INDIA AND THE NUCLEAR MENACE: THE SATYAGRAH APPROACH.

JULY 1998

 

 

 

 

LIEUTENANT GENERAL E. A. VAS (Retd), MAJOR GENERAL K.S.PENDSE (Retd) AND Dr. (COLONEL) ANIL A ATHALE (Retd).

 

 

Introduction

India conducted five nuclear tests underground at Pakhran desert on May11 and 13 ,1998 .

The devices tested included a thermonuclear trigger and two sub kiloton devices. Pakistan, India’s neighbour and  adversary, claimed to have carried out six tests of fission devices on on May 28 and 30. There has been widespread world condemnation of these tests and claims have been made that these two countries have been rash in their actions.

 

The paper that follows builds a case for India and also explains the logic behind Indian actions. This paper has confined itself to Indian views only. Most of these views were in public domain and were widely distributed by our organisation. It is surprising that despite these well known views and widespread public support to the nuclear tests,. The world professed to be surprised by the events. The gap, apparently was less in communication and more in perception.

 

Most conflicts in history can be safely attributed to the factor of mis-perception. International research journals and media will be doing a great service by giving an opportunity to Indians to put forward their views.

 

This is an ‘Indo-centric’ analysis and in no way an apologia for Indian actions as most of the logic and prescriptions pre date the nuclear tests. 

 

 

 

THE END OF COLD WAR WORLD                           

 

Ever since the end  of the cold war and the duo-polar  world balance,   there  has  been  a spate of speculation about future of nuclear weapons and role of force . Some have talked  of  end  of   history,   clash  of civilizations  and  economics replacing power as the   arbiter  of   mankind.  In the new situation there is in fact increased threat to countries like India as  the  West is attempting  to  freeze the current economic and  political  balance  for  ever. Development  of  Indian potential  poses a challenge to this staus  quo  and hence  India is likely to be the `object` of power play  in  post cold war era.

 

The  demise of Soviet Union is often seen as  victory  for capitalism and the US. Some  also see  this  as the moral victory for democracy. We are  still  too close  to the events to make a truly  objective  assessment. Possibly, the demise of Soviet Union was  due to the internal factors. A logical outcome of the economic success of the Communist system to satisfy the basic needs, but failure  to  generate  prosperity. This could be due to systemic    as well as philosophical factors. Realism  demands  that the  end  of cold war be seen in this perspective ; only then can  one realize that the sole  change in  international relations  is in terms of change of actors. The context,  content and philosophy of national power remains.

 

At  the  same  time  it  is  impossible  to  ignore   the communications revolution that is sweeping the world. In the medium and long term, this  is likely to change the existing power balance. Despite strenuous efforts, control of spread  of knowledge  is  an impossibility. The real  challenge  before  the world   is  to  ensure  that  this  change,  that  is inevitable  ,  takes place peacefully. It needs no   reminder  that despite all the talk of peace having broken out at the end of cold war, the terrible instruments of  mass destruction, thermo-nuclear weapons , are very  much  in existence  and  there seems no early prospect of  these  becoming extinct. The rash of `settling score‘ conflicts in many regions of the world is a grim reminder of the reality of use of force. India is very much part of this world and has no option but to relate itself the concepts prevalent in the currently dominant countries. This is all the more relevant because there is a vast amount of mis-information that is floating in the atmosphere. Some examples are the widely expressed view that force has become redundant in the post cold war era  and that ‘economics’ ‚ is the sole arbiter of the national destiny.

 

From the ‘Realist’ point of view, the situation is different from this perception. But while pursuing realist thinking one must remain  aware of the danger of realist thought  degenerating into asserting status quo ante. In the military field that is what happened in UK in the  1930s when the British army in the face of advent of tank contrived to prove that the horse was still a battle winner. This danger must be avoided.

It appears that the world is basically still divided between main and subordinate systems. The main system comprises of the countries of the industrialized North with the former Communist countries on the fringe and  attempting to get into the main system. The rest of the world is part of the subordinate system. During the cold war period as well, this division existed. The primary factor of interdependence in the main system at that time was based on the destructive power of nuclear weapons. The states of the subordinate system were in a dependency relationship with the main system. While the changes in the main system affected the states in the subordinate system , the converse was not true to a large extent.

In the post cold war era, with the passing away of the balance of terror, at the main system level, it is economic interdependence that is the governing reality. At the level of the main and subordinate system, that is not so and use of force remains valid. This is what makes the new situation appear familiar and unchanged to the countries of the third world. But that is only a superficial view because in the earlier regime, force and balance of terror was the stabilizing factor at both the levels and  thus there was a linkage between the use of force at two levels that acted as a restraint. With the changes at the main system level to economic linkages, the use of force against the states in subordinate system has become autonomous and much more probable. The danger for countries like India has increased and not decreased in the post cold war era. Thus a clearer understanding of the role of nuclear weapons has   become more and not less important for us.

