Jeffrey LewisIndia Gets NSG Waiver

Well, the Nuclear Suppliers Group has given India a cleanish waiver. It’s a good day for France and Russia — well, AREVA and Atomstroyexport. (I have my doubts about the future of Westinghouse in the Indian market, but oh well.) ACA has good coverage on the debacle.

Austrian officials are trying to slap some lipstick on this pig, pointing to a statement by Indian External Affairs Minister that reaffirmed India’s commitment to its “voluntary, unilateral” moratorium on nuclear testing, a commitment which is mentioned in the exemption. Here is that statement:

We remain committed to a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. We do not subscribe to any arms race, including a nuclear arms race. We have always tempered the exercise of our strategic autonomy with a sense of global responsibility. We affirm our policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons.

We are committed to work with others towards the conclusion of a multilateral Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament that is universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable.

It’s not much beyond the standard boilerplate, though I have to admit I wish President Bush would make a similar statement about US nuclear posture.

I worry this sets up a potential trainwreck:

  • Indian officials believe they have what they seek: the legal commitments at the core of a strategy that will mitigate the consequences of a resumption of testing. (The fuel reserve, access to the international marketplace, etc.)
  • NSG members, on the other hand, believe they have a political commitment, however weak, from India to refrain from testing and options to isolate India again in the event that it violates the pledge.

One of the two parties is wrong. I am not eager to find out which.

***

Another important story will be China’s role — although China didn’t appear in the news stories as prominently as Austria, Ireland and New Zealand, Beijing apparently played an active role in attempting to block the waiver behind the scenes. This will be a great case study for a dissertation on the new Chinese diplomacy.

Overcoming Chinese opposition apparently took a direct intervention from Bush to Chinese President Hu Jintao. I wonder what we had to trade for China’s cooperation?

Comments

  1. djysrv (History)

    China reportedly left the negotiations late on Friday to express its disapproval of the deal.

    Also, China published a commentary by a noted analyst on nonproliferation issues to signal its concerns.

    http://djysrv.blogspot.com/2008/09/nuclear-suupliers-group-approves-india.html

    http://djysrv.blogspot.com/2008/09/india-deal-may-be-done-in-by-six-pack.html

  2. James (History)

    Next up: Israel and Pakistan will go to the NSG to get a license for their respective weapons programs. And then it will be Japan and Germany.

    Door’s open, boys! Except, of course, for those countries that don’t have superpower backing. The NPT was supposed to lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons; that hope has been coldly betrayed.

  3. Mohan (History)

    Responding to your question on China’s role.

    China is opposed to India’s nuclear weapons for reasons ranging from a possible regional rivalry emerging to insecurities relating to its occupation of Tibet. The sedate India-Tibet border became the tense India-China border, with two huge countries next to each other. Simultaneously, China is engaged in an implicit broader game with the US (on who will dominate mainland Asia) where it’s important to prevent driving India into the US embrace. This results in two conflicting strategic goals where India is concerned, and translates into efforts to stall India’s emergence as a power without openly alienating India. A tough act. The usual m.o. is to make public statements about “understanding India’s aspirations” and maintain a positive tone in direct diplomatic interactions, and then support proxies (Austria, Pakistan, the US, whoever) to stall India.

    India, in turn, would never have gone nuclear if China hadn’t. In some ways, the key to India lies in getting Beijing to swallow the pill of disarmament. If there were even a “Nuclear Free Asia” push that involved China disarming, India would be easy to get on the bandwagon. But China won’t, because China’s has a conflicted relationship with the US as well. There’s the “need to be friends to make my way to prosperity” aspect. And then there’s the “watch me blow-up this satellite as a demonstration” and “missile shields are unacceptable” aspect.

    If you’re an arms control wonk opposed to Indian nukes, you can likely count on the Chinese to do background pushing to stop India. But, for the time being, they are unlikely to come right out and oppose India. Unless the US itself distances itself from India, as a corollary to resigning itself to a more diminished role in Asia and other parts of the world. Then the Chinese will be more open.

  4. Cheryl Rofer (History)

    I worry that the dissertation, twenty years from now, will focus on the missteps by the United States that led to the mutual green-glassing from Israel to Bangladesh.

  5. MT (History)

    I heard a Démarche has already sent to the Chinese for its Multiple personality disorder of assuring India not to cause hurdles and then giving fire cover to the few nations that had hardly any strong relationship with India, to muddy the waters at NSG.

    The whole NSG deal is a artwork of wonderful lawyers. You can twist its meanings to both ways.

    However, India is a responsible nuclear power. It wont go and detonate a bomb for fun. I quote, until China does. If china can be a part of NSG and detonate, why not India. If you argue on this, I should say, think unbias and dissolve NSG and make a new world body.

    India has a impeccable track record of non-proliferation. Every country knows that. Why do you want India to sign NPT, when it has never proliferated, while china, which is a member of NSG, continues to proliferate? The whole double standard theory of the NSG is flawed. Unless the member countries clean its own behaviour, it should not expect India to bend on that.

    NSG has gained so has India with the deal. I think most NSG countries knew that deal or no deal was India vs China. There was nothing new other than that. China can detonate and proliferate from inside NSG , which it has different yardstick for India. Hence most member countries went with the deal.

  6. Major Lemon (History)

    We are in danger of dying from stomach ulcers, not radioactive fallout. Lets take a step back and realise that the only disarmament talks that work are Fast Arms Reduction Talks. Only the acronym would be unacceptable.

  7. Yossi, Jerusalem

    A sad day for this poor planet. Narrow minded politics triumphed again over wisdom and the consequences will soon arrive. India will become intoxicated with its new power, compete destructively with western economies, bully its neighbours and possibly even launch a nuclear first strike against Pakistan. Powerful countries with a victim mentality are the most dangerous because their distorted world view overrides logic and morality. Giving them freedom to develop nuclear weapons is playing with fire.

    The NPT and the vision behind it became a joke. How much time will pass until the taboo against using the fire of hell except as last resort self defense erodes? The “Axis of Evil” presented little danger, now we will have to contend with the “Axis of Devil”.

  8. Silver Sabre

    How many times do you have to be proven wrong before you realize your “analytical abilities” are not worth much?

    I’m not dissing the arms control folks and do believe your concerns are genuine, but can we PLEASE lay off the apocalyptic predictions for a while?

    India will bully its neighbors not more after this deal than China did to its neighbors or the US does to everyone around the world.

    The NPT system is anachronistic. You cannot keep trying to a fit a square peg in a round hole, not after the peg gets wider and wider and the hole keeps moving around.

    There are a limited number of countries that chose to pursude nuclear weapons despite international consequences. THe arms control community never saw fit to ask why these countries wanted nukes (India v China, Pakistan v India, Israel v. Arab threats). Now you pay the price.

    The real threat of nuclear armageddon begins in the US. If the US can forswear testing, China will be persuaded to follow suit and India, Pakistan and Israel will join in as well. If the US can reduce its nuclear arsenal to a few hundred, then the rest of the NWS can follow suit and we can contain this threat.

    However, you cannot have a world where you freeze in the NPT’s discriminatory status quo forever and then expect nations like India to abandon their self interest just to make things easier for you all.

    A little less hyperbole will do all of us a lot of good.

  9. Mike (History)

    @James – …The NPT was supposed to lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons; that hope has been coldly betrayed…

    I would submit that the official weapons states coldly betrayed this ideal long, long ago. When was the last time a power, outside of the UK recently, seriously talked about their obligations under Article VI?

    @Yossi – …India will become intoxicated with its new power, compete destructively with western economies, bully its neighbours and possibly even launch a nuclear first strike against Pakistan. Powerful countries with a victim mentality are the most dangerous because their distorted world view overrides logic and morality. Giving them freedom to develop nuclear weapons is playing with fire…

    If India wishes to launch a first strike against Pakistan, this deal with the NSG wouldn’t have changed a thing. India has an active weapons program. They’ve tested warheads. If India wanted a horrible regional war, they could have done it decades ago. If they were as insane and warmongering as you seem to fear, they would actually have done it before Pakistan had her own nukes.

    No one is “giving” India the freedom to develop nuclear weapons. They built their own, like the Israelis, like the NORKs, like the South Africans and like the Pakistanis.

    This deal may not work. It may actually be as bad as the non-proliferation bureaucrats claim it will be. But it is at least an effort to acknowledge the reality on the ground, an effort to build bridges and an effort to integrate a major power into the official non-proliferation regime.

    Not doing this deal, or one like it, would not have changed India’s weapons status in the least.

  10. Silver Sabre

    Mike,

    Amen!

    I do see the concerns that this deal might stress the NPT beyond repair but what are the alternatives?

    Do people really expect that India could be bullied into making a choice between forsaking the civilian nuclear boom or signing onto a CTBT like thing?

