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Community in Madhya Pradesh protest against proposed nuclear plant

Activists, villagers raise concern over proposed nuclear plant in MP https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/activists-villagers-raise-concern-over-proposed-nuclear-plant-in-mp-118091801368_1.html

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi September 18, 2018  Activists and villagers raised their concerns over a proposed plant in Chutka in on Tuesday, saying it would destroy nature and take away their homeland.

In 2009, Corporation of Ltd. (NPCIL) has decided to set up the atomic station in Mandla district of to generate 1,400 MW power.

Power Generating Company Limited (MPPGCL) is the nodal agency to facilitate the execution of the project.

The villagers claimed they have been protesting for the past nine years over the atomic power plant and when they did not relent, compensation was put into their accounts forcefully. “MPPGCL forcefully put the compensation amount in our accounts and took our Aadhaar copies from the  We have written to the to remove their money,” said Meera Bai, a resident of Chutka.

Another resident, Dadu Lal Kudape, said they visited other villages where nuclear plants would be coming up and they found contaminated and 

“We do not want the same things to happen to us,” he said.

Padmini Ghosh, Women’s Regional Network Coordinator, said if European countries are dismantling plants, is building them. “We need to review nuclear policy and install renewable plants,” Ghosh said.

Raj Kumar Sinha, activist working with the villagers, said they are being exploited and no amount of money could compensate for their land.

“These people are nature lovers. They can’t be bought with money,” he said.

The Women’s Regional Network said a total of 17,000 people would be displaced if the plant comes up.

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September 18, 2018 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

India’s hopes to become a nuclear export hub

India Can Export Nuclear Power Plants, Economic Times,  September 7, 2018

But Westinghouse has had billions of dollars of cost overruns in its nuclear reactors in the US, and stands to gain from joining hands with Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to better manage its project implementation.

The fact is that NPCIL has been able to streamline project implementation with standardised designs and equipment, and is implementing at least 10 new pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) nationally.

In sharp contrast, the US, which is building nuclear plants after a long hiatus, seems to have rather rusty expertise when it comes to construction of nuclear power plants.

There is much potential for export of India’s indigenous PHWRs, and the Joint Statement rightly calls for India’s “immediate accession” to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. …….https://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-editorials/india-can-export-nuclear-power-plants/

September 10, 2018 Posted by | India, marketing | Leave a comment

How India & Pakistan Deal With The Bomb -“Brokering Peace in Nuclear Envi­ronments “

Diplomacy In The Nuclear Age, Kashmir Observer, HAIDER NIZAMANI • Aug 28, 2018, How India & Pakistan Deal With The Bomb

India and Pakistan ‘gatecrashed’ the nuclear club in May 1998. Children who were born right after the nuclear tests, carried out by the two countries in that year, are now able to vote — a generation, particularly in Pakistan, that has grown up on a steady diet of nuclear national­ism that portrays weapons of mass destruction as guarantors of national security and sources of col­lective pride. In times when the country can showcase little by way of achievements, we always console ourselves by saying that we have nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons and their delivery systems are made by experts trained in science and engineering but there is also another ‘nuclear expert’ whose bread and butter is linked to writing about these. There was only a small group of such ex­perts two decades ago but nuclear tests by India and Pakistan have opened up many new spots for them. They are camped mainly in think tanks in New Delhi, Islam­abad and Washington DC.

An overwhelming majority of them use the lens of political realism that sees states as key actors who pursue their national interests in competition with each other. Moeed Yusuf also belongs to this tribe of nu­clear experts. He defines the crises explored in his book as “exercises in coercion through  adversaries seek to enhance their relative bargaining strength vis-à-vis their opponents”………..

limitations of Yusuf’s book Brokering Peace in Nuclear Envi­ronments   are, in fact, the limitation of realist theory that focuses on state actors and their actions and does not delve into the social, economic, political and strategic fac­tors that cause those actions and determine their direction and outcome. Additionally, many Indian and Pakistan security experts consciously or un­wittingly end up echoing official versions as the true versions of history. In many parts, Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments also follows the same path which makes its analysisa bit lopsided and its prescriptions a little too Pakistan-centric.

