ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Nuclear NotebookSubscribe to Nuclear Notebook

The Iran Issue

Since the end of the cold war, the US has been seeking to establish a permanent global dominance, to achieve which dominance over the strategically vital region of west Asia is essential. The aim of the US vis-Ã -vis Iran has been how to undermine the regime and make it subordinate. The US wants to go to any extreme to have an excuse to put the squeeze on Iran in consonance with its wider ambitions, which go beyond the issue of that Asian country's nuclear weapons-making prospects. For India, the options are clear enough, but are not reflected in the position of either the UPA government or the Left.

Nuclear Disarmament

The principal regional goal of our nuclear disarmament movement can only be the call and demand for a South Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. From a political-tactical point of view this is far superior to alternatives like calling for unilateral disarmament in India or Pakistan.

Drawing False Conclusions

The Indian Left's position on the question of nuclear weapons free zones or WMD free zones has been characterised by several flip-flops. In west Asia, it has supported nuclearisation in the name of opposing American hegemony, while it retains a continued, if inconsistent, belief in nuclear deterrence in south Asia. But the Left now has to clarify its perspective on how best to deal with American military might. To do this needs recognition of the fact that it is in these two regions in Asia where nuclear weapons are most likely to be used and therefore the need for urgent denuclearisation.

Risks of a LOW Doctrine

There has not been adequate recognition of the progression in military control over India's nuclear arsenal, nor is there any systematic analysis of its implications. Part of the reason for this has been the repeated assertions of the existence of civilian control over these matters. However, over a period of time the gap between what civilian leaders know and what is actually done with nuclear weapons would become more pronounced and the views of military planners will greatly influence operational doctrines involving nuclear weapons. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by the military has several troubling implications, in particular the likelihood of the eventual adoption of a launch on warning (LOW) doctrine and the increased risk of accidental nuclear war.

Nuclear Risk Reduction Measures between India and Pakistan

What nuclear risk reduction measures between India and Pakistan cannot do - they are never a substitute for nuclear disarmament - and what they can do, that is, the dangers they can attempt to address.

Nuclear Terrorism: A New Threshold?

What do we now say about the possibility of not just states but at least a few non-state actors using weapons of mass destruction or resorting to chemical, biological and nuclear forms of attacks on enemy targets, territories and populations? A new threshold may have been crossed after September 11 that is a source of deep future worry.

Developing the Anti-Nuclear Movement

We now have a national network of anti-nuclear groups who have come together to work on common objectives. But if the antinuclear movement is to progress then the different groups have to find ways of working together which do not simply respect their differences but also institutionalise discussion of differences so as to move towards overcoming them wherever possible. Where this is not possible, it is necessary to think of ways which can creatively advance the groups' common positions. Some proposals.

Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

The setting up of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace at the conclusion of the national convention held in New Delhi recently gives India's peace movement an organised presence and profile.

Sixth NPT Review Conference

The single most important gain of the NPT review conference was not really contained in the consensus document, significant though that was. It was the emergence of the New Agenda Coalition as the single most important negotiating and pressurising force.

Mushroom Cloud of Unreason

If India's testing of nuclear weapons is dangerous, the recklessness of its politicians and the coarsening of public debate on the issue are more dangerous. And still worse are experts who advocate signing the CTBT on the ground that it would legitimise India's nuclear status.

The Congress and the Left

The BJP has conducted nuclear tests and it is possible that the Congress may go the same way. The Indian left must play a leading role in the anti-nuclear movement. But does the left have a courageous, principled and determined perspective on this issue? The left must reassess its past understanding of the nuclear weapons issue.

Crossing the Rubicon

Achin Vanaik ON May 11 , 1998, India crossed the nuclear Rubicon embarking on a journey that can only bring more insecurity, tension, maldevelopment even as it represents another crucial phase in the ongoing efforts of the Sangh combine to totally transform the character of Indian society and to impose its version of what constitutes the Indian nation and nationalism. What is at stake for them is not simply getting institutionalised their version of the cultural essence of India but of imposing their versions of what constitutes Indian greatness, national security, national interests, etc. Overnight, a ruthless political force of great evil and determination has, changed completely the parameters of debate and struggle on so vital an issue as nuclear security and insecurity, as well as on related concerns such as India's relationship to its neighbours and to the world, The horror and strategic stupidity, the political danger of allowing the Sangh to get away with what it has done will hopefully sink in amongst an ever widening public. For only then can we hope to successfully reverse the journey directions, internal and external, on which the country is now embarked.


Back to Top