Tag Archives: India China

Exclusive Membership: India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group

Akash missile fiired from Chandipur Orissa India

President Barack Obama, on June 2016, came out in support of Indian membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which led other nations including Mexico and Switzerland to suggest they, too, were on board. Diplomats in Vienna suggested on June 9, 2016 that India is closer than ever to joining the NSG, despite never fulfilling the requirement of signing a global treaty aimed at preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons…

India has already managed to secure access to nuclear fuel and technology to build power plants it says it needs to boost energy capacity and drive economic growth for the nation of 1.25 billion people.  Analysts say joining the NSG is chiefly a matter of pride and desire to be taken seriously by some of the world’s most powerful nations. Since prompting international technology sanctions and limits on exports by conducting nuclear tests in 1998, India has been eager to gain legitimacy as a nuclear power…

India already has deals with more than eight countries for supplies of uranium, and has signed agreements for reactors with France, Russia and the United States.

India scored a major victory in 2008, under Modi’s predecessor, by securing a waiver from United States allowing it access to nuclear technology and fuel despite its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But progress in deals to build new nuclear plants since then has stalled.

For months, Indian officials have crisscrossed the globe to gather support for New Delhi’s entry into the NSG, the 48-member group that controls access to technology used in making atomic weapons.

This week, Obama hailed India’s membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime, a group that restricts the export of missiles and their delivery systems….India continues to refuse to sign the nonproliferation treaty, arguing that it is discriminatory since it defines nuclear weapon states as those that tested nuclear devices before January 1967 — which would disqualify India from ever becoming a member.

Nevertheless, Obama called on governments participating in the NSG to support India’s application to the group when it meets in June 2016 in Seoul, South Korea….India’s admission to the nuclear club is further complicated because Pakistan, its archrival, also wants to join. Indian analysts said China may be persuaded to ease its position against India’s membership in NSG  if it is offered something in exchange, for example, being allowed to join the Missile Technology Control Regime. China’ s 2004 application for membership was denied on suspicion that some Chinese companies were secretly supplying missile technology to North Korea.

“It is possible China may now seek some kind of bargain, whereby it is given entry to the MTCR in return for letting India get into the NSG,” Praveen Swami said in the Indian Express newspaper.

Excerpts from India’s Bid to Join Nuclear Supplier Group a Point of Pride, Associate Press, June 10, 2016

The Andaman Islands as a Chokepoint of China

Andaman. image wikipedia

Hawks in Delhi who are suspicious of Chinese long-term aims say bluntly that India and its friends will acquire some sway over China only once the Andamans are treated as a “chokepoint”, a place to disrupt Chinese trade in the event of any future confrontation. Four-fifths of Chinese oil imports go through the strait. Chinese naval strategists warn of Indian designs to drop an “iron curtain” there…. Certainly, activity on the islands is growing. An air base that opened two years ago in Campbell Bay, Great Nicobar, has taken Indian military aircraft 300km closer than before to the Malacca Strait. Other airstrips are reportedly being built or lengthened to handle big aircraft, including the Hercules transport plane. Airfields for helicopters will follow. The navy wants to deploy drones to track passing ships. New coastguard stations serve a similar purpose. Regular naval exercises with neighbours are interspersed with big international training manoeuvres hosted in the Andamans and named “Millan”. The most recent involved 17 navies in a disaster-relief exercise meant to mark a decade after the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Such expansion, however, lacks clear purpose. The Andamans have a population of 400,000 and can support a large military presence only with difficulty. Communications are poor—at least until a long-promised submarine cable from the mainland arrives. And the economy is dependent on money and goods from mainland India. Mr Singh argues that for the Andamans to become robust, their economy must first develop. For that, he wants a big boost to tourism, including direct flights from Phuket in Thailand, only 45 minutes’ flying time away. Fisheries should also grow. One businessman in Port Blair shows off a haul of several dozen carcasses of huge yellowfin tuna. Yet real development faces all sorts of hurdles. They include a lack of available land because of strict—and certainly necessary—protection for indigenous tribal groups and valuable rainforest. India may yet develop the islands into a big military asset, but it has to balance the interests of civilians, too. It is going to be a slow boat.

The Andaman Islands: From outpost to springboard, Economist, Sept. 13, 2014, at 46

See also Bay of Bengal, Indigenous Peoples Andaman Islands

India’s Nuclear Submarines

India has made another leap in its seemingly inexorable rise to military superpower by formally commissioning a Russian-made nuclear submarine.At a coastal naval base in Visakhapatnam, India’s defense minister commissioned the INS Chakra II vessel”This will be a big boost for the Indian navy,” Antony told reporters at the ceremony.  “The INS Chakra will ensure security and sovereignty of the country.”  The $1 billion, 8,140-tonne submarine, which can fire torpedoes, as well as nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, was leased by Moscow for a period of ten years…..

The Indian government is nearly finished developing its own Arihant-class nuclear-powered submarine. The leased Russian sub will likely be used to help train Indian crews on the intricacies of submarine operation and technology. Both crafts are expected to be on patrol by the end of the year.  “Our crews will get the experience of operating under water for several months at a go, unlike with the conventional diesel electric submarines, which have to come to surface at regular intervals,” a navy official told the Press Trust of India.

According to reports, India is anxious to upgrade its maritime fleet in order to compete with the Chinese Navy, which India views as a threat to, among other things, its energy security in the region and access to key shipping lanes.  India decommissioned its last Russian-made vessel in 1991.  India has promised not to arm the submarines with nuclear weapons, only cruise missiles, in honor of international non-proliferation and security treaties.

However, Pakistan is reportedly alarmed by India’s embrace of nuclear submarine technology, warning it could lead to a dangerous arms race in South Asia.  In response to Pakistan’s fears, Antony told Indian media: “India does not believe in [an] arms race. We are not a confrontationist nation. We are a peace-loving nation….but, at the same time, the armed forces will be strengthened to meet any challenge. We have a vast land border. We have more than 7500 [kilometers] of coastline… We have to protect the sea lanes of our core area of interest.”….

Only five other nations on earth — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US. — have deployed nuclear submarines.  According to the World Nuclear Association, the U.S. has, by far, the most nuclear-powered submarines, with a fleet of 71. Russia is a distant second at 21; while China is believed to have ten.

Excerpt, By Palash R. Ghosh, India Joins Nuclear Submarine Community; Pakistan Alarmed, April 4, 2012