The nuclear security has become mantra of every country around the globe after the sad incidents of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is now used as effective diplomatic and socio-economic bargaining tool around the world. Israel, India, Iran, and the last not the least North Korea are the prime examples of nuclear strategic flashpoint in the regional and international geo-political and geo-strategic game of power.
From the testing of first atomic bomb in the deserts of New Mexico 55 years ago, with a flash of light brighter than a thousand suns till today human peaceful existence on earth is doubtful in the presence of different nuclear doctrines. It has now got momentum that more fearful responsibilities, more crucial liabilities rested on the victors even more than with the vanquished. It is true that the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” kept the Cold War within bounds but now humanity thinks that even deterrence and so-called balance of strategic power achieves nothing but destruction. Every country is working for nuclear free world. In this regards, many meaningful efforts are being carried out in many parts of the world which would have significant geo-political and geo-strategic implications in the days to come.
The two-day nuclear security summit was held in Washington, USA. Leaders from more than 47 countries attended and actively participated in this important international security summit. It was the largest gathering of world leaders in USA since the close of World War II. The key objective of the Nuclear Security Summit was the safety of nuclear materials globally.
US officials declared it great success and paradigm shift in US foreign policy and strategic change in the bilateral relations between US and Russia. They termed it new dawn of peace, mutual trust and an achievable destination of mutual co-existence towards nuclear free world in the future. They pledged to lock up the most vulnerable nuclear materials within four years. During the summit issues like nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and full support to IAEA were also thoroughly discussed. Four countries, namely Canada, Mexico, Ukraine and Chile pledged to eliminate their surplus weapon grade material or to hand them ever to the United States. Nevertheless, the issues of nuclear non-proliferation and terrorism were at the centre of gravity to all the countries. All the participating governments considered cooperative efforts to track and protect weapons usable materials and to safeguard against nuclear terrorism. Next nuclear security summit would be held in South Korea 2012.
The summit also recognised the right of every state to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in his remarkable speech once again assured the world community that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was in the safe hands. Afterwards, even US President Obama’s public acknowledged that Pakistan’s nuclear programme is safe and in secure hands. During the security summit being a responsible nuclear State Pakistan played an important role. The government of Pakistan has been working hard behind the scenes and took a leading part in the preparatory successive meetings to finalize the security summit documents.
It was successfully conveyed that Pakistan had multi-layered and failsafe mechanisms for the safety and security of its nuclear arsenals. Moreover, Pakistan has set up a high level command and control authority to ensure the security of its nuclear installations too. The summit was a good occasion and platform for Pakistan to establish its credentials as a nuclear state fully committed to the prevention of any kind of so-called and highly projected in Western media’s nuclear proliferation and trafficking in weapons usable material. Nuclear terrorism poses a serious threat to global security and Pakistan is determined to fight it alongside other nations with all the might at its disposal.
In the summit Pakistan said that it has acquired advanced nuclear fuel cycle capability and can offer it to the rest of the world under IAEA safeguards. It reflected Pakistan’s desire to gain recognition as a responsible and matured nuclear state. At the summit, Pakistan also reiterated its proposals for establishing a strategic restraint regime in South Asia. The policy paper presented stressed that such a regime would promote nuclear and missile restraint, a balance in conventional forces, and conflict resolution. It also underlined Pakistan’s legitimate needs for power generation to meet the growing energy demand of its expanding economy.
Again, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told the participants that “civil nuclear power generation under IAEA safeguards is an essential part of our national energy security plan to support sustained economic growth and industrial development to any country and Pakistan qualifies for participation in civil nuclear cooperation at the international level. We urge all relevant forums to give Pakistan access to nuclear technology for peaceful uses, in a non-discriminatory manner. Moreover, after the ‘successful’ strategic dialogue between the US and Pakistan, Prime Minister Gilani has made full use of this summit to argue Pakistan’s case for a non-discriminatory civilian nuclear deal along the lines of the one offered to India in 2005
World leaders in the two day nuclear security summit agreed to specific steps to combat nuclear terrorism in the 700 words joint deceleration. It is about political commitment, desire of mutual cooperation and collaboration. It speaks about the role of international regulatory bodies. It tells about all the diversified but integrated measures for security of nuclear weapons. Main salient features are given below as:
(a) All participating states has agreed to maintain effective security of all nuclear materials under their control; to prevent non-state actors from obtaining the information or technology required to use such material for malicious purposes; and emphasised the importance of robust national legislative and regulatory frameworks for nuclear security
(b) All the countries agreed to work cooperatively as an international community to advance nuclear security, requesting and providing assistance as necessary.
(c) These states also agreed to new controls on highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium, which can be used for producing nuclear weapons including an agreement to endeavour to fully implement all existing nuclear security commitments and work towards acceding to those not yet joined, consistent with national laws, policies and procedures; support to the objectives of international nuclear security instruments, including the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as amended, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, as essential elements of the global nuclear security architecture is another commitment set out in the communiqué.
(d) They developed understanding about the essential role of the IAEA in the international nuclear security framework and agreed to work to ensure that IAEA continues its activities in accordance with its statute, relevant general conference resolutions and its nuclear security plans.