    India has played nice for years. Just think about the damage that an India outside the system could do:

    1. India could sell reactors and enrichment/reproc tech to anyone today because it is outside the NSG and there’s nothing anyone could do about it

    2. India could play hardball and stall consensus on FMCT

    3. India’s missile program is advanced and it can sell missiles and related tech to anyone since it is outside MTCR.

    And so on. People have been taking India for granted for so long.

    When a rising power is not accomodated, it usually tries to break the system that would not let it in. It is wise to let the camel inside the tent even if it means that the people inside the tent have to get used to it.

  11. Lao Tao Ren (History)

    Let’s hope that we are wrong.

    But if history (1857) repeats itself, the biggest loser of the deal may be the United States.

  12. FSB

    Armageddon for Cash?

    Risking Armageddon for Cold, Hard Cash

    By Mira Kamdar
    Sunday, September 7, 2008; B03

    While everyone has been abuzz about Georgia, the Beijing Olympics and Sarah Palin, perhaps the most important development in the world has been unfolding with almost no attention. India and the United States, along with deep-pocketed corporations, have been steadily pushing along a lucrative and dangerous new nuclear pact, the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement. Both governments have been working at a fever pitch to get the pact approved by the 45-country Nuclear Suppliers Group, which governs the world’s trade in nuclear materials, and before Congress for a final vote before it adjourns this month.

    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the deal will let his country, which refuses to sign either the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, take “its rightful place among the comity of nations.” I entirely understand why today’s democratic, globalized and modernizing India wants recognition and respect, and I agree that it needs more energy. But this foolish, risky deal is not the way to get any of these things. India’s democracy has already paid a crippling price, and now the planet may too.

    The historic deal will allow U.S. nuclear companies to again do business in India, something that has been barred since 1974, when New Delhi tested its first atomic bomb. (India tested nuclear bombs again in 1998, spurring Pakistan to follow suit with its own tests days later.) The pact will also lift restrictions on other countries’ sales of nuclear technology and fuel to India, while asking virtually nothing from India in return. All of that will undermine the very international system that India so ardently seeks to join.

    The deal risks triggering a new arms race in Asia: If it passes, a miffed and unstable Pakistan will seek nuclear parity with India, and China will fume at a transparent U.S. ploy to balance Beijing’s rise by building up India as a counterweight next door. The pact will gut global efforts to contain the spread of nuclear materials and encourage other countries to flout the NPT that India is now being rewarded for failing to sign. The U.S.-India deal will divert billions of dollars away from India’s real development needs in sustainable agriculture, education, health care, housing, sanitation and roads. It will also distract India from developing clean energy sources, such as wind and solar power, and from reducing emissions from its many coal plants. Instead, the pact will focus the nation’s efforts on an energy source that will, under the rosiest of projections, contribute a mere 8 percent of India’s total energy needs — and won’t even do that until 2030.

    So what will the deal accomplish? It will generate billions of dollars in lucrative contracts for the corporate members of the U.S.-India Business Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry. The Bush administration hopes that it will help resuscitate the moribund U.S. nuclear power industry and expand the use of this “non-polluting” source of energy, one of the pillars of the Bush team’s energy policy. The deal will let the real leaders of the global nuclear-power business — France and Russia, both of which eagerly support the deal — reap huge profits in India. And the pact will provide spectacularly profitable opportunities to India’s leading corporations, which are slavering to get their hands on a share of the booty. How much booty? This newspaper estimates more than $100 billion in business over the next 20 years, as well as perhaps tens of thousands of jobs in India and the United States.

    This is what the U.S.-India nuclear deal is really all about. This is what the nonproliferation regime that has kept the world safe from nuclear Armageddon for decades is being risked for: cash.

    Industry groups have lobbied tirelessly on Capitol Hill to bring U.S. lawmakers on board. The U.S.-India Business Council, the leading advocacy group for major U.S. firms investing in India, has hired the best professionals in the game, including the lawyer-lobbyist firm Patton Boggs LLP, which has been working on the deal for the past two years. The Indian government turned to Barbour, Griffith and Rogers LLC, whose international team was conveniently headed until last month by Robert D. Blackwill, Bush’s first ambassador to India and one of the prime forces behind the pact.

