Nuclear Arms Control Essay

Nuclear Arms Control is responsible for the control and limitation of the development, deployment, testing, production and use of weapons based on the fact that the continued existence of certain national military establishments is inescapable. Nuclear Arms Control comes from the historical concept of disarmament, where the use and development of nuclear weapons are controlled and reduced.

In addition to focusing on nuclear disarmament and non-compliance by NWS (Nuclear Weapon States), India will also have to come up with meaningful and effective ways of dealing with non-compliance by NNWS (Non-Nuclear Weapon States), something that India had previously ignored. One of the disadvantages that India faces in making this policy transition is that India is not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and it is unlikely to become one unless India’s NWS status is accepted by the NPT members.

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India and Nuclear Arms Control

India does strongly support a Nuclear Weapons Convention with the objective of eventual comprehensive nuclear disarmament. Even after openly declaring itself as a nuclear weapon state, India has reiterated its commitment to comprehensive nuclear disarmament. India is one of the first countries to have refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

There are various other international treaties that are being signed by the representatives across the world for the reduction in the use of nuclear weapons and equipment. These include the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement.

India is a member of MTCR, Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement and has been trying its best to become a participant of NSG as well, despite it not being an NPT signatory country. Given below is the brief description as to how the groups are responsible for the control of nuclear weapons and technology across the world.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is a treaty signed by 184 nations (excluding India) which states that no member country can use any nuclear weapon or equipment anywhere in the world at any point of time. It mentions a total ban over the usage of any nuclear weapon anywhere in the world.

Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is an export control regime, where the member countries of this regime are bound to limit the proliferation of missiles and missile technology. There are a total of 35 members of MTCR and India is one of its participants. It is based on the political understanding of the country itself.

Australia Group was established in 1985 to help member countries identify the use of which nuclear weapons are to be reduced, making sure that they do not contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons. Another agreement is the Wassenaar Arrangement which is responsible for the security and stability to promote transparency in the transfer of dual-use goods and technologies. India is a member of both these agreements.

Another group is the Nuclear Suppliers Group. This group is formed of the member countries which are involved in the export of nuclear weapons or equipment. India has been trying to become a member country of this group since 2008 and has yet not been able to be successful, India would benefit a lot if it becomes a signatory of NSG. 

Nuclear Arms Control is an important way to restrict countries from using nuclear weapons and technology and make the world aware of the fact that how nuclear weapons and equipment can be used a boon for the country, instead of destructing a country.

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The Implications of the US – The India Nuclear Deal

The US – India nuclear deal was essential to India because India’s traditional approach towards nuclear cooperation had reached a dead-end. Traditionally, India sought international nuclear cooperation, even while maintaining a nuclear weapons program, by agreeing to partial safeguards on nuclear imports. This strategy allowed India to supplement its domestic nuclear power capability with international cooperation, as long as there were willing international partners. 

However, when the rules of international nuclear commerce changed from partial safeguards (safeguards only on the specific imported item) to full-scope safeguards (safeguards on the entire nuclear program as a condition for any nuclear commerce), India was faced with the choice of either giving up its nuclear weapons program or giving up on international nuclear commerce. Not surprisingly, India chose the latter. 

India has now signed the nuclear deal with the US, which will prove to be beneficial for the country in several ways:

  1. India is expected to significantly enhance its civilian nuclear power sector with international cooperation.
  2. several agreements have already been signed to bring to fruition additional nuclear power generating capacity and more nuclear power agreements are expected to be signed over the next two years.
  3. India now awaits the nod from NSG, which will enhance India’s dream of being a country rich in nuclear resources and the nuclear deal with the US paves way for India’s credibility to become a member of NSG.

The nuclear deal is unlikely to have a major impact on India’s nuclear weapons program. India’s domestic fuel resources for weapons does not hold much water because India has much larger stockpiles of fuel that it could have converted for weapons if it had wanted to do so. In other words, the small size of the Indian nuclear force is the consequence of deliberate choice rather than because of any fissile material shortage.

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