(e) All the countries agreed to recognise the role and contributions of the UN as well as the contributions of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the G8-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction within their respective mandates and memberships.
(f) They approved the need for capacity building for nuclear security and cooperation at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels for the promotion of nuclear security culture through technology development, human resource development, education and training.
(g) The participants agreed to recognise the need for cooperation among states to effectively prevent and respond to incidents of illicit nuclear trafficking.
(h) They also agreed to recognise the continuing role of nuclear industry, including the private sector, in nuclear security and work with industry to ensure the necessary priority of physical protection, material accountancy and security culture. The countries would also support the implementation of strong nuclear security practices that will not infringe upon the rights of states to develop and utilise nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The critical analysis of the above mentioned joint deceleration demonstrated a strong political will to secure vulnerable nuclear material from falling into the hands of terrorists which would be dangerous for the world peace.
According to many regional research scholars and international strategic experts that the paradigm shift in US foreign policy on the issue of NPT, nuclear weapon reduction and its safety nothing but to gather global support for a further socio-economic sanctions on Iran and isolate North Korea. The US wishes new socio-economic sanctions to be placed against Iran by June 2010.
Threats of nuclear confrontation
Despite the efforts of the US-Russia (New START: Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) and the USA’s passive-aggressive Nuclear Posture Review the threats of nuclear confrontation are still high and complicated. Middle East and South Asia are supposed to be two main fault lines.
Fault-lines Chances of Nuclear Confrontation
Israel Israel is the only country in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons. Israel presently possesses an estimated 400 nuclear weapons. It has nuclear doctrine of “first strike” posture and “preemptive strike” against anybody. Israel’s nuclear doctrine also includes the so-called “Samson Option”: a massive nuclear assault against the nations threatening Israel. Moreover, it has had been bitter relations with its neighbors and other pressure groups. So, it seems that chances of nuclear confrontation are higher in Middle East region. UAE stands that the establishment of nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East is a priority in order to demonstrate progress and effectiveness of the treaty. UAE encourages state parties to work constructively on taking urgent and practical steps to implement 1995 NPT review conference resolution on the establishment of such zone , and to the establishment of a special committee from the conference to discuss the process and the associated timeline .
India-Pakistan South Asia is another region where nuclear confrontation may be happened at any time. The rivalry between India and Pakistan would be disastrous for peace keeping and nuclear free zone in the future. It is estimated that Both India and Pakistan possess an estimated 80 to 120 nuclear warheads.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference is going now in USA. Five nuclear weapon states the US, Russia, the UK, France and China committed themselves to getting rid of their nuclear weapons. This disarmament remained, however, a vague aspiration rather than a concrete pledge. The US and Russia have agreed to some cuts and put their signatures to a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) earlier this month but their nuclear arsenals remain vast. Another blow to the NPT has been the behaviour of North Korea. It signed the treaty but then proceeded to acquire nuclear weapons clandestinely.
No doubt, Iran is a signatory of the NPT and has allowed its facilities to be inspected regularly by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Its leaders have repeatedly denied that they are seeking nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, they claim the inalienable right to use nuclear energy for civilian purposes a right which is indeed afforded them by the treaty. Terming nuclear weapons ‘disgusting and shameful,’ Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged the United Nations to punish countries like the United States that threaten to use them in his latest speech at UN conference. He further said that the possession of nuclear arms is not a source of pride.
It is good sign that US-Russia signed a new protocol pledging to complete the disposal of 34 tons of excess weapons-grade plutonium each, enough to make 17,000 weapons. “The Plutonium Disposition Protocol represents an essential step in the nuclear disarmament process. Each country will proceed to complete and operate facilities that will dispose of at least 34 metric tons of this plutonium by using it as fuel in civil power reactors to produce electricity.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of UAE in the NPT conference 2010 once again reaffirmed the UAE’s support for the right of countries to the peaceful uses of nuclear power as stipulated in the nuclear NPT. He rightly pointed that over the years the NPT framework, along with effective diplomacy and political commitment, has also convinced some countries in the world to abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions while others have given up their nuclear weapons and joined the NPT. He also chalked out some challenges to the implementation of the NPT. Lack of concrete, effective and comprehensive steps to disarmament; the existence of many crucial countries outside the NPT; serious issues of non-compliance, and the last not the least nuclear proliferation threats are supposed to be the major challenges the NPT regime.
He stressed that the credibility and effectiveness of the IAEA Safeguards could provide ideal platform to the responsible expansion and usage of nuclear energy in the world. Moreover, the adoption of the additional protocol to the comprehensive safeguards agreement is important to strengthen this mechanism, and therefore export of nuclear technology should gives a priority for countries which has the additional protocol in force. He spoke highly about the peaceful use of nuclear energy for achieving socio-economic goals. He suggested that the international cooperation framework for assisting states embarking on nuclear energy programs should be strengthened under the treaty. The provision of fuel can be addressed under such a framework: multilateral fuel assurance mechanisms should be further developed to support expansion in the use of nuclear energy without putting the non-proliferation regime at risk. The UAE supports the development of such mechanisms under the auspices of the IAEA and has accordingly pledged $10 million to support the establishment of an IAEA nuclear fuel bank.