 

The debate in the West on role of force in post cold war era is partly  sparked off by the failure of US deterrence in the Gulf in 1990. The US created CENTCOM not to fight the Soviet Union, for which it was militarily inadequate, but to deter local bush fire wars in the area of vital interest to the US. During operation Desert Shield, the US used all possible means short of war to force Iraq out of Kuwait but failed. The technique that was developed to contain , deter and ultimately destroy Soviet Union had deterrence as the central concept. Deterence is an amalgam of psychology, threats of use of force and diplomacy of force to achieve political objectives without recourse to war. But deterrence is neither omnipotent nor omnibus. It is on the other hand issue and country specific. It appears the West is in search of a panacea for all problems and nuclear weapons are an integral part of it.

 

India had often publicly declared its lack of faith in the strategy of deterrence. The concept of deterrence is  not understood well in India. In the traditional approach, as practised in India, use of force is the last resort to achieve political ends- Guns are the last argument of the Kings! This is a sequential process with diplomacy as the first step, armed forces making contingency planning and training to be ready  for use should diplomacy fail. As opposed to this, the concept of deterrence means a constant state of war. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PERIOD OF PLANNING AND USE. IN DETERRENCE REGIME THE THREAT OF USE OF FORCE IS CONTINUOUSLY BROUGHT TO BEAR UPON THE ADVERSARY TO BE DETERRED During the cold war and deterrence phase of the US-USSR relationship, both the countries were in constant readiness to go to war instantenously. Thus for the 30 years of cold war , at the level of threat, there was very little difference between an ordinary day and crisis. Holding the adversary hostage was a factor constant to deterrence regime. 

Deterrence is a product of capability plus intent, credibility therefore is as important as physical capability. All means are used to constantly convince the adversary about the will to use force. Successful deterrence thus means a fine tuning of ‚all the activities of a nation to convince the credibility of use of force. Strategic studies developed this technique of making use of the ‘threat‘ rather than the force itself to achieve the end ie national security. This is a major departure from past history where the concept of balance of force kept peace but failed from time to time resulting in war. In its place deterrence as a multi dimensional technique managed to keep peace.

Strategy of force as a technique of keeping peace remains relevant in the post cold war era as well. As stated earlier there is attempt to make it multi-use. Deterrence which was a two person non zero-sum game is now sought to be made a global non- zero sum game. This is clearly indiated by the recent American writings on the subject when there is a search on for a viable enemy. A parameter that is being used to justify the nuclear weapons is that these are to deter a possible adversary, yet to be identified. Technology control regimes like the Non Proliferation treaty (NPT), Missile technology control regime (MTCR) et al are means to keep that number under check. The new thinking also believes that deterrence can be used on issues not directly related to ‘threats‘ and ‘force‘. Taking a farfetched example, a situation may arise when the shifting rainfall patterns that may affect Mid Western America or Southern Russia could be made an excuse to forcibly curb industrialisation and its consequent green house effect in the poor South. Threat of use of force including nuclear weapons may be resorted to by the developed world on this issue. This is the only rationale behind on the one hand attempts to make deterrence omnipotent and on the other restrictive regimes like the NPT. In this emerging scenario India has no option but to understand the ‘technique’‚ of use of nuclear force and counter it so as to maintain at least a reasonable degree of independence of decision-making.

 

WORLD SITUATION- ANALYSIS OF TRENDS

 

Looking at the world, one is struck by the spectre of unchecked population growth in the poor countries and concentration of technology growth in the already advanced and develped countries. All this is taking place in a world that has become a global village. The growth of technology is confined to the rich North. If study of history is to be understood as study of society, one sees the diferrence between the societies that are progressive and are willing to follow the lead given by creative people within it and societies that are not progressing. These are the societies in stupor. Unfortunately the Indian society falls in the second category. It is a society that is very difficult to prod into action even in its own self interest. The demise of cold war does not affect India as the problems faced by her existed before and exist even today. That problem is removal of poverty and to generate that surplus that will help us move further ahead. India needs a wake-up call.

 

While the developmental process is on in India , the global level thinkers have put together the Intellectual Property Rights regime (IPR) to deprive India from making use of the developed technology. Indian attempt at development of technologies is sought to be thwarted under the guise of bogey of dual use. In the 1960s Indian attempt to use its vast iron ore reserves and build a steel industry were strenuously opposed . Her space exploration programme and nuclear energy programme are the targets of 1980s and nieties.

