I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them. -

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004

NSG Revises List, Continues India Debate

Daniel Horner

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has completed a revision of its list of controlled exports, the group announced in Prague on June 14 at the end of its annual plenary meeting.

At the meeting, representatives of the 48 member states continued to wrestle with the question of whether to admit India as a member, according to people familiar with the discussions. President Barack Obama proposed that step during a visit to India in November 2010. (See ACT, December 2010.)

The revision of the list, which covers nuclear-specific and dual-use goods, took three years to complete, the June 14 statement said.

The lists “are not static” and must keep up with “the main security challenges, advances in technology, [and] market trends,” said Veronika Kuchyňová Šmigolová, head of the Czech permanent mission to international organizations in Vienna and the chair of the NSG for the coming year, in a June 25 e-mail to Arms Control Today. After last year’s meeting in Seattle, U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman, the 2012-2013 NSG chairman, said completing the review was his highest priority. (See ACT, July/August 2012.)

The country that chairs the NSG starts its term by hosting the plenary meeting. The group is not a formal organization, and its guidelines are not binding, but members are expected to incorporate the guidelines into their national export control laws.

The June 14 statement said that the meeting participants discussed the role of the private sector in preventing proliferation and how NSG members could interact with companies that export nuclear goods.

In her e-mail, Kuchyňová highlighted the importance of companies’ internal compliance programs to ensure that the firms “do not inadvertently violate national laws and thereby subject themselves to sanctions and reputational damage.” Interaction with the private sector is “an important focus of our outreach,” she said.

Another target of her outreach efforts will be “non-NSG supplier states, including India, Pakistan and Israel,” she said. Those three countries never have joined the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and maintain unsafeguarded nuclear programs.

In September 2008, in a move led by the United States, the NSG eased long-standing restrictions on nuclear trade with India by the group’s members. NSG rules generally forbid the sale of nuclear goods, such as reactors and fuel, to non-NPT countries.

With those restrictions lifted, Indian membership in the NSG is the “next logical step,” Ashley Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said in a June 21 interview. While in the U.S. government, Tellis was a principal architect of the U.S. policy shift toward India that led to the 2008 NSG decision and a similar change in U.S. law.

Like the 2008 decision, the idea of admitting India is controversial within the NSG, which makes its decisions by consensus. The issue of Indian membership “raises some very difficult questions and needs to be discussed further,” a western European diplomat said in a June 26 interview. Tellis and the diplomat each listed France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States among the strong supporters of Indian membership and China as a leading opponent.

A key criterion for NSG membership is that a country is a party to and complying with the NPT or a nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaty. India would be the first country that did not meet that criterion.

A British discussion paper on Indian membership argues that the NSG process for accepting new members “offer[s] the flexibility” to allow India to join. In the paper, which was obtained by Arms Control Today, the United Kingdom said it “believes that the NSG is best served by the inclusion and membership of India” because New Delhi has “an important civil nuclear industry” and “continues to uphold the international non-proliferation architecture.”

Tellis said that, with the 2008 decision, “the debate about principle is over.” The countries that were uneasy about admitting a non-NPT state with a nuclear weapons program “conceded” on the principle at that time, he said. “At the end of the day, they’ll make the same judgment they did in 2008,” he predicted.

The western European diplomat said his country is approaching the issue “with an open mind” but wants “a serious discussion” that “com[es] to grips with the implications” of the decision, for example, what it would mean for the implementation of NSG guidelines.

He said it might be possible to find a formulation that is not “damaging” to the NPT regime but “brings India closer.” India could “take a couple of steps toward the NPT community,” he said. One example would be signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, an “extremely high-value symbolic step” that would have little immediate practical effect on India, in part because the treaty has not entered into force and will not do so until India and seven other key countries have ratified it, he said. Also, he said, there already are other legal and political constraints on India’s ability to conduct a nuclear test.

The June 14 statement did not provide any information on the India discussions, repeating the language used in 2011 and last year. Kuchyňová also declined to provide details.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group completed a revision of its list of controlled exports and continued its internal debate on admitting India as a member.

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at 45

President Lyndon Johnson looking on as Secretary of State Dean Rusk prepares to sign the NPT, 1 July 1968.(Source: Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.) By Daryl G. Kimball Forty-five years ago today, the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and dozens of other countries signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) at ceremonies in Washington, Moscow, and London. In his remarks at the July 1, 1968 signing ceremony , U.S. President Lyndon Johnson called it "... a very reassuring and hopeful moment in the relations among nations. We hope and expect that virtually all the...

Indian Missile Defense Program Advances

Eric Auner

India is pressing ahead with its work on missile defense, conducting its latest successful test last November and preparing to test a new kind of interceptor early this year.

In its Nov. 23 announcement of the test earlier that day, India said it had demonstrated the ability to intercept multiple incoming missiles. The test, which was the latest in a series dating to 2006, follows several tests in 2012 of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, including the successful launch in April of the 5,000-kilometer-range Agni-5. (See ACT, May 2012.)

India also has tested the sea-launched version of the hypersonic Brahmos cruise missile, jointly developed with Russia. In addition, air- and submarine-launched versions of the Brahmos missile are in development.

Indian media reports suggest that a test of a new high-altitude anti-missile interceptor will occur in January and that India may soon test a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) for the first time, bringing the country closer to possessing a triad of nuclear weapons delivery systems. (See ACT, September 2012.)

India’s nuclear-armed neighbors, China and Pakistan, have significant cruise and ballistic missile capabilities. China has taken steps to acquire missile defense capabilities although Pakistan apparently has not attempted to do so. In the past, Pakistan has justified its pursuit of cruise missiles by citing their supposed invulnerability to Indian ballistic missile defenses. China possesses SLBMs, and China and Pakistan are able to deliver nuclear weapons by airplane.

The Chinese and Pakistani reaction to Indian missile defense developments is not yet clear, said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, a senior fellow at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation. “The new capabilities and counter-capabilities add to the already vexed issue of arms race[s] in Asia,” Rajagopalan, a former assistant director of India’s National Security Council Secretariat, said in a Dec. 19 e-mail to Arms Control Today.

In a Dec. 19 analysis for the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, where he is a senior fellow, Vivek Kapur, a group captain in the Indian air force, said that “ballistic missile proliferation in India’s neighbourhood requires the development of a more capable” missile defense system.

In the Nov. 23 press release, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Indian government entity responsible for developing offensive and defensive missile and other systems, said the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor destroyed a target missile, a modified Prithvi ballistic missile, at an altitude of 15 kilometers.

The interceptor and target missile were launched from sites in Orissa, a state in the eastern part of the country. In the press release, the DRDO said it had demonstrated an ability to track and destroy multiple incoming ballistic missiles.

Rajagopalan said India’s efforts are “primarily driven by the threat of short-range missiles in Pakistan”; Chinese missile threats “did not figure prominently in the Indian calculation for a missile defence shield,” she said.

The Pakistani government has not issued an official reaction to the AAD interceptor test. Pakistan, however, successfully tested a nuclear-capable Hatf-5, a 1,300-kilometer-range ballistic missile, on Nov. 28. A Pakistani statement following the test of the Hatf-5, also known as the Ghauri, did not mention India specifically, but said the test “strengthens and consolidates Pakistan’s deterrence capability.” According to the DRDO, the Nov. 23 AAD test demonstrated a capability to intercept ballistic missiles with a range of 1,500 kilometers.

Two-Tiered Defense

India is pursuing a two-tiered missile defense shield, which would give it multiple opportunities to intercept incoming missiles. The AAD interceptor comprises the lower tier, and the higher-altitude, two-stage Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) interceptor currently comprises the upper tier. Like the U.S. Patriot system, both of these Indian systems intercept ballistic missiles in the so-called terminal phase, in which the incoming missiles are descending toward their target.

India first tested the AAD interceptor in December 2007 and, according to the Indian government, has conducted several subsequent tests. India first tested the higher-altitude Prithvi interceptor in November 2006 and again in March 2009. The test reportedly planned for January is of the Prithvi Defence Vehicle, which would be capable of interceptions at a much higher altitude than the PAD interceptor, and may eventually replace that interceptor as the upper tier of the Indian system.

The Indian government has not announced the area that the missile defense system is designed to protect. Media reports have indicated that New Delhi and Mumbai will be the first sites, with the system expanded to protect additional cities later in the decade.

According to the DRDO press release, the AAD interceptor used an explosive warhead to destroy the target missile as the interceptor approached it. In contrast, most U.S. missile defense systems, including the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense and sea-based Aegis systems, rely on “hit-to-kill” interceptors that destroy a target solely through impact.