    The lobbyists have largely succeeded in casting the deal as a referendum on India itself, on the strength of Indian democracy and on the depth of U.S. friendship with India. Opponents of the deal (or even those who dare question some of its provisions) have been smeared as “nonproliferation ayatollahs” and “enemies of India,” insinuating that their real goal is to keep India down. This is pure spin, and it is insulting to the individuals, governments and international bodies dedicated to keeping the world safe from the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

    The version of the deal the Bush administration put before the Nuclear Suppliers Group went further than ever before, giving India a “clean” waiver of the usual responsibilities of a nuclear power. In other words, India gets unfettered access to nuclear fuel and technology, and it doesn’t have to do anything in return. It doesn’t have to do what Iraq did last month and sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which has now been signed by 179 nations. It doesn’t have to open all its reactors to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, meaning that both the new technologies India will now be able to acquire and the fuel it now has on hand can be plowed into its nuclear weapons program.

    Scandalously, the Bush administration asked the Nuclear Suppliers Group to bless a proposal that excludes the modest provisions that Congress imposed on the deal in 2006. Why? Because the White House knows that anything short of the current “something-for-nothing” version risks finishing off the Indian government, which has already been weakened by its support for a pact that faces fierce resistance back home.

    Singh and his ruling Congress party pulled out all the stops to get a skeptical parliament to approve the deal. His left-wing coalition partners abandoned ship in a huff of anti-Americanism. With the survival of the Singh government at stake, no effort was spared to woo lawmakers. Lucrative ministerships and airport-naming rights were dangled before lawmakers. A.B. Bardhan, the head of India’s Communist Party, claimed in July that the going rate was more than $5.5 million for a vote in favor of the deal, and Kuldeep Bishnoi, a young MP from Haryana state, boasted of being offered a record-breaking 1 billion rupees — about $22.5 million. The Times of London reported that the Singh government was even planning to let some friendly parliamentarians out of jail for the vote. (Fully a quarter of India’s legislators are facing criminal charges, according to the BBC.)

    These corrosive effects on India’s democracy will be felt for years to come. India’s complicated coalition politics will become even more chaotic, with political leaders ready to switch alliances at the drop of a pin — for the right price. The big losers will be the people of India, especially the long-suffering poor, as India’s already dismal efforts to fight poverty sink even deeper into graft and corruption.

    More ominously, the deal will tell other would-be nuclear powers — and nuclear rogues — that the old barriers to nonproliferation need not be taken seriously. They certainly have not been taken seriously by the United States. Other, less high-minded powers will surely follow the short-sighted example being set by Delhi and Washington. Vladimir Putin’s Russia has emphatically signaled that it has had enough of global norms that it considers unfair and is keen to return to old-fashioned realpolitik. The prospect of meaningful steps toward disarmament by the existing nuclear powers is slim and dwindling.

    More ominously, Pakistan is outraged that India has been offered a deal that it will not get. India’s nemesis and neighbor is undergoing an alarming transition. The United States had relied on Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship to keep the Pakistani nuclear arsenal in check, but Pakistan is now run by a weak, squabbling civilian government ill-equipped to defeat the Islamist terrorist groups only too eager to get their hands on a loose Pakistani nuke.

    Meanwhile, China cannot help noticing that the United States has engaged in bizarre doublespeak over what it expects of rising Asian powers. The Bush administration has told China that it must behave as a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system — meaning that China should expect no exceptions to global rules as it struggles to meet the challenges posed by its booming economy. That, of course, is the precise context in which the Bush administration has lobbied for the nuclear deal with India. The White House has called upon China “to embrace energy security and nonproliferation principles that are in accordance with the international norms,” even as it pleads to exempt India from these very norms.

    In any case, the nuclear deal will not magically transform India into China’s economic or military equal. A shocking 42 percent of Indians live below the World Bank’s new poverty threshold of $1.25 per day. Even if India managed to match China reactor for reactor and missile for missile — a long shot at best — Delhi could do so only at the expense of precisely the investments in human and physical infrastructure that could make India into a truly great power, prosperous and secure. This is the real tragedy of the U.S.-India nuclear deal. It’s not too late to stop it.

    Mira Kamdar is a Bernard Schwartz fellow at the Asia Society and the author of “Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest Democracy and the Future of Our World.”

  13. Lao Tao Ren (History)

    It is time to think beyond the NPT.

    The NPT was conceived in a flurry of activity that began with the US developing the bomb first, followed by the Soviets with a bit of help from espionage.

    (The story of espionage going both ways suggests a rather humorous question as to whether such leaky organizations constitute proliferation by negligence!)

    The British and French programs both got a hand from the US to get their first bomb, then the Chinese got theirs, with a hand from the Soviets which ended abruptly in 1968.