Its strength, however, is the large number of interviews that Yusuf has conducted with poli­cymakers, especially from the United States and Pakistan, who played key roles during the three crises mentioned above. For this reason alone, if for nothing else, his book should be seen as a good addition to the academic literature available on war and peace between India and Pakistan. https://kashmirobserver.net/2018/feature/diplomacy-nuclear-age-35464

August 29, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Missile defense systems bad for India-Pakistan nuclear détente

Asia Times, By MOHAN GURUSWAMY AUGUST 24, 2018 It has been reported that theDefense Acquisitions Council (DAC), chaired by Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has approved the “acceptance of necessity” (AoN) for the acquisition of the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) worth around US$1 billion from the United States. However, in 2002 the US had vetoed India’s bid to acquire the Israeli Arrow-2 missile interceptor system.

Consequently, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization began developing the Prithvi Air Defense (PAD), which will provide long-range high-altitude interception during an incoming ballistic missile’s mid-course phase as well as interception during the terminal phase. At various times these systems had different monikers, such as ballistic missile defense (BMD) or anti-ballistic missile system (ABM).The people who decide on such things reside in New Delhi and understandably their safety gets priority. So it is the National Capital Region that will get the expensive and exaggerated sense of protection such systems tend to generate.But no air defense system can be deemed impenetrable. The Americans and Russians realized long before the Cold War ended that the costs involved were prohibitive, even for them. But the idea was seductive
……….We need to learn from how nuclear-weapons strategies evolved during the Cold War, instead of mimicking US and Soviet follies. The notion of deterrence between the US and USSR was based on no escape from MAD.

Cold War follies peaked with the two antagonists together deploying almost 70,000 warheads each aimed at a specific target. At the height of this madness almost every open ground was targeted as possible tank-marshaling or military-logistics areas.

Hence the last thing India wants is to get into a numbers game with Pakistan or China. Credibility depends on reducing the uncertainty of use from the opposite perspective. The Indian PAD missile defense system only increases them.

India and Pakistan have ensured a modicum of confidence by not mating the warheads and delivery systems, giving a vital period to roll back the unleashing of Armageddon. But now both countries will have to evolve a launch-on-warning doctrine.

Clearly, the two South Asian nuclear powers have a local version of MAD in place. The Pakistani doctrine “commits itself” to use battlefield nuclear weapons if an Indian conventional assault threatens its essential nationhood, and hence it has steadfastly refused to accept the notion of “no first use” (NFU). The Indian doctrine emphasizes NFU but also makes it explicit that any Pakistani use of nuclear weapons on India or its forces will be responded to with a massive retaliation.

India may have fewer nuclear weapons, not because it cannot make more, but because what it has is enough to ensure the complete annihilation of Pakistan, which is geographically a much smaller country.

For its part, China has moved on from NFU to a doctrine now called “credible minimum deterrence.” But how much is credible?

Mercifully, nuclear doctrines these days are couched in such abstractions since MAD requires a degree of predictability, ironically ensured by opacity. The United States’ “single integrated operational plan” (SIOP) began with the ominous words that its objective, after the outbreak of a general war with the then Soviet Union, was to turn it into a “smoking, radiating ruin.” This was written by its certifiable US Air Force chief, General Curtis Lemay Jr, based on whom the character played by George C Scott in the Stanley Kubrick classic Dr Strangelove  was created.

But it was people like Lemay who gave MAD credibility. Since no one of a sane frame of mind would even contemplate the enormity of the disaster of a nuclear war, uncertainty of use was a key element of MAD. It has been written that Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev used to have sleepless nights thinking of a man like Richard Nixon with his finger on the button.

India’s nuclear strategy documents in detail who the nuclear command would devolve to in the unlikely event of a decapitating first strike on New Delhi with the aim of eliminating its national leadership. It is said that the chain of nuclear command keeps descending to a major-general, a modern-day Raja Parikshit so to say, who will perform the final obsequies.

At last count India had more than 600 military officers at that level. Decapitating all of them is a near statistical and physical impossibility. It would take tens of thousands to precision nuclear weapons to annihilate India’s military chain of command, and it can be speculated whether even America or Russia could achieve that, let alone Pakistan.

Ironically, the evocative acronym MAD is an eminently sensible doctrine. Good sense should tell us: Enough of this madness, and leave MAD alone. http://www.atimes.com/missile-defense-systems-bad-for-india-pakistan-nuclear-detente/

 

 

August 25, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Unbearable heat in India becoming a major threat to health

In India, summer heat could soon be unbearable — literally

An analysis of South Asia’s biggest cities found that if current warming trends continued, wet bulb temperatures — a measure of heat and humidity indicating when the body can no longer cool itself — will become so high people directly exposed for six hours or more would die.
Somini Sengupta-Seattle Times,  July 18, 2018  
The New York Times

NEW DELHI — On a sweltering Wednesday in June, a rail-thin woman named Rehmati gripped the doctor’s table with both hands. She could hardly hold herself upright, the pain in her stomach was so intense.

She had traveled for 26 hours in a hot oven of a bus to visit her husband, a migrant worker here in the Indian capital. By the time she got here, the city was an oven, too: 111 degrees by lunchtime, and Rehmati was in an emergency room.

The doctor, Reena Yadav, did not know exactly what had made Rehmati sick, but it was clearly linked to the heat. Yadav suspected dehydration, possibly aggravated by fasting during Ramadan. Or it could have been food poisoning, common in summer because food spoils quickly.

Yadav put Rehmati, who is 31 and goes by one name, on a drip. She held her hand and told her she would be fine. Rehmati leaned over and retched.

Extreme heat can kill, as it did by the dozens in Pakistan in May. But as many of South Asia’s already-scorching cities get even hotter, scientists and economists are warning of a quieter, more far-reaching danger: Extreme heat is devastating the health and livelihoods of tens of millions more.

If global greenhouse-gas emissions continue at their current pace, they say, heat and humidity levels could become unbearable, especially for the poor.

It is already making them poorer and sicker.

…….Indeed, a recent analysis of climate trends in several of South Asia’s biggest cities found that if current warming trends continue, by the end of the century, wet bulb temperatures — a measure of heat and humidity that can indicate the point when the body can no longer cool itself — would be so high that people directly exposed for six hours or more would not survive.

In many places, heat only magnifies the more thorny urban problems, including a shortage of basic services, like electricity and water.

…The science is unequivocally worrying. Across the region, a recent World Bank report concluded, rising temperatures could diminish the living standards of 800 million people.

Worldwide, among the 100 most populous cities where summer highs are expected to reach at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, according to estimates by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, 24 are in India.

………Delhi’s heat index, a metric that takes average temperatures and relative humidity into account, has risen sharply — by 0.6 degrees Celsius in summer and 0.55 degrees during monsoons per decade between 1951 and 2010, according to one analysis based on data from 283 weather stations across the country.

Some cities are getting hotter at different times of year. The average March-to-May summertime heat index for Hyderabad had risen by 0.69 degrees per decade between 1951 and 2010. In Kolkata, a delta city in the east, where summers are sticky and hot anyway, the monsoon is becoming particularly harsh: The city’s June-September heat index climbed by 0.26 degrees Celsius per decade.

Joyashree Roy, an economist at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, found that already, most days in the summer are too hot and humid to be doing heavy physical labor without protection, with wet-bulb temperatures far exceeding the thresholds of most international occupational health standards. of most international occupational health standards……… https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/in-india-summer-heat-could-soon-be-unbearable-literally/

July 20, 2018 Posted by | climate change, India | 1 Comment

India – the global nuclear weapons threat that is being ignored

A global nuclear threat, The News CN,  Muhammad Umar , 27 June 18India’s nuclear weapons now pose a potential threat to the world. The Agni-V, India’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), can travel 6,000 kilometres.
The country conducted its launch test on June 3 from a canister on a mobile launcher platform from the coast of Odisha. This test flight was the missile’s sixth, and its success suggests that it will soon be put into service.

Keep in mind that the Agni-V ICBM is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to almost anywhere in Asia and to parts of Europe and Africa. Because it can be fired from a mobile launcher, essentially a canister mounted on a truck, instead of a hard concrete launch-pad, it gives the Indian armed forces operational flexibility. They now have the ability to launch the missile against any adversary, almost guaranteeing to take them by surprise by offering a shorter period of time to react. But the Agni-V is not the real danger and is only being seen as a stepping stone towards completing the Agni-VI ICBM, which is rumoured to be in its final phase of development.

The Agni-VI can potentially travel 12,000 kilometres or more, and is supposed to have MIRV capability – the ability to carry several independent nuclear warheads – and a manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle (MaRV) capability, the warhead of which is capable of autonomously tracking ground targets. Because of these capabilities, this missile will be unstoppable by the current anti-missile defence systems. Once completed, the Agni-VI will put the whole world within the range of India’s nuclear warheads.

India has taken advantage of the fact that the world has been distracted by North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and the threat they pose that they have entirely ignored the growing threat of India’s nuclear capabilities, its global ambitions, and its threat to international and regional security.

……….By investing on building up its nuclear and conventional forces, PM Modi hopes to project his country as a global power, standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the US and China. But, in fact, India is causing a massive headache for the South Asian region by threatening to destabilise the fragile strategic balance with its actions. If India’s ambitions are not kept in check, its growing capabilities are guaranteed to turn into a global threat. Instead of trying to impress the international community by investing so heavily on its defences (and causing havoc), PM Modi should perhaps first invest in his people, which include the more than 330 million Indians living in poverty – nearly a quarter of the country’s total population.There has been very little outcry in the West, particularly in the US, because American presidents in the past have turned a blind eye towards India’s dangerous global nuclear ambitions, hoping to create a new strategic partner capable of taking on China. This has provided India with a situation that it has taken, and continues to take, advantage of by growing its military’s conventional and nuclear capabilities………https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/334105-a-global-nuclear-threat

Thanks, Muhammad Umar, for this insightful article. But that last paragraph?  Have you forgotten who President Trump is?  He is a ruthless and not terribly intelligent salesman and attention-seeker. His over-riding aim would be to SELL NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY to India –  quite the opposite of “curbing the country’s massive and extremely dangerous military nuclear weapons programme”

June 29, 2018 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

India’s space dream – to develop nuclear fuel from helium on the moon

India’s quest to find a trillion-dollar zero-waste nuclear fuel on the moon,  Financial Review by Anurag Kotoky, 28 June 18

India‘s space program wants to go where no nation has gone before – to the south side of the moon. And once it gets there, it will study the potential for mining a source of waste-free nuclear energy that could be worth trillions of dollars.

The nation’s equivalent of NASA will launch a rover in October to explore virgin territory on the lunar surface and analyse crust samples for signs of water and helium-3. That isotope is limited on Earth yet so abundant on the moon that it theoretically could meet global energy demands for 250 years if harnessed……..

The mission would solidify India’s place among the fleet of explorers racing to the moon, Mars and beyond for scientific, commercial or military gains. The governments of the US, China, India, Japan and Russia are competing with start-ups and billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson to launch satellites, robotic landers, astronauts and tourists into the cosmos. ……..

In the US, President Donald Trump signed a directive calling for astronauts to return to the moon, and NASA’s proposed $US19 billion ($26 billion) budget this fiscal year calls for launching a lunar orbiter by the early 2020s. …….

A primary objective, though, is to search for deposits of helium-3. Solar winds have bombarded the moon with immense quantities of helium-3 because it’s not protected by a magnetic field like Earth is. ……. “It is thought that this isotope could provide safer nuclear energy in a fusion reactor, since it is not radioactive and would not produce dangerous waste products,” the European Space Agency said.

