IN wake of the provisions of US-India Nuclear Deal, which was cleverly and cunningly negotiated by India, US approached the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), and successfully managed to obtain a nuclear waiver for India to conduct nuclear trade with other countries despite the fact that it is the only country which is not a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Also, India has also successfully managed to obtain nuclear fuel assurance from the US. The clauses of US – India Civil Nuclear Agreement (123 agreement) mandates that the US will support endeavours of India in the development of strategic reserve of nuclear fuel which would serve as a backup in the event of disruption of the supply of nuclear fuel. Further, US would also help India in convening a group of friendly supplier countries in an attempt to restore the supply of nuclear fuel, if disrupted. It is pertinent to highlight here that generally 123 agreements, executed by the US, do not contain fuel assurances.
As a consequence of said deal, the ban imposed on India in respect of nuclear trade was lifted (which was imposed due to the nuclear test conducted by India in 1974), and India started import of uranium from various countries. As per a report published by Centre for Public Integrity, India has managed to receive roughly 4914 tons of uranium from France, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Further, it has also entered into agreements on supply of uranium with Canada, Mongolia and Namibia. Australia has also signed an agreement with India and has assured India that it would be a reliable supplier of uranium to India. It has also been mentioned in the said report that India’s civil nuclear programme including power plants and research establishments are utilizing uranium received from these new resources, and the requirement of the domestic uranium for civilian purposes has almost become obsolete. It is important to mention here that now indigenous uranium of India is exclusively available and being used by India for making only nuclear weapons as the requirement of uranium for a civil nuclear program of India is being fulfilled by the uranium, imported from other countries in the wake of US-Indo nuclear deal.
On the other hand, planning of India to build a nuclear city in its south is also unveiled, and it is believed that nuclear fuel being used in such a massive nuclear project is homemade, which is now exclusively available for the building of nuclear weapons. It has also been reported that two expanded buildings that are being constructed at the site have the capability to accommodate a new generation of centrifuges that can enrich uranium than any existing version and can produce around 403 pounds of weapon grade uranium per year.
It is believed that such a vast quantity of uranium would be used by India for the preparation of Hydrogen bombs. Installation of such a massive nuclear project is planning and would also produce in future, the disastrous impacts for the peace and stability of the region. The said project also has a high potential of further intensifying the arms race, which has already been triggered in the region, at the cost of peace and prosperity of the people of the region, as Pakistan would be left with no option except to increase its nuclear arsenals for its defence. The nuclear tests conducted by the both sides, i.e. India and Pakistan, in previous years manifest the escalation of arms-race, which is ongoing in the region.
A closer view of the steps taken by India in the past one and a half decade reveals that India has treacherously repeated the episode of 1974. India has almost applied the same strategy for the building of its secret nuclear city, which was adopted by it in the past. India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974 at Pokhran, after making the whole world believe that it is a peaceful country and has no designs on becoming a nuclear power. Similarly, India has deceitfully managed to strike a nuclear deal with the US under the garb that it would use the nuclear fuel for civilian purposes but diverted the entire indigenous uranium for its nuclear weapon program. The global powers must realize that India has misused the US-India Nuclear Deal, and has managed to increase the stockpile of nuclear arsenals to a gigantic scale.
The International community must take into consideration the fact that the US-India nuclear deal has contributed to increasing the arms race in the region, which is not only destructive but likely to grow more and more in future. So, in the best interest of the people of the region and to prevent the devastating implications of arms-race hovering over the region, immediate steps are required to be taken by the international community. Major Powers must put their efforts for withdrawal of nuclear waiver granted to India immediately. Steps should also be taken to compel India to roll back its massive nuclear project as it would disturb the strategic balance of the region in its designs of attaining regional hegemony.
— The writer is a faculty member at Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden.