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’.
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.
“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.