……..  there are numerous obstacles to overcome before the material can be used – including the logistics of collection and delivery back to Earth and building fusion power plants to convert the material into energy. Those costs would be stratospheric…….https://www.afr.com/news/world/asia/indias-quest-to-find-a-trilliondollar-zerowaste-nuclear-fuel-on-the-moon-20180627-h11ykr

 

June 29, 2018 Posted by | India, technology | Leave a comment

USA’s General Electric and France’s EDF getting together to market to India huge and costly nuclear station

France’s EDF, GE to co-build reactors for huge Indian nuclear plant, Reuters Staff, NEW DELHI (Reuters) 28 June 18- GE and French utility EDF have agreed to team to build six reactors for a nuclear power project in western India, which is due to be the world’s biggest when finished……… The six European Pressurised Water reactors will be for a 9,900 mw nuclear power project at Jaitapur, south of Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra, GE and EDF said in a joint statement released on Tuesday…….

EDF will be responsible for engineering integration of the entire project, while GE Power will design the critical part of the plant and supply its main components, the companies said.

GE will also provide operational support services and a training programme to meet the needs of the state-run Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd, the plant’s owner and operator.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Alexander Smith https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-nuclear-ge/frances-edf-ge-to-co-build-reactors-for-huge-indian-nuclear-plant-idUSKBN1JM1J8

June 29, 2018 Posted by | France, India, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Adivasis (indigenous people) in a remote area of India, suffer health effects from the nuclear industry?

News Click 21st June 2018 , Sanjay Gope, a 13-year-old boy from Bango village near Jadugora town in
East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, cannot move or speak because he has
been suffering from muscular dystrophy – a group of disorders that
involves a progressive loss of muscle mass and consequent loss of strength
– for the past nine years. At least one person of his family has to be
with him all the time to look after him. He cannot be left unattended.

Eighteen-year-old Parvati Gope from the same village is suffering from
lumbar scoliosis – a C-shpaed curve formation of her vertebral column.
Rakesh Gope, a 13-year-old school-going boy, is also suffering from
muscular dystrophy. Although he is active and walks with arched feet and
soles, he is unable to speak normally.

A three-year-old child Kartik Gope has been having seizures since birth and is developing muscular dystrophy
too. These examples are not enough; there are hundreds of such cases of
congenital illness and other birth defects in addition to high incidence of
infertility, miscarriages and pre-mature deliveries.

Now, a pertinent question arises here: why are such large number of health hazards being
reported from this remote and overlooked corner of the country? While India
is dreaming to become energy efficient by 2032 by generating 63 Gigawatts
of nuclear power, it is taking a major toll on human lives in a small
township of Jharkhand. Jadugora has the deposits of world’s best quality
uranium ore, magnesium diuranate. It is because of the rich deposits of the
region, India is capitalising its nuclear dreams. The whole belt of the
reactors is affecting the Adivasis (indigenous people) disproportionately
in and around the uranium mining operational area.
https://newsclick.in/uranium-mining-jharkhand-radioactive-poisoning-ravaging-lives-villages

June 25, 2018 Posted by | health, India, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

India and Pakistan have increased their stockpiles of nuclear weapons

India, Pakistan expanding their new nuclear weapons stockpiles: SIPRI  https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/india-pakistan-expanding-their-new-nuclear-weapons-stockpiles-sipri-2605161.html  There are nine countries which have nuclear warheads. They include Russia, the US, the UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, Moneycontrol News@moneycontrolcom , 19 June 18 

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in its 2018 edition of the yearly report on the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security said despite the overall decrease in global nuclear weapons year-on-year, India and Pakistan have increased their stockpiles.

India, which had an estimated 120-130 nuclear warheads as per 2017 report, now has 130-140 warheads. Similarly, Pakistan, which had 130-140 warheads now has increased to 140-150 warheads. Both countries are also developing new land, sea and air-based missile delivery systems.

Another nuclear country in Asia, China continues to modernise its nuclear weapon delivery systems and is slowly increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal. The country now has an estimated 280 nuclear warheads. In 2017 report, the number was 270.

The US and Russia still constitute a major share of approximately 14,465 nuclear weapons that exist in the world. Both together account for nearly 92 percent of all nuclear weapons despite reducing their strategic nuclear forces pursuant to the implementation of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

Moreover, the cold war-era rivals also have long-term programmes underway to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities.

