India Boosts Non-Proliferation Anti-Terrorism Credentials – Analysis

By Nilova Roy Chaudhury*

Repeatedly thwarted by China from gaining entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), India has moved to remind the world about its strong anti-nuclear proliferation credentials and showcase why it is a good candidate for entry into the global nuclear commerce body.

India hosted a crucial global meet against nuclear terrorism in February to showcase its non-proliferation history and bolster its case for NSG entry. The Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) was held in New Delhi. The meeting again highlighted the continued priority India attaches to nuclear security and efforts to strengthen institutional non-proliferation frameworks and promote international cooperation.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), “This event highlights India’s commitment to global nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It is a part of our overall engagement with the international community on nuclear security issues.”

Inaugurating the meeting, India’s Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said, “Terrorism remains the most pervasive and serious challenge to international security. If access to nuclear technology changes state behaviour, it is only to be expected that it would also impact on non-state calculations. Nuclear security, therefore, will be a continuing concern, especially as terrorist groups and non-state actors strike deeper roots and explore different avenues to spread terror,” Jaishankar said.

Around 150 delegates from GICNT partner countries and international organisations participated in the event. The GICNT was launched in 2006, jointly by Russia and the US. It now includes 86 partner-nations and five official observer organisations. The GICNT comprises four working groups; Implementation and Assessment Group, Nuclear Detection Working Group, Nuclear Forensics Working Group and Response and Mitigation Working Group.

“The possible use of weapons of mass destruction and related material by terrorists is no longer a theoretical concern,” the MEA statement said. “A breach of nuclear security may lead to unimaginable consequences. It is imperative to strengthen international efforts to combat such threats.”

India is party to all the 13 universal instruments accepted as benchmarks for a nation’s commitments to combat international terrorism. India is party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) and has ratified its 2005 amendment. India is also part of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

A pioneer of the non-proliferation movement, IIndia at the meeting highlighted measures it has taken.

India’s export controls list and guidelines have been harmonized with those of the NSG. In 2005, India enacted the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems Act, 2005. This fulfils India’s obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. Institutionally, the security of all nuclear and radiological material in India is ensured through oversight by India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

Although not a member of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), India, for the first time, was invited to and participated in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which guarantees the Latin American region as a nuclear-weapons free zone. The Treaty remains the only Nuclear Weapon Free Zone that has an organizational structure to ensure its compliance and to promote its objectives.

For India to attend Commemorative Conference on February 14 was a symbolic gesture, underlining the faith reposed by the host nation, Mexico, a crucial NSG member which had, in 2016, raised some doubts about India’s NSG entry.

India has supported numerous nuclear disarmament proposals at various international fora. Its nuclear policy combines protection of national security in a nuclearised global order and the responsible use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes for meeting its developmental needs.

India also moved Monday, February 20, to extend an agreement with Pakistan to reduce the risk of accidents related to nuclear weapons. First signed as a confidence –boosting measure between the two countries in 2007, the agreement was valid for 10 years. The pact has been extended for five years.

According to the pact, both India and Pakistan have to inform each other immediately if an accident occurs relating to nuclear weapons, which could create the risk of a radioactive fallout, with devastating consequences, or create the risk of an outbreak of a nuclear war between the two countries.

*The author is a veteran journalist and writer on strategic affairs

South Asia Monitor

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5 thoughts on “India Boosts Non-Proliferation Anti-Terrorism Credentials – Analysis

  • March 1, 2017 at 12:13 pm
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    Karnataka appeared to be a site of hectic activity for India’s covert uranium enrichment programme as well as a secret testing ground for armed drones. Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) suggested that the country appeared to have followed through on its publicly announced intention to build the SMEF and started constructing a large enrichment centrifuge complex near Chitradurga, Karnataka, where, between 2009 and 2010, approximately 10,000 acres of land were allegedly diverted for various defence purposes.

    Is this all is the level of Indian Non-proliferation credentials?

    Reply
  • March 2, 2017 at 4:34 am
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    Many of the Indian officials have argued that India’s non-proliferation record is impeccable but the study of Indian proliferation record shows that it is factually incorrect. There is a history of mishaps and incidents where the government is found to be involved in illegal transfer of nuclear material. Then theft and movement of fissile material in un marked trucks is no more hidden from any one. The IAEA concluded in its reports in 2015 that Indian nuclear regulator, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), is not independent and lacks internal emergency arrangements and urged India to take further action for nuclear regulation. Indian export controls also lack proper implementation.

    Reply
    • March 2, 2017 at 3:52 pm
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      Still way better than China and Pakistan’s records I’d say.
      .

      Reply
  • March 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm
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    The mantra that India has a good track record on nuclear
    non-proliferation beggars belief. India is a nuclear weapons state,
    tested weapons in 1974 and 1998, violated its pledge not to use a
    Canadian-supplied research reactor to produce plutonium for weapons,
    refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the
    CTBT, has a history of illicit nuclear procurement and inadequate
    nuclear export controls, and continues to expand its nuclear weapons
    and missile capabilities. Could India possibly have a worse record?

    Reply
  • March 3, 2017 at 9:00 am
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    This is really hard to say that India is boosting nonproliferation anti-terror credentials. India is expanding its nuclear posture with every day. There is a revelation of nuclear city and it is looking forward for building more nuclear power plants despite its own peoples’ opposition. Indian government enjoys the villagers’ ignorance and, poverty and made them suffer deadly by building nuclear power plants without required safety measures.

    Reply

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