He also shared his remarkable and enlightened views about the issue of nuclear disarmament and said that the UAE considers that the only way to ensure the non-use or threat to use nuclear weapons is the total elimination of those weapons. The UAE reiterates its call for states that are not party to the treaty to join the treaty. In this prospective, he called on Israel to join the NPT and subject all its nuclear facilities to the IAEA Compressive Safeguards Agreement as called by UN resolutions and past NPT review conferences.
US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)
According to many military experts that NPR indicates that there is more war for America in future. Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the Ballistic Missile Defense Report, the nuclear security summit in New York and the May 3-28 United Nations nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, and the last not the least the continuing wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the 2011 Pentagon war budget request all lead to nowhere but US expansionary plans in the days to come.
(a) Preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism
(b) Reducing the role of US nuclear weapons in US national security strategy
(c) Maintaining strategic deterrence and stability at reduced nuclear force levels
(d) Strengthening regional deterrence and reassuring US allies and partners
(e) Sustaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal
The US released its latest 72 pages nuclear posture review last month. It explicitly acknowledges Russia “is no longer an adversary”, and adamantly enshrines a policy of “no new nuclear weapons”. It reduces the role of atomic weapons in US defense policy but does not rule out their use against countries like Iran and North Korea. Repeatedly, Iran denies pursuing atomic weapons and insists its nuclear programs are limited to peacefully generating electricity. In the past, the US, UK, France, China and Russia were allowed to keep their nuclear weapons under the NPT but pledged to launch negotiations on scrapping their arsenals. Non-nuclear weapon states complain that the five states have not done enough to disarm.
Many research studies reveled that the US has been the main obstacle to complete nuclear disarmament during and after the Cold War. The Soviet Union repeatedly called for nuclear disarmament, and even proposed general and complete disarmament of each country’s military apparatus, including nuclear weapons. On the contrary, there is no clear-cut pledge or promise or political commitment and official evidence the US is bound to decrease a military budget that is bigger than the rest of the world’s combined. According to the Russians NPR does not say a word about the 200 tactical nuclear bombs the US keeps at five North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bases across Europe, in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. The NPR does not clearly establish how much further the formidable US nuclear arsenal will be reduced. The Iranian officials smelled possible potential threat in the recently announced NPR.
China It is against any stringent sanctions against Iran and matter must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue
Brazil It is against sanctions
Turkey It is against any tougher sanction
Israel Supporter of crippling sanctions
Nuclear Disarmament Treaty
Last week, US president and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a nuclear disarmament treaty which will hopefully reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals roughly by a third. It is again new right strategic step towards right direction. It is predicted that its multiplier socio-economic, geo-political and geo-strategic repercussions would be good for both the countries in the days to come. It is feared that the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by the senate of US would be difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, it laid dawn effective and comprehensive steps to reduce nuclear arsenals. But at the speed disarmament is moving, it will take decades to be completed. Currently, the US has about 2,200 strategic warheads and Russia 2,600. Under New START, both must reduce their arsenals to 1,550 deployed warheads by 2017. The White House and media reports have stated that this new limit is a 30% reduction compared to the 2,200 ceiling required by the Moscow Treaty signed by Bush in 2002.
SALT-1 (USA-Soviet Union) In 1972 both the countries agreed to annul the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system. The USA had started the race. The former USSR followed. Washington panicked. And then Richard Nixon had a reality attack.
SALT-2 It was designed to monitor the growth of both nuclear arsenals. US was scared by the firepower of the Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) SS-1, SS-18 and SS-19. Without monitoring, the Soviet Union could deploy any number of warheads it wanted in each of these missiles, tripling their firepower. It was not ratified by the US – although in practice it was respected by the Pentagon. The Bush administration scrapped the ABM treaty and in 2003 decided to adopt Prompt Global Strike
SALT-3 (USA-Russia) NPR at least explicitly acknowledges Russia “is no longer an adversary”, and adamantly enshrines a policy of “no new nuclear weapons”.
The above table clearly shows that success rate to achieve nuclear free world has not been positive due to many complicated regional and international geo-political and geo-strategic compulsions and repeated proxy wars around the world.
Meanwhile, most recently, Iran offers to hold talks with all 15 members of the UN Security Council in an effort to break a deadlock over a nuclear fuel deal which shows its political commitment and spirits of respect to international laws.
Complete nuclear free world is the need of the hour. Tragic incidents of Nagasaki and Hiroshima are still black spot on humanity. The high levels of poverty, unemployment, hunger, disease and above all ongoing global economic recession and financial crunch all pray for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons from the world. Too much time has already been wasted in arena of cold war, making of distinctive two-pool world, proxy wars playgrounds, creation of regional strategic balances, sanctions & embargos, and above all doctrines of deterrence and holding of minimum power balances. Now it is time to think, now it is time to act and take actions not for any geo-political leverage, not for gaining any socio-economic benefits or not for any geo-strategic millage but for achieving complete nuclear free zones in the world.