“The renewed focus on the strategic importance of nuclear deterrence and capacity is a very worrying trend,” says Ambassador Jan Eliasson, Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board.

“The world needs a clear commitment from the nuclear weapon states to an effective, legally binding process towards nuclear disarmament.”

Other countries which are a nuclear state include the UK (215 warheads), France (300 warheads), Israel (80 warheads) and North Korea (10-20 warheads). The figures for North Korea are uncertain, the report said, however, there was no doubt that it has nuclear weapons.

In 2017, North Korea has made technical progress in developing its nuclear weapon capabilities, including the test of—what was claimed to be—a thermonuclear weapon, in September. North Korea also demonstrated unexpected rapid progress in the testing of two new types of long-range ballistic missile delivery systems. These testing led to a crisis in the Korean peninsula.

However, in a meeting with US president Donald Trump, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un vowed to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Koran peninsula.

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Exposure to ionising radiation plays a role in the increasing incidence of brain tumours

Brain tumour day: Exposure to ionizing radiation raises concern https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/080618/brain-tumour-day-exposure-to-ionizing-radiation-raises-concern.html, DECCAN CHRONICLE. Jun 8, 2018,  Though a large number of brain tumours can be non-cancerous, the prevalence of brain tumour of both types is rising in the country.

Chennai: Brain tumour has emerged as a type of cancer that affects a large population of youngsters mostly due to exposure to ionizing radiation.

Though a large number of brain tumours can be non-cancerous, the prevalence of brain tumour of both types is rising in the country. On World Brain Tumour Day, medicos discuss various factors associated with brain tumour.

Unnecessary growth of cells within a part of brain can lead to tumours namely, malignant and benign tumours. The incidence of brain tumour has been growing and statistics on childhood cancer reveal that brain tumour is commonest in girls and even in both sexes in adults in the country, though the data may vary for different states.

“Every year 40,000 to 50,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumour. There are 120 different types of brain tumour and they exhibit different symptoms. People who have been exposed to ionizing radiation for longer periods have an increased risk of brain tumour, especially among the youngsters,” said Dr Suresh Kumar, consultant neurologist, Fortis Malar.

After the central government introduced National Cancer Control Programme, various programmes have been launched to screen and diagnose brain tumour at an early stage, and a significant part of it emphasizes on providing palliative care in end stage.

“Genetic factors are also responsible for the incidence of brain tumours, and high dosage of X-rays is also dangerous and can be a risk factor for brain tumour. Some common symptoms are seizures, headaches, blurred vision, vomiting in morning, while the patient can also have difficulty in walking, speaking and sensation,” said senior neurologist N Dinesh.

Medicos usually suggest surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, steroids and anti-seizure medication as few common treatments. However, the treatment can be individualistic based on the type, location, and stage of the tumour.

June 9, 2018 Posted by | health, India, women | Leave a comment

India and Pakistan – growing risk of nuclear war there should not be ignored

Another nuclear crisis in the making? Great power competition and the risk of war in South Asia, BAS, Moeed Yusuf 5 June 18, In May 1998, India and, later, Pakistan conducted multiple nuclear tests to become the first pair to go nuclear in the post-Cold War era. Two decades on, these South Asian rivals remain locked in a deeply antagonistic relationship that constantly threatens to boil over.

The US-North Korea showdown, the upcoming summit, and the fate of the Iranian nuclear deal have consumed the global nuclear debate over the past year. During this time, India and Pakistan have slipped into an active low-level confrontation largely unnoticed.Violence on the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of the disputed territory of Kashmir has been at its highest level since the two sides agreed to a ceasefire in 2003. In 2017, the bloodiest year since, there were nearly 3,000 ceasefire violations. Persistent tit-for-tat military shelling across the LoC has caused significant casualties and damage. Civilians have been targeted and killed at an unprecedented rate, as well.

Previous wars and major crises between the two sides were triggered by miscalculated military maneuvers in Kashmir or, in more recent years, by terrorist attacks. Neither can be ruled out in the current context; either could unleash a deadly escalatory spiral.

