much related to the subject matter of this book. According to him, in view of the complexity of nuclear danger, today's nuclear agenda must focus on making US-Russian arms build-down irreversible, verifying the destruction of warheads, ensuring a just and fair ban on the production of fissile material, and taking the missiles off hair-rigger alert. Underlying these compelling challenges is the need to answer the question: What is the role of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War period? Nuclear weapons are being devalued as a currency of power, but not de jure. Many recent developments indicate this: a whole category of nuclear arms was eliminated under the INF treaty; START I has been implemented; if the proposed START III agreement was signed, ratified and implemented, this would reduce US-Russian nuclear arms by 90 per cent; then, countries like Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Ukraine, Kazakhstan have ended their nuclear weapons ambitions. Ironically, however, the nuclear build-down has not altered many of the traditional grievances of unrecognized or threshold nuclear states, as was evident during NPT and CTBT negotiations. For such states, nuclear weapons remain an essential instrument of national security. The United States itself continues to consider nuclear weapons crucial for its defense based on deterrence against a resurgent Russia.
According to Manning, a nuclear debate
has been going on for the last few years between two schools of thought,
"new abolitionists", and "recidivists," which respectively have hardliners
and moderates among them. Among the "new abolitionists", who generally
argue for radical cuts, hardliners like General Lee Butler have called
for the reduction of nuclear arms down to zero; while moderates like former
national security advisor Brent Scowcroft argue for a progressive reduction
in nuclear arms. The hardliners cite global economic inter-dependence as
one of the reasons invalidating nuclear weapons as instrument of power.
Similar reasons were also given before the First World War. The fact however
is that human nature has not shown any sign of improvement, as Bosnia and
Rwanda tragedies have shown. On the other hand, moderate voices among the
recidivists doubt the credibility of the CTBT and the proposed fissile
material ban, despite the fact that the US has already amassed enough data
for more than 1,000 nuclear tests with which to do computer simulations.
Nor do they have any faith in sub-critical tests that give the US a large
advantage in maintaining the nuclear stockpile. To hardliners among recidivists,
radical cuts are "ill-advised and reckless" as they will eliminate US capability
to deter a resurgent Russia and an emerging China in the future.
Both sides in the nuclear debate, according to Manning, are ultimately flawed. The post-Cold War US policy towards Russia is partly based on MAD and partly on reassurance. Despite having cooperative ties with the United States, Russia itself is worried about NATO expansion. Then, even if China has only 400-440 nuclear arms, it continues improving them qualitatively; and, despite its nuclear doctrine currently being only of defensive nature, there is no guarantee that in the beginning of the Twenty-First Century, China will not acquire an offensive mode. The United States has to reassure the security of its allies like South Korea and Japan. If it doesn't, both have civilian nuclear plants which can easily enable them to reprocess plutonium for weapons production. A unified Korea may further facilitate this process. Both Japan and Korea would like to have nuclear arms to use them as a leverage against nuclear China. Similarly, unless there is peace settlement in the Middle East, Israel is not going to renounce its nuclear option. So will be the case with India and Pakistan, as long as enmity exists between them. The situation has become much more complex after the two countries exploded their nuclear devices and declared themselves as nuclear states.
Whether as a hedge against uncertainty in the case of China and Russia, as a means of security assurance for allies, or as a means of reversing proliferation, nuclear weapons remain part of the global and regional security equation. In view of all this, argues Manning, the United States must adopt a new nuclear doctrine of 'sufficient deterrence"-nuclear weapons may be necessary, but they should not be less central to American defense posture. In order to adopt this doctrine, the US should redefine some areas of traditional nuclear notions, including the No-First-Use of nuclear weapons, control over plutonium, strengthening international safeguards, de-alerting nuclear forces, and shrinking the nuclear arsenals.
First, instead of No-First-Use of nuclear weapons, the notion should be No-First-Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction. This will, on the one hand, remove the grievances of US allies like Germany and Japan likely to result from the No-First-Use of nuclear arms strategy; and, on the other, will tackle the multi-dimensional aspect of arms proliferation. Secondly, banning the production of fissile material should be a top priority. But, in the process, the concerns and demands of countries like Pakistan, which have a huge disparity vis-a-vis India in its fissile material stockpiles, have to be duly considered. The US has stopped producing fissile material, so have countries like Germany and Japan due to the lack of its commercial viability and accidents. Thirdly, de-alerting nuclear forces-separating warheads from missiles in a credible manner-will move them off hair-trigger status and prevent accidental war. Mere de-targeting, as it is presently the case, will not serve the purpose, as Russia can retarget US nuclear forces within minutes and China within a couple of hours. De-alerting is more important than reducing nuclear arms down to zero. Warheads and missiles can be kept at separate locations, so that if any state ever wishes to re-deploy its nuclear weapons, there should be a time gap of some hours, days or even weeks.
If all of these initiatives are put in
place, if the five recognized nuclear states reach a consensus on reducing
their arsenals, perhaps the time may arrive to reopen the debate over nuclear
disarmament. For now at least, the debate over nuclear abolition is unnecessary,
counter-productive, and a diversion from advancing the real nuclear agenda.
Manning's conclusions are different from those reached by the Canberra
Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. But his article in the
Foreign Policy and the Commission's report share one concern. And that
pertains to the leading role that the recognized nuclear states should
play if the nuclear dilemma confronting the international community is
to be effectively and pragmatically tackled, a dilemma which has assumed
grave proportions since nuclear weapon tests by India and Pakistan. "The
first requirement is for the five nuclear weapon states to commit themselves
unequivocally to the elimination of nuclear weapons and agree to start
work immediately on the practical steps and negotiations required for its
achievement," states the Commission's report.
Perhaps the most crucial issue of the present international system remains the same as before, that is, the question of the distribution of power among its major players. Whether the debate is on reforming the United Nations or making the terms of international trade fairer for developing countries, it is this fundamental issue that impedes progress in dialogue among members of the international community. Above all, it is the military dimension of the issue, as apparent in the form of the continued nuclear deadlock between the recognized nuclear states, on the one hand, and the unrecognized and threshold nuclear states, on the other, which is most significant-because of its inherently de-stabilizing impact on the international system.
The question of reducing or eliminating nuclear arms is not as simple as it often appears to nuclear disarmers. There may be three reasons for its complexity. First, it cannot be separated from the larger question of the distribution of power among major players of the international system, the five Veto Powers of the UN Security Council, which continue to be nuclear powers. This is despite the fact that, given their economic position worldwide, both Germany and Japan equally qualify for the right to Veto at the Security Council. The logic in favour of reducing and eventually eliminating the nuclear danger may be compelling. But nuclear powers will decide their posture on the basis of answers to one important question: how does the reduction or elimination of nuclear weapons affect their relative position in the international security order? Even after India's and Pakistan's decision to go nuclear, the five recognized nuclear powers, claiming their right to a perpetual nuclear monopoly, appear to be committed to a frozen international power structure dominated by them.
A related second explanation for the complexity
of the issue of reducing or eliminating the nuclear danger is the inseparable
nature of regional and global nuclear arms reduction or elimination processes.
One important question in this respect is what purposes are assigned by
nuclear powers, both declared and undeclared, to their nuclear weapons.
Today, these purposes are the same as before: nuclear weapons are still
considered useful instruments of national security and defense policy to
prevent war and maintain peace. A top-down security dilemma best reflects
the prevailing nuclear deadlock: Pakistan perceives a security threat from
India; India perceives a security threat from China; or, at least, Indian
leaders pretend to perceive such a threat, as they did in order to justify
May 1998's nuclear tests. For its part, China, fast emerging as an economic
superpower, perceives a security threat from the US. So far, nothing
else but nuclear weapons continue to provide the ultimate answer for meeting
the security ends of nations perceiving dangers to their territorial integrity
and political independence. In other words, unless the US is ready to initiate
a credible process of movement towards a non-nuclear world, hardline nationalists
opposed to nuclear disarmament will prevail in Moscow. China will then
seek to catch up with US and Russian nuclear capabilities, and India, faced
with the Chinese nuclear strength, will feel increasingly compelled to
deploy its Agni intermediate-range missiles with nuclear warheads. This,
in turn, will intensify Pakistan's determination to enhance its own ballistic
Search for a viable option
The point which is missing in the nuclear debate is the search for a viable option which suits not only the interests of the recognized nuclear powers in retaining some of the nuclear weapons before their final elimination but also takes into account the security concerns of unrecognized and threshold nuclear states. Had the recognized nuclear powers agreed for fixing a deadline for the total elimination of their nuclear arms-be it 2010 or 2020-at the 1996 CTBT conference, much of the problem would have been over. But the nuclear powers till the end of the conference, even till the CTBT was presented before the United Nations General Assembly for endorsement by its member-states, continued dithering on the matter.
Declaration by the recognized nuclear states of a time-bound commitment to eliminate all of their nuclear weapons had been a long-standing Indian demand. India's primary reason for not signing the NPT, CTBT and FMCT was also that recognized nuclear states had failed to announce a deadline to totally eliminate their own nuclear weapons in compliance with Article VI of the NPT. But, after concluding nuclear tests and declaring itself a nuclear state, India's stance towards these agreements entirely changed. New Delhi was no more linking its conclusion of the CTBT and FMCT with an announcement of a deadline for nuclear disarmament by the recognized nuclear states; rather, by September 1998, it had expressed its willingness to sign the CTBT and negotiate the FMCT, provided some other conditions were met. However, regarding the NPT, its attitude had become much more rigid. The issue was no more confined to the recognized nuclear states fulfilling their NPT's Article VI pledge; rather, it was for them to acknowledge India as a full-fledged nuclear weapon power. Correspondingly, Pakistan had also changed its nuclear outlook. Unlike the past, it was no more linking the signing of both the CTBT and FMCT with India's conclusion of these treaties first. But, regarding the NPT, its pre-condition remained the same: that as long as India does not conclude this treaty, Pakistan will not.
The fact, however, is that the NPT has become redundant after nuclear weapon tests by India and Pakistan. It is no more relevant insofar as its key discriminatory provisions giving only the Big Five the right to be called as recognized nuclear states and barring their nuclear arsenal from IAEA safeguards, are concerned. What, however, remains valid in the NPT is its clauses concerning obligations of the Big Five for "general and complete disarmament" and for providing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to other states. In both the spheres, the US-led West's approach has been characterized by a consistent betrayal to the will of the international community. On May 11 and 13, 1998, by testing five nuclear devices in a row, India destroyed this discriminatory NPT regime. Pakistan followed suit, by exploding six of its own nuclear devices and then declaring that the NPT had become irrelevant. Had the United States and Russia, in compliance with Article VI of the NPT started a credible process towards reducing and eliminating their nuclear arms soon after NPT's entry into force in 1970, the Americans would never have confronted such an embarrassing state of affairs when the very accord they had been championing the most for long-and, which, under their leadership, was extended indefinitely, only three years ago-was effectively destroyed with just one blow of 11 nuclear weapon tests of various kinds and kiloton ranges by India and Pakistan in a period of three weeks.
The United States and Russia should learn from past mistakes. So should Britain, France and China. If they consider nuclear arms as an essential instrument of national security. So does Pakistan. So does India. And so does Israel. Nuclear arms will serve the same purpose in a Cold War-ridden South Asia as they had served in the US-Soviet context during their Cold War, hostile relationship. Neither India nor Pakistan will ever consider rolling back its nuclear programme unless the United States and Russia undertake to reduce drastically their nuclear arms, eventually paving the way for the reduction in the nuclear arsenals of the three other recognized nuclear states. It is only by this way that a genuine process towards totally eliminating nuclear weapons from the world may eventually start and reach its logical conclusion. As far as India and Pakistan are concerned, the US-led Western community's concern about their going nuclear should not be about how many and what kind of nuclear arms they have developed; rather, it should be to avoid the un-authorised use of these arms by these two nuclear adversaries, whose troops are face-to-face on the Kashmir front. It should be about how to stabilize India-Pakistan overt nuclear balance.
Nuclear Debate in 1990s
Two important developments took place at the start of the 1990s: first, the United States and the former Soviet Union concluded the long-stalled first strategic arms reduction agreement, START I. By July 1993, they had concluded the second START treaty. Under the two START agreements, which have been sufficiently reviewed in Part II of this book, Washington and Moscow agreed to reduce their strategic nuclear warheads by three-forth. Secondly, as the present decade began, the issue of nuclear proliferation also came on world centre-stage. The United States, which emerged as a leader of the world after the 1990 Gulf war and the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, led the international campaign against the spread of nuclear arms to more states. In the rest of the 1990s, until India and Pakistan tested their nuclear devices in May 1998, nuclear non-proliferation remained a catchword for Western media and academic writers who mostly debated the issue purely from Western angle, while ignoring the points of view of nuclear proliferators like India and Pakistan. Although the testing of nuclear devices by India and Pakistan has put the nuclear West on defensive, the United States continues its nuclear non-proliferation efforts-which focus more on the two countries' signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty than their conclusion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
What follows is my assessment of various aspects of the nuclear issue since the start of 1990s, as it appeared in two Pakistani newspapers-The Muslim, 1991-93; and The Nation, 1993-1998. A date-wise yearly review of my articles on the subject of nuclear arms control and non-proliferation between 1991 and 1998 may help readers understand the flaws inherent in the Western approach to nuclear proliferation as well as the reasons why nations like Pakistan cannot afford to quit the nuclear option. I have always argued for an overt nuclear weapons programme for Pakistan. An argument which found credence during the nuclear crisis that gripped South Asia for over two weeks following India's nuclear tests, during which its Hindu nationalist leaders became so jingoistic that Pakistan was left with no option but to test. Another consistent theme in my newspaper articles was that US-Russian strategic arms reductions were insufficient. Therefore, unless the five recognized nuclear states showed by their own example that they were really interested in reducing the nuclear danger facing the world, it would be difficult to check nuclear proliferation. Every newspaper column that follows is dated in order to understand how developments in the nuclear sphere have shaped my own perceptions on the matter over the years.
Hedging on nuclear option will not pay
27 JANUARY 1992: Dr Raju Thomas, Indian-born American professor of Political Science at Marquette University, Wisconsin, recently spoke on "The NPT and Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia" at the Quaid-i-Azam University. Citing renewed Western concern about various risks of nuclear spread after the Soviet fall, the French and Chinese acquiescence to conclude the NPT and the possibility of some other non-signatories to the NPT like Argentina, Brazil and South Africa soon following suit; he predicted that Western pressure against India and Pakistan on the question of nuclear proliferation might increase.
Professor Thomas strongly suggested India and Pakistan to sign the NPT, while highlighting the pitfalls of covert or overt efforts by the two countries to achieve or upgrade their respective nuclear capabilities and the benefits they could gain by abandoning such efforts. His main arguments were: firstly, signing of the NPT by India and Pakistan would contribute to their nuclear quest, since even non-nuclear signatories to the NPT like Japan have developed their peaceful nuclear programmes to such an extent that they can produce hundreds of nuclear devices any time they wish to. Secondly, the covert nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan is dangerous. Both sides are opting for brinkmanship and are said to be only a screw drive away from producing a nuclear device. This 'mutual-bombs-in-the-basement' strategy makes deterrence unstable, given the emotional nature of previous wars between India and Pakistan, geographical proximity of the two countries and the considerable knowledge which they possess about nuclear deterrence and its related aspects. The potential of miscalculation in the covert arms race is always higher than that in the case of an overt one.
Thirdly, according to professor Thomas, an overt nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan could have been preferable had both sides been able to afford it. In view of the high cost effectiveness of nuclear deterrence, the rapidly self-propelling nuclear arms race would have the same effect on India and Pakistan as the one between the US and the Soviet Union eventually had on the latter. India would try to match its nuclear arsenals with those of China at the expense of its social and economic needs, thereby bringing about its own demise in the end. The same would happen to Pakistan, since it would also try to catch up with the Indians. Fourthly, the more is the number of nuclear weapon states in the world, the greater are the chances of accidental occurrence of nuclear confrontation, as the leadership in small nuclear states may not be as responsible as that of big nuclear states. In addition, the professor thinks, nuclear weapons can be secretly acquired by some terrorist groups for the purpose of nuclear blackmail.
Fifthly, why small states should waste their efforts and resources on acquiring nuclear weapons, which have no military utility. Even during Cold War years, nuclear weapons were never employed. The utility of nuclear arms in the post-Cold War period logically becomes negligible. Finally, nuclear proliferation in South Asia harms Pakistan more than it hurts India. Pakistan's nuclear pursuit is primarily meant to meet its security needs, the peaceful acquisition of nuclear energy is only a secondary consideration. For India, however, it is otherwise. That is how the US perceives nuclear proliferation in South Asia, and that also explains why US policies have so far been quite lenient vis-a-vis India.
Professor Thomas's argumentation is in
line with the current US nuclear proliferation policy towards South Asia,
which ranges from wooing India for a much greater military collaboration
in lieu of its conclusion of the NPT to blackmailing Pakistan by backtracking
on economic and military aid and threatening to impose further constraints
on international aid and technology transfers to Pakistan if it does not
abandon its nuclear weapons programme. For the last few months, since the
demise of the Soviet Union, the Western print media has also been full
of opinion preaching a crusade against nuclear proliferation. The presence
of thousands of strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons and unemployed
or under-employed nuclear scientists and technicians in the CIS-Central
Asian states in particular-is being projected as a foremost threat to world
peace and security. The contention is that nuclear proliferators
like Pakistan now have an easy access to nuclear weapons, weapons-related
material and technology and nuclear experts of the Commonwealth of Independent
Writing on "Central Asia, Where the Neighbours have Nukes" in The Walls Street Journal, David Howell-Chairman of the British House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs-cautions the West: "Central Asian successor states would be the most costly defeat for the guardians of world peace since the 1930s, perhaps of all time". Suggesting a ban on aid and technology transfers by the European Community, Japan and the US to countries opting for nuclear weapons, Gerald Segal in his article, "Keep Watch on Asia's Nuclear Tender Box" in The New York Times, goes to the extent of proposing a military action against North Korea. Quoting Pakistan's former army chief General Beg's statement which urges Pakistan to declare itself a nuclear weapons state, Norman MacRae in his column in The Sunday Times, "Nuclear Bullies should Learn They and Their Cronies will be Hit First", made a clarion call to the West to stop, by whatever means possible, Islamic states like Pakistan, Algeria and Iran clamouring to go nuclear. One can find similar opinion in a host of other articles in the Western press.
There appears to be a virtual blackout on the points of view of Western proponents of nuclear proliferation which are similar to Kenneth H Waltz's famous thesis, "More May be the Better". This explains the propagandist nature of the Western media and how at times it becomes an instrument in the hands of Western governments. The same is the case with academic circles in the West. One always finds diverse opinion on a controversial issue among academics in the United States or elsewhere in the West. There are many defense and political analysts in the United States who support nuclear proliferation; but, since their notions clash with the state policy, they do not find a place in the press, nor are they sent abroad to enlighten the ill-informed people like us. Professor Thomas's whirlwind tour to Pakistan, much of his argumentation on nuclear proliferation at various institutions of learning in the country, and the ongoing war of words in the Western press on the same question must be viewed in this perspective.
The deterrent value of nuclear weapons, that is to stop aggression and ensure peace, is useful to the strife-torn South Asian region to the same extent as it has been in Europe or between the US and the former Soviet Union. It was due to rationalization of the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction among the big nuclear powers that the Cold War never turned into a Hot War. And it is the high cost effectiveness of 'too much' deterrence-the one which is to be sustained at the overkill level-which has made leaders of the two nuclear giants realize that there should be a limit to armaments. That is why Russia and US are reducing their conventional and nuclear capabilities, which have become redundant over the years. This, however, does not mean that one day they are going to quit their nuclear option altogether. A stable and credible nuclear deterrence will remain an area of high priority for them. The same will be the case with other nuclear powers.
If the CIS and the United States are pursuing d?tente and sharing interests at present, this does not imply that the whole world should follow the same course. The enmity between India and Pakistan is rooted in history and, therefore, it cannot be discarded within days. That is why the Cold War is still on between them, the fundamental and apparently peaceful transition in the international system notwithstanding. So far the covert nuclear efforts by India and Pakistan have prevented them from going to the battlefield since 1971. This ambiguous form of nuclear deterrence will help regulate hostile competition between them in future as well, and nuclear deterrence-as professor Thomas himself believes-will be more stable and credible if India and Pakistan opt for an open-ended nuclear weapons option, after declaring themselves as nuclear states.
To professor Thomas and Western propagandists of his ilk, the nuclear capability may appear to be "altogether a useless instrument of power" when it comes to small states trying to achieve the same capability; for big ones like the United States, it is not. We are fearful of India's clandestine conventional and nuclear edge over Pakistan. India feels the same from China. Can the US suggest anything to end this fear? Only the powerful contenders of this region can offer some workable solution-through deterring aggression from any quarter, thereby ensuring and maintaining peace; and that is only possible if they share an invulnerable nuclear deterrent.
For Pakistan, the acquisition of nuclear capability is a matter of national survival, as was the case with the United States during the Second World War; and, for the Soviet Union, after that war. India started its nuclear weapons programme more than a decade before Pakistan did. And it is only the nature of security dilemma Pakistan faces in the region which makes it more concerned about its survival. No one can offer Pakistan credible guarantees against conventional or nuclear attack from India. We also cannot afford to conclude the NPT in the existing circumstances. Given the discriminatory nature of IAEA safeguards, Pakistan, after signing the NPT, would never be able to develop even its peaceful nuclear potential to the extent the Japanese have. Instead, declaring Pakistan a nuclear weapons state would help check the futile and cost-effective conventional arms race between India and Pakistan. There might actually be some reductions in conventional armaments. The CBMs can supplant deterrence afterwards, and help avoid wastage of resources on nuclear armaments. The high cost of deterrence and the self-propelling effect of nuclear arms race can therefore be easily prevented in South Asia.
By further pursuing the strategy of nuclear
ambiguity, Pakistan would accomplish nothing. Causing more confusion on
the issue would amount to further reducing the country's little remaining
credibility in its international standing. Let's put an end to what professor
Thomas terms 'mutual-bombs-in-the-basement' policy. In case there are still
some loopholes in our nuclear programme, these can be removed with the
cooperation of our new friends in Central Asia-who own a plenty of useful
arsenals, material, technology and experts in the nuclear field.
It is also about time we fully utilized our own media to effectively counter
the adverse opinion against nuclear proliferation reaching us through Western
means of communication.
Why nuclear arms will continue to proliferate
14 FEBRUARY 1993: Signing of the NPT by France and China will not affect their respective nuclear potentials. It is also only due to circumstantial factors that Russia and the United States are proposing drastic reductions in their nuclear weapons. By creating a wrong impression that the West in collaboration with the CIS is seriously working on checking the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons in order to materialize the ideal of a nuclear-free world, the United States is leading international concern over nuclear proliferation so that countries which are working on the nuclear option are hood-winked into accepting an unfair deal: an end to the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear states in return for a mere freeze or insignificant reduction in the vertical proliferation by nuclear states. Such an arrangement, for being totally discriminatory to the interests of non-nuclear states, must be unacceptable to Pakistan whose interests clash with India, a country which has long threatened Islamabad's survival.
Nation-states choose either arms control or arms race depending upon the type of international system and the nature of inter-state relations existing at a particular time. If the security environment is perceived to be threatening the security of a state, it opts for weapons build-up in order to neutralize external threats. On the other hand, if inter-state tensions recede and nation-states opt to coexist peacefully, the corresponding trend tends to favour arms control, so that an unchecked arms race could be restrained and regulated. This process of limiting or reducing arms, however, succeeds only when it does not hamper the respective interests of nation-states and when the spirit of cooperation not confrontation denotes the competitive relationship among them. If the element of mistrust in their relationship remains operative for a sufficiently long period of time, the arms negotiating process gets stalled, with each side demanding that the other should reduce the best it has in return for the worst the former has, and vice versa. The US-Soviet arms negotiating process since the early 1960s-from the conclusion of LTBT in 1963 to the resolution of most of the START issues in the beginning of the 1990s-clearly depicts this.
There are many conclusions one can draw, many lessons the nation-states can learn from superpowers' recent policies on arms control: first, that arms control is merely an instrument of politics. The constantly changing realities of the strategic environment prevailing at a particular time determine whether the political leadership opts for arms build-up or arms reduction. Secondly, nuclear weapons if produced in abundance start losing their significance if the instruments of national power other than military strength assert and peaceful transition in the international setup continues. The US and the CIS today fulfil both these conditions. Thirdly, given the unforeseeable and unpredictable nature of the consequences of present happenings and the occurrence of future events in the world, each nation-state has tried to secure a strong and invulnerable nuclear deterrent, while announcing or making reductions in its nuclear capability. The utility of nuclear deterrent, as a means to stop aggression and maintain peace, therefore, is as much applicable now as it was in past. The same will hold true for future as well.
Finally, with both the United States and the CIS facing hard realities of economics, the need to make more vertical reductions in their nuclear arsenals will arise in future. The extent to which each side offers cuts in its nuclear arsenals will be determined by its assessment of the forces which the changed circumstances make irrelevant to its nuclear triad. The US-CIS nuclear collaboration may produce more START reductions, it may result in ratification of all the previously concluded treaties, it may lead to the conclusion of a CTBT; but to say that this road will ultimately lead to nuclear disarmament is a fallacious argument. The arguments against nuclear proliferation increasingly appearing in the Western media-based on the notion that since the US and Russia are now seriously checking vertical proliferation by reducing their nuclear weapons in line with Article VI of the NPT, non-signatories to the treaty should also quit horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons- are, therefore, not credible. The ongoing radical transformation of the international system may arouse more compatibility in the interests of nuclear states, but it is not going to have the same effect on a strife-torn region such as South Asia. The need of a "strong and invulnerable" nuclear deterrent, therefore, remains a rational and pragmatic choice for Pakistan.
Who says nuclear deterrence has ceased to work?
12 FEBRUARY 1993: The United States appears to have come to terms with the nuclear-armed Israel. "During its last days in power, the Bush administration was secretly negotiating with Israeli officials a ban on the production of weapons-grade plutonium at the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona in the Nagev desert," wrote Syemour M Hersh recently in the Los Angeles Times. Quoting Israeli and American officials, Seymour has mentioned Israeli willingness to ban the production of plutonium as part of a trade-off between the Americans and the Israelis allowing the latter to "keep what they've got." Earlier, in his 1991 masterpiece-The Samson Option-Seymour Hersh had narrated some horrifying details about the Israeli nuclear development and advancement.
Israeli's nuclear arsenal, as revealed by The Samson Option, consists of "hundreds of nuclear warheads ranging from tactical neutron devices to city-busting hydrogen bombs, which can be delivered as far as Islamabad and Moscow by its aircraft and long-range artillery, and have the potential of meeting the challenges of both limited and all-out nuclear warfare." Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona has been operational since the early 1960s. By now it has burned itself out and is capable of producing sufficient quantities of weapons-grade plutonium. The reactor is of no utility unless it is rebuilt. Therefore, any possible US-Israeli deal to close down the nuclear reactor in Dimona, in exchange for an American recognition of Israel as a nuclear state, will have little credibility for countries like Pakistan which have opted for nuclear weapons under regional compulsions and have been the victims of duality in the American nuclear non-proliferation policy.
Nations go nuclear because they fear each other. Pakistan fears India because India has exploded a nuclear device, and it is far ahead of Pakistan in conventional capability as well. Arab countries fear Israel because it far exceeds them in conventional and nuclear capabilities. Iran, Syria and Iraq wish to become nuclear powers because their survival is at stake in view of the presence of what Les Aspin terms, an "undesirable threat" from their ideological adversary, Israel. Nuclear war can either occur accidentally, or due to irresponsible behaviour of leaders. Any misinformation, miscalculation and misjudgment on the part of Israeli hawkish leaders can cause a Muslim world catastrophe. Such uncertainties can only be removed by allowing Muslim countries to have as credible a nuclear deterrent as Israel has.
Given the global reach, invulnerability and massive striking power of Israeli nuclear arsenal, the security of the entire Muslim world would be threatened once Israel achieved official recognition from the US-led West of its nuclear status. Nations possessing nuclear weapons are taken seriously at the international level. It will be foolish even to think that countries like Israel and India-which wish to play a hegemonic role in South Asia and the Middle East, respectively-will ever agree to become political or military non-entities in the world by renouncing their nuclear options. It is, therefore, time the champions of nuclear non-proliferation abandoned their rigid approach towards the spread of nuclear weapons to more states. This outlook is essentially based on duplicity and discrimination. The acquisition and possession of nuclear arms by more states ruled by responsible civilian leaders may, in fact, help stabilize regional security environment and go a long away in achieving international peace and security.
The future of arms control
23 APRIL 1993: Since the dawn of the Nuclear Age, the purpose of arms control has been to regulate arms race, deter aggression and preserve peace. The opinions of defense analysts on the role nuclear weapons are going to play in the post-Cold War period, however, differ. Led by moralists, some of them argue for the irrelevance of nuclear weapons due to the ongoing radical transformation of the international system following the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Communist empire. While others, majority of whom are the leading proponents of realism, contend for the continued utility of nuclear weapons and arms control in the post-Cold War period-notwithstanding the fact that during the last few years many positive developments in international relations have reduced the value that was associated with nuclear arms during the days of ideological hostility between the US and the former Soviet Union. In defense of their arguments, the realists refer to the prevailing anarchy, confusion, disorder and mess in the world.
The nature of state structures and the dynamics of inter-state relationships at present are being determined by two fundamentally opposed processes: conflict and cooperation. There are forces, mainly political and economic, which are unifying this world, integrating states into regional blocs, and even bringing about compatibility in the interests of states which until recently were rivals. There are other forces, primarily military and economic, which are dividing the world, creating regional and inter-state frictions, and also threatening the survival of nation-sates. And, in the absence of a well-defined international security mechanism, the future of the world remains uncertain. The question as to what direction the diverse global trends and the fast-moving events in the post-Cold War world would take also remains unanswered.
]It is not entirely a utopian thought to wish for a world where people and nations could live safely and peacefully without the threat of nuclear extinction. With the existing level of nuclear arsenals, the world can be destroyed several times. Nuclear weapons do have a destabilizing effect on international security. Any miscalculation, misjudgment or misinformation by nuclear states may cause a catastrophe. But, pragmatically speaking, nuclear disarmament is an ideal, impossible to achieve. What is possible, however, is reduction in the present nuclear capabilities of big powers to the lowest possible level. What is negotiable is a freeze on further nuclear testing, production and modernization efforts of nuclear powers. What is feasible is a universal ban on the production of ballistic missiles.
In response to the winds of change of the
last few years, the global emphasis has shifted from military and security
matters to economic and political issues. So has the relative importance
of the various elements of national power. The international march towards
economic interdependence and political cooperation is gaining strength.
The 'overkill' nuclear capabilities of great powers have become redundant.
There is growing realization among them that extensive weaponization often
leads to economic ruin and political fall of nations, and that the possession
of a few nuclear weapons could be more stabilizing for the preservation
of national integrity than that of a large number of such arsenal. Under
the INF treaty, a whole category of nuclear weapons of the US and the Soviet
Union has been dismantled and destroyed. The first START treaty would reduce
US-Russian long-range arsenals by 30 per cent. The second START agreement
requires both sides to reduce such weapons by three-forth. In February
1992, the multilateral agreement on the elimination of chemical weapons
was concluded, with Pakistan as one of the signatories. France and China
have signed the NPT. The IAEA has been successful in consistently maintaining
international consensus on the destruction of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction.
At the same time, however, there are also strong indications that negative, disintegrating forces-a product of the East-West competition and Communist state oppression during the Cold War-may outplace the positive, co-operative trends towards global integration. Regional conflicts in the Balkans, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union are becoming more and more dangerous for international security issues of self-determination, and ethnic and nationalistic assertion are putting at stake the virtual survival of nation-states.
The NPT is discriminatory in application and is not universal in scope. It differentiates between nuclear powers and non-nuclear states- with provisions which go against the interests of non-nuclear states. The signing of the NPT by China or France will, therefore, not affect their nuclear status, as both became nuclear powers before January 1, 1967. On the other hand, signing of the NPT by India and Pakistan will mean that they have renounced their nuclear options once and for all. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate instruments of defense and military power. They deter aggression and preserve peace. If such a role of nuclear force is considered credible for big powers, this can be valid for the small ones too. As long as international mechanism for the distribution of power among nation-states is characterized by inherently exploitative factors, any arms control effort in future, even if it succeeds, will prove ineffective.
There are still many issues to be settled, confusions to be cleared and contradictions to be removed in the process of arms control. For instance, in 1992, the Chinese agreed at the UN Security Council not to transfer arms to developing states. But, in practice, they continue to provide ballistic missiles to them. The same is the case with North Korea. Both countries are not part of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). As regards the United States, in order to justify its nuclear proliferation policy, it will have to abandon 'extended deterrence' in Europe -an action that may compel Japan and Germany, which at present enjoy US nuclear protection, to acquire their own nuclear weapons. Thus, a US policy aimed at curbing nuclear proliferation may actually lead to the spread of nuclear weapons. Such are the contradictions and complications of arms control, which have put the United States in a great dilemma. What will determine the future of arms control, nuclear or otherwise, is the nature and dynamics of contemporary events and trends in the world. And, as long as international setup is beset by "unforeseen risks, hidden dangers and unpleasant surprises", nuclear arms will continue to have their utility. Simultaneously, however, the process of arms control will remain operative as a means to stabilize world politics.
Nuclear genie is here to stay
21 OCTOBER 1993: Fifty years ago, it was the United States which first made nuclear weapons, used them against Japan and then excelled over all other nations in the nuclear build-up. If after the Second World War, the possession of a large number of nuclear weapons has helped the Americans fulfil their security needs, it has also given them the capability to dictate their will to the rest of the nations of the world-developing states in particular.
Now when some developing countries are
working on the same option, just for their security's sake, the Americans
are leading an international campaign to stop the spread of nuclear arms
to these states. This campaign has thus far not been that successful, despite
the fact that China and South Africa, which used to champion the cause
of proponents of nuclear proliferation, have also signed the NPT. The Indians
have acquired nuclear capability, though covertly. Pakistan is pursuing
an ambiguous nuclear stance. The North Koreans are openly challenging the
Americans on the nuclear question. The nuclear genie is out of the bottle.
In future, therefore, more nations will acquire nuclear technology, process
weapons-grade plutonium and develop nuclear devices-sometimes secretly,
and sometimes with the help of nations which have already gone nuclear.
The recognized nuclear states have thousands of nuclear weapons. Can all of them be eliminated? If they cannot, should they be retained? And if at all there is no option but to retain them, do they have any utility in present times, or in the years to come? Nuclear weapons are said to be the greatest threat to mankind. Imagine what will happen if another war between Israel and the Muslim countries breaks out, involving Pakistan and Iran as well! Israel is said to be in possession of more than 200 nuclear warheads, which can reach targets as far as Islamabad and Central Asia. And, seeing its survival in danger, Israel may launch a nuclear strike. Where will the Islamic world be then? Also, imagine if the great powers again go to war, the way they did in the 1940s! This time, the global conflict may result into a nuclear war-which will destroy the entire human race, and much else. The nuclear potential that the United States alone has is enough to destroy the whole of the world more than once.
The purpose here is not to highlight the havoc which nuclear arms can play. The threat of nuclear disaster is not imaginary, it is real. But it may never materialize. Not because human beings have invented anything that has made the destructive power of nuclear arms obsolete. In fact, it is the possession of nuclear arms itself which acts as an antidote to their use. Alfred Nobel called this phenomenon 'peace through mutual fear'. Now it is termed Mutually Assured Destruction. The certainty that a nuclear first-strike will be met with nuclear retaliation and the doubt that persists in an aggressor's mind that his opponent may use nuclear arms in the last resort help maintain peace and stop aggression. The possession of nuclear arms is, therefore, not dangerous; it is their use which causes disaster. The utility of nuclear weapons ends the moment they are used.
Some may wish for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Others may argue that the world without nuclear arms will be a much safer, much better place to live. But it is not that simple. Nuclear disarmament is neither possible nor feasible. It is an ideal impossible to achieve. The total destruction of nuclear arms does not mean the end of nuclear threat to mankind. Nuclear arms can be eliminated but not the knowledge to manufacture them, and this knowledge is available in numerous books and journals on nuclear physics. Although it is bitter reality, it was the Hiroshima tragedy that put an end to the heinous wave of killing and destruction in the Second World War. Since then, it is the universal horror of the nuclear holocaust which has prevented the outbreak of a Third World War. There were many occasions in the Cold War period when the United States and the Soviet Union were on the brink of war. But the threat of nuclear extinction prevented them from going to war. The same factor explains why India and Pakistan have not fought a war since 1971.
The utility of nuclear arms may have declined marginally after the Soviet collapse and with the emergence of world economy and trade as predominant concerns of principal players of the world. But international system is a constantly changing phenomenon. In many respects, the world of today may be more dangerous than the world of yesterday. It may be more or less dangerous tomorrow. A country's defense policy must cater for both immediate and future threats. Every nation has the right to become a nuclear power as long as such a right does not endanger regional stability or international security. Nations go nuclear because they fear each other. Pakistan fears India, which fears China. China itself fears Russia and the United States, and the United States fears all, except Israel. Unless something is done to tackle the root-cause of this insecurity dilemma, the search of nations for nuclear arms will continue. The intensity of this dilemma may have declined in the sphere of great powers' relationship, but, in regions like the Middle East and South Asia, it remains the same-or is, probably, growing.
Nuclear policies of great powers must not
be discriminatory. The Americans pressure Pakistan to place all of its
nuclear installations under IAEA safeguards. But they utterly ignore Israeli
nuclear ambitions-despite the fact that it is said to be in possession
of hundreds of nuclear devices and its security fears are also not much
different from its neighbouring Arab states.
The possession of an unnecessarily large number of nuclear weapons, that is, the overkill capability, is beyond any doubt irrelevant to today's radically transformed world. Accepted that Russia and the United States have concluded some arms control agreements, which may reduce their long-range nuclear missiles drastically by the beginning of the next century. However, what is more important is the successful implementation of these agreements and the effectiveness of verification measures to monitor these reductions and ensure compliance of the parties with the agreements.
In addition, the United States and Russia should undertake radical reductions in their nuclear arsenal to reach the 'minimum deterrence' level. This will pave the way for parallel reductions in the nuclear arsenals of three other recognized nuclear states-Great Britain, France and China. As regards nuclear aspirants or threshold nuclear states, they should also be allowed access to nuclear arms. Since communication and information technologies are fast unifying the world, it may soon be possible to place all nuclear weapons under a single, unified international command and control authority to prevent the accidental occurrence of nuclear war or to avoid nuclear blackmail by irresponsible and irrational leaders in such states. The nuclear genie is here to stay. The world community has to live with it. For better or for worse.
Pakistan's case for going nuclear
10 JUNE 1994: If Pakistan is to survive with honour and dignity in future, one of the most urgent steps it has to take is to declare itself as a nuclear state. But if we continue hedging on the nuclear option, the way we have done so far by following a strategy of nuclear ambiguity, we will soon find ourselves nowhere.
Ever since Mir Murtaza Bhutto has argued for the nuclear weapons option for Pakistan, the question whether Pakistan should acquire nuclear capability or not is being widely debated in national newspapers. The nuclear option is integral to our national security. There are many reasons for Pakistan's going nuclear. The country is facing an adversary, which has already become a de facto nuclear state. After conducting a nuclear explosion two decades ago, India is now capable of producing several nuclear devices at a short notice. According to CIA, India has already produced as many as 20 nuclear bombs and is capable of delivering them as far as Saudi Arabia with the help of its MG fighter planes and intermediate-range missiles.
Therefore, if Pakistan does not have a
credible nuclear deterrent of its own, it will continue to live in a state
of perpetual fear. Fear of blackmail by a nuclear India. The utility
of nuclear weapons arises from their possession not from their use.
India intends to dominate South Asia, and it knows that it has so far been
only Pakistan which has not let Indian hegemonic ambitions in the region
materialize. Do we realize what can happen to us if India threatens to
use nuclear weapons against Pakistan?
Pakistan needs nuclear weapons not just to counter a nuclear adversary, it requires them also to reduce the burden of ever-rising defense spending on its economy. "After becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, the country will be in a position to reduce its conventional forces substantially without compromising national security," says Murtaza Bhutto. Almost all nuclear powers have done so. The reduction in conventional forces will contribute indirectly to economic development and social progress. Once the defense expenditure is curtailed, enough will be saved to spend on industrial and agrarian advancement and human resource development. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by a country does not necessarily put it on the road of a self-perpetuated nuclear arms race. After acquiring the deterrent capability, we can reach an agreement with the Indians not to go beyond a reasonable level of nuclear arms potential. For over a decade, the Indians have not paid any attention to our suggestions on negotiating the nuclear question in South Asia. Once we announce our nuclear capability, India, like the rest of the international community, will take us seriously, and may come to the negotiating table even without our asking. Our declaration of becoming a nuclear state will, thus, stabilize arms competition in the region.
The Indians, for being much ahead of us in terms of their internal and external means of national power, can afford to sustain an unchecked conventional arms race in the region. We cannot. Will we ever be able to match the naval and air superiority the Indians have over us? The only thing that will neutralize such superiority will be our nuclear potential. Also, ever since the strategic significance of Pakistan for the United States and its Western allies has declined, world financial institutions-such as the IMF, the World Bank and the Aid-to-Pakistan Consortium-have started linking their aid to Pakistan with the reduction in its defense expenditure. Every time such pressure is exerted on Pakistan, it puts the country's leaders in a dilemma, no matter which political school of thought they represent: they need foreign money to implement public projects to ensure their credibility in the eyes of the people. They also need arms to prevent Indian aggression. That leads to a glaring contradiction, for instance, in our relationship with the United States-a contradiction which Inder Malhotra describes in The Times of India as "the clash between Pakistan's desire to resume the old alliance with the US and its internal compulsion never to compromise with the US over its nuclear programme". Consequently, our leaders start making apologetic pronouncements to woo external powers, promising to reduce defense expenditure and roll back the nuclear programme.
Besides Pakistan, there are some other nuclear aspirants. Then, why do Western proponents of nuclear non-proliferation single out Pakistan for discrimination? Why do they want only Pakistan to surrender its nuclear option unilaterally? Just because it is a Muslim country? Pakistan wants South Asia to be nuclear-free zone. On several occasions, it has proposed India more than one formula to have a non-discriminatory and non-selective non-proliferation regime in the region. Yet it is Pakistan which is the victim of the country-specific Pressler amendment in the American Foreign Assistance Act. This discriminatory posture of the US-led West towards us will end only when we tell the world that we have developed a nuclear device. The argument that Pakistan should sign the NPT unilaterally, as it will put India on defensive, is based on a wrong presumption: if Pakistan takes such a step, it will be tantamount to surrendering its sovereignty. Unlike us, the Indians have already obtained the world community's tacit approval of the undeclared nuclear status of their country. More important than this, however, is the fact that the Americans and their co-partners in the New World Order know Pakistan is not the only problem for India. It has to confront China as well. In the post-Cold War period, the United States wants to use India as a counterpoise to China, the economic and military giant. That, soon after the collapse of Soviet Communism, the Americans started getting closer to India proves such a notion.
The NPT itself is discriminatory. It allows only those nations which had become nuclear powers before 1 January 1967 to retain and upgrade their nuclear arsenals both quantitatively and qualitatively. All other nations, whether they have signed the NPT or not, have not been granted the right to acquire nuclear weapons. Thus, China and France could afford to conclude the NPT as they had become nuclear powers prior to conclusion of the NPT. But Pakistan cannot, as by doing so it will surrender the only means it has for its honourable survival in the comity of nations. One pragmatic course which the Foreign Office can follow is that by the time the country announces its nuclear status, it can propose simultaneously that Pakistan is prepared to sign the NPT when it will be presented for renewal and extension in 1995-provided the country is allowed to do so as a nuclear power. The clause of the NPT which mentions 1 January 1967 as a deadline for states to gain a legal nuclear status can be amended for the purpose. The reason why the Americans have all of a sudden become over concerned about nuclear proliferation is because they know that once small states like Pakistan and North Korea acquire nuclear weapons, the United States will not be able to dictate them.
The notion that MAD's applicability to South Asia requires that both India and Pakistan must possess second-strike capability is quite misleading. For years, China did not have second-strike capability against the United States and the Soviet Union, yet it could confront both of them and ensure its dignified survival. India does not possess second-strike capability against China, but both countries are currently living as peaceful neighbours, cooperating on trade, diplomatic and cultural matters. If Pakistan wants India to be a peaceful and cooperative neighbour, and if it desires stability in the regional environment, it has to achieve a minimum nuclear deterrent against India. "Let Pakistan first acquire nuclear capability, it will gradually acquire the second-strike capability as well through dispersion, concealment and mobility of its nuclear arsenal and delivery system," believes Murtaza Bhutto. Some, however, may interpret this argument wrongly, saying if Pakistan opts for such a course, it will find itself caught in the vicious circle of a self-perpetuated nuclear arms race and eventually fall like the Soviet Union. This fundamentally flawed argument is already in vogue. The foremost reason for the Soviet fall was not its unaffordable nuclear arms race with the United States but the totalitarian nature of its state system.
Moreover, the analogy of the Soviet fall cannot be applied to state systems in this part of the world. History has turned full circle since the great Communist fall. Pakistan may be in a budding state of its democratic assertion, but, to become a politically sovereign country, ensure its territorial integrity and put an end to foreign dictation, it has the same rationale for acquiring nuclear capability as the rest of the nuclear powers had. That we have been following an ambiguous stance on the nuclear issue to keep the rest of the world as well as ourselves in dark explains why we are increasingly becoming the victim of exploitation by external powers, particularly the US. "Pakistan's nuclear programme is geared towards peaceful purposes. The country has the capability to manufacture nuclear weapons but has no intention to do so." That is what the country's official nuclear stand is, as maintained by all regimes starting from that of Ziaul Haq. To give credibility to Pakistan's nuclear status, the country's successive leaders have made various proposals on nuclear non-proliferation to India, the last one being Nawaz Sharif's offer of resolving the matter through a five-nation conference, including India and Pakistan as main participants and the US, China and Russia as outside powers to mediate on the issue.
