17 September 2008

India's own Daryl Kimball

Daryl Kimball, well-known to readers of this blog, has an evil twin in India. His name is Brahma Chellaney. While Kimball blasts the Nuclear Suppliers Group waiver for India as a "proliferation disaster" which will unleash a new round of nuclear weapon tests by Delhi, Chellaney attacks the NSG waiver as "a self-injurious deal" which will prevent India from completing "the unfinished task of deterrent-building".

Er, what exactly is "the unfinished task of deterrent-building"?

Tests. Loads of them. After the deal, India can't have them, says Chellaney.

So which of the 'evil' twins should we believe? I think both Kimball and Chellaney are wrong as well as right. Kimball is right when he says the deal will leave Indian hotheads free to go for a maximalist nuclear arsenal. What Kimball doesn't get is that Indian hotheads are free to do this anyway. Chellaney is right to apprehend that the nuclear deal will increase the financial and economic consequences of testing. What he doesn't get is that the NSG waiver offers Indian hotheads a potential layer of protection to ride out fuel sanctions in the event of a cut-off following testing -- strategic reserves. For, contrary to his assertion that "the NSG waiver is in harmony with the Hyde Act, mirroring its core conditions", there is no restriction on the amount of fuel India can stockpile.

So what's the bottom line?

1. The nuclear deal does not take away India's "right" to conduct nuclear tests.
2. It does raise the potential costs of testing but also offers a potential layer of protection as well.
3. India's decision to exercise the "right" to test in the future will not be affected by the deal either way but by changes in the country's security environment, the world situation, and domestic political and economic trends, in much the same way as the 1998 tests were.
4. Pressure should be mounted on the one country most likely to test in the next decade -- the United States -- to ratify the CTBT and drop its plans for new nuclear weapons.

In other words, the twins should go after other villains.

7 comments:

Thuringian said...

I wonder what J. Kimbal has to say about this!!!

J Kimball said...

Good timing!

In fact I had considered adopting S. Chellaney (S for Shiva) name for this blog...

In my opinion, Indian Software Industry has great reputation. So, further testing or not, this reputation will make other N powers believe that India is using software modelling to refine its nuclear arsenal and delivery - effectively a good deterrent.

So, overall, N waiver is a good thing for India. This waiver leaves options other than USA for India to acquire fuel and reactors.

Other benefits of the Waiver and the US deal (if 123 passes), is possible import of other dual-use technologies that will help India in other sectors including Bio, Defence and Space.

More N&P (Nuclear & Political) Power to India and more E (Electric) Power to Indians. What can be better than this!

Ludwig said...

> So what's the bottom line?

> 1. The nuclear deal does
> not take away India's
> "right" to conduct nuclear
> tests.
> 2. It does raise the
> potential costs of testing...

Finally. Have been waiting ages to hear this being said in almost exactly those words. Thanks!

It's not about the right to test. It's about the consequences of testing. Ja?

Harpal said...

Herr Ludwig - I think the blogspot's point numbers 3 and 4 to be most salutary

i.e.

>3. India's decision to exercise the "right" to test in the future will not be affected by the deal either way but by changes in the country's security environment, the world situation, and domestic political and economic trends, in much the same way as the 1998 tests were.
>4. Pressure should be mounted on the one country most likely to test in the next decade -- the United States -- to ratify the CTBT and drop its plans for new nuclear weapons.

vishnup said...

Reading yesterday’s article really worried me. if the deal goes through, which looks likely, we should get reactors from other countries and build a strategic reserve from them. As we do not have separate restrictions on enrichment and reprocessing technology exports we should start working with countries in getting them.

BTW Sid, thanks a lot for the coverage. Way to go.

Anonymous said...

"Pressure should be mounted on the one country most likely to test in the next decade -- the United States -- to ratify the CTBT and drop its plans for new nuclear weapons."

If the US (or any other other member of the P5) does not on its own pre or post announce a weapons test, particularly of the low yield variety, does India have the technical capability to detect the event, and then decide its response?

Anonymous said...

>>If the US (or any other other member of the P5) does not on its >>own pre or post announce a >>weapons test, particularly of >>the low yield variety, does >>India have the technical >>capability to detect the event, >>and then decide its response?

Excellent point. The entire laser and pulsed power based stockpile
stewardship program of US, France and Britain is based on the premise
that it will be sufficient to conduct such sub-critical tests for the weapons life-extension
programs without testing. Note that even China with its SG-2/3 laser program is also actively
pursuing this approach.