The risks involved in such a scenario would quickly remind the world why US President Bill Clinton dubbed the LoC as “the most dangerous place” on Earth at the turn of the century. India and Pakistan lack robust bilateral escalation control mechanisms. In the past, they have depended heavily on the United States and other strong third-party states with influence in the region to mediate crisis outcomes. These third parties have responded eagerly and acted with remarkable coordination in pursuit of de-escalation.

The next crisis may demand the same—but the global powers may be found wanting. The antecedent conditions that previously drove their positive engagement have already eroded. Never since South Asia’s nuclearization has global politics been so uncertain, great power relations so fraught, and competing global priorities so distracting. This reality combined with the continued absence of alternative tested crisis management experiences in South Asia may force a break from the successful crisis management patterns of the past.

A look at the past. South Asia’s nuclearization in 1998 not only ushered in a new era of regional nuclear competition but it also forced a rethink of the established norms of nuclear crisis management. The Cold War was dominated by the two superpowers. No stronger third parties able to readily influence their crisis behavior existed. Virtually all examination of nuclear contests therefore assumed bilateral contexts. While the United States and Soviet Union regularly intervened in regional crises in support of their allies, they used these moments primarily to compete and advance their global interests vis-à-vis the other.

The advent of regional nuclear dyads fundamentally altered the incentives for the United States and other strong powers to compete through regional proxies. The worry of second-age nuclear powers like India and Pakistan stumbling into nuclear war on their own proved overbearing. Crisis moments were now marked by the urge to ensure the absence of catastrophic escalation—above all prior policy preferences, no matter how important or urgent.

India and Pakistan are no strangers to crises. Since 1998, they have experienced at least three major and several modest bouts of high tension.  ……

A future different from the past? The importance of third party crisis management in South Asia has only grown over time. India and Pakistan have been unable to agree on dependable risk reduction and escalation control mechanisms with a direct bearing on crisis moments. Simulation exercises continue to point to their likely inability to terminate escalated crises. In fact, as reluctant as India and Pakistan are to admit this, they have learned from previous crisis iterations and internalized third-party roles as part of their crisis planning. Worryingly, some of their doctrines and crisis strategies assume the option of third-party bailouts.

These South Asian rivals have not ruled out conflict under the nuclear umbrella. India now boasts an operational limited war doctrine, Cold Start, that envisions swift military action against Pakistan—before international actors can pressure India to forego aggression

……….. The aura of unpredictability that presently surrounds US foreign policy has brought America’s willingness to act as that leader into question. Simultaneously, the precipitous decline in US relations with surging competitors like China and Russia and increasing difficulties in transatlantic relations has tempered global confidence in the ability of the great powers to operate collectively as agents of peace. ……..https://thebulletin.org/another-nuclear-crisis-making-great-power-competition-and-risk-war-south-asia11876

June 6, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear politics between India and Pakistan need attention and understanding

The other nuclear powers that need attention https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2018/0531/The-other-nuclear-powers-that-need-attention

Beyond Iran and North Korea, the nuclear-armed rivals of India and Pakistan need help to prevent a war. A cease-fire in disputed Kashmir shows progress, but a deeper reconciliation, especially an understanding in their shared history, is needed. May 31, 2018, By the Monitor’s Editorial Board

As long as he is already trying to denuclearize North Korea as well as permanently ban Iran from building a nuclear weapon, President Trump may want to pay heed to India and its neighbor Pakistan. The two nuclear-armed powers have gone to war three times since they achieved independence in 1947. And over the past year, regular skirmishes along their disputed border in Kashmir have killed dozens and displaced 50,000 civilians.

Pakistan and India each recognize a nuclear war would be mutually devastating. Yet they need help in overcoming a deep suspicion and animosity, driven in part by diverging narratives of their shared past, that could someday trigger a full-scale conflict.

With the border fighting in Kashmir getting out of hand in recent months, the two countries agreed May 29 to honor a cease-fire pact that was first put in place 15 years ago. The agreement is a welcome step. Yet it provides only a pause in hostilities without a commitment to a peace dialogue and, more important, the creation of a culture of reconciliation.