We are still maintaining a low profile on the nuclear question, despite the fact that, in recent months, the US has doubled its efforts to pressure Pakistan to abandon its nuclear programme. The delivery of F16s is in limbo. The Americans are asking us to open all our nuclear installations for inspection by the IAEA and forcing us to destroy our Uranium stocks. Now the Pressler amendment has been incorporated into the revised draft of the US Foreign Assistance Act which the Clinton administration has sent to the Congress for approval. The Clinton administration had earlier decided not to incorporate a country-specific amendment into the draft. That means whether Benazir Bhutto rules the country or Nawaz Sharif, or any one else, Pakistan will continue to be penalized unless it develops nuclear capability and resumes hectic work on its nuclear programme without any further delay. With more appeasement, we will only invite more external interference in our internal affairs.
Let us be clear that our declaration of going nuclear will not put us in great trouble. That we are scared of the consequences of such an act is the reason why we have imposed on ourselves a permanent punishment. Pakistan is not a dictatorial state, as Iraq and North Korea are perceived by the West. Pakistan's decision to go nuclear will be only for a defensive reason. Afterwards, it can give valid assurances of a responsible attitude not only towards neighbouring states but also to the rest of the world. The Americans cannot rule over the world forever. Countries like Pakistan have not lost all the leverage they used to have during Cold War years. The Americans have thus far failed to obtain international consensus on so many things. Powers of the East and the West differ with the US on many matters. We just have to exploit these differences in our own favour. How we do this is another story. First, let us put ourselves in a position to do so.
Stopping the nuclear spread
15-18 JUNE 1994: In the 1990s, the issue of nuclear proliferation has occupied almost a similar place in the American foreign policy outlook as the US-Soviet arms control was in the 1980s. The Clinton administration's non-proliferation agenda has a mix of sticks and carrots, which are being applied against countries pursuing the nuclear option overtly or covertly. In order to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, weapons-related technology and expertise to successor states of the Soviet Union-or to potential nuclear states in other regions-the United States is spending millions of dollars on the economic recovery of Russia and other former Soviet republics, purchase of plutonium and enriched uranium from there and dismantling of their nuclear warheads and missiles.
The latest American proposal to denuclearize the subcontinent has been a formula called 5+2+2, which states that the issue of non-proliferation in South Asia should be settled through a multilateral forum, which, besides India and Pakistan, will include five permanent members of the Security Council, Germany and Japan. Such a forum should arrange for credible security guarantees for India and Pakistan; and in return, the latter should agree to a verifiable capping of their nuclear programmes. India still has some reservations about composition of the forum - which, it says, should include more Asian states like Iran and Kazakhstan. Pakistan has agreed to hold secret parleys with the US on the non-proliferation issue. But, like that of India, the nuclear programme of Pakistan also enjoys an overwhelming national consensus. Therefore, it is unlikely that either of the two states will agree to a verifiable nuclear capping in exchange for some form of multilateral security guarantees.
Proponents of non-proliferation often cite two recent examples to prove their case; that is, how dangerous it could be for the two states which have developed nuclear weapons secretly to confront an extreme crisis situation they do not have sufficient means to manage. First instance they quote is that of Saddam Hussain who, it is stated, was on the verge of manufacturing a nuclear bomb without knowledge of the West. And, second, that of India and Pakistan, which were said to be about to attack each other with nuclear weapons in spring 1990, but could not do so because of timely American mediation. The US has another justification also for leading international concern about the spread of nuclear arms to more states. To Americans and their Western allies, arms control must now assume a multilateral form, since a lot has been achieved bilaterally and unilaterally by the US and Russia in the spheres of nuclear and conventional arms reductions.
Whether the United States and its Western allies succeed or fail in bringing proliferators like India and Pakistan into the NPT fold, only time will tell. One's contention is that, even if recognized nuclear states have undertaken arms reductions in compliance with the NPT, or are in the process of doing so, it will still be difficult for them to convince nuclear weapons status aspirants not to go for nuclear weapons. The threat of nuclear retaliation, which is used by nation-states to cause an unacceptable damage to the aggressor, has maintained peace in past. The same is true for future, especially in regions caught in the Cold War quagmire-like South Asia.
If the war prevention role of nuclear arms
is useful for declared nuclear powers, it must be useful for undeclared
ones as well. That some bigger powers want to deny some smaller powers
something that they consider is vital for security simply by pleading that
if that happens, it will be dangerous for international security, leads
to glaring contradiction in the nuclear stance of the proponents of non-proliferation.
What adds to this contradiction is the fact that the campaign against nuclear
proliferation appears to be selective and discriminatory. Israel,
for instance, is the leader of proliferators as far as the question of
spread of nuclear arms to smaller countries is concerned. Given the
strength of its nuclear potential-which includes hydrogen warheads targeted
as far as Central Asia-Israel should have been the first country to be
focused by Westerners for their criticism against nuclear proliferation.
But, it is not. The focus is either on Muslim countries, or on South
Asia, or the Korean Peninsula.
Why should Pakistan look towards the US for some credible security umbrella to counter the security threat it faces from India, especially given the fact that such a shield will always be available at an unaffordable political price? Why should India look for some form of multilateral protection that may be available under a vague notion of the 'new world order'? If nuclear weapons are useless commodities, then why should the US and Russia retain such formidable strategic capabilities even in the post-START phase? Even after the signing of many arms reduction treaties by the US and the former Soviet Union, the rest of the nuclear states-France, China and Great Britain-have not followed suit. What does prevent them from doing so?
Even after START reductions, both the nuclear superpowers will still have some over-kill capability, which can be further reduced. The rest of the nuclear powers can be asked not to go beyond the present level of arsenals-since it is not always necessary to have the second-strike capability; nations survive without that as well. The Chinese have done that against the former Soviet Union and the West. India can exercise the same option against China; and Pakistan, against India. It will stabilize the regional balance of forces for the times to come. Given the mutual suspicion existing between Pakistan and India, and the extent to which both the states have gone in pursuing their nuclear ambitions, it is unrealistic for the Clinton administration to insist that the two countries renounced the nuclear option in exchange for international security guarantees.
China and France could afford to accede to the NPT, because they had achieved the nuclear capability before the deadline set by the treaty to differentiate countries which would sign the NPT as nuclear powers from those which would do the same but not as nuclear states, even if they had achieved nuclear capability secretly. Also, the South African leadership might have decided to sign the NPT as a non-nuclear state in response to the rising black power. Had F W de Klerk, the former South African president, not decided to join the NPT regime, the post-apartheid South Africa have had more political leverage than it would have even as an undeclared nuclear state. The US should not expect India and Pakistan to follow the French, the Chinese, or the South African way.
Some American defense think-tanks are currently cautioning the world against the nuclear danger-the ultimate thrust of their argument being that nuclear weapons in the hands of the many are dangerous, or more dangerous than in the hands of a few; and that nuclear deterrence between smaller states will not work, because the states possessing nuclear weapons will be prone to miscalculating each other's intentions.
Such an argument has little credence. In South Asia, for instance, one of the reasons why India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars in the last four-and-a-half decades, have not resorted to an all-out war, or even a limited one, is due to their so-called bombs-in-the-basement strategy, with the help of which each side has been able to deter the other informally-notwithstanding the fact that such a deterrence can seldom be fully credible and stable. The reason is that nuclear balance between the two states-which possess nuclear weapons but, because of the fear of some international punishment, have not declared their nuclear capability, and, therefore, maintain an ambiguous nuclear stance- tends to be precarious, since none of them can predict about the size and nature of nuclear forces of the other with a sufficient degree of accuracy. That means, in such a situation, each side can misperceive intentions of the other, especially during crisis. Thus, it is absurd to expect that, as long as the nuclear stance of India and Pakistan remains ambiguous, they will behave like the US and the former Soviet Union did during the Cuban Missile Crisis, if they are faced with an extreme crisis in their relationship-a crisis which is not beyond predictability.
After becoming nuclear states, India and Pakistan can sign an agreement not to go beyond a certain level of nuclear potential and establish some credible confidence-building measures to prevent the accidental occurrence of nuclear war. Like the rest of the nuclear powers, they will be bound to accept IAEA safeguards. The major nuclear powers can provide "safety assistance" to safeguard nuclear stockpiles of the new nuclear powers and improve their command and control systems. Along with that, they can also improve, individually and jointly, the systems for physical control and command of their own nuclear arsenal and that of the rest of the nuclear powers.
Let us accept the fact that unrecognized nuclear states like India and Pakistan will not surrender their nuclear sovereignty, no matter how lucrative an offer the Clinton administration makes in return. Unlike North Korea, they have not signed the NPT, and will not do so unless they are accepted by the international community as full-fledged nuclear states in the NPT regime. What is needed for the purpose is a little modification in the clauses of the NPT, which will allow threshold nuclear states to join the NPT regime as nuclear powers, even if they have achieved nuclear capability after January 1, 1967. By further pressuring these two countries on the nuclear issue, the US will achieve nothing but add to the fast-growing perception among the people of South Asia's two leading adversaries about America as a common enemy.
Atom bomb: 'Now I have it, now I don't'
2 SEPTEMBER 1994: In August 1994, when Nawaz Sharif said "I confirm Pakistan has the atom bomb" while addressing a public rally at Neelabutt in Azad Kashmir, the news hit the international media like a bombshell. The way the United States, the Western media, India and the Benazir government reacted to Nawaz Sharif's proclamation was not strange. An official of the Clinton administration linked the former prime minister's admission that Pakistan has achieved the nuclear weapons capability with his political rivalry with Benazir Bhutto, giving an impression as if Nawaz was trying to seek political mileage by exploiting pro-bomb public opinion in Pakistan. The Western media, which champions the cause of nuclear non-proliferation, as usual overplayed the matter. India asked for international punishment for Pakistan. And, like the Americans, officials of the Bhutto government and proponents of the People's Party in the media propagated that, by making an "irresponsible" statement on the country's nuclear programme, the Leader of the Opposition intended to gain political ends.
The Foreign Office, the Foreign Minister,
the head of Parliament's Committee on Foreign Relations refuted in as strong
a manner as possible Nawaz Sharif's claim that Pakistan has achieved the
nuclear weapons potential. "Pakistan has the capability to manufacture
nuclear device, but a conscious decision has been taken at the highest
level not to manufacture the device", said the Foreign Office spokesman
the day Nawaz Sharif made the statement. "Why didn't he announce
the same when he was the prime minister?" asked Foreign Minister Sardar
Assef Ali the following day on the government-controlled electronic
"Desperate to drive a wedge between Benazir Bhutto's government and the defenders of geographical frontiers, Nawaz Sharif has, at the most, tried to sabotage the ongoing diplomatic efforts aimed at neutralizing the American bias against Pakistan-since he knew well that without depriving Benazir of her advantage of acceptance in the West, he would not be able to alienate a post-Beg army (from Benazir Bhutto) keen to restore its relationship with its traditional arms supplier," wrote one of the many newspaper analysts who criticized Nawaz Sharif for, what they termed, making a politically motivated statement that would have negative consequences for the country. "Irresponsible statement from an irresponsible leader," said Benazir Bhutto.
Nawaz Sharif has so far stood by his Neelabutt pronouncement. He has termed it as a precautionary step taken to prevent the intended rollback of Pakistan's nuclear programme by the Benazir government. Such an important disclosure from a person who has run the affairs of the country for over two-and-a half years, and must have had some knowledge about where Pakistan stands in the nuclear sphere, cannot be underestimated-especially given the fact that he has not yet denied it.
Pakistan has been following an ambiguous nuclear stance ever since the start of a full-fledged nuclear programme in the late 1970s in reaction to the Indian nuclear explosion of 1974. As long as military ruler Ziaul Haq was alive, the nuclear programme remained a secret affair as well as a sacred undertaking. This has not been the case for the last some years. Politicians have tried to milk it for the purpose of gaining an edge over each other in domestic politics. That the Americans did not object to Pakistan's nuclear course during most of the time in the 1980s was because they had stakes in Afghanistan. But, even during this period, Pakistan came up with one proposal after another for having a nuclear-free South Asia. The governments under Zia and former prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo followed a consistent stand on the nuclear programme: that it was meant purely for peaceful purposes, and its uranium enrichment level was far below than the weapons-grade potential.
The biggest disclosure of that decade was made by Abdul Qadeer Khan in an interview with Indian journalist Kuldip Nayyar in February 1987. Kuldip quoted him in The Observer (London) as saying that Pakistan has achieved the capability to make nuclear weapons. Though the nuclear scientist immediately denied having said this in what he considered was more of an informal talk than an interview, General Zia himself admitted the same in April 1987 in an interview with the Time magazine. Ever since then, the country's official nuclear stand is that it has the capability but not the intention to manufacture a nuclear device. Since Zia's days, however, the strategy of nuclear ambiguity has not been pursued in a careful and cautious manner. Many a time, political and military leaders have made controversial statements on the status of our nuclear programme and denied them later. This has not only gone against the cause for which an ambiguous nuclear stance is pursued, but has also caused confusion among the people, a majority of whom supports the nuclear option.
Does Pakistan have the bomb? Or, does it not? 'Why be so mysterious about something on which depends the destiny of the nation?' Such are the questions in the common man's mind today. One way or another, we must decide whether we should announce our nuclear weapons status or follow a strategy of nuclear ambiguity in strict sense of the word, he thinks. If the purpose behind making bold statements on the nuclear programme and denying them later is to bluff India, then we will not be able to achieve what the strategy of nuclear ambiguity is meant to: a stable nuclear deterrent vis-a-vis India which has a much greater defense potential than Pakistan. "Pakistan possesses one or two pieces," said former foreign secretary Sheharyar Khan during Nawaz Sharif's tenure in February 1992, followed by an immediate denial by the Foreign Office. Then, in the early 1990s, when it was disclosed that Pakistan had capped its nuclear programme under American pressure, the national press was full of accusations and counter-accusations by leaders of the Muslim League and the PPP against each other over who capped the nuclear programme first. Nawaz Sharif said Benazir Bhutto did it some time in 1990, in connivance with former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan; Benazir blamed Nawaz for the same.
Leaving aside the debate as to who is right and who is not in this confrontation between politicians over the nuclear issue-and whether Pakistan has the atom bomb or not-what matters the most in current circumstances is how responsibly the leadership in Pakistan behaves insofar as the country's nuclear quest is concerned. Going by the track-record of Benazir Bhutto and her party on the matter, it becomes evident that she is in favour of a policy of appeasement with the US-led West. In an interview Benazir had given to American cable news channel NBC in December 1992, she had alleged that the powers-that-be in Pakistan wanted to develop nuclear weapons, and the reason why her first government was dissolved by these powers was that she was opposed to the nuclear option. "They crossed the red line without my (the prime minister's) knowledge", she said. The message Benazir sent across was that if it was only up to her to decide, she would have decided "not to cross the red line." But, since, during her first stint, the country was actually being run by the military establishment, she was helpless. Benazir Bhutto in fact wanted the West to realize that she was the only political leader of Pakistan who was most committed to America's global agenda for nuclear non-proliferation. Interestingly, when, after the NBC interview, Benazir returned to Pakistan, she was critical of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif for being "soft on the nuclear issue".
Since at that time Bhutto was in the opposition, she did not have any direct commitment or responsibility to the Western community on the nuclear question in South Asia, and, therefore, could afford to adopt a hawkish nuclear stand at home purely for public consumption. Seen from this angle, Nawaz Sharif's position on the nuclear issue is rational as well as nationalist. If Benazir as an opposition leader wooed America and the rest of the West on the nuclear question, Nawaz has confronted them on the same. Therefore, even if one accepts that the two leaders have had a similar intention, that of seeking political mileage from the nuclear programme, Nawaz must still be rated better than Bhutto. Had Nawaz Sharif been the prime minister today, and Benazir Bhutto, as an opposition leader, had stated the same which Nawaz did, Pakistan would have been declared a terrorist country months before she came to power this time. Sardar Assef was the one who had embarrassed the Sharif government by resigning from his cabinet on the alleged grounds that the Sharif government was harbouring Arab terrorists. The change of loyalty at a time when Nawaz Sharif was managing the worst political crisis at home has won him the office of foreign minister in the Bhutto government.
Unlike her first rise to power, this time Benazir is said to have occupied the seat of power by compromising with the same powers-that-be whom she had criticized in her NBC interview. But, in return, the task which she was supposed to accomplish remains as unaccomplished as before. The Pressler amendment to the US Foreign Assistance Act remains intact. The Clinton administration will not revive American economic and military assistance for Pakistan, nor will Pakistan get 28 F-16s it has already paid for, as long as the Pressler amendment is there. This country-specific amendment bars the Clinton administration from providing any assistance to Pakistan so long as it does not certify that the country is not working on a nuclear weapons programme.
Since 1989, Pakistan has not been getting any American aid, after the Bush administration refused to certify that Pakistan's nuclear programme was only for peaceful purposes. The Americans believe that, like India, Pakistan can produce more than one nuclear device at a short notice. CIA Director James Woolsey stated in a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that Pakistan was in possession of six nuclear bombs. On the other hand, according to CIA estimates, India possesses more than twenty nuclear bombs. All the top US officials who have so far visited Pakistan during Benazir's second stint, including Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel and Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, have urged Pakistan to roll back its nuclear programme if it wants to qualify for American assistance, particularly the supply of 28 F-16s. The way the Americans have reacted to Nawaz Sharif's statement is, therefore, quite understandable.
No one can deny the fact that no political leader enjoys more goodwill in the US and the rest of the West than Benazir Bhutto, as a woman premier of a Muslim country where a large section of the people is religiously conservative. But, unlike the case in Pakistan, governments in the West go by nothing but national interest in their foreign relations. Therefore, no matter how much goodwill Benazir Bhutto enjoys in the West as an individual, it does not make much of a difference when it comes to inter-state relationship. America would like Pakistan to renounce its nuclear option before the Geneva conference to review and extend the NPT is held in April-May 1995. It would like Pakistan to enter the NPT regime as a non-nuclear state. If Pakistan goes for this, the curbs like Pressler will naturally vanish. If it does not, they will remain as such. And here lies the dilemma for Benazir Bhutto. She can neither annoy the Americans and their Western counterparts, nor can she afford to annoy the people at home. Both ways, she will be a loser. In the days ahead, she will have no option but continue to walk on the tightrope between these two ultimate choices-unless, of course, she decides to go for one of the extremes.
It is here that the significance of Nawaz
Sharif's nuclear pronouncement comes in. Like Kashmir, the nuclear
programme is linked to the security of Pakistan. It is not an issue
over which politicians should score points against each other. It
is also a fact that the public opinion in Pakistan is pro-bomb. Therefore,
it would have been better, had Nawaz Sharif made the statement about Pakistan
having a nuclear device in the parliament. The statement could have
been followed by a parliamentary debate on whether or not the time has
come for Pakistan to announce its status as a full-fledged nuclear power.
As far as the question of nuclear proliferation in South Asia is concerned, Pakistan stands at a crossroads today. The need of the hour is to build national consensus on the nuclear issue. Only nine months are left before the NPT will be presented for renewal and extension. Thus, even if the former prime minister has selected the wrong spot to announce the country's nuclear weapons status, his choice about the occasion and time is not wrong. It was at Neelabutt that the first shot for the liberation of Kashmir was fired in 1948. And, just days before Nawaz's nuclear proclamation, Indian prime minister Narasimha Rao talked about annexing Azad Kashmir. India also intends to deploy Prithvi missiles along its frontiers with Pakistan, besides stepping up its military activity in Occupied Kashmir. One must recall here that the interview which Abdul Qadeer Khan gave to Kuldip Nayyar in February 1987 had deterred India from continuing with its aggressive posture towards Pakistan which it had been following since the Brasstack military exercise of 1986. Nawaz Sharif has accomplished a similar end at Neelabutt.
Nawaz Sharif is not the first Pakistani leader to have admitted Pakistan's nuclear weapons potential. Some have already done that. But, every time, soon after admission, they denied it on one ground or another. The difference in Sharif's case is that he is still sticking to what he has stated. Even if the intention behind his nuclear proclamation is just to score political points at home, it is good for his own political career because what he has said has the support of the majority of the nation. And he is not the only opposition leader who wishes that Pakistan should announce its nuclear status publicly. Murtaza Bhutto is another.
The most important dimension of his nuclear pronouncement is that it has come at the right time. Who says the American nuclear posture towards Pakistan is not discriminatory? For the last some years, many in the Pakistani media have started proposing what the Americans want from potential nuclear states: that they should sign the NPT in return for some vague international guarantees. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate guarantors of national security and political strength for a country like Pakistan facing a grave danger to national security. Defense options for Pakistan-at a time when the country cannot benefit from foreign aid that once accrued from Cold War rivalry of superpowers-are limited; for India, they are not. The Western world has big economic stakes in India. It can be soft towards India, even on the nuclear question. But it will continue practicing a policy of double-standards towards Pakistan.
It is also time political leaders stopped making controversial statements on the nuclear programme. Name any Indian official or nuclear expert who has made any contradictory statement about the country's nuclear capability! Our leaders have done so, many times, out of their insatiable lust for political power or personal fame. Let's not treat Nawaz Sharif's calculated statement in an irresponsible manner. Pakistan has long frozen its nuclear programme, which will not be rolled back, as per government assurance. But, the question is: At this point of time, is it in the interest of Pakistan to pursue a strategy of nuclear ambiguity? The moment of truth has arrived when Pakistan, after achieving national consensus, must announce itself to be a member of the nuclear club. Everybody knows what will happen next. But, if our claim to be a strong nation is correct, we should not waste any time in useless discussions and debates on the nuclear issue.
A dilemma, not confined to South Asia alone
12 MARCH 1996: Since the end of the Cold War, the nuclear issue in South Asia has been receiving an unusual coverage in the Western media and an unprecedented attention of Western governments. Almost all American think-tanks on international peace and security, such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, have followed only one line of action on the issue: that South Asia remains the only region in the world where the threat of nuclear catastrophe always looms large. The same period has seen numerous Western published works on the subject. In his 1993 article in the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh narrated how close India and Pakistan were to fight a nuclear battle in the Spring of 1990.
All these writings have approached the nuclear proliferation issue in the same manner as American think-tanks, the Western media, and US and British officials have. Not just this, the frequency of official allegations from the West against Pakistan's and India's nuclear activities has increased many times in recent years. This was not the case, for instance, in the 1980s when the nuclear programmes of both India and Pakistan did not concern the United States as much as they do now. In other words, during the Cold War period, when the foremost world agenda for the Americans was to fight against the Soviets on all fronts, they never perceived nuclear proliferation in the region as issue number one.
South Asia's nuclear dilemma, if there is one, may continue to exist so long as all the declared nuclear powers themselves do not come up with a clear-cut-commitment regarding the deep reduction and eventual elimination of their own nuclear weapons. In the absence of such a commitment, the West's post-Cold War propaganda on the issue of nuclear proliferation may only strengthen the nuclear resolve of these nations. Since the United States is leading this campaign, the onus of responsibility for this goes to its nuclear decision-making establishment. On the issue of ring-magnets that China is alleged to have supplied Pakistan as well as The Washington Post's allegation that Pakistan is preparing for a tit-for-tat nuclear blast, not a single certification has yet been released by the United States. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns just said the US government was investigating the newspaper reports. On CIA chief's allegation about ring-magnets, the spokesman maintained that he was quoted "out of context" by the press.
The nuclear question in South Asia should not be seen in isolation from the global nuclear dilemma. Even if the American Senate has ratified the START II treaty, this does not guarantee that the Americans and the Russians would be able to reduce their nuclear potential by three-forth by early next century. First, the Russian Duma has not ratified the treaty. Second, even the Clinton administration still favours an active nuclear posture for America in next century. This gives credence to the subcontinental nuclear rationality which denotes the Indian outlook on both NPT and CTBT. The Indians link the signing of the two treaties with the total elimination of nuclear weapons by the nuclear powers within a specified time as was required by the NPT. That Pakistan continues to link its nuclear stand with that of India is besides the point.
Though deadlocked on non-proliferation, Pakistan and India have been able to reach agreement on an important CBM-not to attack each other's nuclear facilities. Besides its proposal for a South Asian nuclear weapon free zone-one which has been overwhelmingly endorsed every year for more than twenty years by the UN General Assembly-Pakistan has taken several other initiatives in the bilateral context. These include reciprocal inspection of nuclear facilities; joint commitment to renounce nuclear weapons; and a five-power conference, including the United States, Russia and China to settle the nuclear proliferation issue in South Asia.
It is not that Pakistan is opposed to the elimination of nuclear arsenals of the five declared nuclear weapon powers; rather, the country is as much in the vanguard as any other state for a nuclear-free world, or, for that matter, the total scrapping of all Weapons of Mass Destruction, including chemical, biological and radiological weapons. Pakistan strongly believes that the goal of the NPT must be the reduction of nuclear arsenals by all five nuclear weapon powers-until their elimination. Even if the country links its nuclear programme, or signing of the NPT and CTBT to India's; as a whole, its nuclear arguments are similar to India's. Interestingly, the nuclear issue is one area in which both the Sough Asian powers should have been acting in concert internationally. Given this, our nuclear stand should not just be India-specific. If we wish to fight the anti-Pakistan Western propaganda on the nuclear issue, the only option we have got is to highlight the hypocritical nature of the nuclear outlook of declared nuclear powers.
Tackling the West's anti-nuclear campaign
9 SEPTEMBER 1997: In a recent NBC television
interview, former Russian national security advisor Alexander Lebed claimed
the Russian army had lost track of some 100 suitcase-size nuclear bombs,
every one of which can be detonated within half an hour and can kill up
to 100,000 people. Even though denied officially by Russia, Lebed's
sensational disclosure is bound to boost US-led Western bids to exaggerate
post-Soviet nuclear proliferation risks and discourage nuclear aspirant
nations like Pakistan from their nuclear quest. General Lebed, who was
dismissed from service in 1996 by Russian president Boris Yeltsin, had
also told in May 1997 a US congressmen delegation visiting Russia
that some 84 one-kiloton nuclear bombs were "unaccounted for" in the Russian
army's nuclear arsenal. Aspiring for political power at home, General Lebed
is known for his pro-Western leanings. For instance, officials at
the NATO headquarters, which I visited recently, appear to have a lot of
praise for him. Just before his dismissal, he had visited the NATO
headquarters in Brussels and publicly criticized president Yeltsin for
delaying for two years the Russian participation in the US-sponsored NATO's
Partnership for Peace programme.
In the NBC interview, General Lebed speculated that the missing Russian missiles "could be somewhere in Georgia, somewhere in the Ukraine or somewhere in the Baltic countries. May be outside those countries....Terrorist groups would love to have them. We know they have been trying to buy long-range offensive weapons and nuclear capability from Russia." All this can make an excellent story for a Hollywood movie or a best-seller fiction novel; but, in reality, the United States itself has helped Russia in the last over half decade to exercise a far more strict control of nuclear sites than was the case before the Soviet fall. The transfer of nuclear missiles and bombs from ex-Soviet nuclear republics-Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus-has taken place in a similar fashion.
If an American media hype also followed General Lebed's disclosure, then all those countries which have been targeted by the US-led Western anti-nuclear proliferation campaign, including Pakistan, should be prepared for yet another round of international media criticism of their alleged nuclear pursuits. The "missing nukes" can allegedly be traced to be in Islamabad, Tehran, Baghdad or Tripoli. In the American perception, these are the places from where international terrorists originate. In the post-Cold War period, South Asia has specifically been targeted by US mediamen and academics as far as the various Western perceived risks associated with nuclear proliferation are concerned. South Asian expert Selig Harrison and columnist William Pfaff may be two exceptions-as they argue for accommodating the security concerns of both India and Pakistan in the nuclear debate-but, by and large, all American nuclear thinkers tend to portray South Asia as a region most prone for nuclear catastrophe.
Iran is another country which, for the last some years, has been a target of the US-led West's anti-nuclear proliferation campaign. Iran is a signatory of the NPT, which bars five declared nuclear powers from assisting non-nuclear states with such technology and material as can be used by the latter to acquire nuclear weapons capability. As a member of the NPT, Iran is constantly monitored by the IAEA. Despite this, in several alleged cases of smuggling of nuclear material from former Soviet republics directly or through Germany that the Western media claimed to have unearthed, Iran's name is on top. A similar Western campaign has targeted two other Muslim countries, Libya and Iraq.
Israel, India and Pakistan are categorized
as three threshold nuclear states in the world, countries that have achieved
nuclear capability but have not yet officially declared it. Unlike
the other two, Pakistan pursues a nuclear policy that often becomes a victim
of individual political pursuits of its leaders. An American media
hype following General Lebed's sensational disclosure may be an imaginary
scenario, but the US-led West will continue to propagate against our nuclear
For our part, we should continue portraying ourselves as a nation that has no interest in developing missiles or acquiring nuclear weapons, and to continue declaring that it is India which is forcing us towards this end. Those who try to project a macho man sort of an image of our country by making irresponsible statements on our nuclear and missile programmes are not helping the matter. Even if we have achieved all what our leaders have so far claimed, let's keep this a secret, as the Israelis and the Indian do; otherwise, we will just be falling into Western trap.
BJP-led India's nuclear pursuits
12 APRIL 1998: The Western media has a genuine reason to be concerned about India's current nuclear obduracy: the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, in its National Agenda for Governance, released on March 18, has reiterated the nuclear pledge that the party had made before the elections in its election manifesto. The pledge was that once the BJP government was in place in Delhi, it would declare India a nuclear state. If not a BJP government, a BJP-led coalition government is surely in place. India might have already exercised its nuclear option had the case been the former. Still it's only a matter of time now. The BJP leadership's strategy in the days and months to come will be to consolidate the party's hold in power and, once the aim is achieved, it will fulfil the said pledge.
The section of the BJP election manifesto dealing with India's foreign policy matters had in categorical terms stated that, come what may, the party would bring India into the fold of declared nuclear powers if Indian voters gave it a chance to come to power. While releasing the national agenda at a press conference on March 18 in Delhi, prime minister Vajpaee minced no words in stating that "when the time comes and the need arises, India will declare its nuclear weapons potential." After the release of the National Agenda for Governance, the Indian media has tried to propagate that since the BJP is leading a coalition setup of several parties, it will be hard for it to carry out its pre-election nuclear pledge. In other worlds, the leadership of the party has to be moderate on controversial issues. This might be true for some other pledges that the BJP had made in its election manifesto, such as imposing a Uniform Civil Code. For this may cost the party a couple of coalition partners. But declaring India a nuclear state has hardly ever been a controversial matter in Indian politics. In fact, such a course enjoys widespread political approval in the country.
India has a history of disobeying and dishonouring the international community by refusing to cooperate with it on the nuclear question. It has not signed the NPT, nor has it concluded the CTBT. And now when the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty is being negotiated at Geneva's UN Conference on Disarmament session, India happens to obstruct every positive move that the Commission's majority members make on the subject. How can India behave so defiantly before the world community on a matter that concerns it the most? It does so only because there exists widespread Indian public backing for the purpose. In fact, guided solely by a dream of making India a great power, successive Indian leaders have tried their best to contribute as much to their country's nuclear weapons potential as possible. From Nehru to Vajpaee, India's nuclear quest has been weapons-oriented. It is a different matter that all the leaders who occupied the seat of power in Delhi talked about the country's peaceful nuclear quest. That was only to fool the world. So much so that Indira Gandhi termed India's 1974 nuclear test as a 'Peaceful Nuclear Experiment'. Back in the 1940s, Bhabha, the country's nuclear father, started the nuclear programme pretending that his energy-starved country required such a programme. With half century of the so-called peaceful nuclear programme, how much electricity are the Indians generating from their nuclear reactors? An amount that meets only two per cent of their total requirement.
This factor alone proves what the Indians have been up to all these years. Half century of hardwork in nuclear weapons pursuit has to find some expression. An Indian regime led by Hindu nationalists is best suited for this. And there arises the danger for the people of this region. For the people of Pakistan in particular. People who have just been on the receiving end, trying to cope with the nonsensical acts that Indian leaders perform every now and then. BJP leaders will give a damn to the international community if it reacts in case India declares itself a nuclear state. That's what they say. So, when, at the press conference held to present the National Agenda for Governance, a reporter asked Vajpaee about the possibility of a severe American response in case India exercises its nuclear option, his answer was: the Americans have nothing to do with what India deems necessary for its defense and security; and that India's external interest was one area in which his government would not make any compromise.
That's how a 'moderate' Indian leader argues. One really feels pity for the Indian population, over 30 per cent of which lives below the poverty line, leading a sub-human existence. How can a nuclear device meet the needs of a hungry man, of which there is no dearth in India? The problem is that it's not just a common Indian citizen who is suffering due to the nuclear obsession and ambition of India's ruling clique. It's the population of this entire region, including Pakistanis, who are the eventual sufferers.
Nuclear proliferation is not a bad thing
3 MAY 1998: In global discussions and debates on the question of nuclear proliferation, Kenneth N Waltz is a big name. Many years ago, he wrote his famous Adelphi Paper, a publication of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, under the title, "More May be the Better". Kenneth questioned the still-widely-held presumption of Western nuclear states and experts that proliferation of nuclear arms to more states will endanger international peace and security, as these states will be less responsible and less capable of self-control, Instead, to him, new nuclear states will behave as responsible as did the old ones.
Kenneth's thesis was written purely in the Cold War context, which has long vanished. Therefore, some of what he argued might be invalid today. Still, however, many of the conclusions that he arrived at make a lot of sense. This is because most of the key issues in the nuclear debate remain as unsettled at present as they were in past. One, even if nuclear arms have depreciated in value after the end of the Cold War, they still remain a key instrument of national defense and security policies of five declared nuclear state-the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, and France. Two, that the United States and Russia have made some credible arms reductions, does not necessarily mean the beginning of nuclear peace. Third, the perception of threshold nuclear states-India, Pakistan and Israel-about the discriminatory nature of arms limitation accords, such as the NPT and CTBT, is still there.
India, which until recently was opposing these accords on this account only at the conference tables, has now threatened to declare itself a nuclear state. A step that necessitates a review of the various theories which form the basis of the current global nuclear debate, Kenneth Waltz's "More May be the Better" being one of the most important published works in this regard. According to him, the spread of nuclear arms to more states has been gradual and slow. It will remain so, due to various domestic and international constraints. Therefore, to term this phenomenon as proliferation is wrong. The post-Second World War international system, according to him, has undergone unprecedented changes, such as decolonization, technological innovation, and regional conflicts. Yet the international system has remained in order, as no general war, on the scale of the two world wars in the first half of this century, has been fought. Wars did occur, but only on the periphery of international politics, not at its centre. And, all of them have remained limited, both geographically and militarily. There must be some strong factor enabling the post-Second World War international system to absorb radical transformations and restrain general war. To Kenneth, this factor is the introduction of nuclear weapons.
While highlighting the 'war prevention' and 'maintenance of peace' role of nuclear arms, Kenneth gives five reasons to establish why a future with more nuclear states will be promising. First, international politics functions on the basis of a self-help system. States exist in an anarchic order, in which every state's best effort is to maximize its own security. And it will do so against all odds. Secondly, despite the fact that the recognized nuclear states have enormous nuclear weapons potential to strike at each other many times over, the central nuclear balance among them has remained intact. How can new nuclear states, which are likely to have small nuclear capabilities, disturb the central nuclear balance? Since a nuclear state is more or less certain about the nuclear strength of the other and about its own annihilation through retaliation by the other, war is prevented between nuclear states. Countries go to conventional wars because even in defeat they expect their sufferings will not be massive. In conventional world, one is uncertain about winning or losing. In nuclear world, one is uncertain about surviving or being annihilated.
Thirdly, the stakes of a nuclear conflict will be as high for the new nuclear states as they have been for the old ones. States act with less care when the expected costs of war are low. They act with more care when they perceive that the victory in war will not come at an affordable price. Nuclear deterrence, therefore, removes a major cause of war. The Cuban Missile Crisis can be cited as one example of how the two nuclear powers, the United States and the former Soviet Union, restrained themselves from going to war, simply because neither of them could afford to bear the consequences. Similarly, the American extended deterrence in Europe worked as the Soviets were frightened by the consequences of any bid on their part to attack Western Europe, a region of vital US interests. Fourthly, nuclear deterrence leads to an ideal defense situation through a state's ability to punish. A situation that small and potential nuclear states catering for their survival need the most.
The nuclear balance forbids both preventive and pre-emptive strikes. The former is meant to prevent the emergence of a state as a nuclear power, while the latter is meant to exploit vulnerabilities in the nuclear arsenal of a state. The preventive strike can be made in two situations: one, when the targeted state's nuclear programme is at an initial stage; and, two, when it is at an advanced state. Israel's 1981 strike against the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak is cited as a classical example of the former type of preventive strike. But, as it has been established through UN inspections of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Israeli pre-emptive strike did not have much effect on Iraq's nuclear ambitions; it, in fact, strengthened Iraqi resolve to build nuclear weapons. A preventive strike against a state whose nuclear programme is at an advanced stage is not possible, since there is always possibility that it is already nuclear armed. Had this not been the case, the United States would have launched a preventive strike against the Soviet Union soon after the end of the Second World War in order to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power. A pre-emptive strike, on the other hand, is not possible, as nuclear weapons are always kept in survivable manners and can be easily hidden. Had this not been the case, the United States and the Soviet Union would have launched pre-emptive strikes against each other several times during the Cold War period.
Fifthly, nuclear deterrence can be maintained at a lower level of nuclear forces. China, for that matter, did not have second strike capability against the Soviet Union. Yet deterrence between the two Communist rivals was effectively maintained. The same can hold true for India and Pakistan. Thus, Western argument that the resort to nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan will force the two countries into an endless and wasteful nuclear arms race does not make any sense. India can maintain credible deterrence with China without having second-strike capability vis-a-vis China. Pakistan can achieve the same vis-a-vis India.
The sixth and final reason which Kenneth
Waltz gives in favour of the nuclear spread to more states is that small
nuclear states will feel as constrained in their behaviour as the big ones
have. Their defense and deterrence capabilities will prevent the
resort to war. Deterrent strategies induce caution and thus reduce
the incidence of war. Western nuclear states and experts maintain the following
main worries with regard to domestic and regional aspects of nuclear proliferation:
that new nuclear states will not be politically strong and stable enough
to control nuclear weapons and control decision to use them; that feelings
of insecurity among them may cause an arms race at the expense of civilian
needs; and that an accidental or intentional use of nuclear weapons may
take place in the case of military coup in a small nuclear state, or if
a tyrannical regime or a dictator comes to power, or if anarchy results
in a power struggle. Regionally, small nuclear states may exist in
hostile pairs to cause nuclear exchange. A radical nuclear state wishing
to export its revolutionary ends abroad may resort to nuclear strike.
In addition, in the case of military coup, the civilian control of nuclear
arms may fall in the hands of military leaders.
But Kenneth considers such predominantly-held Western concerns "unfounded". Why would one faction in a domestic power struggle use a nuclear device against the other? Even if the Generals come to power, they will be more interested in strengthening their power base than in using a nuclear weapon. Soldiers are not scientists. Further, in a period of turmoil, nuclear weapon programmes of small states will slow down. In addition, once a country feels that it has achieved a massive retaliation capability-different from state to state-why will it engage in nuclear arms race? More is not better if less is enough. Unlike the five nuclear powers, small nuclear states will be economically hard pressed and, therefore, not be in a position to afford cost effective nuclear arms race. For countries like Pakistan, faced with a conventionally far superior India, conventional arms race will be ruinous in the absence of nuclear deterrence.
As regards Western concerns about regional dimension of nuclear proliferation, India and Pakistan are not less bitter in their ties as the United States and the former Soviet Union were. Moreover, even the most radical regimes have been moderate when it comes to their external conduct. Iran, for instance. Also, even the most radical leaders, like Libya's Colonel Gaddafi, have eventually constrained their reactionary attitudes. The fact is that all rulers like to rule over their countries. States have to survive in a world which is very competitive. So, their leaders have to move with caution. Therefore, blackmail by small nuclear state is not possible. Chinese and Russian Generals have had a lot of say in the nuclear programmes and still nothing has happened. The same will be the case for the military command of any small state. In case a commander goes berserk, the threat of nuclear annihilation will force others not to obey him. Even if nuclear weapons are used domestically or in a regional conflict, the central nuclear balance in the world will endure. And, if ever a state is forced to use nuclear arms for the sake of its survival, this will be a fair act on its part.
Kenneth Waltz has criticized the US nuclear proliferation policy by terming it unfair. In his opinion, it is creating some acute dilemmas for the United States. The United States, according to Kenneth, has two choices: either provide security to small states opting for nuclear arms or take punitive actions against them. In the first case, how many commitments can the US afford to make? In the second case, if the US chooses to punish Pakistan selectively and maintain leniency towards India-which it has-this will amount to disapproving a small state's nuclear programme no matter what its adversary is dong. On the other hand, by not punishing Pakistan, the US will be sending a signal to potential nuclear states that if one state is opting for nuclear arms, the other should be allowed to opt for the same.
Nations, according to Kenneth Waltz, attend to their security the way they think best. Some, like Japan, don't aspire for nuclear arms at all. Since they don't face any security threat, they don't need them. On the other hand, the acquisition of nuclear arms for states like Pakistan, whose very survival is threatened by a militarily far superior enemy India, is a do or die matter. The United States, therefore, should not follow a uni-dimensional nuclear proliferation policy; rather, it should focus on peculiar instances and individual cases. The United States must acknowledge the interests of other countries before putting pressure on them. Some countries are likely to suffer continued arms races and pains if they do not acquire nuclear arms.
Declaring Pakistan a nuclear state
13 MAY 1998: A nation with over 30 per cent population living below the poverty line has finally declared itself a nuclear state: the three nuclear tests that India has conducted establish beyond any doubt New Delhi's intention of entering the nuclear club by producing a variety of nuclear devices, including hydrogen bomb, atom bomb, and tactical nuclear weapons. These tests have nothing to do with the generation of nuclear power for peaceful purposes, a plea the Indians have been giving since their 1974 explosion to dupe the international community, which, for its part, has been ever willing to be misled by India. A low-yield nuclear test is conducted to produce tactical nuclear arms; a fission test is conducted to produce atom bomb; and a thermo-nuclear test is conducted to manufacture hydrogen bomb. That India's three separate nuclear explosions in Pokhran are primarily meant to build these three kinds of nuclear arms, therefore, amounts to India declaring itself a nuclear state. In 1974, India could cheat the international community by taking the plea that its nuclear explosion was only for peaceful purposes; in 1998, it cannot.
Unlike the 1970s, the current situation in the subcontinent is far more serious, far more dangerous than was the case quarter of a century ago when India had conducted its first nuclear explosion: India is being ruled by Hindu nationalists of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), with the BJP, currently ruling India, being its political wing; and prime minister Vajpaee, its lifetime member. Inspired by Nazism and Fascism, Hindu nationalists have risen in India as an unrivalled ideological force, which is no less threatening to international peace and security than the Soviet Communism once was. Both in its February election manifesto and the March Agenda for Governance, the BJP had made it clear that declaring India a nuclear state would be a top Indian foreign policy priority during BJP's rule. The party has kept its promises.
How should the international community, led by the United States, respond to Indian nuclear tests? And, what options does Pakistan have to counter the new Indian nuclear threat? These are the two questions which need to be answered urgently. True to its past accommodative and flexible nuclear stand, Pakistan can afford to wait only for a couple of weeks to see what posture the international community adopts towards India. If it behaves in the same manner as it did in 1974 by not punishing India, then Pakistan may not be left with no other choice but to declare itself a nuclear state. So far the US-led international community's resolve to punish India has not been that satisfactory, the only positive development being the US decision to impose sanctions against India. In protest, Australia and New Zealand have recalled their ambassadors from New Delhi. South Africa has also protested separately. Tokyo announced to suspend one of the three Japanese loans to India. Russia has talked about India's "betrayal"; while, at the same time, opposing the imposition of sanctions against India on the grounds that these will be "counter-productive." The United Nations has "condemned" the act. So have many other major states, including China.
The reaction that matters is American. Before the US decided to impose sanctions against India, president Clinton had stated that "very soon" the United States will impose "comprehensive sanctions against India." But, simultaneously, he urged India to sign the CTBT and also stressed repeatedly that India's neighbours should not "follow suit." Under the 1994 US Non-Proliferation Prevention Act (NPPA), the Clinton administration has to impose sanctions against any state which does not enjoy nuclear status under the NPT and tests a nuclear device. The US sanctions may not have any significant impact on India. One important reason is that India has never been as dependent upon the United States for its defense and development needs as Pakistan has been. It was only after the collapse of the Soviet Union that India had started developing credible commercial and security links with the United States. Japan, the United States and other Western states can use international financial institutions such as the IMF against India. But there is hardly any chance that such an action will ever bring India to its knees. India is not dependent upon the IMF as Pakistan is.
Until now, much of the international reaction
to India's nuclear tests is confined to statements of "deep concern" about
the worsening security scenario in South Asia as a result of these tests.
It has been confined to calls for "constraint" by India's neighbour, meaning
Pakistan. The international community had behaved exactly in the
same manner in the aftermath of India's May 1974 nuclear test. The
US NPPA had originally become operative in 1978. What the United
States had then done, in reaction to the Indian nuclear explosion, was
to prohibit its supply of fissionable material to India unless it accepted
IAEA safeguards on all of its nuclear facilities. Consequently, the
United States stopped the supply of low-enriched nuclear fuel to two Tarapur
power reactors sold by the General Electric to India in the early 1960s.
Interestingly, in 1983, the United States agreed to let France supply India
with nuclear fuel, which France did until it signed the NPT in the early
Now, by urging India to sign the CTBT, president Clinton's message to New Delhi is that the United States can reconsider its decision to impose sanctions against India if it signs the CTBT. India will not lose anything if it signs the CTBT after nuclear tests, which have established India as a nuclear weapons state. If India concludes the CTBT, as Israel has already done, where will Pakistan, a country which has not tested even a single nuclear device, stand then? The most tragic reality that has come to surface in the aftermath of Indian nuclear tests is that the IAEA has still chosen to describe India as a threshold nuclear state, which, in fact, is not the case. Murli Manohar Joshi, India's Minister for Science and Technology, has announced that India's nuclear missiles will be nuclear-tipped.
Prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been bold enough to say that "Pakistan alone" will decide what to do now. And this he has stated while citing the lackluster international approach towards India's decades-old nuclear weapons pursuits. Foreign minister Gohar Ayub has stated that "any step of nuclear escalation by India will find a matching response from Pakistan." Some of the country's top analysts have also argued that Pakistan should respond in kind to Indian nuclear tests. Their argument is basically for a tit-for-tat response. But the existing situation demands much more from Pakistan.
Given the decades-old nuclear belligerency of India and the sheer ignorance of it by the world community, Pakistan has to go one step ahead of India: instead of merely restricting its option to conduct nuclear test, Islamabad must announce its nuclear weapons capability, no matter what happens. India's nuclear ambitions are clear now, ambitions which India's Hindu nationalist leadership wishes to pursue at all costs, as the BJP leaders have repeatedly made it clear. Tit-for-tat responses are advisable in a situation where states with adversarial relationship are somewhat, if not equally, guided by constraints of international diplomacy. In South Asia's case, India has shown through its recent past behaviour that it gives a damn to what the international community says or does. For the last 30 years, India has been refusing to sign the NPT. For the last over two years, it has been the only leading opponent of the CTBT. And for the last many months, India has been adamantly opposing the conclusion of the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. What punishment has the international community, the Western world, the Americans have given to India for its consistent defiance of the will of the world community?
India's next-door neighbour, China-which, to Indian defense minister George Fernandes, became India's Enemy Number One in a few weeks preceding Indian nuclear tests-is a signatory to the NPT and the CTBT. For its part, Pakistan's attitude towards the NPT, the CTBT and the FMCT has always been positive, rational and flexible. Islamabad said yes, although with some reservations, to the CTBT in the September 1996 UN General Assembly session, which was convened on the personal initiative of president Clinton to muster universal support for the treaty. Pakistan is ready to sign the three treaties if India does. Then, over the years, Islamabad has made several proposals for regional or international settlement of the nuclear proliferation issue in South Asia. India disagrees with all of these proposals. What else does the international community want from Pakistan, a state whose sovereignty and independence have for over past half century been directly endangered by a many times militarily superior India? Almost a decade ago, on the asking of the United States, Pakistan had even capped its nuclear programme. This, however, does not mean it is incapable of producing nuclear weapons or has not already kept some of them in the basement. Like Israel and India, Pakistan has long been categorized as a threshold nuclear state, one that has the capability to manufacture nuclear arms.
Based on the US-led West's pathetic handling of India's nuclear conduct, one's contention has always been that it will not be surprising if five members of the nuclear club let India enter the NPT regime as a nuclear power. What will Pakistan do in such a scenario? Accept a perpetual Indian hegemony? Islamabad should have pre-empted India's ultimate nuclear design some years ago by at least conducting a nuclear test. Even before India's nuclear tests, the strategy of nuclear ambiguity that both India and Pakistan pursued had favoured India. Because India had already conducted a nuclear test. On the other hand, about Pakistan's nuclear potential, there exist many speculations. Did it really obtain a nuclear design from China? Does it have the nuclear weapons capability, as the successive governments have claimed? Contradictory and confusing statements by Pakistan's successive leaders have also contributed to the prevailing public uncertainty about its nuclear capability. Way back in 1987, Ziaul Haq had stated that Pakistan was only a "screw drive away" from manufacturing a nuclear device. His successor army chief General Beg claimed the country had conducted a "cold" nuclear test. Civilian leaders in the post-Zia era have claimed that Pakistan has the capability to manufacture a nuclear device but it has chosen not to produce them. Still the big question remains, where is the proof?
By testing nuclear weapons, India might have called Pakistan's bluff. Some scholars think that by conducting the nuclear tests, the Indians may have thrown a feeler to see whether Pakistan really has the nuclear capability or it has been lying all these years about it. Now, in case Pakistan does not respond in kind, India will conclude that the latter possibility is right. Even in the case of April test-firing of intermediate-range Ghauri missile by Pakistan, the Indians had raised serious questions about the validity of Pakistan's claim. Like Pakistan's nuclear capability claims, the country's official claims about Ghauri being an indigenous product are also disputable. Either it is North Korea or China which has supplied the missile to Pakistan. This is what the international media has alleged. The uncertain state of affairs about Pakistan's nuclear capability has to end. The sooner it happens, the better it will be for Pakistan. And the only way this uncertainty can end is if Pakistan declares itself a nuclear power, on which depends Islamabad's survival as an independent and sovereign state.
Dangers of not responding to India's nuclear tests
15 MAY 1998: The growing public questioning of the country's nuclear capability is understandable: ever since Partition, one thing that Pakistanis have never accepted is Indian hegemony. The Indian declaration to go nuclear poses a direct, qualitative danger to the state and the people of Pakistan. The danger of living under the dominance of a militant Hindu nationalist nuclear India. Interestingly, the calls for "restraint" and "patience" coming from the country's influential quarters are in line with the American approach towards handling the nuclear crisis in South Asia. In his telephone talk with prime minister Nawaz Sharif as well as while announcing his decision to impose sanctions against India, president Clinton had urged Pakistan to "exercise restraint" and "not to follow suit".
For most part of its history, Pakistan has cultivated American interests at the expense of its own. Therefore, even in the present critical most days of the country, it is not surprising to find an increasing number of people suspecting that its short-sighted ruling clique may once again compromise national security. Such suspicions make sense. The dilemma created for Pakistan by India is quite acute. What if India signs the CTBT! India is in a position to do so: the first three nuclear tests establish it as a power which has the capability to build all varieties of nuclear weapons; while the second two nuclear tests equip Delhi with the potential of judging the reliability of this gigantic nuclear arsenal. That's the reason why Pakistan's leading nuclear experts stress that now the country is left with no option except to carry out nuclear tests, and only after doing so it should consider to sign the CTBT if India signs it first. The Indians have already stated their readiness to sign the CTBT. Once they do it, some of the sanctions against them announced by individual Western countries may be lifted, if not immediately, gradually. Since India has sufficient foreign exchange reserves, it will be able to withstand the negative economic impact caused by the sanctions. After India's signing of the CTBT, and with Pakistan delaying its decision to conduct nuclear tests, the entire international pressure will be exerted on Islamabad.
This has already started happening. The aim of Clinton's two envoys during their meetings with Pakistani authorities will be to prevent Pakistan from nuclear testing even if India has done so. Russia, France and Britain have not only themselves decided not to impose sanctions against India, but they have also started campaigning against those few punitive steps which a handful of states have taken against India. Steps which will only add to the existing poverty in India even if they hurt it. This does not make much of a difference for a people having romance with poverty and leaders who are used to austerity. The international media has already started sensationalizing Pakistan's possible nuclear testing. The powerful Indian satellite television channels have taken the lead by predicting nuclear testing by Pakistan within the next 48 hours in Balochistan's Chagai mountains. Prominent Western newspaper reporters and cable TV channel correspondents have already started arriving in Pakistan which is in the spotlight after India's surprise nuclear act. They do not want to miss again the show on the spot. In the days to come, therefore, the entire international attention is likely to shift excessively on Pakistan.
Unlike India, Pakistan has always been
much more cooperative in dealing with the external world, in listening
to its advice seriously on the nuclear matter. It is not as arrogant
as India since recent years and many times in past has been in its external
outlook, in its conduct on matters crucial to world peace and security
such as nuclear accords like the CTBT. It has taken several years for the
international community to arrive at the existing nuclear arms control
and non-proliferation regime, including many treaties. By going nuclear,
India has committed an act of aggression against the will of the international
community, which, since the end of the Cold War, has been fundamentally
turning its attention away from nuclear arms and their deterrent utility.
"To hell with the world" was the message India sent across the world by
conducting two more tests on May 13. In other words, the message
was that no matter what punitive measures the international community has
announced against India after its first series of nuclear blasts, Hindu
nationalists will not compromise on the country's nuclear weapons capability.
No doubt the Americans have imposed sanctions against India. So have the Japanese. Some countries have recalled their ambassadors from Delhi. Others have expressed their dismay at the Indian act. But that's it. What the dangerous situation arising out of India's belligerent act had, however, demanded was that the Security Council, in an emergency session, should have invoked Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to pass a resolution permitting UN member-states to take a joint military action against India. For the crisis caused by India violates the collective will of the international community, which requires a collective action by the nation-states. Even if the Security Council did not want to invoke Chapter 7, it should have by now resolved to impose international sanctions against India, as has been the case since 1991 with Iraq which, unlike India, had not committed aggression against the international community but just against a tiny dictatorial Sheikdom of Kuwait.
This does not mean that the Security Council has not reacted at all after India's nuclear tests. It has been in session, but busy only in determining what its appropriate response to India should be. That's the reaction of the world body whose chief Kofi Annan, like many other world leaders, limited his reaction to issuing a statement of deep concern. The UN has been the US ever since the end of the Cold War. As the US has shown in Iraq's case, the Security Council does what the Americans want. Some time they even act on their own, ignoring the Security Council altogether. Even the US action against India is doubtful. Rationally speaking, the day president Clinton had addressed the first press conference on the matter, he should have announced to cancel his forthcoming visit to India, which has not happened. And now there are reports that the Americans deliberately ignored India's nuclear march, that US satellites failed to monitor its preparations for nuclear tests.
There are speculations that US envoy to UN Bill Richardson, during his recent visit to India, might have in fact given a go-ahead to India for the nuclear tests. India conducted these tests only days after its foreign secretary K Ragunath visited the United States. One of the foremost reasons being widely cited for the post-Cold War US tilt towards India is that the United States is gradually building India as a counterpoise to the fast rising China. This makes sense. For international ties are usually guided by real-politick concerns. The US, therefore, must contain China, if Washington perceives it to emerge as a superpower early next century. Are Pakistan's decision-makers realizing such factors? How far they still trust the Americans will determine the course of Pakistan's history in the next few days to come.
Testing the nuclear device, or living in shame
25 MAY 1998: Now that there do not exist any two opinions about the aspirations of Pakistani citizens in favour of nuclear testing by Pakistan, the Nawaz Sharif government appears to be left with no choice but to explode the so-far hidden nuclear potential of the country. If it does not, and, instead, decides to bank upon the ever-doubtful Western security assurances and shows its perpetual greed for Western economic incentives, then the Pakistani nation may be heading for a survival full of shame and subjugation. Hindu nationalist leaders of India are in no mood to stop their militant campaign against Kashmir. Indian security forces stationed across the Line of Control have reportedly made preparations for a limited military venture in Kashmir and Siachen. Indian militarism is set to increase, since the sense of power that BJP's religious extremist leadership has got through India's overt nuclearization has to find some expansionist expression. Had China been "Enemy Number One" of India, as Indian defense minister George Fernandes repeatedly stated prior to Indian nuclear tests, then nuclear India would have been taking some offensive steps across its Himachel Pradesh frontiers with China.
The reason why this has not happened and will not in future is that, no matter how nationalist the BJP leadership may be, it cannot afford to even consider any military step against China, which had humiliated India in 1962. Thus, the only country against which a BJP-led India would like to take military steps remains Pakistan, which has since independence resisted all Indian attempts towards regional dominance. While the rest of India's smaller South Asian neighbours appear to have accepted Indian dominance, Pakistan has never done so. Nor can it afford to: Pakistan was created to spare the Muslims of the subcontinent from Hindus domination. Now by not testing its nuclear capability, the message that Pakistan will be sending across to India is that it does not possess an effective deterrent against any Indian military offensive. The strategy of nuclear ambiguity that India and Pakistan have followed for years lies in a shambles after the Indian nuclear tests. Since then, Pakistan's covert nuclearization is no match for India's overt nuclearization. Pakistan's nuclear testing is, therefore, essential for restoring the Indo-Pakistan nuclear balance.
As regards Western security assurances and economic incentives, they can never guarantee Pakistan's sovereignty and independence vis-a-vis nuclear India. The United States and Britain are leading the Western campaign to forbid Pakistan from nuclear testing in exchange for a comprehensive package of security assurances and economic assistance. This package may include the supply of 28 F-16s and other conventional arms and the revival of pre-Pressler US-Pak relations. The provision of a nuclear umbrella to Pakistan is out of question, since no matter how hard the Clinton administration tries, the Congress will not approve it. Even if such an American nuclear shield is available to Pakistan, what is the guarantee that the United States will again not betray Pakistan in the case of an Indian aggression, as it did both in 1965 and 1971?
For that matter, even Britain after the Second World War had never felt confident under the US nuclear umbrella. The British knew that if Moscow ever launched a nuclear strike against London, the United States would prefer not to intervene; since, otherwise, the US would have to risk the destruction of New York or Washington, D C as a result of Soviet nuclear attack. That was the reason why Britain and later France went nuclear. Zbignew Brzezinski, who was National Security Advisor in the Carter administration, is now lobbying for a US security cover for Pakistan. It was, however, he who had refused such a guarantee to Pakistan when it had approached the United States after the Indian nuclear test of May 1974.
In 1994, the United States, Britain, France and China did provide security guarantees to Ukraine against any aggression by Russia. It was a security arrangement done through the United Nation's good offices. Such an option for Pakistan has not been considered yet. Instead, what is being talked about in the West are security assurances and economic incentives for Pakistan. There is hell of a difference between assurances and guarantees. When, for instance, the United States says it guarantees Pakistan's independence and sovereignty, this means an Indian act of aggression against Pakistan will amount to an act of aggression against the United States. On the other hand, the maximum Pakistan is likely to get through US security assurances are its 28 F-16s, and other conventional weaponry from the United States. In addition, the removal of the Pressler constraint from Pak-US ties will mean that in coming times the United States will not question Pakistan's covert nuclear activities. In given circumstances, with Islamabad facing a nuclear weapons powered India, all this will not help meet the country's crucial defense needs.
The West has utterly failed to comprehend the new ground reality in South Asia: the emergence of an ideological monster in the shape of Hindu fundamentalists. BJP's speedy rise to power is analogous to the rise of Nazis and Fascists before the Second World War and the emergence of Soviet Communism after that war. By now, this monster is out to grab this region. India's aggression against Pakistan will be an essential part of Hindu nationalists' expansionist designs. Soon the Hindu monster will be spreading its tentacles elsewhere, scaring the West as well. Had the United States and other Western nations not failed to perceive the real danger behind the rise of Hindu nationalists, they would have urged Pakistan to go nuclear the moment India did, instead of asking it to "exercise restraint." Unfortunately, neither the United States nor Britain, the two leading Western states constantly pushing Pakistan away from nuclear testing, realize the gravity of the threat facing Pakistan. Given that, if the powers-that-be in Pakistan are ever misled by the West at this crucial hour of the country's history, they will be inviting a disgraceful existence for this nation.
Pakistan's nuclear tests, only in self-defense
29 MAY 1998: On May 28, the people of Pakistan had all the reasons to be happy. For the bold act the government of Nawaz Sharif took by giving a matching response to Indian nuclear tests saved them from the gravest of all dangers to their destiny. The danger of being dominated once and for all by a hegemonic nuclear India led by Hindu nationalists. Islamabad's five nuclear tests of May 28 re-established nuclear deterrence between India and Pakistan and would prevent the occurrence of even a limited war between the two countries, which remained a near possibility in the aftermath of India's nuclear tests. After India's five nuclear explosions of May 11 and 13, Pakistan was left with no choice but to give a corresponding response to India's nuclear tests. The only choice left with the Pakistani nation was either to give in to India's long-cherished hegemonic ambitions in the region or stand up and fight against it. Pakistan chose the right path by conducting as many nuclear test explosions as was done by India, to whom still goes the blame for blowing apart the global arms control and non-proliferation regime.
India's Hindu nationalist leaders had shown by their consistent arrogant behaviour ever since India's serial nuclear testing that they did not even deserve to be in possession of nuclear weapons. As soon as prime minister Vajpaee declared India a nuclear state, BJP hardline leaders, including BJP president Thakre, started issuing aggressive statements on Kashmir, an issue which is integral to Pakistan's territorial integrity and independence. In such circumstances, how could Pakistan restrain itself? The world community, particularly Western powers, were constantly asking Pakistan to exercise restraint and not to conduct tit-for-tat nuclear tests. Pakistan did exercise restraint for over two weeks. But during this period, despite Pakistan's repeated calls to the international community that it should impose credible sanctions against India, major Western powers did not bother. Not just this, they also failed to warn India against adopting a hostile posture on Kashmir. Left on its own to face potential Indian aggression against Azad Kashmir, Pakistan finally had no option but to go nuclear. Islamabad's message to the world is that when it comes to Kashmir, it will fight till the end-come what may.
Throughout the nuclear crisis that gripped South Asia, Pakistan behaved in a very responsible and democratic manner. Even though it was caught off guard by India, Pakistan could have gone ahead with nuclear testing within a week of India's nuclear tests but prime minister Nawaz Sharif acted on the advice of world leaders, including president Clinton. He kept on assuring and re-assuring them that Pakistan would go by the will of the world community. At the same time, however, prime minister Sharif stayed away from making any commitment to them about his government's decision regarding nuclear tests. That was something he could not, in the face of Hindu nationalists' growing arrogance over Kashmir, which had suddenly come to surface after Indian nuclear weapons declaration.
Pakistan has acted only in self-defense. Its nuclear act is not reckless, nor is its leadership erratic-as India's Hindu fundamentalist BJP leaders are. It is still India which has destroyed what the comity of nations had achieved after decades-long efforts-the CTBT, the NPT. Another important thing about Pakistan's nuclear testing is that it is an outcome of an open public debate as expressed through the country's print and electronic media in over two weeks following Indian's nuclear tests. If some supported the nuclear testing, many opposed it. The Gallop Poll survey also estimated that the majority of countrymen were in favour of Pakistan giving a response in kind to Indian nuclear testing. Unlike Pakistan, Indian nuclear tests were conducted in so secret a manner that only five top BJP leaders and Indian nuclear scientists were aware of it. It was an act that shocked the world. Pakistan's act in no way even surprises the world, which has before it several examples of nuclear India's belligerency against Pakistan, especially BJP leaders' daily offensive statements on Kashmir.
For seventeen long days, the period between India's nuclear tests and Pakistan's nuclear response, the subcontinent faced a real danger of war, which could have started either with a pre-emptive Indian strike against Pakistan's nuclear facilities or India's act of aggression in Azad Kashmir. The possibility for both eventualities were widely reported in Pakistani and foreign media. Thanks to Pakistani nuclear tests, that danger has gone, once and for all. It is, therefore, about time the world community, especially leading world powers like the United States, realized Pakistan's genuine security interests in South Asia and helped tackle the nuclear crisis in the region caused by India in a realistic way. The only way left for the world powers is to help stabilize nuclear deterrence between India and Pakistan, which stands restored since Pakistan's twin series of nuclear testing.
Why New Nuclear Order?
The global nuclear arms control and non-proliferation regime has been in jeopardy ever since India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests and declared their nuclear weapons status in May 1998. The testing of various nuclear devices by India and Pakistan has established them as de facto nuclear weapon states. However, citing Article IX of the NPT, under which "a nuclear weapon state is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967," the IAEA still does not accept the nuclear weapons status of India and Pakistan. So is the stand of the recognized nuclear states, particularly the United States-a key sponsor of the NPT and other global nuclear non-proliferation pacts. Given this, India and Pakistan may have become de facto nuclear weapon states; de jure, they are not. From this, however, we must not construe that the nuclear dilemma facing the international community does not exist. Not only does it exist, but it may also sharpen, given the consistency in India's inflexible nuclear stand. Tackling this dilemma requires altogether a new approach towards nuclear arms control and non-proliferation, one that links South Asia's nuclear armament essentially with nuclear armaments by the recognized nuclear states.
By linking its signing of global arms control agreements, including the NPT and the CTBT, to a nuclear disarmament deadline by the recognized nuclear states, India has long tried to establish that regional and global arms control are inseparable. India has hardened this stand after declaring itself a nuclear state. For its part, Pakistan, after declaring itself a nuclear state, continues to link its signing of the NPT with the treaty's conclusion by India first. That Pakistan has shown some flexibility on both the CTBT and the FMCT is a different matter. After the August 1998 parleys between foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad and US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott, Pakistan expressed its willingness to sign the CTBT. As regards its ratification, Pakistan, after concluding the CTBT, would like to delay it. In the meantime, it would see the Indian attitude towards this treaty. If it remains as rigid as in past, then the CTBT's ratification by Pakistan will be out of question. Israel has already concluded the CTBT. In case Pakistan also signs it, India will come under tremendous international pressure to follow suit. If India signs it without any pre-conditions, then the CTBT issue is settled without endangering Pakistan's nuclear status. If India signs the CTBT with some pre-conditions, then Pakistan can continue to refuse its ratification of the treaty unless the international community also allows similar benefits to Pakistan as given to India while letting it enter the CTBT regime with some pre-conditions. If the international community does not do so, the country can always continue its refusal to ratify the CTBT or, in the worst case scenario, withdraw its signature.
A pragmatic management of nuclear proliferation in South Asia may be possible through addressing Indian nuclear grievances. The main Indian grievance pertains to Article VI of the NPT, under which the recognized nuclear states had agreed to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international safeguards." India's stand is that three decades have passed since NPT's signing in 1968, the recognized nuclear states are yet to fulfil the pledge they had made in Article VI of the NPT. New Delhi maintains that two-third reductions in strategic warheads by the United States and Russia under the START I treaty are not enough. Moreover, three other nuclear states have not yet reduced their nuclear arsenals.
But, as argued in Part II of this book, the recognized nuclear states may not agree to give up their nuclear arms completely unless there is a functional system of world security with a proven record of achievements and a non-proliferation regime of recognized comprehensiveness. Since these conditions are not possible in near future, what is required is an approach that defines a goal of arms control and which is realistic enough to have some long-term prospects of practical implementation. The need is to find a viable option which suits not only the interests of nuclear states in retaining some of the nuclear arms before their final elimination but which also effectively addresses Indian grievances. The recognized nuclear states can resolve the global nuclear dilemma caused by India-Pakistan nuclear testing without committing themselves to a specific deadline for nuclear disarmament. As transnational cooperative trends dictated by collective economic and commercial concerns of the nations become more assertive in the international system, the role of nuclear weapons as a currency in world politics may further decline. The declining role of nuclear arms has already generated considerable public momentum in favour of a nuclear-free world. But, officially, recognized nuclear states continue to see in nuclear disarmament an erosion of their relative power in the international power structure. Therefore, unless they initiate a credible process of movement towards a non-nuclear world, the perceived utility of nuclear weapons in international politics is likely to exist.
The United States and Russia have agreed to sign a third START treaty, once START II is ratified by the Russian parliament. But, even if START II was fully implemented by 2007, the United States and Russia would still have achieved zero nuclear disarmament, since the level of their nuclear arms potential thus achieved would be nearly equal to that which existed when the NPT had entered into force. Since the two START agreements have already laid down comprehensive procedures for verifying strategic arms reductions, ensuring treaty compliance, and assuring strategic stability and nuclear security, START III's implementation may not take that long. But, even if it is presumed that by 2010 the United States and Russia will possess only 1,000 strategic warheads each (START III limit)-down from gigantic figures of over 20,000 possessed by each one of them in the beginning of the early 1990s-the question may again be the same: how do the three other recognized nuclear states (Britain, France, and China), the two de facto nuclear states (India and Pakistan) and one threshold nuclear state (Israel) perceive this whole process of strategic arms reductions undertaken by the United States and Russia in partial fulfillment of their commitment under Article VI of the NPT? If they still considered this process not as sufficient as to induce a flexible response from them, then what other measures could the United States and Russia adopt for the purpose? Can they go beyond START III and reduce their strategic warheads to, for instance, no more than 200 each? Is it possible to dismantle all warheads reduced under the START process, and separate the remaining 200 from their delivery vehicles, and place both under IAEA safeguards? Will the three other recognized nuclear states follow suit?
The answer to all these questions may be yes, if all the recognized nuclear states, in letter and spirit, abide by Article VI of the NPT; while, at the same time, deciding to tackle the post-India-Pakistan nuclear dilemma by modifying Article IX of the NPT-that is, allowing declared nuclear status to India and Pakistan, and even to Israel. If all the recognized nuclear states decide to separate their nuclear warheads from delivery vehicles and place them under IAEA safeguards, the new nuclear states can be asked to do the same.
As Robert Manning in the Foreign Policy has suggested, the United States and Russia should start de-alerting their nuclear forces-separating warheads from missiles in a credible manner-which will move them off hair-trigger status and prevent accidental war. Mere de-targeting, as it is presently the case, will not serve the purpose, since Russia can retarget US nuclear forces within minutes, and China within a couple of hours. De-alerting is more important than reducing nuclear arms down to zero. Warheads and missiles can be kept at separate locations, so that if any state ever wishes to re-deploy its nuclear weapons, there should be a time gap of some hours, days or even weeks. At the same time, as already pointed out, the United States and Russia must continue to reduce their nuclear arms, first down to 1,000 and eventually to 200 each. But, while going beyond START III, they should try to involve China in a multilateral nuclear arms control, asking it to freeze its nuclear arms. Later, France and Britain might also be included in the process.
Moreover, if India, Pakistan and Israel are accepted as recognized nuclear states, they can also be asked to bring their nuclear weapons to de-alert status in case the weapons are actually deployed. De-alerting will reduce the chances of accidental warfare, which has been a principal Western worry after India and Pakistan achieved de facto nuclear weapons capability. For various reasons, the chances of an unauthorized nuclear first-strike in the case of Pakistan and India are real if the two countries deployed their nuclear weapons without announcing a clear-cut nuclear doctrine and institutionalizing effective command and control systems. Since India has declared to deploy nuclear arsenals, Pakistan cannot be expected not to deploy its own nuclear weapons. If at all this deployment has to occur, it has to take place in such a manner that the nuclear weapons deployed should be kept in such a survivable manner that any chance of a first-strike is avoided. The best way to avoid this is to persuade both India and Pakistan not to equip nuclear warheads on their respective ballistic missile systems. The two countries have aircraft which can deliver nuclear weapons. Any nuclear arms deployment using bombers as delivery vehicles will stabilize nuclear deterrence between India and Pakistan.
For India and Pakistan, nuclear weapons remain an essential instrument of national security. As Kenneth N Waltz argues, since a nuclear state is more or less certain about the nuclear strength of the other and about its own annihilation through retaliation by the other, war is prevented between nuclear states. In addition, the stakes of a nuclear conflict will be as high for the new nuclear states as they have been for the old ones. States act with less care when the expected costs of war are low. They will act with more care when they perceive that the victory in war will not come at an affordable price. Nuclear deterrence, therefore, removes a major cause of war. Nuclear deterrence can be maintained at a lower level of nuclear forces. China, for that matter, did not have second strike capability against the Soviet Union. Yet, deterrence between the two communist rivals was effectively maintained. The same can hold true for India and Pakistan. Thus, Western argument that the resort to nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan will force the two countries into an endless and wasteful nuclear arms race does not make any sense. India can maintain credible deterrent against China without having second-strike capability vis-a-vis China. Pakistan can achieve the same vis-a-vis India.
According to Indian defense analyst K Subrahmanyam
(The Economic Times, 19 May 1998), "The perception of mutual nuclear deterrence
was what ensured that the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet
Union would not turn into a Hot War. Never before in history did two blocs
of nations as heavily armed as NATO and Warsaw Pact sit across a table
to end a Cold War after forty years of confrontation. They did so thanks
to their perception that war between two sides armed with nuclear weapons
was unthinkable....Deterrence has been practiced all down history. Nuclear
deterrence is somewhat different from normal deterrence since, irrespective
of relative arsenal strengths, both sides are bound to suffer enormous
pain disproportionate to any rational gain in view. The way in which nuclear
deterrence was practiced by two sides of the Cold War was based more on
a belief system than a strategy based on rationality. So each side believed
that the more nuclear weapons it had the greater was the deterrence it
exercised. The basic tenet of nuclear deterrence which continues to hold
valid is that unacceptable punishment is bound to be inflicted on both
parties to a conflict and, so, it is prudent to avoid war".
Acknowledging the new nuclear reality
The US-led West should accept the new nuclear reality. It should accept that India and Pakistan are two full-fledged nuclear weapons states. It is unfortunate that some officials of the Clinton administration, such as the under-secretary of state, John Holum, are still adamant in not revising the NPT in accordance with the new reality following India-Pakistan nuclear weapon tests. "The NPT will not be amended to accommodate these self-declared nuclear states," John stated recently. This is utter nonsense. Keeping in view a rather strong Indian commitment to nuclearization and the inability of major world powers to coerce or cajole India through incentives or sanctions, any denuclearisation or non-proliferation move in South Asia may not be realistically feasible.
Thus, instead of following an illusionary approach based on the wrong assumption that nuclear weapons status of these two countries can be reversed, the United States should help India and Pakistan deploy their nuclear weapons in credible and survivable ways. It is only this way that the possibility of an unauthorized nuclear first strike by either of the two states against the other can be avoided. After all, after its years-long failure to reverse the covert nuclear weapons pursuits of the two countries through a policy of carrot and stick, the United States had eventually concluded that the best way to prevent accidental nuclear war between India and Pakistan was to stabilize their deterrence-based relationship. The February 1997 Report of an Independent Task Force of the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, titled A New US Policy Toward India and Pakistan, helped significantly in bringing about such a re-thinking in the US nuclear non-proliferation outlook towards South Asia. The report recommended: "In the non-proliferation arena, US policy should focus on establishing a more stable and sustainable plateau for Indian and Pakistani nuclear relations."
If the US-led West is hoping that the two nuclear nations of South Asia will confine their overt nuclear act merely to testing various nuclear devices, it is gravely mistaken. Already, according to B R Srikanth, Outlook, July 6, armed with a cache of lethal statistics from nuclear tests on the supercomputer, Indian scientists from the country's Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) have joined engineers from Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to give finishing touches to the design of an array of nuclear weapons: from miniaturized ones to fit inside short-range missiles and artillery shells that can wipe out battle tanks, naval frigates and even a battery of artillery guns, to awesome warheads that would reduce military installations or air force bases into a pile of rubble. DRDO too has developed a supercomputer, PACEPLUS, to simulate the impact of missiles and other warheads. This will help it club its data with that of BARC to design the weapons. If the Indian nuclear scientists and engineers are busy developing weapons, their Pakistani counterparts are surely not sitting idle. They are said to have already developed nuclear warheads, which can be fixed on the intermediate-range ballistic missile, Ghauri. Some Ghauris with nuclear warheads were reportedly deployed the night before Pakistan tested five nuclear tests, when an Indo-Israeli air-strike against its nuclear installations was feared.
Even known US syndicated columnists are
increasingly realizing that a nuclear order based on the dictates of NPT
is discriminatory, and that such an order has to be reshaped. For instance,
Flora Lewis in his article, "India's on Wrong Path to Status" (The Sun,
July 10) argues: "It is evidently the quest for international status that
underlines India's determination to be recognized as a nuclear power. Status,
ranking in the world, has always been a consideration for states alongside
the influence that power brings. Now, however, it is becoming a prime factor
that cannot be overlooked. There is no inherent reason why possession of
nuclear arms should be the test, and many reasons for rejecting it. But
then there has to be some other way to acknowledge that some states are,
at the least, more equal than others. This is a problem of the gradual
transition in the way nations deal with one another. New measures, new
protocols are needed to satisfy the need for symbolic importance."
Another American columnist Steven Erlanger argues that the concept of deterrence remains as valid in the world today as before, despite the prevailing Western perception that possession of nuclear arms by India and Pakistan could lead to dangerous consequences. "Can MAD work just as well between India and Pakistan as it did between the United States and the Soviet Union?" He asks, and continues: "Here are the major reasons why some experts on the Cold War are so worried about South Asia: Unlike India and Pakistan, Washington and Moscow shared no common border, let alone a disputed one, and had a considerable buffer zone between them: oceans in the first place, and Eastern Europe in the second. Washington and Moscow never fought one another, while the Indians and Pakistanis, in 50 years of hostilities, fought in 1948, 1965 and 1971. Even more unsettling, Indian and Pakistani troops today face one another in the fiercely disputed territory of Kashmir, shell each other's positions, and soldiers die. It took Washington and Moscow nearly 15 years to develop a reliable command and control system for their nuclear weapons and a reliable nuclear doctrine to go along with it. For the first four years of the nuclear age, the United States was alone in having the bomb, and for the next 10, there were no intercontinental missiles, only bombers. These are powerful points. But each assumption about what is most dangerous in a nuclear race is speculative rather than demonstrated because the world has not yet reached a point where the theory of deterrence fails."
Former US national security advisor Zebigniew Brzezinski argued following India's nuclear tests, "US efforts to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons have failed for two reasons. The first is that the United States has never pursued a genuinely universal and non-discriminatory policy halting proliferation. In fact, US policy all along has been that of selective and preferential proliferation. The United States openly assisted Great Britain in its acquisition of nuclear weapons. The United States deliberately winked at Israeli efforts, while studiously ignoring the atmospheric nuclear test conducted "by someone" in the late 1970s near South Africa in the Indian Ocean. Under these circumstances, is it any wonder that other states have felt that they have a moral and political right to pursue their national interest as they define it. The second reason for the failure is that a successful non-proliferation policy can be implemented only if the states that abstain from seeking nuclear weapons are given iron-clad guarantees of protection from any aggressive neighbour that somehow gains access to nuclear weapons. To be more specific, an effective American policy on non-proliferation would require binding US commitments to defend compliant states form attacks by non-compliant states, including even pledges to use nuclear weapons against any rouge nuclear power. Again the fact of life is that the US Congress would never endorse any such blank cheques. In effect, a selective policy of non-proliferation, which additionally lacks any credible guarantees of protection for those who comply, is not a policy but a hollow posture."
Pakistan's six retaliatory nuclear tests in Chagai were essential for restoring the balance of power in South Asia. The nuclear tests removed the immense sense of insecurity felt by the people of Pakistan. Pakistan's decision to conduct nuclear tests was not an act of bravado, but a calculated knee-jerk reaction to a foolish Indian escalation of the nuclear zero-sum game. Both India and Pakistan have abandoned their ambiguous nuclear polices in which they sought their security. Both are now de facto full-blown nuclear powers. A MAD equation has replaced nuclear ambivalence between them. The US-led West must acknowledge this fact. It is only then that a credible course towards nuclear disarmament can be chalked out. Pakistan's nuclear ambition, as pointed out earlier, is not globally-oriented. It is only meant to safeguard its own territorial integrity and political independence from India's hegemonic designs in the region. India's sole motive behind exploding and announcing its overt nuclear status, on the other hand, is to achieve global power and prestige. Once the recognized nuclear states start taking such initiatives as neutralize the role of nuclear arms in world power politics, India would have to shed its global power ambitions which are linked to the acquisition of nuclear arms. A process to expand the UN Security Council is already under way, and the US proposal to include Japan, and Germany, besides one member (on a rotation basis) each from Asia, Africa and Latin America, as permanent members of the Security Council, makes a lot of sense. With the role of nuclear weapons in international affairs effectively neutralized and the UN Security Council expanded on the above grounds, an economically impoverished and politically unstable state like India would be left with no reason to ask for permanent membership of the Security Council.
Good news about nuclear abolition
Contrary to the official resistance against
the global abolition of nuclear weapons, some Western non-government institutions
seem to have realized the potential danger that a huge nuclear arsenal
in the hands of the world's recognized and unrecognized nuclear states
poses to international security. One significant proposal towards this
end has come from the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear
Weapons. The Commission has proposed a phased elimination of nuclear arms,
and argued for a new treaty "prohibiting the development and possession
of nuclear weapons to replace the NPT and possibly other treaties such
as the CTBT and possible future conventions on the cessation of the production
of fissile materials for nuclear explosive purposes and on the non-first
use of nuclear weapons...A new treaty could also contain a clear focus
on the complete elimination of nuclear weapons whereas many of the existing
and productive instruments that would be components of the incremental
approach have arms control rather than disarmament as their basis." The
Commission's recommendations are worth-considering. But the problem is
again the same: the recognized nuclear states' unwillingness to undertake
credible initiatives aimed at neutralizing the role of nuclear weapons
in international politics and eventually eliminating them.
As a first step to tackle the dilemma caused by nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, the United States must try to obtain Russian ratification of the START II treaty. Once this goal is achieved, the proposed START III treaty aimed at reducing US-Russian nuclear arms down to 1,000 each can be concluded. The United States and Russia can reduce their strategic arsenals down to 1,000 each without compromising their military security and political position with respect to three other nuclear weapon powers. Then they could approach China, Britain and France about devising a framework for an agreement among the five nuclear powers to reduce their total arsenals to no more than 200 warheads each, to separate these warheads from their delivery systems, and to place both the warheads and the delivery systems under multilateral control on the territory of the owner states. The five governments will commit themselves to dismantle all the warheads that are reduced to reach the 200-warhead level and to place all weapons-grade fissile material under international monitoring as reductions are carried out.
At the same time, India, Pakistan and Israel can be asked to place their warheads or explosive devices and fissile material in monitored storage. Such an arrangement will place their nuclear weapons under international supervision and make it highly improbable that the weapons will ever be used. All this has to happen in the next few years, not within a decade or more. There has been a new nuclear order after India and Pakistan became de facto nuclear states, and this new order necessitates that the world's recognized nuclear states should be quick in considering a radical reduction in their nuclear arms. Otherwise, the nuclear dilemma caused by India's and Pakistan's nuclear testing will not only persist but it will also become more acute with every passing day.
The future will be nuclear. Not only can nuclear weapons be uninvented, but efforts to seek their elimination are also bound to fail. If nuclear weapons are here to stay, even at vastly reduced levels, then what should be their future role? Only one goal can hope to garner consensus: to prevent their use. This objective has important consequences for nuclear doctrine, operations and deployments. If they are serving the sole purpose of non-use, nuclear weapons cannot fulfil their previous role as symbols of power and prestige. Nor can they substitute as deterrents for anything but nuclear threats and use. Nuclear weapons have not been used for 50 years-the objective must be to extend this tradition into the indefinite future. It is an objective all states can agree on. Be it five recognized nuclear states, two de facto nuclear states, or one threshold nuclear state.
That so far global and regional dimensions of nuclear arms control and non-proliferation have been treated differently, is the reason why the nuclear dilemma facing the international community has assumed grave proportions after the nuclear test explosions by India and Pakistan and their declaration to go nuclear. Global and regional arms control processes are inseparable. They have to be treated as such. If they are, the conclusion of CTBT or NPT or the CTBT by India and Pakistan will not be a problem. The resort to overt nuclear arms race by India and Pakistan, in fact, provides a chance for the international community to create a non-discriminatory global nuclear arms control and non-proliferation regime-which may in turn pave the way for global nuclear abolition.
Signing FMCT, CTBT & NPT
Pakistan's softening on the nuclear question, as visible in its July 1998 decision not to block Geneva talks on the FMCT, has occurred at a time when the Indians are becoming more and more aggressive on Kashmir. Since Kashmir and nuclear issues are inter-linked, a fact that nuclear tests by India and Pakistan establish beyond any doubt, any weakness in Pakistan's position on either of the two issues is likely to have a negative fall-out on the other. By reacting in kind on May 28 to India's nuclear tests, the single most important message that Islamabad had sent to the international community was that it was only after belligerency of India's Hindu nationalist leaders had surpassed all limits that Pakistan was compelled to go nuclear. Otherwise, the Nawaz Sharif government was seriously following the advice of world leaders, including president Clinton's. And it could have continued doing so, had India exploded under a sane leadership.
Within days after conducting nuclear tests, Indian home minister L K Advani and other leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had started issuing aggressive statements on Kashmir. If in May 1998, India's aggressive posture on Kashmir had been limited to issuing only such statements; by late July, it started taking practical shape. Consequently, since then, dozens of innocent living in Azad Kashmir in villages close to the Line of Control (LoC) have died in massive Indian gun and mortar firing. While between July 22 and 24, the Indians had just started this gory drama of death and destruction in Azad Kashmir, the Foreign Office was busy negotiating a deal with the visiting US deputy secretary of state-whereby Islamabad would agree not to block Conference on Disarmament (CD) negotiations on the FMCT and, in exchange, the United States would not pressure the international lending agencies, primarily the IMF and World Bank, not to bail out Pakistan from its acute financial crisis following the nuclear tests.
The US-led Western community's track-record on Kashmir has been miserable. For 40 years, the Kashmiris awaited the implementation of UN resolutions. For 40 years, they bore Indian atrocities silently. Finally, in 1989, their patience withered away. And thus started a popular uprising-in reaction to decades-long international apathy towards Kashmiri cause and India's oppressive rule-which, since then, has only gained more momentum. And, it is only as a result of nuclear tests by India and its post-tests aggressive posture towards Kashmir that this half-century dispute has been effectively internationalized. Had Pakistan not given a corresponding response to India's nuclear tests, the Hindu nationalist leaders might have tried to settle Kashmir by force, by occupying entire Azad Kashmir. Had this materialized, Kashmiris and their main backers in their world, Pakistanis, would have suffered the greatest blow. The internationalization of Kashmir, thus, had a direct co-relation with the nuclear crisis in the subcontinent. A crisis that was essentially caused by India's nuclear tests. Pakistan's nuclear response was only defensive in nature, and this is what most Western writers also believe.
The existing international perception is that if ever India and Pakistan went to war again, the cause will be Kashmir. An issue which has already caused two of the three wars between them. This perception favours Pakistan's stand in the sense that unless the root-cause of tension between India and Pakistan, which is perceived to be Kashmir, is addressed, the international community cannot hope to resolve South Asia's nuclear crisis, which, in turn, has caused a major dilemma for the US-sponsored global nuclear arms control and non-proliferation regime. Now, even if India's Hindu nationalist leaders are hell bent upon keeping the military tempers on the LoC high, a course endangering the life and property of Kashmiri villagers living on Azad Kashmir side of the LoC, the longer-term diplomatic loss will by India's. Kashmir will be more and more internationalized. But, in such a scenario, if Pakistan starts making concessions on its nuclear stand regarding global nuclear non-proliferation pacts, it may not only lose a viable chance for external mediation on Kashmir, which an increased internationalization of the issue and India's growing rigidity towards it may bring in near future, but may also compromise its very existence as the only state in South Asia that refuses to allow a preponderant status to India in the region. Remember Pakistan had responded in kind to India to prevent Indian aggression in Kashmir as well as to safeguard its own sovereign, independent and honourable existence!
In other words, it is Pakistan's nuclear stand that will determine international community's concern about Kashmir. If the country acts boldly, the international community will most likely be more concerned about Kashmir and its immediate settlement through external mediation, by the implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir. Thanks to Pakistan's nuclear tests, even the Indian media is now strongly supporting such a settlement. The Statesman has gone to the extent of calling for NATO troops deployment in Kashmir for the implementation of UN resolutions and the holding of a plebiscite there in accordance with these resolutions. A good news that may become bad if Pakistan concedes more on the nuclear front and does not withdraw the concession it has made on the FMCT.
Unlike the CTBT, on which both Israel and Pakistan remained flexible during 1996, when it was being debated at the CD, the FMCT is an issue on which Islamabad's position has always been more rigid than India's. Israel later signed the CTBT, and Pakistan participated in the UN General Assembly session convened specifically to endorse the CTBT on the insistence of president Clinton. But India opposed it. On the other hand, India's stand vis-a-vis the FMCT has not been as hard as its stance on the CTBT. The reason is simple: in terms of fissile material stockpiles, India is believed to be far ahead of Pakistan. For its part, Pakistan is said to have consumed most of its fissile material stockpiles in the nuclear tests. In addition, ever since carrying out five nuclear tests, Indian nuclear scientists are believed to be working day and night to produce fissile material for military purposes. This means that by the time a credible head way is made on the FMCT issue, India would have added significantly to its fissile material, which is reportedly already enough to make several dozen nuclear devices of various varieties.
As regards Pakistan, there exists serious doubt whether it is left with any fissile material after the nuclear tests. Leaving aside the question whether Islamabad has received some highly enriched plutonium or uranium from Central Asian states or North Korea or China through covert means, the fact is that only the Khan Research Laboratories produce fissile material, which in the case of Pakistan is only enriched uranium. The country does produce plutonium at its two small reactors in Golra and Khushab, but it's not weapons-grade. Unlike Pakistan, India's fissile material stocks include significant quantities of weapons-grade plutonium, bring produced at its Trombay nuclear reactors. Although Pakistan's decision not to block FMCT talks does not mean it has decided to sign the treaty, the risk is that once these negotiations start making real progress with India's active participation, it may not be able to block finalization of the treaty and its eventual approval with consensus by all the CD member-states. Thus, it may be a better option if Pakistan continues linking its nuclear disparities vis-a-vis India as boldly as India links its own nuclear disparities vis-a-vis the five recognized nuclear powers. Given the fact that nuclear proliferation in South Asia is essentially linked to India-Pakistan hostility over Kashmir, there appears to be no other way for Islamabad but to go beyond its India-centric nuclear policy.
What does this mean? That even if India concludes the FMCT, Pakistan will not conclude it unless the international community offers credible help to it to upgrade its fissile material stocks to India's level. As regards the NPT, Pakistan and India can act in concert: by taking a joint stand that Article IX of the treaty should be amended so that not just India and Pakistan but Israel as well are allowed to be categorized as declared nuclear states.
With regard to CTBT, Islamabad's flexibility
makes sense. Pakistan has conducted as many nuclear tests as India has.
The country's decision to test a sixth nuclear device on May 30 was probably
motivated by the requirement of giving an equal and matching nuclear response
to India. By exploding five nuclear tests on May 28, Pakistan had, as prime
minister Sharif termed, "settled its scores" with India as far as India's
five nuclear tests of May 11 and 13 were concerned. What remained to be
matched was India's nuclear explosion of May 1974. And the goal was accomplished
by Pakistan, when, on May 30, it carried out its sixth nuclear test. As
regards the types of nuclear tests, both India and Pakistan have tested
nuclear arms of various kiloton ranges. As revealed later, one of the three
devices that India had tested on May 11 was not a hydrogen weapon as such;
rather, it was a boosted fission device. Thus, both quantitatively and
qualitatively, Pakistan's nuclear tests match India's nuclear tests. In
addition, Abdul Qadeer Khan has claimed that Pakistan is in a position
to qualitatively improve its nuclear weapon systems in laboratory. Since
conducting nuclear tests, India and Pakistan have also declared moratorium
on further nuclear tests. Given that, signing of the CTBT by Pakistan will
not endanger its nuclear deterrent capability vis-a-vis India.
As the Foreign Office has also rightly concluded, signing of the CTBT by Pakistan will not make it legally bound to comply with the provisions of the treaty. In addition, it does not mean that Pakistan has to ratify it immediately. The ratification of the CTBT can be delayed until September 1999, when the CTBT conference meets to decide about the Treaty's entry into force. For that matter, neither the US Senate nor the Russian Duma has yet ratified the CTBT. In the United States, Republican Senators are opposing ratification of the CTBT. Their opposition to the treaty ratification has grown after India and Pakistan tested their nuclear arms. And, it will grow further as the dilemma to the global nuclear arms control and non-proliferation regime, caused by India-Pakistan nuclear testing and their post-testing proclamation of becoming nuclear powers, is likely to become worse if the US-led West continued to dither on the question of granting the status of nuclear powers to the two countries. In such a situation, the Russian parliament cannot as well be expected to ratify the CTBT. After all, the Duma has been refusing to ratify the START II agreement for the last five years. Finally, Israel also has not ratified the CTBT. Even after ratifying this treaty, Pakistan can always withdraw from it. Given that, and due to other reasons cited in the introductory part of this book, Pakistan should not waste any time in concluding the CTBT. More than anything else, it is Pakistan's economic future that requires this.
As regards the NPT, Pakistan should continue to link its conclusion first by India. But, as it should be the case with Pakistan's conditional conclusion of the FMCT, the country's NPT approach should be globally-oriented. Tragically, due to Sharif government's miscalculation of not signing the CTBT immediately after conducting nuclear tests, the country has been put in a deep economic turmoil. Consequently, Pakistani nation failed to realize the global significance of the nuclear miracle it had achieved. That signing the CTBT is a must, does not mean the country should in any way soften its approach on the FMCT and the NPT. Besides being India-centric, Pakistan's NPT policy must focus on discrepancies inherent in the NPT. It must be highly critical of the five nuclear powers for trying to preserve their nuclear monopoly through the NPT. Since India will never sign the NPT in its existing form, such a policy will help Pakistan accomplish twin tasks: it will increase its importance as a global player; and, at the same time, will divert international pressure on India. Signing of the NPT with India's conclusion of it first and, at the same time, criticizing the treaty for its discriminatory nature may sound self-contradictory. What if India signs it? Will Pakistan then be ready to accept a discriminatory treaty? Well, one's assumption here is that India will never sign the NPT. Thus, there is no reason why Pakistan should not exploit the matter, regionally as well as internationally.
Pakistan's Nuclear Doctrine
Both India and Pakistan have exploded nuclear arms and declared themselves nuclear states, but both are apparently still not clear as to what their respective nuclear doctrines are. Nuclear arms are there, but what will be their utility in the case of war or crisis? Will they serve a counter-force purpose or a counter-value purpose? (Counter-force is essentially a first-strike strategy to destroy an adversary's nuclear facilities and its command and control structure in order to prevent its retaliation; while counter-value strategy only targets civilian installations of an adversary. Counter-value strategy is always preferable, since it ensures second strike, the ability to receive a nuclear attack and launch a retaliatory blow enough to inflict intolerable damage on the opponent-which is what MAD or deterrence is all about).
That the utility of nuclear arms arises from their possession, not from their use, does not mean that a nuclear state should not announce publicly its nuclear doctrine. After the end of the Cold War, even the United States is without a nuclear doctrine. Until the early 1960s, its nuclear doctrine was based on the strategy of Massive Retaliation, meaning that if the United States or its vital interests in the world were endangered by the Soviets, it would retaliate with massive use of nuclear weapons. Then, in the late 1960s, secretary of defense Robert McNamara changed this strategy into Flexible Response, that meant the United States would give a gradual nuclear response to any Soviet conventional attack against America's European allies. The US nuclear doctrine continued to be based on this strategy until the end of the Cold War.
Since the Cold War still continues between nuclear India and Pakistan, they have to state clearly as to what their respective nuclear doctrines are. Sunil Narula in his article, "Going Beyond the Bomb", (Outlook, July 13) argued that no-first-use principle of the Indian nuclear policy meant that Indian nuclear arsenal was to be used strictly if India was first hit by a nuclear bomb. This notion might fit in India's nuclear posture towards China, whose nuclear weapons potential is several times larger than India's and which could have contemplated a nuclear first-strike against India, had China itself not been adhering to the principle of no-first-use of nuclear arms.
Soon after Pakistan had tested the nuclear devices, prime minister Vajpaee offered to sign a no-first-use accord with Pakistan. That Pakistan has not respond positively to this offer, is understandable: since India enjoys significant conventional superiority over Pakistan, accepting the Indian offer of no-first-use means if Pakistan is legally bound not to be the first to use nuclear arms, it will not be able to defend itself against conventional attack by India. Pakistan's nuclear arms, in fact, will serve as a hedge against India's conventional superiority over it, and the danger to its territorial integrity arising from this Indian superiority. Those in Pakistan arguing in favour of a no-first-use accord between India and Pakistan, including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and former foreign minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali, are not serving the national cause. The no-first-use treaty has no practical value for a smaller power facing a superior adversary. It can be a useful CBM between the nuclear powers competing for status only and having lesser motivation for an actual conflict. For example, a situation that prevails between India and China. China is already an adherent of the no-first-use accord. The no-first-use principle has no relevance to India-Pakistan relationship, given India's conventional superiority over Pakistan and the continuity of a hostile relationship between them. After all, due to conventional superiority of the Soviet Union during the Cold War period, the US-led NATO had maintained an active threat of use of nuclear weapons.
As far as Pakistan's nuclear doctrine is
concerned, it has to have a purely defensive, India-specific orientation-as
the country's nuclear outlook in general is. It was India which, by testing
a nuclear device in 1974, pushed Pakistan towards the nuclear weapons course.
It is again India which has pushed Pakistan towards testing the nuclear
devices. Then, should Pakistan wait for an Indian nuclear strike and only
then retaliate with its nuclear weapons? Being defensive in orientation
does not mean that Pakistan's nuclear doctrine will be based on such a
wait-and-sea strategy. Given the fact that the essential purpose of Pakistan's
nuclear arms is to prevent India from taking any military advantage from
its conventional superiority over Pakistan, the country's nuclear doctrine
has to effectively neutralize this factor. The doctrine can state, for
instance, that if India attacks Pakistan using only conventional arms,
the country will respond while judging the extent to which the attack endangers
its national integrity and territorial independence. If the nature of Indian
attack is such that the resort to the use of only conventional arms by
Pakistan will not safeguard its national integrity and territorial independence,
then the employment of nuclear arms can be contemplated.
In order to prevent an Indian nuclear first-strike, Pakistan has to follow a counter-value strategy of inflicting an unaffordable damage on key civilian targets in India, particularly in capital Delhi and financial centre Mumbai. At the same time, Pakistan should also select some counter-force targets in India, including its key military and nuclear installations. The country's nuclear strategy, thus, has to include both counter-force and counter-value targeting options, with the emphasis being on the latter. An additional task for Pakistan's nuclear establishment is to work out force posture requirements of the country's future nuclear arsenal in order to effectively counter India's nuclear advantages. If India goes ahead with establishing a triad of nuclear arms, that is, land- air- and sea-based nuclear forces; Pakistan has to come up with at least such a triad which, while ensuring minimal deterrence, is meant to guarantee that the country's nuclear weapons are deploy in survivable manners, and that they are invulnerable to India's nuclear first-strike. Pakistan can achieve second-strike capability through dispersal, concealment and mobility of its nuclear arms and delivery system.
Command and Control system
Having a well-stated nuclear doctrine is one requirement for the nuclear states; institutionalizing effective command and control systems is another. The five recognized nuclear powers have created elaborate command, control, communications and intelligence (C3 I) structures. These comprise personnel, a wide range of equipment and procedures that acquire, collect and analyze information to assist in the decision-making process, in reaching and transmitting decisions to different constituents of the force in real time and executing orders or modifying plans according to the demands of the political leadership. India and Pakistan also require an array of radars all along the borders, satellite and surveillance systems, control stations and linkages within them. As Sunil Narula wrote in the Outlook, India's Services Chiefs have been asking for a command and control structure for some time, but it is only now that the government has started speaking about it. Prime minister Vajpayee has said that since the Indian nuclear doctrine is different from that of the recognized nuclear powers, India does not need to replicate their command and control structures.
This does not mean that the Indian military establishment has not yet worked out at least the initial basis of such a structure. Back in 1993, I was invited to a lecture by former Indian army chief General K Sunderji at Osmania University in Hyderabad. The lecture was on "India's military strategy for the year 2010", and General Sundarji spoke at length about the command and control requirement of India's nuclear arsenal. Whether India has made any head way in developing a C3 I structure based on Sundarji's vision or some other studies on the subject conduced by the IDSA, is not yet clear. Commenting on India's nuclear doctrine, Manoj Joshi in his article "Atomic Age Warfare" (Sunday, 20 July) says, "India's official strategic doctrine is summed up in one word, 'deterrence'. Its key element is the belief that the threat of a nuclear attack is best negated by the possibility of retaliation in kind. While deterring or limiting war to the safer side of the nuclear threshold is crucial, what happens if this fails?" The Army Plan 2000, formulated by former army chief General K Sundarji and the Defence Planning Staff in the late 1980s, called for a counter-attack deep into enemy territory. But, in this age, such an action could escalate into a nuclear holocaust. Sundarji's 1993 fictional account of an Indo-Pakistan nuclear war, The Blind Men of Hindoostan, remains the only comprehensive book dealing with the subject.
Unlike Pakistan, the authority in India to launch a nuclear strike is likely to be vested in its civilian leadership. At least this is what has been officially stated by India after it declared itself a nuclear weapon state. "We are working towards evolving a nuclear command and control system over which the over all authority will rest with the executive. The effective exercise of command and control has to be political," defense minister George Fernandes was quoted by The Pioneer, July 4, as saying. Since, in defense matters, the military in Pakistan is still believed to have a larger say, the control over its nuclear weapons, insofar as the decision to launch a nuclear strike is concerned, may remain primarily a military responsibility. But military in Pakistan, for having decades-long ties with the Pentagon and other Western military establishments-in addition to China's-has sufficient experience of behaving in a responsible manner even during crisis. India's case is altogether different. Currently ruled by Hindu nationalists, civilian control of nuclear weapons in India is dangerous. Guided by nuclear jingoism, which was sufficiently expressed following India's nuclear tests until the time Pakistan tested its nuclear devices, these Hindu nationalist leaders can venture to employ nuclear arms against Pakistan.
According to Akhtar Ali, nuclear expert and former Harvard fellow on Science Policy (The News, August 30), "a missile range and time of less than 10 minutes between India and Pakistan may dictate a first-strike strategy based on highly conservative and speculative assessment of enemy's intention, escalating smaller low level conflicts to a nuclear one. It is, therefore, highly imperative that the two countries seriously set about negotiating CBMs...Up to now major nuclear contenders were reasonably separated geographically, affording a reasonable warning time and verification opportunity, and possibly activating a defense system or a retaliatory strike. Also the nuclear competition was marked by the absence of a territorial dispute or animosity and hatred of the kind that exists between India and Pakistan. In the nuclear field, there is an agreement on non-attack of each others nuclear facilities. Under the treaty, a list and precise location of military nuclear facilities has to be exchanged...Intermediate-range missiles have been developed by India and Pakistan having a range of 1500 kms, making major civilian targets in both countries vulnerable to nuclear attack and destruction. The pressure to be the first to use nuclear weapons would be too great. Instead, if the two countries settle for a nuclear regime that is based on aircraft delivery and forbidding the deployment of missiles, it might be comparatively safer. Aircraft are perfectly viable delivery vehicles, which would lessen the degree of frenzy (in crisis)."
According to Dr Maleeha Lodhi, former ambassador to the US (The News, June 5), "Until deterrence can be institutionalized, uncertainties about how quickly weaponization are likely to take place and when nuclear tipped missiles are actually deployed, open a window of vulnerability, which should be addressed, even by interim, informal arrangements. The aim should be to devise transitional, emergency mechanisms to exchange messages about each other's nuclear capabilities and intentions in order to avert the risk of inadvertent escalation or accidental conflict. This should also involve exploring ways to verify that nuclear delivery systems have not been deployed and how to establish or access early warning systems."
Given the possibility of accidental war arising from nuclear arms in the hands of India's Hindu nationalist leaders, which is obviously a matter of grave concern for Pakistan, the United States and other recognized nuclear states must help Pakistan and India in establishing credible C3 I structures. All of them have along experience in this regard, and have the necessary facilities for the purpose. And, if the US-led West is sincerely worried about the occurrence of nuclear war in the subcontinent due to miscalculation either by India or Pakistan, it should help the two countries in negotiating a credible regime of CBMs between them. Since March 1997, a Hot Line has been functional between the prime ministers of the two countries. But, it has never been employed as effectively as has been the case with a Hot Line between the United States and Russia. In the case of India and Pakistan, the Hot Line has worked as long as their leaders are willing to use this facility. Prime ministers Gujral and Sharif, for instance, frequently used this facility. But, since the coming to power of Hindu nationalists in India, prime ministers Vajpaee and Sharif have hardly ever been reported to communicate with each other on the Hot Line.
Now that India and Pakistan have become
de facto nuclear states, and the hostile ties between them have also not
vanished, the establishment of a credible CBM regime between them is an
immediate requirement. The recognized nuclear powers can render the needed
help in this regard. The chances of accidental nuclear war between India
and Pakistan over Kashmir are real, not immaginary-especially following
the August 1998 US Tomahawk missile strikes on training camps run by Osama
bin Laden in Afghanistan. The US strikes, condemned worldwide, might encourage
India to undertake hot pursuits in Azad Kashmir. So dear is Kashmir to
Pakistan that it may not rule out the possibility of striking against India
with nuclear weapons if India ever undertakes a military venture such as
hot-pursuit in Azad Kashmir.
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1. Non-Proliferation Treaty
Signed in 1968, the NPT entered into force in 1970 and was indefinitely extended in 1995. Given below are its main provisions:
Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.
Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency's safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Procedures for the safeguards required by this article shall be followed with respect to source or special fissionable material whether it is being produced, processed or used in any principal nuclear facility or is outside any such facility. The safeguards required by this article shall be applied on all sources or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction, or carried out under its control anywhere.
Each State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to provide; (a) source or special fissionable material, or (b) equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, to any non-nuclear weapon State for peaceful purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be subject to the safeguards required by this article.
The safeguards required by this article shall be implemented in a manner designed to comply with article IV of this Treaty, and to avoid hampering the economic or technological development of the Parties or international cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities, including the international exchange of nuclear material and equipment for the processing, use or production of nuclear material for peaceful purposes in accordance with the provisions of the article and the principle of safeguarding set forth in the Preamble of the Treaty.
Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with article I of this Treaty.
All the Parties to the treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.
Each Party to the Treaty undertakes to ensure that, in accordance with this Treaty, under appropriate international observation and through appropriate international procedures, potential benefits from any peaceful applications of nuclear explosions will be made available to non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty on a non-discriminatory basis and that the charge to such Parties for the explosive devices used will be as low as possible and exclude any charge for research and development. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty shall be able to obtain such benefits, pursuant to a special international agreement or agreements, through an appropriate international body with adequate representation of non-nuclear-weapon States. Negotiations on this subject shall commence as soon as possible after the Treaty enters into force. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty so desiring may also obtain such benefits pursuant to bilateral agreements.
Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
Nothing in this Treaty affects the right of any group of States to conclude regional treaties in order to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories.
Any Party to the Treaty may propose amendments to this Treaty. The text of any proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Depository Governments which shall circulate it to all Parties to the Treaty. Thereupon, if requested to do so by one-third or more of the Parties to the Treaty, the Depository Governments shall convene a conference, to which they shall invite all the Parties to the Treaty, to consider such an amendment.
Any amendment to this Treaty must be approved by a majority of the votes of all the Parties to the Treaty, including the votes of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and all other Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The amendment shall enter into force for each Party that deposits its instrument of ratification of the amendment upon the deposit of such instruments of ratification by a majority of all the Parties, including the instruments of ratification of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and all other Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Thereafter, it shall enter into force for any other Party upon the deposit of its instrument of ratification of the amendment.
Five years after the entry into force of the this Treaty, a conference of Parties to the Treaty shall be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in order to review the operation of this Treaty with a view to assuring that the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realized. At intervals of five years thereafter, a majority of the Parties to the Treaty may obtain, by submitting a proposal to this effect to the Depository Governments, the convening of further conferences with the same objective of reviewing the operation of the Treaty.
This Treaty shall be open to all States for signature. Any State which does not sign the Treaty before its entry into force is accordance with paragraph 3 of this article may be accede to it at any time.
This Treaty shall be subject to ratification by signatory States. Instruments of ratification and instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which are hereby designated the Depository Governments.
This Treaty shall enter into force after its ratification by the States, the Governments of which are designated Depositories of the Treaty, and forty other States signatory to this Treaty and the deposit of their instruments of ratification. For the purposes of this Treaty, a nuclear-weapon State is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to January 1,1967.
For States whose instruments of ratification or accession are deposited subsequent to the entry into force of this Treaty, it shall enter into force on the date of the deposit of their instruments of ratification or accession.
The Depository Governments shall promptly
inform all signatory and acceding States of the date of each signature,
the date of deposit of each instrument of ratification or of accession,
the date of the entry into force of this Treaty, and the date of receipt
of any requests for convening a conference or other notices.
This Treaty shall be registered by the Depository Governments pursuant to article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
Each Party shall in exercising its national
sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that
extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have
jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice
of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United
Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include
a statement of the extraordinary events in regards as having jeopardized
its supreme interests.
Twenty-five years after the entry into force of the Treaty, a conference shall be convened to decide whether the Treaty shall continue in force indefinitely, or shall be extended for an additional fixed period or periods. This decision shall be taken by a majority of the Parties to the Treaty.
Source: US Arms Control and Disarmament
Association. Documents on Disarmament, Washington, DC: ACDA,1968, pp.461-165.
2. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
The CTBT was opened for signatures in September 1996. It has been signed by all states, except India and Pakistan. It awaits ratification by some states, including the United States and Israel. Given below are its main provisions.
Article I: Basic Obligations
Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging or in anyway participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.
Article II: The Organization
The States Parties hereby establish the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (hereinafter referred to as "the Organization") to achieve the object and purpose of this Treaty, to ensure the implementation of its provisions, including those for international verification of compliance with it, and to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation among States Parties.
All States Parties shall be members of the Organization. A State Party shall not be deprived of its membership in the organization. The seat of Organization shall be Vienna, Republic of Austria. There are hereby established as organs of the Organization: the Conference of the States Parties, the Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat, which will include the International Data Center.
Each State Party shall cooperate with the Organization in the exercise of its functions in accordance with this Treaty. States Parties shall consult, directly among themselves, or through the Organization or other appropriate international procedures, including procedures within the framework of the United Nations and in accordance with its Charter, on any matter which may be raised relating to the object and purpose, or the implementation of the provisions, of this Treaty.
The Organization shall conduct its verification activities provided for under this Treaty in the least intrusive manner possible consistent with the timely and efficient accomplishment of their objectives. It shall request only the information and data necessary to fulfil its responsibilities under this Treaty. It shall take every precaution to protect the confidentiality of information on civil and military activities and facilities coming to its knowledge in the implementation of this Treaty and, in particular, shall abide by the confidentiality provisions set forth in this Treaty.
Each State Party shall treat as confidential and afford special handling to information and data that it receives in conference from the Organization in connection with the implementation of this Treaty. It shall treat such information and data exclusively in connection with its rights and obligations under this Treaty.
The Organization, as an independent body, shall seek to utilize existing expertise and facilities, as appropriate, and to maximize cost efficiencies, through co-operative arrangements with other international Organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency. Such arrangements, excluding those of a minor and normal commercial and contractual nature, shall be set out in agreements to be submitted to the Conference of the States Parties for approval.
THE CONFERENCE OF THE STATE PARTIES
Composition, Procedures and Decision-Making
The Conference of the States Parties (hereinafter referred to as "the Conference" shall be composed of all States Parties. Each State Party shall have one representative in the Conference, who may be accompanied by alternates and advisers.
The initial session of the Conference shall
be convened by the Depository on late than 30 days after the entry into
force of this Treaty. The conference shall meet in regular, which shall
be held annually, unless it decides otherwise. A special session of the
Conference shall be convened when decided by the Conference; when requested
by the Executive Council; when requested by any State Party band supported
by a majority of the States Parties. The special session shall be convened
no later than 30 days after the decision of the Conference, the request
of the Executive Council, or the attainment of the necessary support, unless
specified otherwise in the decision to request.
The Conference may also be convened in the form of an Amendment Conference, in accordance with Article VII. The Conference may also be convened in the form of a Review Conference, in accordance with the Article VIII. Sessions shall take place at the seat of the Organization unless the Conference decides otherwise. The Conference shall adopt its rules of procedure. At the beginning of each session, it shall elect its President and such other officers as may be required. They shall hold office until a new President and other officers are elected at the next session.
A majority of the States Parties shall constitute a quorum. Each State Party shall have one vote. The Conference shall take decision on matters of procedures by a majority of members present and voting. Decision on matters of substance shall be taken as far as possible by consensus. If consensus is not attainable when an issue comes up for decision, the President of the Conference shall defer any vote for 24 hours and during its period of deferment shall make every effort to facilitate achievement of consensus, and all during its period of deferment shall make every effort to facilitate achievement of consensus, and shall report to the Conference before the end of this period. If consensus is not possible at the end of 24 hours, the Conference shall take a decision by a two-third majority of members present and voting unless specified otherwise in this Treaty. When the issue arises as to whether the question is one of substance or not, that question shall be treated as matter of substance unless otherwise decided by the majority required for decisions on matters of substance.
When exercising its function under paragraph 26 (k), the Conference shall take a decision to add any State to the list of States contained in Annex 1 to this Treaty in accordance with the procedure for decisions on matters of substance set out in paragraph 22. Notwithstanding paragraph 22, the Conference shall take decisions on any change to Annex 1 to this Treaty by consensus.
Powers and Functions
The Conference shall be the principal organ of the Organization. It shall consider any question, matters or issues within the scope of this Treaty, including those relating to the powers and functions of the Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat, in accordance with this Treaty. It may make recommendations and take decisions on any questions, matters or issues within the scope of this Treaty raised by a State Party or brought to its attention by the Executive Council.
The Conference shall oversee the implementation of, and review compliance with, the Treaty and act in order to promote its object and purpose. It shall also oversee the activities of the Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat and may issue guidelines to either of them for the exercise of their functions.
The Conference shall consider and adopt the report of the Organization on the implementation of this Treaty and the annual programme and budget of the Organization, submitted by the Executive Council, as well as consider other reports; decide on the sale of financial contributions to be paid by States Parties in accordance with paragraph 9; elect the members of the Executive Council; appoint the Director-General of the Technical Secretariat (hereinafter referred to as "the Director-General"); consider and approve the rules of procedure of the Executive Council submitted by the latter; consider and review scientific and technological developments that could affect the operation of this Treaty.
In this context, the Conference may direct the Director-General to establish a Scientific Advisory Board to enable him, in the performance of his functions, to render specialize advice in areas of science and technology relevant to this Treaty to the Conference, the Executive Council or to State Parties. In that case, the Scientific Advisory Board shall be composed of independent experts serving in their individual capacity and appointed, in accordance with terms of reference adopted by the Conference, on the basis of their expertise and experience in the particular scientific fields relevant to the implementation of this Treaty, take the necessary measures to ensure compliance with this Treaty and to redress and remedy and situation that contravenes the provisions of this Treaty, in accordance with Article V; consider and approve at its initial session any draft agreements, arrangements, provisions, procedures, operational manuals, guidelines and any other documents developed and recommended by the Preparatory Commission; consider and approve agreements or arrangements negotiated by the Technical Secretariat with States Parties, other States and international Organizations to be concluded by the Executive Council on behalf of the Organization in accordance with paragraph 38(h); establish such subsidiary organs as it finds necessary for the exercise of its functions in accordance with this Treaty; and update Annex 1 to this Treaty, as appropriate, in accordance with paragraph 23.
THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
Composition, Procedures and Decision-Making
The Executive Council shall consist of 51 members. Each State Party shall have the right, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, to serve on the Executive Council.
Taking into account the need for equitable
geographical distribution, the Executive Council shall comprise:
Ten States Parties from Africa; seven States Parties from Eastern Europe; nine States Parties from Latin America and the Caribbean; seven States Parties from the Middle East and South Asia; ten States Parties North America and Western Europe; and eight States Parties from South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East. All States in each of the above geographical regions are listed in Annex 1 to this Treaty. Annex 1 to this Treaty shall be updated, as appropriate, by the Conference in accordance with paragraph 23 and 26 (k). It shall not be subject to amendments or changes under the procedures contained in Article VII.
The members of the Executive Council shall be elected by the Conference. In this connection, each geographical region shall designate States Parties from that region for election as members of the Executive Council as follows: At least one-third of the seats allocated to each geographical region shall be filled, taking into account political and security interests by States Parties in that region designated on the basis of the nuclear capabilities relevant to the Treaty as determined by international data as well as all or any of the following indicative criteria in the order of priority determined by each region; number of monitoring facilities of the International Monitoring System; expertise and experience in monitoring technology; and contribution to the annual budget of the Organization; one of the seats allocated to each geographical region shall be filled on a rotational basis by the State Party that is first in the English alphabetical order among the States Parties in that region that have not served as members of the Executive Council for the longest period of time since becoming States Parties or since their last term, whichever is shorter.
A State Party designated on this basis may decide to forgo its seat. In that case, such a State Party shall submit a letter of renunciation to the Director-General, and the seat shall be filled by the State Party following next-in-order according to this sub-paragraph; and the remaining seats allocated to each geographical region shall be filled by States Parties designated from among all the States Parties in that region by rotation or elections.
Each member of the Executive Council shall have one representative on the Executive Council, who may be accompanied by alternate and advisers. Each member of the Executive Council shall hold office from the end of the session of the Conference at which that member is elected until the end of the second regular annual session of the Conference thereafter, except that for the first election of the Executive Council, 26 members shall be elected to hold office until the end of the third regular session of the Conference, due regard being paid to the established numerical proportions as described in paragraph 28.
The Executive Council shall elaborate its rules of procedure and submit them to the Conference for approval. The Executive Council shall elect its Chairman from among its members. The Executive Council shall meet for regular sessions. Between regular sessions it shall meet as may be required for the fulfillment of its powers functions. Each member of the Executive Council shall have one vote. The Executive Council shall take decisions on matters of procedure by a majority of all its members. The Executive Council shall take decisions on matters of substance by a two-thirds majority of all its members unless specified otherwise in this Treaty. When the issue arises as to whether the question is one of substance or not, that question shall be treated as a matter of substance unless otherwise decided by the majority required for decisions on matters of substance.
Powers and Functions
The Executive Council shall be the executive organ of the Organization. It shall be responsible to the Conference. It shall carry out the powers and functions entrusted to it in accordance with this Treaty. In so doing, it shall act in conformity with the recommendations, decisions and guidelines of the Conference and ensure their continuous and proper implementation.
The Executive Council shall promote effective implementation of, and compliance with, this Treaty, supervise the activities of the Technical Secretariat; make recommendations as necessary to the Conference for consideration of further proposals for promoting the object and purpose of this Treaty; cooperate with the National Authority of each State Party; consider and submit to the Conference the draft annual program and budget of the Organization, the draft report of the Organization on the implementation of this Treaty, the report on the performance of its own activities and such other reports as it deems necessary or that the conference may request; make arrangements for the sessions of the Conference, including the preparation of the draft agenda; examine proposals for changes, on matters of an administrative or technical nature, to the Protocol or the Annexes thereto, pursuant to Article VII, and make recommendations to the States Parties regarding their adoption; conclude, subject to prior approval of the Conference, agreements or arrangements with States Parties, other States and international Organizations on behalf of the Organization and supervise their implementation, with the exception of agreements or arrangements referred to in sub-paragraph; approve and supervise the operation of agreements or arrangements relating to the implementation of verification activities with States Parties and other States; and approve any new operational manuals and any changes to the existing operational manuals that may be proposed by the Technical Secretariat.
The Executive Council may request a special session of the Conference. The Executive Council shall facilitate cooperation among States Parties, and between States Parties and the Technical Secretariat, relating to the implementation of this Treaty through information exchanges; facilitate consultation and clarification among States Parties in accordance with Article IV; and receive, consider and take action on requests for, and reports on, on-site inspections in accordance with Article IV.
The Executive Council shall consider any concern raised by a State Party about possible non-compliance with this Treaty and abuse of the rights established by this Treaty. In doing so, the Executive Council shall consult with the States Parties involved and, as appropriate, request a State Party to take measures to redress the situation within a special time. To the extent that the Executive Council considers further action to be necessary, it shall take, inter aila, one or more of the following measures; notify all States Parties of the issue or matter; bring the issue or matter to the attention of the Conference; make recommendations to the Conference or take action, as appropriate, regarding measures to redress the situation and to ensure compliance in accordance with Article V.
Article III: National Implementation Measures
1. Each State Party shall, in accordance with its constitutional processes, take any necessary measures to implement its obligations under this Treaty. In particular, it shall take any necessary measures: To prohibit natural and legal persons anywhere on its territory or in any other place under its jurisdiction as recognized by international law from undertaking any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty; to prohibit natural and legal persons from undertaking any such activity anywhere under its control; and to prohibit, in conformity with international law, persons possessing its nationality from undertaking any such activity anywhere.
Each State Party shall cooperate with other States Parties and afford the appropriate from of legal assistance to facilitate the implementation of the obligations under paragraph 1. Each State Party shall inform the Organization of the measure taken pursuant to this Article. In order to fulfil its obligations under the Treaty, each State Party shall designate or set up a National Authority and shall so inform the Organization upon entry into force for it. The National Authority shall serve as the national focal point for liaison with Organization and with other States Parties.
Article IV: Verifications
In order to verify compliance with this
Treaty, a verification regime shall be established consisting of the following
elements: An International Monitoring System; consultation and clarification;
on-site inspections; and confidence-building measures.
At entry into force of this Treaty, the verification regime shall be capable of meeting the verification requirements of this Treaty. Verification activities shall be based on objective information, shall be limited to the subject matter of this Treaty, and shall be carried out on the basis of full respect for the sovereignty of States Parties and in the least intrusive manner possible consistent with the effective and timely accomplishment of their objectives. Each State Party shall refrain from any abuse of the right of verification.
Each State Party undertakes in accordance with this Treaty to cooperate, through its National Authority established pursuant to Article III, paragraph 4, with the Organization and with other States Parties to facilitate the verification of compliance with this Treaty by inter aila establishing the necessary facilities to participate in these verification measures and establishing the necessary communication; providing data obtained from national stations that are part of the International Monitoring System; Participating, as appropriate, in a consultation and clarification process; permitting the conduct of on-site inspections; and participating, as appropriate, in confidence-building measures.
All States Parties, irrespective of their technical and financial capabilities, shall enjoy the equal right of Verification and assume the equal obligation to accept verification. For the purposes of this Treaty, no State party shall be precluded from using information obtained by national technical means of verification in a manner consistent with generally recognized principles of international law, including that of respect for the sovereignty of States.
Without prejudice to the right of states Parties to protect sensitive installations, activities or locations not related to this Treaty, States shall not interfere with elements of the verification regime of this Treaty or with national technical means of verification operating in accordance with paragraph 5. Each State Party shall have the right to take measures to protect sensitive installations and to prevent disclosure of confidential information and data related to this Treaty. Moreover, all necessary measures shall be taken to protect the confidentiality of any information related to civil and military activities and facilities obtained during verification activities.
Subject to paragraph 8, information obtained by the Organization through the verification regime established by this Treaty shall be made available to all States Parties in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Treaty and the Protocol. The provisions of this Treaty shall not be interpreted as restricting the international exchange of data for scientific purposes. Each State Party undertakes to cooperate with the Organization and with other States Parties in the improvement of the verification regime, and in the examination of the verification potential of additional monitoring technologies such as electromagnetic pulse monitoring or satellite monitoring, with a view to developing, when appropriate, specific measures to enhance the efficient and cost-effective verification of this Treaty, the protocol or as additional sections of the Protocol, in accordance with Article VII, or, if appropriate, be reflected in the operational manuals in accordance with Article II, paragraph 44.
The States Parties undertake to promote cooperation among themselves to facilitate and participate in the fullest possible exchange relating to technologies used in the verification measures and to benefit from the application of such technologies for peaceful purposes. The provisions of this Treaty shall be implemented in a manner which avoids hampering the economic and technological development of the State Parties for further development of the application of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
Verification Responsibilities of the Technical Secretariat
In discharging its responsibilities in the area of verification specified in this Treaty and the Protocol, in cooperation with the States Parties, the Technical Secretariat shall, for the purpose of this Treaty, make arrangements to receive and distribute data and reporting products relevant to the verification of this Treaty in accordance with its provisions, and to maintain a global communications infrastructure appropriate to this task-routinely through its International Data Centre, which shall in principle be the focal point within the Technical Secretariat for data storage and data processing-receive and initiate requests for data from the International Monitoring System; receive data, as appropriate, resulting from the process of consultation and clarification, from on-site inspections, and from confidence-building measures; and receive other relevant data from States Parties and international organizations in accordance with the relevant operational menials; supervise, coordinate and ensure the operation of the International Monitoring System and its component elements, and of the International Data Centre, in accordance with the relevant operational manuals; and routinely process, analyze and report on International Monitoring System data according to agreed procedures so as to permit the effective international verification of this Treaty and to contribute to the early resolution of compliance concerns.
International Monitoring System
The International Monitoring System shall comprise facilities for seismological monitoring, infra-sound monitoring, and respective means of communication, and shall be supported by the International Data Centre of the Technical Secretariat.
The International Monitoring System shall be placed under the authority of the Technical Secretariat. All monitoring facilities of the International Monitoring System shall be owned and operated by the States hosting or otherwise taking responsibility for them in accordance with the Protocol.
Each State Party shall have the right to participate in the international exchange of data and have access to all data made available to the in International Data Center. Each State Party Shall cooperate with the International Data Center through its National Authority.
Changes to the International Monitoring System.
Any measures referred to in paragraph 11 affecting the International Monitoring System by means of addition or deletion of a monitoring technology shall, when agreed, be incorporated into this Treaty and the Protocol pursuant to Article VII, paragraph 26(h) and 38 (i).
The following Changes to the International Monitoring System, subject to the agreement of those States directly affected, shall be regarded as matters of an administrative or technical nature pursuant to Article VII, paragraph 7 and 8: Changes to the number of facilities specified in the Protocol for a given monitoring technology; and changes to other details for particular facilities as reflected in the Tables of Annex 1 to the Protocol (including, inter aila, State responsible for the facility; location; name of facility; type of facility; and attribution of a facility between the primary and auxiliary seismic networks).
If the Executive Council recommends, pursuant to Article VII, paragraph 8(d) that such changes enter into force upon notification by the Director-General of their approval. The Director-General, in submitting to the Executive council and States Parties information and evaluation in accordance with Article VII, paragraph 8(b); shall include in the case of any proposal made pursuant to paragraph 24: A technical evaluation of the proposal; a statement on the administrative and financial impact of the proposal; and a report on consultations with States directly affected by the proposal, including indication of their agreement.
In cases of significant or irretrievable
breakdown of a monitoring facility specified in Tables of Annex 1 to the
Protocol, or in order to cover other temporary reductions of monitoring
coverage, the Director-General shall, in consultation and agreement with
those States directly affected, and with the approval of the Executive
Council, initiate temporary arrangements of no more than one year's duration,
renewable if necessary by agreement of the Executive Council and of the
States directly affected for another year. Such arrangement of the Executive
Council and of the States directly affected for another year.
Such arrangements shall not cause the number of operational facilities of the International Monitoring System to exceed the number specified for the relevant network; shall meet as far as possible the technical and operational requirements specified in the operational manual for the relevant network; shall meet as far as possible the technical and operational requirements specified in the operational manual for the relevant network; and shall be conducted within the budget of the Organization. The Director General shall furthermore take steps to rectify the situation and make proposals for its permanent resolution. The Director- General shall notify all States Parties of any decision taken pursuant to this paragraph.
Cooperating National Facilities
States Parties may also separately establish cooperative arrangements with the Organization, in order to make available to the International Data Center supplementary data from national monitoring stations that are not formally part of the International Monitoring System.
Such cooperative arrangements may be established as follows: Upon request by a State Party, and at the expense of that State, the Technical Secretarial shall take the steps required to certify that a given monitoring facility meets the technical and operational requirements specified in the relevant operational manuals for and International Monitoring System facility, and make arrangements for the authentication of its date. Subject to the agreement of the Executive Council, the Technical Secretariat shall then formally designate such a facility as a cooperating national facility. The Technical Secretariat shall take the steps required to the revalidate its certification as appropriate.
The Technical Secretariat shall maintain
a current list of cooperating national facilities and shall distribute
it to all States Parties; and the International Data Center shall call
upon data from cooperating national facilities, if so requested by a State
Party, for the purposes of facilitating consultation and clarification
and the consideration of on-site inspection requests, data transmission
cost being borne by the state Party.
The conditions under which supplementary data from such facilities are made available, and under which the International Data Center may request further or expedited reporting, or clarifications, shall be elaborated in the operational manual for the respective monitoring network.
Request for an On-Site Inspection:
Each State Party has the right to request on on-site inspection in accordance with the provisions of this Article and Part Ii of the Protocol in the territory or in any other place under the jurisdiction or control of any State Party, or in any area beyond the jurisdiction or control of any State. The sole purpose of an on-site inspection shall be to clarify whether a nuclear weapons test explosions or any other nuclear explosion has been carried out in violation of Article I and, to the extent possible, to gather any facts which might assist in identifying any possible violation.
The requesting State Party shall be under the obligation to keep the on-site inspection request within the scope of this Treaty and to Provide in the request information in accordance with paragraph 37. The requesting State Party shall refrain from unfounded or abusive inspection requests. The on-site inspection request shall be based on information collected by the International Monitoring System, on any relevant technical information obtained by national technical means of verification in a manner consistent with generally recognized principles of international law, or on a combination thereof. The request shall contain information pursuant to Part II, paragraph 41 of the Protocol.
The requesting State Party shall present the on-site inspection request to the Executive shall begin its consideration immediately upon receipt of the on-site inspection request.
Follow-up after Submission of an On-Site Inspection Request:
The Executive Council shall begin its consideration immediately upon receipt of the on-site inspection request. The Director-General, after receiving the on-site inspection request, shall acknowledge receipt of the request to the requesting State Party within six hours. The Director-General shall ascertain that the request meets the requirements specified in Part II, paragraph 41 of the Protocol, and shall communicate the requests to the Executive Council and to all other States Parties within 24 hours. When the on-site inspection request fulfils the requirements, the Technical Secretariat shall begin preparations for the on-site inspection without delay.
The Director-General, upon receipt of an on-site inspection request referring to an inspection area under the jurisdiction or control of a State Party, shall immediately seek clarification from the State Party sought be inspected in order to clarify and resolve the concern raised in the request. A State Party that receives a request for clarification pursuant to paragraph 42 shall provide the Director-General with explanations and with other relevant information available as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours after receipt of the request for clarification.
The Director-General, before the Executive Council takes a decision on the on-site inspection request, shall transmit immediately to the Executive Council any additional information available from the International Monitoring System or provided by any State Party on the event specified in the request, including any clarification provided pursuant to paragraph 42 and 43, as well as any other information from within the Technical Secretariat that the Director-General deems relevant or that is requested by the Executive Council.
Unless the requesting State Party considers the concern raised in the on-site inspection request to be resolved and withdraws the request, the Executive Council shall take a decision on the request in accordance with paragraph 46.
Article V: Measures to address a situation and to ensure compliance, including sanctions
The Conference, taking into account, inter aila, the recommendations of the Executive Council, shall take the necessary measures, as set forth in paragraph 2 and 3, to ensure compliance with this Treaty and to redress and remedy any situation which contravenes the provisions of this Treaty.
In cases where a State Party has been requested by the Conference or the Executive Council to redress a situation raising problems with regard to its compliance and fails Fulfil the request within the specified time, the Conference may, inter aila, decide to restrict or suspect the State Party from the exercise of its rights and privileges under this Treaty until the Conference decides otherwise. In cases where damage to the object and purpose of this Treaty may result from non-compliance with the basic obligations of this Treaty, the conference may recommend to State parties collective measures which are in conformity with international law.
The Conference, or alternatively, if the case is urgent, the Executive Council may bring the issue, including relevant information and conclusions, to the attention of the United Nations.
Article VI: Settlement of Disputes
Disputes that may arise concerning the applications or the interpretation of this Treaty shall be settled in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Treaty and in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
When a dispute arises between two or more
States Parties or between one or more State Parties and the Organization,
relating to the application or interpretation of this Treaty, the parties
concerned shall consult together with a view to the expeditious settlement
of the dispute by negotiation or by other peaceful means of the parties'
choice including recourse to appropriate organs of this Treaty and, by
mutual consent, referral to the International Court of Justice in conformity
with the statue of the Court. The parties involved shall keep the executive
Council informed of actions being taken.
The Executive Council may contribute to the settlement of a dispute that may arise concerning the application or interpretation of this Treaty by whatever means it deems appropriate, including offering its goods office, calling upon the States Parties to a dispute to seek a settlement through a process of their own choice, bringing the matter to the attention of the Conference and recommending a time-limit for any agreed procedure.
The Conference shall consider question related to dispute raised by State Parties or brought to its attention by the executive Council. The Conference shall, as it finds necessary, establish or entrust organs with takes related to the settlement of these disputes in conformity with Article II, paragraph 26(i).
The Conference and the executive Council are separately empowered, subject to authorization from the General Assembly of the Untied Nations, to request the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on any legal question, arising within the scope of the activities of the organization. An agreement between the Organization and the United Nations shall be concluded for its purpose in accordance with Article II, paragraph 38 (h).
Article VII: Amendments
At any time after the entry into force of this Treaty, any state Party may propose amendments to this Treaty, the Protocol, to the Annexes to the Protocol. Any State Party may also propose changes, in accordance with paragraph 7, to the Protocol or the Annexes thereto. Proposals for amendment shall be subject tot he procedures in paragraph 2 to 6. Proposal for changes, in accordance with paragraph 7, shall be subject to the procedures in paragraph 8.
The proposed amendment shall be considered and adopted only by an Amendment Conference.
Any proposal for an amendment shall be communicated to the Depository and seek the view of the States Parties on whether an Amendment Conference should be convened to consider the proposal. If a majority of the States Parties notify the Director-General no later than 30 days after the circulation that they support further consideration of the proposal, the Director-General shall convene an Amendment Conference to which all State Parties shall be invited.
The Amendment Conference shall be held
immediately following a regular session of the Conference unless all States
Parties that support the convening of an Amendment Conference request
that it be held earlier. In no case shall an Amendment Conference be held
less than 60 days after the circulation of the proposed amendment.
Amendment shall be adopted by the Amendment Conference by a positive vote a majority of the States Parties with no State Party casting a negative vote. Amendment shall enter into force for all States Parties 30 days after deposit of the instruments of ratification or acceptance by all those Parties casting a positive vote at the Amendment Conference.
In order to ensure the viability and effectiveness of this Treaty, Parts I and III of the Protocol and Annexes 1 and 2 to the Protocol shall be subject to changes in accordance with paragraph 8, if the proposed changes are related only to matters of an administrative or technical nature. All other provisions, of the Protocol and the Annexes shall be subject to changes in accordance with paragraph 8.
Article VIII: Review of the Treaty
Unless otherwise decided by a majority of the States Parties, ten years after the entry into force of the Treaty a Conference of the States Parties shall be held to review the operation and effectiveness of this Treaty, with a view to assuring itself that the objectives and purposes in the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realized. Such review shall take into account any new scientific and technological developments relevant to this Treaty. On the basis of a request by any States Parties, the Review Conference shall consider the possibility of permitting the conduct of underground unclear explosions for peaceful purposes. If the Review Conference decides by consensus that such nuclear explosions may be permitted, it shall commence work without delay, with a view to recommending to States Parties an appropriate amendment to this Treaty that shall preclude any military benefits of such nuclear explosions. Any such proposed amendment shall be communicated to the Director General by any State Party and shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of Article VII.
At intervals of ten years thereafter, further Review Conferences may be convened with the same objective, if the Conference so decides as a matter of procedure in the preceding years. Such Conferences may be convened after an interval of less than ten years if so decided by the Conference as a matter of substance.
Normally, any Review Conference shall be held immediately following the regular annual session of the Conference provides for in Article II.
Article IX: Duration and Withdrawal
This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.
Each State Party shall, in exercising its
national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it
decides that extraordinary events to the subject matter of the Treaty have
jeopardized its supreme interests.
Withdrawal shall be effected by giving notice six months in advance to all other State Parties, the Executive Council, the Depository and the United Nations Security Council. Notice of withdrawal shall include a statement of the extraordinary event or events which a State Party regards as jeopardizing its supreme interests.
Article X: Status of the Protocol and the Annexes
The Annexes to this Treaty, the Protocol, and the Annexes to the Protocol form an integral part of the Treaty. Any reference to this Treaty includes the Annexes to this Treaty, the Protocol and the Annexes to the Protocol.
Article XI: Signature
This Treaty shall be open to all States for signature before its entry into force.
Article XII: Ratification
The Treaty shall be open to all States Signatories according to their respective constitutional process.
Article XIII: Accession
Any States which does not sign this Treaty before its entry into force may accede to it at any time thereafter.
Article XIV: Entry into Force
This Treaty shall enter into force 180 days after date of deposit of the instruments of ratification by all States listed in Annex 2 to this Treaty, but in no case earlier than two years after its opening for signature.
If this Treaty has not entered into force three years after the date of the anniversary of its opening for signature, the Depository shall convene a Conference of the States that have already deposited their instruments of ratification on the request of a majority of those States. That Conference shall examine the extent to which the requirements set out in paragraph 1 has been met and shall consider and decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law may be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the early entry into force of this Treaty.
Unless otherwise decided by the Conference
referred to in paragraph 2 or other such conferences, this process shall
be repeated at subsequent anniversaries of the opening for signature of
this Treaty, until its entry into force. All States signatories shall be
invited to attend the Conference referred to in paragraph 2 and any subsequent
conferences as referred to in paragraph 3, as observers.
For States whose instruments of ratification or accession are deposited subsequent to the entry into force of this Treaty, it shall enter into force on 30th day following the date of deposit of their instruments of ratification or accession.
Source: Arms Control Today, August 196,
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