Eyeing Iron Dome

In addition to developing an anti-ballistic missile capability, India has expressed an interest in purchasing and perhaps producing a domestic variant of the Israeli Iron Dome anti-rocket system, according to the U.S.-based Defense News. The Israel Defense Forces claim Iron Dome successfully intercepted 84 percent of rockets fired at Israeli population centers last November during Operation Pillar of Defense, which was intended to halt rocket attacks from groups in Gaza.

In the past, India has expressed interest in purchasing the Israeli Arrow-2 ballistic missile defense system. New Delhi bought two Israeli Green Pine missile defense radars, used for tracking incoming ballistic missiles, in 2002 and 2005. The Swordfish Long Range Tracking Radar, which was used in the AAD test, is based in part on the Green Pine radar.

India and the United States pursued missile defense cooperation during the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, but such efforts have been less prominent under the Obama administration. Last July, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said India and the United States intend to discuss missile defense cooperation, calling it “an important future area for our cooperation.” India and the United States should discuss the issue “strategically before they discuss it technically,” he said.

India's defensive missile program continues to move forward with a successful launch at the end of last year and a test of a new interceptor planned for early this year.

India Moves Closer to Nuclear Triad

Kelsey Davenport

India announced the successful development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in July, bringing the country one step closer to completing the strategic nuclear triad, which also includes the ability to deliver warheads via land-based missiles and bombers.

On July 31, at a yearly awards ceremony for the defense sector, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presented an award to A.K. Chakrabarti of India’s Defence Research and Development Laboratory for the “successful development” of India’s first SLBM system. India has been working on producing its first SLBM, the K-15, for a number of years, conducting the first undersea trial of the weapon in February 2008, although tests of components probably began much earlier. (See ACT, April 2008.)

The K-15 has a range of at least 290 kilometers and can carry a 1,000-kilogram payload, according to a 2009 report by the U.S. Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center. Media accounts from the 2008 test place the range closer to 750 kilometers.

Only four other countries—China, France, Russia, and the United States—have the capability to produce SLBMs. Although the United Kingdom deploys such missiles, they are produced in the United States.

The K-15 is likely to require further testing before becoming fully operational, according to Indian defense officials. The missile has been tested from submerged vessels, but not from the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines that India is developing as a delivery platform for its sea-based deterrent. The ballistic missile submarines have been subject to numerous delays, but according to a May 8 statement by Defense Minister A.K. Antony, the first in the fleet of at least three submarines should go into service by mid-2013.

A week after the K-15 announcement, in an Aug. 7 speech marking his retirement, Adm. Nirmal Verma, India’s chief of naval staff, said that the Indian navy is “poised to complete the triad” and that the first submarine platform for the K-15, the INS Arihant, will “commence sea trials in the coming months.”

Click image to enlarge

In a June 25 speech, Verma had said a sea-based deterrent that is “credible and invulnerable is an imperative” for India, given New Delhi’s no-first-use commitment. New Delhi’s ability to deploy SLBMs will align India’s naval capabilities with its nuclear doctrine, according to Verma. In a 1999 publicly released draft of its nuclear doctrine, New Delhi stated its intention to develop a “triad of aircraft, mobile land-based missiles and sea-based assets” and said it required “sufficient, survivable, and operationally prepared nuclear forces” for deterrence.

Indian, Pakistani, and U.S. experts are concerned that India’s pursuit of the triad could lead Pakistan to develop its own SLBM capability. Abhijit Singh, a research fellow at New Delhi’s National Maritime Foundation, argued in a June 29 article that the expansion of India’s navy has “become an excuse” for Pakistan to expand its own capabilities to include naval nuclear missiles.

Although Pakistan did not respond to India’s announcement on the K-15, Adm. Asif Sandila, Pakistan’s chief of naval staff, said in a Feb. 20 interview with Defense News that the “nuclearization of the Indian Ocean” would not contribute to regional stability and that Pakistan would be taking “necessary measures to restore the strategic balance.” In a May 19 press release, Sandila announced the establishment of Pakistan’s Naval Strategic Force Command, which he said would oversee a sea-based second-strike capability that will “ensure regional stability.”

India already possesses the capabilities to deliver nuclear warheads using land-based missiles and bombers (fig. 1).

New Delhi is working to improve the range and accuracy of its nuclear-capable land-based missiles, which currently comprise primarily the short-range Prithvi-1 and Agni-1 systems. India has deployed two medium-range solid-fueled missiles, the Agni-2 and the Agni-3, although some experts question whether both systems are fully operational. The Agni-2, which has a 2,000-kilometer range, was tested successfully Aug. 9. According to a Defence Ministry statement, all systems “functioned fully.” The Agni-3 was last tested in February 2010.

India also is developing longer-range systems and successfully tested the Agni-5 on April 19. This three-stage solid-fueled ballistic missile has a tested range of 5,000 kilometers. Under the most commonly used classification system, 5,500 kilometers is the dividing line between intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Indian air force is believed to have three types of bombers capable of flying nuclear missions. In January, the Indian government announced it would be buying a fourth type of nuclear-capable fighter plane, the Rafale, from France.

India announced the successful development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in July, bringing the country one step closer to completing the strategic nuclear triad, which also includes the ability to deliver warheads via land-based missiles and bombers.

NSG Still Mulling Indian Membership

Daniel Horner

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) continued discussions on admitting India to the group, but apparently remained divided on the issue during its annual plenary meeting last month in Seattle.

In a statement released June 22, the last day of the meeting, the 46-member group said only that it “continued to consider all aspects of the implementation of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India and discussed the NSG relationship with India.” That wording was identical to what the group said on the subject in last year’s statement.

The NSG is not a formal organization, and its guidelines are not binding.

In September 2008, the group eased long-standing restrictions on nuclear trade with India by its members. NSG rules generally forbid the sale of nuclear goods such as reactors and fuel to countries that, like India, are not parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

In November 2010, during a visit to India, President Barack Obama announced his support for Indian entry into the NSG and three other multilateral export control groups. At the NSG’s 2011 plenary meeting, the United States submitted a “Food for Thought” paper on options for bringing India into the group.

A key criterion for NSG membership is that a country is a party to and complying with the NPT or a nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaty. India would be the first country that did not meet that criterion.

In a June 27 interview, U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman, the new NSG chairman, said members had expressed “a variety of the views” on the issue of Indian membership. As Poneman noted, the NSG makes decisions by consensus. He characterized the discussion as one of “food-for-thought ideas.”

Asked about India’s lack of NPT membership, which some countries have indicated would be a stumbling block, Poneman said that there are “numerous ways [the Indians] can attest their commitment to nonproliferation norms” and that “the full panoply of [Indian] commitments is being looked at.” Among India’s commitments is its declaration that it is adhering to the NSG export guidelines.

Pressing China on Reactor Deal

On another ongoing issue for the NSG, Poneman said the United States and other countries were continuing to seek information from China about its plans to sell two reactors to Pakistan, which is not an NPT party.

When China joined the NSG in 2004, it had already built a power reactor at Pakistan’s Chashma site. It claimed at the time that, under the NSG’s “grandfather” provisions, it was entitled to build a second one, on the grounds that the second project was covered in its existing agreement with Pakistan. By most accounts, China told the NSG members that its agreement with Pakistan covered those two units but that it would not supply Pakistan with any reactors beyond those. China reportedly now is arguing that the proposed additional reactors also are grandfathered.

When word of the planned sale of the so-called Chashma-3 and -4 reactors emerged two years ago, a U.S. official said, “Without an exception granted by the NSG by consensus, Chinese construction of additional nuclear power plants in Pakistan beyond what was grandfathered in 2004 would be inconsistent with NSG guidelines and China’s commitments to the NSG.” (See ACT, June 2010.)

In the interview, Poneman said the United States is “not the only government that has this set of concerns.” The U.S. government “has been very clear” about its concerns and has “repeatedly asked” China for more details, he said. The Chinese have replied, but the United States would like more detail, he said. “We’ve been pressing for answers, and we’re still pressing,” Poneman said.

Lists Being Updated

In its statement at the Seattle meeting, the NSG “emphasized the importance of keeping its lists up to date with technological developments and took stock of the ongoing fundamental review process” through which it keeps its export control lists current. Poneman said the highest U.S. priority for the upcoming year was to complete the review. Some changes to the list were approved at the meeting, and more are coming, he said.

According to the statement, NSG members also “discussed brokering and transit and agreed to consider these matters further.” In the case of some exports, the main proliferation concern may come not from the supplier or the ultimate recipient but from an intermediary, Poneman said. The group wants to be sure “not to turn a blind eye if that’s a vulnerability” and will take up that issue “in a way not done until now,” he said.

In an interview last September, Poneman’s predecessor, Piet de Klerk of the Netherlands, discussed the possibility of creating “stronger relationships with different [NSG] stakeholders, be it media, be it civil society.” Poneman said that, at the Seattle meeting, de Klerk provided a briefing on those ideas, which got an “overall positive response.” The group will “continue consultations” on transparency issues, he said. It makes sense “to open the aperture,” and the group will look for opportunities to do that, he said.

The NSG chairmanship rotates annually among the member countries. A country kicks off its chairmanship year by hosting the plenary meeting.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) continued discussions on admitting India to the group, but apparently remained divided on the issue during its annual plenary meeting last month in Seattle.

India Announces Successful Agni-5 Test

Eric Auner

The Indian government announced on April 19 that it had successfully conducted the first test of the nuclear-capable Agni-5 ballistic missile.

The Agni-5 is the first Indian ballistic missile capable of reaching almost the entire Chinese landmass, including Beijing, as well as the Middle East. India was already capable of reaching all of Pakistan, India’s other nuclear-armed neighbor, with its existing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

The three-stage Agni-5 is solid fueled and can carry a 1,500-kilogram payload a distance of 5,000 kilometers, according to news reports. The missile was fired from Wheeler Island, off the eastern coast of the country.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the test “another milestone in our quest to add to the credibility of our security and preparedness and to continuously explore the frontiers of science.” Singh said that he hoped the scientists involved with the Agni-5 would continue to promote “self-reliance in defense and other walks of national life.” India has long emphasized domestic development of advanced military technologies.

The Agni-5, which is road and rail mobile, according to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is the latest in the Agni series of ballistic missiles, which have had progressively longer ranges. The deployed Agni-3 has a range of 3,000 kilometers. India tested the Agni-4, which has a range of 3,500 kilometers, last November. (See ACT, January/February 2012.)

The DRDO, which is the main Indian government entity responsible for developing new advanced military technologies such as ballistic missiles, issued a press release that said the Agni-5’s “composite Rocket Motors have performed well and made India completely self-reliant.” Other indigenous technologies incorporated into the missile included the “Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System” and the “Micro Navigation System,” according to the press release.

In an April 19 U.S. Department of State press briefing, spokesman Mark Toner reiterated his previous statement that the United States “urge[s] all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding their nuclear and missile capabilities” while recognizing India’s “solid nonproliferation record.”

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) typically is defined as being able to carry a given payload a distance of 5,500 kilometers or more. Given its declared range of 5,000 kilometers, the Agni-5 would be considered an intermediate-range ballistic missile. Media reports and analysts in India and elsewhere have described the Agni-5 as either an ICBM or long-range missile. India could extend the range of the Agni-5 by using a payload lighter than 1,500 kilograms. Generally, nuclear-capable missiles have a payload capacity of 500 kilograms and higher.

Official reaction from Pakistan has been muted. According to a Pakistani official speaking at a press briefing held after the launch, India had informed Pakistan of the launch, consistent with an agreement between the two countries on prenotification of ballistic missile launches.

Pakistan tested the Shaheen-1A nuclear-capable ballistic missile on April 25, according to a press release from the Pakistani military’s Inter Services Public Relations office. The release did not state the range of the missile, but analysts said it was approximately 700 kilometers.

China, with which India fought a war in 1962, has not reacted strongly to the test. In an April 19 statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin said, “China and India are cooperative partners rather than competitive rivals.” The Chinese state-owned Global Times, however, published an editorial soon after the test, warning that “India should not overestimate its strength” and that India “would stand no chance in an overall arms race with China.”

Some Chinese analysts have claimed that the Agni-5 actually has a range of 8,000 kilometers, according to the Indo-Asian News Service.

In a piece on the website of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, a think tank affiliated with the Indian government, Abhijit Singh wrote that the test may “end up impacting the balance-of-power equation in the subcontinent” as well as “the broader India-China relationship.”

India is not party to any international agreement that limits its ability to develop and test ballistic missiles. When India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1172, which condemned the tests and called on both countries to “cease development” of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Both countries have developed and tested nuclear-capable ballistic missiles since the resolution’s passage.

Meira Kumar, the speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Indian Parliament’s lower house, called the Agni-5 test “a major leap forward in India’s missile technology and military deterrent capabilities,” according to the Economic Times, an Indian newspaper. Nitin Gadkari, leader of India’s largest opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), “congratulated the DRDO scientists for this proud milestone” in a statement on the BJP’s website.

DRDO Chief Controller for Research and Development W. Selvamurthy told the Indian television program Headline Today that the Agni-5 can carry multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles. He said that this capability has been “proven” but was not “demonstrated” during this most recent trial.

Five countries currently possess ICBMs: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. North Korea unsuccessfully attempted to launch a satellite into orbit on April 13 (see page 29). That test, which was widely seen as a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test, was met with international condemnation, including from the United States.

India is not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the international group that coordinates export controls for missile technology. The Obama administration is supporting Indian membership in the MTCR and other regimes that limit exports of sensitive technology. (See ACT, December 2010.)

The MTCR does not limit partner nations’ own missile testing and deployments. However, since 1993 the United States has had a policy of requiring that countries joining the group to adhere to the regime’s key missile-range restrictions for their own missiles as well.

The Indian government announced on April 19 that it had successfully conducted the first test of the nuclear-capable Agni-5 ballistic missile.

Australia Allows Uranium Sales to India

Daniel Horner

The Australian Labor Party on Dec. 4 endorsed a proposal by its leader, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, to end a ban on uranium sales to India. The 206-185 vote to lift the long-standing ban came at a party conference in Sydney.

For decades, India could not purchase uranium or most other nuclear goods from members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) because New Delhi is not a party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and does not accept full-scope safeguards, which means that it does not open all its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, in 2008 the NSG, which includes Australia, voted to make an exception from its general rule and allow exports to India. (See ACT, October 2008.)

At a Nov. 15 press conference previewing the Labor meeting, Gillard said that, in light of the NSG decision, “for us to refuse to budge is all pain with no gain.” Australia is a leading exporter of uranium.

Critics of the Labor decision argue that selling uranium would violate Australia’s obligations under the Treaty of Rarotonga, which establishes a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the South Pacific. Article 4 of the treaty says that nuclear exports by treaty parties must be “subject to the safeguards required by Article III.1 of the NPT.”

The NPT article does not use the term “full-scope safeguards,” but in 1996, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, a member of the Liberal Party, told Parliament that the article requires such safeguards. He was responding to questions about potential Australian uranium sales to Taiwan.

In the wake of the Labor vote, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, also a Liberal, said Gillard was “dead wrong” to lift the ban, in part because of the Rarotonga treaty language. Writing in the Dec. 12 Sydney Morning Herald, he said that “selling uranium to India would breach our international obligations.”

In a Dec. 21 e-mail to Arms Control Today, a spokeswoman for Gillard said, “Any agreement to transfer uranium to India would comply with our international legal obligations.”

Gillard, in a Nov. 15 piece in the Herald, said, “We must, of course, expect of India the same standards we do of all countries for uranium export—strict adherence to International Atomic Energy Agency arrangements and strong bilateral undertakings and transparency measures that will provide assurances our uranium will be used only for peaceful purposes.”

The Australian Labor Party on Dec. 4 endorsed a proposal by its leader, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, to end a ban on uranium sales to India. The 206-185 vote to lift the long-standing ban came at a party conference in Sydney.

India Extending Missile Reach

Peter Crail and Kathleen E. Masterson

India is preparing to test a missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers early this year and possibly develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the future, Indian defense officials have indicated in recent weeks.

India conducted its first successful test of the Agni-4, which has a 3,500-kilometer range, Nov. 15. In a press release that day, New Delhi’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said the test marks a “quantum leap” in India’s indigenous technological capabilities.

Following the test, the defense officials said their country had mastered a series of technologies that would allow it to field longer-range systems. However, there appear to be some differences within India’s defense community over whether New Delhi should use those technologies to cross the ICBM threshold by developing missiles with a range exceeding 5,500 kilometers.

Only five countries—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—have a demonstrated ICBM capability. North Korea has unsuccessfully tested missiles in the ICBM range.

The technologies India claimed it has successfully developed include a re-entry heat shield to protect the warhead from extreme temperatures as it returns into the atmosphere, an improved navigation system, and a composite rocket motor. Indian officials claimed the country’s scientists made these advances even though it has been subject to international technology controls to prevent the spread of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. India is not a member of the 35-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which was formed in 1987 to restrict the spread of missile technology. New Delhi committed in 2008 to adhere to MTCR rules, and Washington announced in November 2010 that it would support India’s membership in the group. (See ACT, December 2010.)

DRDO Director-General Vijay Kumar Saraswat told reporters Nov. 16, “The technologies proven in this mission will give us the necessary confidence to go in for the Agni-5 launch in a couple of months.” Indian defense officials have since said that the Agni-5, which is to have a range of 5,000 kilometers, will undergo its first test in February.

Michael Elleman, a former UN weapons inspector who is now a senior fellow with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said in a Dec. 21 e-mail to Arms Control Today that India’s missile development pattern was “highly unusual.”

“They conduct a limited number of tests, declare development completed and then embark on an improvement effort,” he said. “[A]t least a half-dozen flight tests would be needed to validate the performance and reliability of the new missile under a range of operational conditions,” he added.

The two-stage, solid-fuel Agni-4 failed its first test, in December 2010 as the Agni-2 Prime, and was not tested again until Nov. 15.

India fields a number of systems geared toward South Asian rival Pakistan, but it has been increasing the range of its ballistic missiles in order to place a larger number of Chinese targets in range. The Agni-5 would be capable of covering all of China while being deployed deep within Indian territory.

For some current and former Indian defense officials, such a range is all that is necessary for India’s deterrence needs. Former Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, who is regarded as the father of India’s missile program, told the Indian newspaper The Tribune Nov. 18 that a missile that can reach 5,000 kilometers “was enough as the potential enemies were well within this range.”

Saraswat similarly told reporters in February 2010 that India is focused on “threat mitigation” and does intend to develop an ICBM.

However, in comments to reporters last June 11, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik said, “India should pursue an ICBM program” with missiles having a range of 10,000 kilometers “or even more,” the Hindustan Times reported.

“Breaking out of the regional context is important as the country’s sphere of influence grows,” Naik said.

In a Dec. 13 e-mail to Arms Control Today, Bharat Karnad, one of the authors of India’s 1999 draft nuclear doctrine, said, “The technological momentum driving the Indian missile program is going to take it well beyond the 5,000 km range Agni-5 and into producing genuine ICBM category delivery systems, if only to match China.” He added that although Kalam’s suggestions would be “taken on board, his influence on current missile programs should not be overstated.”

According to Karnad, “[L]onger range, more accurate missiles will be developed [by India] as a technological imperative."

India is preparing to test a missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers early this year and possibly develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the future, Indian defense officials have indicated in recent weeks.

More Collateral Damage from Missile Defense

U.S.-Russian negotiations on strategic arms reductions have demonstrated time and again that U.S. missile defense plans are an obstacle to negotiating lower levels of offensive nuclear forces. Security experts have been providing more reminders lately that in attempting to treat the effects of ballistic missile proliferation, missile defense programs are also having a counterproductive effect on the causes of ballistic missile proliferation. One of the shibboleths characteristic of most missile defense advocates is their faith-based assertion that missile defenses discourage proliferators...

India, Pakistan Resume Security Dialogue

Kristina Popova

The foreign ministers of nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan met July 27 in New Delhi, resuming their high-level dialogue on security and confidence-building measures for the first time since the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. A key focus of the discussions was the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir.

The bilateral relationship “should not be held hostage to the past,” said Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. “It is our desire to make the dialogue process uninterrupted and uninterruptible,” she said.

Khar’s Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna, expressed confidence that relations between the two countries are “on the right track,” but he cautioned that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” A joint statement, released after the official talks, characterized the atmosphere as “candid, cordial and constructive” and announced that the two sides had agreed on new arrangements to increase travel and trade across the disputed Line of Control.

The ministers also committed to convening meetings of expert groups in Islamabad in September on confidence-building measures relating to nuclear and conventional weapons, which would constitute the first information-sharing initiative in years on nuclear issues between the two states. The most recent development in this field was a 2005 agreement on prenotification of ballistic missile tests.

The bilateral discussions have taken on a new urgency in the wake of Pakistan’s efforts to expand the production of fissile material for weapons. Islamabad’s current arsenal is estimated to include between 90 and 110 warheads. India is believed to have enough separated fissile material for an arsenal of more than 100 nuclear warheads. In April, Pakistan tested the Hatf-9 short-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile. (See ACT, May 2011.)

The foreign ministers of nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan met July 27 in New Delhi, resuming their high-level dialogue on security and confidence-building measures for the first time since the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.


Subscribe to RSS - India