 

Demise of the Soviet Union has left thousands of unaccounted nuclear weapons. Massive population shifts are taking place in the central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union with the Russians fleeing. This shift is also occurring in Europe where the age profile will soon make the majority to be above 60. This has prompted a wave of emigration to Europe. This trend is also visible in the US. Yet, at both the places there is opposition to immigration. The population shift is thus both qualitative as well as quantitative. The implications of this on the security of nations need consideration.

 

On the issue of denial of technology to the poor and its impact , it must be clearly understood that it is the population growth that is removing the green cover. This is true of Somalia as well as Latin America. The poor see this to be the only way to get out of the poverty. Can force be used to stop this ecocide ? Nearly 20 years ago the Club of Rome had warned that there are definite limits to the growth of population and also consumerism. By the 21st century the population of the world will reach 12 billion and world‘s resources will be inadequate to sustain it. This can lead to wars of re-distribution and survival.

 

What is the post cold war world likely to look like ? Paul Kennedy in his book ‘ Preparing for the Twentyfirst Century‘, comments that population explosion in poor countries and technological revolution amongst the developed ones cannot lead to peace and stability in the coming century. As a consequence of growing disparity in incomes, he foresees major wars of redistribution- of people and resources. It is a well known fact that 23% people in the rich North command 85% of the world income. Alvin Toffler has forecast that simultaneous existence of agrarian, industrial and informational civilizations is a recipe for confrontations, strife and wars amongst nations. In this scenario nations such as the US that have mastered the new art of war based on information will win and dominate the world.

The Club of Rome in its report ‘ The First Global Revolution‘ wonders whether the graying populations of the developed world will retreat into a ghetto bristling with nuclear weapons in order to keep out the hungry and the deprived peoples of the developing world from demanding  their just share in the world cake, monopolized by the affluent west for so long. IN SUCH SITUATION THE GREYING WEST MAY WELL USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS AGAINST THE THIRD WORLD ONSLAUGHT AND IN THE PROCESS DESTROY THE EARTH. Such gloomy forecasts bring to mind the warning given by historian Arnold J. Toynbee years ago that mankind may have to choose between the two extreme alternatives of genocide and learning to live like a single family. Toynbee was obviously echoing the ancient Indian value of ‘VASUDHAIV KUTUMBAKAM‘(All the world is one family).

 

India is home to  one sixth of the human race. Despite this it lacks the standing to persuade all the nations of the world to rethink their priorities and take a holistic and a universal- humanistic view of the world‘s destiny. The US is not even convinced that India deserves a seat in the UN security council. It is time that in the interest of the nation and the world, India comes to grips with this reality and takes corrective action to secure for itself a rightful place in the comity of nations. A strong India has the ability to turn the world away from ecocide and genocide and assure a future based on amity, co-operation and co-prosperity.

This  attempt to understand the world situation in  the Indian context will remain  a mere intellectual exercise unless India develops  the clout to be heard on the world platform.

 

THE ENVIRONMENT

 

According to the thesis by Toffler,mentioned earlier, the simultaneously existing agrarian, industrial and informational civilizations have different ways of production, survival needs and working speeds . Consequently there will be differences in outlook towards  the concept of nationalism , sovereignty , national interests . Equilibrium , stability and peace are unlikely and instead events like changes in military balance, surge in religious fanaticism or sudden economic changes should some of these issues converge in time and space, the world system may well breakdown.  Ronald Higgins in his work ‘The Seventh Enemy‘, has identified these as nuclear proliferation, ecocide, famines leading to mega deaths in the developing countries under condition of population explosion, while the developed world continues its progress in technology and feels confident of finding a technological ‘fix‘ for human problems. It has escaped notice that technology is fast outgrowing human control fuelled by the cycle of ever increasing consumption artificially generated through marketing in order to make mega profits for trans-national corporations who have jumped national barriers.

 

This frenzied race for consumerism has generated the threats of green house effect & depletion of earth‘s resources, thus jeopardizing the existence of future generations. Thought of future generations and their welfare was the furthest from the thinking of the Western Pundits in their mindless pursuit of nuclear weapons or unbridled consumerism. Such a global system is anything but rational in its behaviour and its future course difficult to predict. However some major trends can be identified and are listed below to facilitate the understanding of the environment.

TECHNO ECONOMIC ISSUES

Communication and information revolution making the world a global village.

Economic multipolarity.

Continued emphasis on technological drive in the advanced countries to sustain their growth but denial of the same to developing world to maintain the income differentials.

Continued over exploitation of earth‘s resources to support the Western economic model of growth and wasteful lifestyle oblivious of its effect on ecosphere.

Growing realization of the need to balance budgets as also expenditure on defence, development and domestic consumption. At the same time huge budget deficits and various scams show the dangers of consumerism.

SOCIO-CULTURAL ISSUES

Total autonomy of an individual‘s ‘desires‘, bereft of social responsibility as recently admitted by Ms Margaret Thatcher. There will no longer be any society, only a collection of individuals.

Emerging global lifestyle in which the developing world adopts Western mores and consumption patterns giving rise to crass materialism and also loss of self esteem in the poorer parts of world.

Population explosion in the developing countries , amongst the illiterate and the poorest marking the survival of demagoguery and deceitful leadership there. There may arise support to cultural narrow nationalism and religious fundamentalism as a way out of this morass.

Declining respect for state authorities due to their failure to solve problems and rise of sub nationalism and ethnic fervour as people search for a narrower territorial focus .

POLITICO -MILITARY ISSUES.

Ideology has weakened in favour of economics, concept of absolute national sovereignty is being diluted and individual is having a greater say in the political process as well as demanding equitable standard of living.

Leadership structures are being weakened due to their inability to comprehend the fast developing impact of various issues at various levels. Narrow specializations are becoming mandatory while the incompetent leaders strive to remain in power at the cost of the governed.

For want of holistic view bureaucracies are getting politicised while politics is being criminalised and nation states are living from crisis to crisis.

While influence of the military in decisionmaking is on the wane, it is being increasingly called upon to restore order due to greater recourse to proxy wars , low intensity conflicts and terrorism that is supported across the borders.

Militarisation of space, the ultimate high ground, has led to the development of costly military machine that can only be afforded by the rich thus further widening the gap between the rich and the poor. 

As most technologies are of dual use, it has become difficult to prevent horizontal proliferation with even terrorist groups able to develop sophisticated weapons in their backyards.

 

The year l99l  changed the global balance existing since l945. In place of the bipolar world we have today a virtual unipolar world. While the USA has the power to change the world, for her the governing ideology still remains that of nationalism as true elsewhere. .It is a fact of history that while  competition between the nations may be economic ,ideological or for living space,it  manifests as a security threat. .In this situation use of force to achieve political objectives, retains its validity. The only change is that the use of force has to be acceptable to the USA and earlier situation of using the countervailing power of Soviet Union has changed. Iraq found it to its cost during the Gulf War .

 

Robert Oppeinhemer , the father of atomic bomb had asked a  question that remains pertinent even today, ‘do we need nuclear weapons to prevent ,win,or limit war ? ‚.Nuclear weapons were created in the first place to deter  use by Nazi Germany .Later these were used against Japan to save Americans lives in a costly land operations and kept to deter the ‘other‘ nation. Today with Russia on longer aspiring to a world role, nuclear weapons of the remaining powers no longer perform the role of deterrence. The most likely new role is that of use of these against non nuclear nations.

 

India has been nurturing a viable nuclear option since the early 50s.Her space as well as nuclear power programme was geared to give her a missile based second strike capability by l970s. Though there were slippages, today she has the option to switch to a nuclear deterrence strategy for national defence.

 

POSSIBLE THREATS TO INDIAN SECURITY

 

Currently India faces a nuclear threat from China that has nuclear tipped medium range missiles deployed in Tibet which are targeted at Indian cities. China is also generous with technical and other help to Pakistan for her nuclear programme. Added to this is the fact that China has made no secret of its ambition to dominate South East Asia. Her recent moves in South China sea, her massive naval build up, at an astonishing l3 % per annum, leaves no doubt about the Chinese intentions. Rightly or wrongly and in light of the historical facts, she perceives India as the only obstacle in her path in Asia. Given this perception , it is little wonder that China keeps her nuclear tipped missiles targetted at India and also attempts to prop up Pakistan as her rival. China’s reluctance to solve the eminently solvable border issue, should be seen as an attempt to keep an excuse alive, should need arise to teach India another lesson. .Communist China‘s internal stability is another question mark. If a Soviet style break up is to take place in a brittle nation like China, the danger of spillover of that conflict into India cannot be ruled out. China also has a long standing dispute over Sinkiang with the newly independent Kazakistan . The situation in Central Asia is so full of uncertainties and there are such vast gaps in our knowledge about this region that prediction about this region are no better than astrology. The sum total of the argument is that it will be prudent to assume a Chinese live threat in the coming decades to India‘s security.  

Pakistan with her rudimentary industrial infrastructure has  managed to build a few fission type bombs that she can deliver on Indian cities with her Mirage III, F-l6 aircraft and claims to be able to tip her Ghouri missiles with these.  The former republics of Soviet Union like Kazakistan possess a formidable nuclear establishment. .The direction in which these countries are likely to move, the influence of Pan-Islam movement  and Iran as well as  the Azerbaizan-Armenia rivalry, can collectively or singly have unpredictable consequences for the Asian region. Finally, the US, though geographically far removed from India, has a formidable nuclear presence in the Indian ocean area.            

