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  • Bharath asked: How is it that India has woefully performed in indigenous defence manufacturing while it has excelled in space and nuclear technology?

    G. Balachandran replies: There were many reasons. But the primary reason was that in the space and the nuclear sector the developers and users were the same. Secondly, they could proceed at their pace. If there were delays or targets not met, there was no question of the users importing since that option was not available.

    Rinkesh Garg asked: What are the chances of proliferation of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal or knowhow to non-state actors and what is India's preparedness in this regard?

    A. Vinod Kumar replies: Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme is assumed to have come through proliferation channels that were harnessed and promoted by A.Q. Khan, the supposed architect of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Subsequently, Khan was investigated for his role in running a nuclear black market that directly or indirectly benefited some countries that clandestinely sought resources to develop nuclear bombs.

    Bharath asked: In what way does importing light water reactors (LWR) from US and France mesh with India's three-stage nuclear programme aimed at utilising its thorium reserves?

    G. Balachandran replies: The third stage of India's nuclear power programme envisages the use of thorium, which India has in abundance, and plutonium, which is a man-made metal not available in nature.

    Plutonium is obtained from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power reactors using either natural uranium or low enriched uranium (LEU). Light Water Reactors (LWRs) use LEU.

    Rohit Mule asked: Why major powers were successful in stalling Iran’s nuclear programme but not that of North Korea?

    A Vinod Kumar replies: North Korea and Iran were two notable cases of nuclear deviance in the past two decades as both were alleged to have misused their access to nuclear energy resources for peaceful purposes, which they gained as non-nuclear weapon states under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, since their deviance from non-proliferation norms were considerably different, negotiations pertaining to their respective nuclear programmes have had varied outcomes.

    Indian Nuclear Policy—1964–98 (A Personal Recollection)

    This is a personal recollection of the author on the evolution of the Indian nuclear policy and developments leading to the Shakti tests. Since it draws solely upon the author’s memory there could be errors and discrepancies in the account. This has been written in an effort to present a coherent and comprehensive account of the Indian nuclear policy, since, in the absence of an authoritative official document, there are considerable dissensions and misperceptions in the country.

    May 2018

    Nuclear Arms Race in South Asia? – An Analysis

    Ever since India and Pakistan conducted their nuclear tests in 1998, it has been the favourite pastime of many analysts writing on nuclear issues to cast the strategic stability in South Asia in dark tones. This urban myth is primarily a Western invention although at times writers in the subcontinent as well have taken some part in it.

    May 2018

    India’s Deterrence and Disarmament: The Impact of Pokhran-II

    After the nuclear weapons tests of May 11, 1998, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee made a matter-of-fact statement:

    “I have an announcement to make: today at 3:45 p.m., India conducted three underground nuclear tests in the Pokhran range…. These were contained explosions like the experiment conducted in May 1974….”

    May 2018

    US–Soviet/Russian Dialogue on the Nuclear Weapons Programme of India

    The history of the US–Soviet and US–Russian dialogues on the nuclear weapons programme of India can be divided into two major periods: First, from Pokhran I up to the end of the 1990s, when Moscow and Washington shared concerns regarding India’s nuclear programme, and even their bilateral disagreements in international affairs did not stop them from reaching a consensus on how to react to the 1974 nuclear test.

    May 2018

    Nuclear Armed for Uncertain Times

    India can look back with more than a fair measure of satisfaction on the past two decades since its nuclear weapon tests of May 1998. Those tests signalled a strategic shift. This article therefore looks at the international situation and tendencies that prevailed in the run up to these tests. It then presents an assessment of the international reaction as a consequence of that bold and courageous action; as well as of the comprehensive endeavour to address the challenges and maximise the opportunities presented.

    May 2018

    Nuclear India and the Global Nuclear Order

    The 1998 nuclear tests conducted by India heralded yet another nuclear age. The instant response of a section of the international community was highly pessimistic. It foresaw regional instability, collapse of the global nuclear order and serious crisis in the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. As a result, overlooking India’s security imperatives, a number of countries reacted with hostility against the Indian nuclear tests. Even international organisations were mobilised against India.

    May 2018

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