Is a Nuclear Bargain Possible?
28 Nov, 1997 · 32
P. R. Chari says that India might agree to a moratorium on testing and production of fissile material for weapons/military purposes if the United States and Russia (joined at a later stage by other nuclear weapon states) linked it to the reduction of nuclear stockpiles
During these discussions the view-point was expressed that, whilst nuclear weapons have lost their relevance in the international security system, no effort seems to be proceeding in the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) to delegitimise the maintenance of nuclear arsenals. On the contrary, efforts were proceeding to develop new techniques for testing the reliability of existing nuclear stockpiles, develop new nuclear weapons without field-testing, and find new military purposes for using these weapons in actual combat.
Undoubtedly, major political and economic problems are involved in the elimination of nuclear weapons. But, the unwillingness of the NWS to even consider the possibility of contemplating and negotiating the achievement of this objective over a foreseeable time frame is egregious. Their simultaneous demand that the Nuclear Capable States (NCS) should abandon their nuclear option and that the NNWS should continue their nuclear abstinence seems both unjust and illogical.
A realistic approach to reinforcement of nuclear restraints in South Asia must start with the fact that India and Pakistan have established the capability to make nuclear weapons, even if, unlike
In these circumstances, a modus vivendi to the intractable issues of global and South Asian non-proliferation could be sought at several intersecting levels in the form of mutual bargains. They are described below:
A grand bargain can be visualised between the NWS, NCS and NNWS. In return for the NWS proceeding towards eliminating their nuclear weapons, the NCS would keep their nuclear option constrained, and the NNWS would abjure their rights to exercise their nuclear option.
In the ad interim period a bargain between the NWS and NCS could be devised for pursuit over the shorter term. The following actions could be taken by the NWS towards approaching the objective of eliminating their nuclear weapons:
· De-targeting/de-alerting their nuclear missiles
· Establishing a UN register of nuclear weapons in the interests of greater transparency
· Separation of nuclear warheads from missiles
· Placing excess weapons grade fissile materials from retired nuclear weapons and production facilities under international control
· Make a firm commitment in a multilateral forum to their objective of nuclear disarmament and ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons
· Issue security assurances to all NNWS that they (NWS) would not use nuclear weapons against them
· In return the following actions could be taken by the NCS
· Despite periodical alarms they have not tested their nuclear devices – this restraint should be formalised into their declaration of an indefinite moratorium on nuclear testing
· A similar moratorium could be declared by the NCS on the further production of fissile materials for weapons purpose
· A declaration could also be made revealing their stocks of weapons usable fissile materials
· Their present restraints in transferring nuclear/missile technology could be incorporated within a suitable legal framework
The Indian stance on CTBT and the proposed FMCT could also be probed in greater depth.
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