Iran and North Korea are still a long way from any attempt to reconcile with their perceived foes. Ending their nuclear threat has required outside pressure. Pakistan and India, however, have tried at times to come to terms with each other since the violent partition of British India into their respective countries, one largely Muslim and the other largely Hindu. Sometimes their leaders talk or the countries share a sports contest. Nonetheless, trade and travel between the two remain minimal given the size of their economies. And the Kashmir dispute as well as terrorist attacks keep them apart.

Religious differences have mattered less in their relations than the role of nationalist politicians who find it convenient to whip up hatred and fear of the other side. The ill will is generated in large part by competing histories of the 1947 partition – who started it, who killed more people, and who were the heroes and villains. Over the decades, the official history textbooks in each country have become political weapons to create an enemy and build up national unity.

Peace between India and Pakistan will require some sort of agreement on their shared history, one that must reduce old grievances and lessen the paranoia that could trigger a nuclear war. In Northeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, and China have tried in the past two decades to write a joint history in hopes of reducing the use of old resentments. The efforts have largely failed.

Yet this past winter, India and Pakistan achieved some success in transcending nationalist histories with the first citizen-level attempt at a joint telling of their shared history. Two history professors, one in Pakistan and the other in India, held a semester-long course titled “Introduction to South Asian History” that included more than 20 students from each country connected online. The teaching took place mainly over Skype and included a visit of 11 Pakistani students to India in May.

The two teachers, Ali Usman Qasmi of the Lahore University of Management Sciences and Pallavi Raghavan at OP Jindal Global University, reported that the students were amazed to discover what they did not know about the other country. They achieved an “overlapping consensus” on historical events with respect and understanding. The success of the course, they wrote, “shows that an alternative imagining of the past conducive to achieving peace and harmony in the region is … possible.”

Cease-fires in Kashmir, even a peace dialogue or a full opening of trade, will help India and Pakistan avoid the worst kind of wars. But much of that may not matter until the two peoples can craft a shared understanding of the past in order to reconcile for a better future.

June 1, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

India, a Key U.S. Ally, Plans to Ignore Trump’s Iran Sanctions 

Bloomberg By  and 
  • New Delhi only recognizes UN sanctions, foreign minister said
  •  
    Throughout previous sanctions, India purchased Iranian oil
 

President Donald Trump may have ordered the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, but one of Asia’s biggest oil importers — and a strategic partner of the U.S. — plans on ignoring them.

India, a long-time buyer of oil from both Iran and Venezuela, only complies with United Nations-mandated sanctions and not those imposed by one country on another, said foreign minister Sushma Swaraj at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.

“India will comply with UN sanctions and not any country-specific sanctions,” Swaraj said at an annual briefing, flanked by her two junior foreign ministers and India’s foreign secretary.

Swaraj later met Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, where they discussed Trump’s plan to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Swaraj said “all parties to the agreement should engage constructively for peaceful resolution of the issues,” according to a foreign ministry statement. ……

 India’s post-independence history as a leader of the “non-aligned” movement — developing nations not allied with the U.S. or the then-Soviet Union — means New Delhi maintains economic relationships that raise eyebrows in western capitals, including with Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. India also ignored U.S. requests to close its embassy in North Korea, Swaraj said at her briefing.

In February, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani visited India and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss energy cooperation and New Delhi’s investments in Iran’s Chabahar port.

Trump is also considering new sanctions on Russia, a historic ally and key supplier of arms to India, related to allegations that Vladimir Putin’s government interfered in the U.S. election. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-29/one-key-u-s-ally-in-asia-plans-to-ignore-trump-s-iran-sanctions

May 30, 2018 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

Indian and Russian governments getting together to market nuclear power globally

PM Modi, Vladimir Putin May Discuss Energy, Nuclear Issues At ‘No-Agenda’ Summit
With China, reducing the tension on the border was important but with Russia, a trusted all-weather partner, increasing trade ties and stepping up defence and atomic energy cooperation could be on agenda

May 22, 2018 Posted by | India, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment