Indian nuclear expansion can lead to ‘deterrence failure’

Published: August 29, 2017
Harvard scholar notes how western analysts, govts ignore New Delhi’s growing fissile programme. PHOTO: REUTERS

Harvard scholar notes how western analysts, govts ignore New Delhi’s growing fissile programme. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: An inherent bias towards India over Pakistan has led the world to turn a virtual blind eye to New Delhi’s alarming nuclear expansion, which poses a threat to world peace and security.

This was stated by Dr Mansoor Ahmed, a post-doctoral fellow at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard-Kennedy School who specializes in strategic stability dynamics in South Asia. He was speaking at a round-table conference at the Strategic Vision Institute on ‘FMCT and Global Fissile Material Inventories’.

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Dr Ahmed said that India was aiming to become a major nuclear player in the world and was thus exponentially expanding its nuclear and delivery capabilities.

“The central pillar of their strategy is their ability to produce greater quantities of unguarded (not covered under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards) fissile material stockpiles. … This is an emerging threat for countries such as China and possibly the United States in next 10-15 years,” Dr Ahmed said.

He explained that to implement this strategy, India has military nuclear reactors, unsafeguarded power reactors, an enrichment programme and a breeder programme.

The scholar stressed that there was a need to independently verify fissile material produced by India’s unsafeguarded programme and how much of this material has been converted into weapons grade while taking into account the full potential of India’s existing and planned capacity. He regretted how the global focus, with respect to nuclear programmes, remains fixated on Pakistan owing to a narrative that it has the world’s fastest growing programme. But Dr Ahmed clarified that this was not true.

The western scholars, he observed, “cherry-pick” information all the while applying different standards to Pakistan and India, while making such assessments.

In Pakistan’s case, analysts, he said, project that Pakistan’s entire fissile material has been converted into weapons, whereas the yardstick for India is different.

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“India outstrips Pakistan in fissile material production exponentially,” he maintained adding that no other non-NPT state is increasing its fissile material stocks like India is.

“India is actively building capabilities which are far in excess of its immediate requirement for minimum deterrence and it is no coincidence that Indians are changing their stated nuclear posture from counter-value to counterforce capability.”

Pakistan’s stockpiles, Dr Ahmed said, were barely enough for meeting requirements of its existing delivery systems.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Kulbhushan yadav
    Aug 29, 2017 - 10:27AM

    Mansoor Lets talk abour AQ Khan shall we?Recommend

    Aug 29, 2017 - 10:43AM

    Ok. You had your 2 minutes of fame in Pakistan. Now go back to your day job and praise CPEC.Recommend

  • Bob Chandra
    Aug 29, 2017 - 10:47AM

    Dr Ahmed and Pakistan are having so much heat from any defense and nuclear related developments by India while having no complaints for the same developments on a large scale by China.what a bias article for and on behalf of the Pakistani government which can not do anything against India but complain and cry.You guys do not have to worry about India’s nuclear advancement since your big brother will help you.Maybe not after the Doklam misadventure by the Chinese against India.Recommend

  • Harinder Singh
    Aug 29, 2017 - 11:57AM

    India will not be stopped now. For nearly a millennium, India had been plundered and pillaged. Those days must never return. Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Aug 29, 2017 - 12:30PM

    Just some time back Pakistanis were gloating that they had more nukes than India? Why the sudden change of heartRecommend

  • Komal S
    Aug 29, 2017 - 2:17PM

    Harvard scholar Dr. Mansoor Ahmed, enough said. Recommend

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