 

Right at the start of the nuclear era,  when the US had the monopoly over nuclear technology, she had mooted the idea of international control under the Baruch Plan while making the US an arsenal of democracy. NPT regime is the updated version of  the same mindset. Non proliferation of nuclear  weapons is currently very high on the US agenda. 

 

CHOICES BEFORE INDIA

India had three basic choices, sign the NPT and IGNORE the job of countering the Chinese, Central Asian & Pakistani nuclear threat to India‘s security and leave it to conventional armed forces, or exercise the nuclear option and create a deterrence force to take care of the  conventional and nuclear threat and finally continue with the existing policy of neither signing the NPT nor exercising the nuclear option.

Even as the world was moving towards closing the Indian nuclear option, de facto, the for the bureaucracy    dominated decisionmaking process in India,  continued with the nuclear ambiguity.  India got the worst of both the worlds. Till such time that the NPT was not signed, the pressure on India  continued. Dithering by India kept alive the hope that she will eventually succumb to pressure. Since India also did  exercise the nuclear option, the nuclear threats remain un-countered. India continues to depend upon an expensive and import dependent defence posture. .Thus  India continued spending nearly 3 percent of her GNP on defence and yet be as insecure as ever. Historically ,India has the dubious distinction of always fighting wars with outdated weapons. It is therefore little wonder that Indian history can also be called a chronicle of military disasters. Continuing with the policy of nuclear abstention will added  one more chapter to the dismal record.Out of all the three available option this was perhaps the most dangerous one.

Signing the NPT with some safeguards was  a possibility  provided  world restrained the Chinese and Paksitani adventurism in the subcontinent. Instead India found the US forging a ’strategic relationship’ with China and even anointed her a regional (junior) policeman in the Indian subcontinent. There can be no other interpretation of the remarks of the American President in Washington on 11 July 98 while speaking to the National Geographic Society.

 

In l964 after the Chinese nuclear test, there was a serious debate in India about asking for a joint US-Soviet nuclear umbrella. Countries like Japan, Germany and South Korea have been enjoying this privilege and have prospered economically sans the defence burden. Ideally, India would have liked a UN guarantee though.  India is opposed to  the signing of NPT on the grounds that it is discriminatory. Sovereign equality of nations is a myth. Realistically speaking can one really equate say island of Nauru with USA ? The real reason India does not want to sign the NPT is that in absence of any global consensus on non use of force to settle disputes, prudence demands that India be prepared to defend herself.  Much as the West would like to have us believe, that international relations are based on justice, to even a casual observer the opposite appears to be true. India suspects  that the dominance in the field of nuclear weapons may well be  use as lever to pressure non weapon countries in other fields. In the absence of any global consensus on non use of force to settle disputes in the international arena , guns , or more appropriately nukes, remain the last argument of the  PMs / Presidents .

 

Since  India failed to get  reasonable guarantees for her security ,she had no real choice but go and build her own nuclear shield. To allay any fears of aggressive use India may  well agree to even UN teams presence at the weapon site to reinforce the promise  that these will be used only in case of an overt external threat. Nuclear shield is of no use against the low intensity conflicts like the ones currently on in Kashmir. India will have to maintain adequate strength in conventional armed forces to tackle this. But once the strategic threat is taken care of through the nukes, India could well  reduce her heavy armaments . This will besides saving money will also reduce her dependency on imported arms and consequently give her a healthy balance of payments.

Historically India has been and continues to remain a non- expansionist power. Yet next to Israel, it is in a sense a national security state. The cement that holds the Indians together with all their diversity, is the basic realization that Indian disunity was the main cause of her misfortunes in history.  Pushed to the wall, Indians are quite capable of great sacrifices in the cause of the nation as was so vividly seen by the world in l962 when the Chinese invaded India. It is quite likely that irrational and unjust international pressures in the wake of nuclear tests at Pokhran in May 1998, may  well generate a similar groundswell.

CURRENT INDIAN POSTURE.

India appears to have settled for a nuclear posture that seeks to keep her options open by developing an `across the board’ capability in thermonuclear and nuclear weapons as also fail safe and ‘survivable’ delivery vehicles. Since India is not a signatory to the NPT she is under no treaty obligation to desist from development of nuclear weapons. In this respect her postion is diferrent than Iraq or North Korea, both being signatories of NPT. The negotiations on comprehensive test ban (CTB) is posed a dilemma as not having tested a thermonuclear weapon , Indian claim to retain its option will appeared meaningless. The test of a thermonuclear trigger device on 11 May has rectified this. 

The threat to India in signing the CTBT was at two levels, a danger of future nuclear blackmail to stop economic progress and second to deny access to future energy source.

India may conducted a thermonuclear test to develop the technology to make hydrogen bomb should the need arise. Having tested , she can sign the CTBT with a proviso that India will continue laboratory experiments in controlled fusion. India will also continue to remain away from NPT. As an assurance of her peaceful intention India could give a ‘verifiable‘ no first use guarantee. On the issue of production of fissionable material cutoff, Indian position would  be in line with that of UK, France and China, namely that India will begin cutting back its weapon related fissile material stocks once the levels of USA and Russia reduce their obscenely large weapon stocks.

India recognises  the necessity for a weak Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of deterring superior Indian conventional armed strength. But India will build confidence in Pakistan that while she will not be the first to use these weapons, should Pakistan use even a single one , India will carryout complete and total destruction of Pakistan  with a guaranteed 80% kill.

In this posture Indian strategy of ‘ambiguity‘ will be confined only to our ‘intentions‘. There would  be nothing ambiguous about Indian capability (not just potential). To rescue Indian ambiguity from being reduced to a ‘bluff‘ , India needed to carry out a ‘diagnostic‘ thermo- nuclear test. This Indian position does not threaten any one and yet safeguards long term Indian interests. 

At a parliamentary consultative committee meeting on February 1, 1996, the then PM Mr Narisinmha Rao who is also the Defence Minister, confirmed this stance. At this meeting India also declared its intention to go ahead with its missile programme.

In everything except open declaration, India has adopted a nuclear posture in line with China, France and UK ie keeping a ‘dissuasive‘ nuclear capability till nuclear weapons are eliminated from the world.

MEAURES TO ELIMINATE THE NUCLEAR MENACE

It is dangerous to treat nuclear weapons as useless. If possible, a Noble peace prize should have been given to the first atomic bomb that has kept peace for the last 50 years. The US will never give up its nuclear weapons as long as it perceives a threat to its security. The US will also never give a no fist use assurance. Two points are important in this- one is the US psyche and second the US believes, if threatened , in being ruthless. If a person doesn‘t understand this then he has not understood the US, the world‘s most law abiding yet ruthless nation.

NPT is a selective arms control measure that does not address many issues. But these issues need to be clearly defined by India. Whole world agrees that the earth should be protected from the weapons that threaten all. Control is possible through world government, but all agree that it is not likely to take shape too soon, unless there is a dramatic change like an extra terrestrial threat et al. Therefore planning must be based on realistic possibilities. What can be done then ?

a) Nuclear weapon powers should drastically reduce their weapons to show that they are serious.

b) Universal regime of fissile material accountability-neither freeze nor cap but transparency.

c)transparency in missile production .

d)same about aircraft.

e)in a ten years time frame if the above takes place then the threshold powers should declare their assets and join the club.

TIME TABLE TO LESSEN THREATS TO MANKIND.

 

1998     

I    NUCLEAR WEAPON POWERS

a) Begin discussions on reducing NWs and ratify  CTBT.

b) Threshold powers may attend but need not participate.

         

         II   FISSILE MATERIAL.

            a) Commence discussion on control. Keynote transparency and protection of commercial interests.

b) All producers to attend.

         III MISSILE MANUFACTURE AND CONTROL.

      a) Commence discussions on Missile manufacture control treaty (MMC) keynote transparency and protection of  commercial interest.

b)  All missile producers to attend.

        IV   NON NUCLEAR WEAPON STATES.

    

     a) Commence discussion on NPT in light of progress made in          areas I to III.

b) All non nuclear nations to attend.

     c) Threshold powers to discuss desirability of declaring                  status and joining the club.

        

       V    MAJOR CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS.

    

a) Discuss the need to control sale and manufacture of

i) Fighter bomber aircraft.

ii) Armed helicopters.

iii) Heavy Guns and tanks

iv) Mines

     b) Same parameters as fissile and missile control. Keynote          transparency.

      

      VI    SUPERVISION REGULATION AND VERIFICATION.

    

a) UN to be kept informed.

b) Discuss role composition and powers of the supervisory          body.

THE COMPLETION OF ABOVE PROCESS NEEDS AT LEAST FIVE YEARS.

 

2001 AD

NUCLEAR WEAPON POWERS.

Agreement on phased reduction of NWs, finalization of fissile material and missile production control.

FISSILE MATERIAL

All nations accept open policy on manufacture, storage , sale and inspection.

NON NUCLEAR STATES

Satisfied with the progress on items above all nations sign NPT as non weapon states. Threshold powers with independent capability given option to join as weapon states.

MAJOR CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS.

All nations accept open policy on sale and manufacture on the lines of current norms on ICBM testing.

SUPERVISION,VERIFICATION AND REGULATION

UN approval and setting up of organization to carry out the tasks. All nations have to cumpulsorily forced to accept.

 

2006 AD.

 

Reduction of NWs, FMC and MMC treaties implemented

All nations accept mandatory sanctions against treaty violations including use of force if necessary. A re organized UN creates a strategic force under joint command to implement the treaties and also to defend earth against extra terrestrial threat if any.

Key questions

1 Who will organize these deliberations ?

2 Who will bear the cost ?

3 How will the implementation cost be borne ? ( A world Tax ?).

 

The time frame may well appear unduly optimistic. It can well be streched to even two decades. The proposal also offers flexibility as the process can linger on at any one phase without detriment to any one. The two most important points are , a it forces the nuclear haves to make a commitment and pay a price and secondly it attempts to tackle the whole gamut of use of force and not merely nuclear weapons. Piecemeal approach is unlikely to work as the arms race will merely shift into other areas.

CONCLUSION

The fact is that while India is opposed to the nuclear weapons,she has built up a formidable nuclear capability. A creative Indian response to the nuclear question has been lacking.This is an attempt to provide an Indian alternative to the discriminatory, partial and ineffective NPT.

Most Indians agree on the issue of India keeping her options open as long as nuclear weapons exist anywhere in the world. But since she has not provided an alternative, there is a danger of India being  isolated.

Ideas and alternatives that have been  thrown up in this  discussion have one singular aim, how do we create the restraint of the cold war era without the nuclear terror. Undoubtedly this restraint was one aspect of the cold war that is missed much today. Recreating this to control nuclear weapon menace is the real challenge before us. Even the nuclear weapons powers should welcome this as nuclear threat has never worked. Even when it appeared to have worked against India in 1971, the real reasons were weaknesses in the Indian decisionmaking structure  or Indians having second thoughts on the course of action rather than the threat itself.  So when the nuclear weapon powers give up the option to use nuclear threats except in self defence, they in reality give up nothing. National arsenals can remain but an international force to be subscribed to by Japan , Germany, India , Sweden et al can be created that can act as the global nuclear policeman. A limited world consensus for control of nuclear menace is the only realistic remedy to rid the world of this perpetual menace to humanity.

 

              ----------------------------------------

 

NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Most of the the ideas and arguments given in this paper were first put forward at a University of Pune seminar in February 1994 and during a discussion on  NPT on 18 March 1995. For a complete exposition of the view of authors on this subject, readers may refer to “Nuclear Menace: The Satyagraha Approach” published in May 1997.

 

l. Jungk Robert, BRIGHTER THAN THOUSAND SUNS,Penguin Books, Middlessex, England et al,1960. pp 83-l0l. 

The logic of scientists who feared the Germans getting the atom bomb first was based on the fact that as Germany had taken on the might of the whole world it must have been on the basis of the ‚ultimate weapon‘ as atom bomb was referred to. The constant German propaganda about ‚secret weapon‘ further reinforced this fear.

2.Ibid, pp 147-158.

Gilpin Robert,AMERICAN SCIENTISTS AND NUCLEAR WEAPON POLICY,Princetoin University Press,Princeton NJ,1962.pp. 39-49.

3. Kothari D S,NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND THEIR EFFECTS, Publications Division Govt of India, New Delhi,1959.

Gilpin, op. cit. p.40. „---- on the basis of World War II  experience ,strategic bombing was so ineffective in comparison to the effort expended that its future was actually in doubt—„

Quester George H , NUCLEAR DIPLOMACY : THE FIRST TWENTY FIVE YEARS, Dunellen Pub Co Inc, New York, 1970. pp. 1-9.

4 Brodie Bernard, STRATEGY IN MISSILE AGE, Princeton University Press <Princeton , NJ, 1959.

5.Kahn Herman, ON THERMONUCLEAR WAR, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1960.

Agakhan Sadruddin (Ed),NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND CLIMATIC CATASTROPHE : SOME POLICY IMPLICATIONS, Claredon Press, Oxford et al, 1986.pp.242-255.

Keller C M et al (Ed), NUCLEAR DETERRENCE : NEW RISKS -NEW OPPORTUNITIES, Peragamon-Brasey‘s, Washington et al, 1986. Chapter V.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, vol 244, no 4, Apr 1981, „Catastrophic Release of Radio Activity „ by Fetter S A & Tsipis K , pp. 33-39.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, VOL 251,NO 2, Aug 1984, „The climatic effects of nuclear war“, by Turco R P et al, pp. 27-29. 

INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE REVIEW, vol 14,no 9,“Nuclear fallout the real deterrent“ by Lt Col Hamming N, p.1120.

One megaton explosion will make a crater 400 feet deep and 1200 feet in diameter. At the maximum acceptable dose of 2 Rems per annum, 1200 sq miles of land will become unfit for living for one year.Even today 367,000 Japanese still suffer the effects of radiation in the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing of 1945.Chromosome and genetic damage due to sub threshold radiation is still not fully understood or researched.

Even if only 40 % of the world nuclear arsenals explode the awesome emission will exceed 100 million metric tonnes. If spread uniformly over the globe , 95% of the sunlight will be blocked. Even considering the lower level threshold nuclear war involving ‚only‘ 100 Mt weapons , the effect in short term will be akin to nuclear war involving 10,000 Mt weapons. Difference will only be in the duration for which the effect will last.

Resistance to acceptance of apocalyptic pronouncements regarding the effects of nuclear war are due to, fortunately, ‚theoretical ‚ nature of the study, psychological denial of reality syndrome and need of the politicians to justify the arms race making the nuclear war and nuclear weapons thinkable.

6 Jacobson Carl G (Ed) THE UNCERTAIN COURSE, SIPRI, Oxford University Press, Oxford et al , 1987.

Brewer Garry D & Shubik M , THE WAR GAME: A CRITIQUE OF MILITARY PROBLEM SOLVING,Harvard University Press, Cambridge , Mass, 1979.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS,vol 32 , no 2, Jan 1954, „Nuclear weapons :strategic and tactical“,Brodie Bernard, pp. 217-229. FOREIGN AFFAIRS, vol 34 , no 2, Jan 1956, „ Atoms , strategy & policy“,by Nitze Paul,pp. 187-195.

Stability was not a product of nuclear stalemate between the USA & USSR but of technology that made its use impossible.

7. Gerard Chaliand, REVOLUTION IN THE THIRD WORLD, Penguin ,New York et al,1978.

Osgood  Robert E , LIMITED WAR, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1957.

Griffith Samuel F,trans, MAO TSE TUNG ON GUERRILLA WARFARE, Holt,Rinehart & Winston,New York,1961.

8. Bhattacharya KC, „SWARAJ IN IDEAS“, Indian Philosophical Quarterly, issue

9.ARTHASHASTRA, Shamasastry Dr R [trans], Wesleyan Press, Mysore, 1923.

10.POWER AND INTERDEPENDENCE,Keohane Robert and Nye Joseph S, Little Brown & Co , Boston & Toranto, 1977.

11.PACIFIC AFFAIRS VOL XV MARCH 1942, Kate Michell.‘India‘s economic potential“.

12.ECONOMIC TIMES 7 FEB 1988,p.8,‘India can become economic super power‘.

13.STUDY OF WAR, Wright Quincy, Chicago University Press, 1967.    

14.ARMS AND INFLUENCE, Schilling Thomas S, Yale University Press, 1966.

15.POPULATION , POLITICS AND FUTURE OF SOUTHERN ASIA, Burki Javed et al [ed], Columbia University Press , New York , i983.

16.       Extensive use has been made of research done in the Ministry of Defence , War Studies Division, where the Dr. (Colonel ) Anil Athale served as a Joint Director from 1986-1990.

17.       MILITARY POLICY AND NATIONAL SECURITY. W Kaufmann (Ed),

18.       THE BALANCE OF TERROR, Edgar Bottome,Beacon Press , Boston, 1986.

19.       THE BOMB:A NUCLEAR HISTORY, Corinne Brown and Robert Munroe, Sterling Pub, New Delhi, 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS.

Lt. Gen. E. A Vas. A former Eastern Army Commander and an author of several books on security and related issues. Prominent works include a trilogy on violence in society, book on Bhutan , Kashmir and an autobiography ‘FOOLS AND INFANTRYMEN.

Maj. Gen. K.S. Pendse , former Director financial planning Army Headquarters is a thinker on socio economic issues and a frequent contributor to professional journals. He is member of executive committee.

Dr. (Colonel) A. A. Athale worked on official history of Sino Indian war, Mizo insurgency  and Sri Lanka. He has co-authored books on Arab Israeli Wars and Moshe Dayan. His forthcoming work is on Anglo Maratha wars of the 19th century. His book on Kashmir was released by General KVK Rao, the Governor of J&K in April 97. .

This paper  was a result of work carried out at Indian Initiative for Peace, Arms control and Disarmament (INPAD). The authors are founder members of this organisation that is affiliated to Bhartiya Vidya Bahavan , Pune 411016 (India).