    India was well on their way to developing the bomb (with Canadian assistance, negligence or otherwise) when the NPT was slapped on the world.

    Since then, many other states have succeeded —- Pakistan, South Africa, Israel, North Korea, and other states have de facto established their capability to do so on short notice: Japan, etc.

    Tracing the details of who got what from where in this next group gets more and more complicated. Suffice to say that hardly any hand is clean once examinations get detailed enough.

    It is clear that at a certain point, the spread of knowhow and underlying technologies is progressively dropping the “entry cost” at a faster rate than the rate that barriers are being put up. In every core technology needed by the bomb, expanding commercial applications that have legitimate commercial and industrial applications mean such technologies are spreading, and becoming more difficult to control by the day.

    The time may have come for the world to acknowledge the fact that the NPT may need to have new life breathed into it. One route may be the exceptionally difficult task of renegotiating the NPT.

    The other, may be for countries in select regions to take matter into their own hands, recognize the limitations of the NPT, and begin to develop regional arms control and conflict management / limitation mechanisms and pacts similar to SALT, START, and the ABM treaty. India, China, and Pakistan would be one of the best places to start a regional powers discussion leading to an arms control agreement between this potentially explosive area.

  14. Arch Roberts Jr (History)

    “A little less hyperbole will do all of us a lot of good[,]” writes Silver Sabre. Right on.

    The official line from China, usually dispositive when it’s clear, is here: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/374443/1/.html. It demonstrates that China’s strategic calculations vis-a-vis India are unchanged by the NSG decision. India’s strategic position is similarly not altered by this deal that supposedly will lead to the demise of the NPT regime.

    We really must start looking forward, instead of dwelling on the past. And there are a lot of things to look forward to:

    maybe we’ll finally get a CTBT and an FMCT – they won’t perfect the regime, but will definitely make improvements;

    as other blogs have reported, there’s lots to be said for technology improvements in verification – twenty-five or so years ago the US could not talk to India (or anyone else, for that matter) about suspicious things in the Rajastan desert: now ISIS reports it and does credible analyses for all to see;

    India is now in the NSG and thereby legally bound to restrict its exports to Iran – how in the world can this not be a good thing?; and

    the international community speaks more directly to Iran and the DPRK than it ever has done regarding their pursuit of nukes, based on the (too) long experience of trying to divine and contain their ambitions: the ongoing efforts may not succeed, but who can argue that we are worse off than we were ten or twenty years ago? What would have been the international consensus/approach then?

    Twenty years ago, IAEA inspectors were counting fuel rods and not much else (hyperbole). Today they can use all sorts of technologies, and their intrusion on national sovereignty is somewhat less challenged. These guys are the key, and if the ranters on this blog would spend more time in support of the Agency than in bitching about every turn of the calendar that takes us farther away from the NPT light bulb (in 1961, when I was 4), we might some day have something to show for the personal caloric and intellectual expenditure.

  15. Max Postman (History)

    I have a hard time believing that any country that went into the NSG negotiations with serious reservations about a clean waiver could have been honestly mollified by the Indian declaration. India’s voluntary moratorium, no first use policy, and support for FMCT are old news. They have been repeatedly reaffirmed over the last few years. The Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman’s impression of a man with no internet connection (“The statement has spelt out the activities (that are being undertaken by India) to strengthen international non-proliferation regime…Obviously, it addresses a lot of concerns”) leads one to wonder whether the Austrians—and others like them—were simply looking for a pretense to backpedal.

  16. James (History)

    Mike: fair enough. The NPT failed long ago and we should all admit it. It exists only as a fig leaf to maintain military superiority over our political adversaries. The India deal, however, dispenses with even that fig leaf. There is no longer any moral basis for denying any other state the bomb. As I said, the NPT has become a cynical licensing system for bomb programs.

    Would the NPT have gained the support of 189 nations if they had been told that its structures would be used to approve weapons development on a case-by-case basis? Not likely. The treaty’s survival does not depend on the whims of a handful of wealthy, powerful nations. It depends on the support of over a hundred small countries whose faith in disarmament has been rudely abused.

    This will come back to haunt us. When noise is made about notional weapons programs in Iran, we will get a dismissive shrug from dozens of countries whose governments will suggest that eventually Iran’s supposed bomb will get retrospective approval from the NSG, so why should they knock themselves out?

  17. Peter (History)

    leads one to wonder whether the Austrians…were simply looking for a pretense to backpedal.

    What one should wonder about is the telephone call from President Bush that weekend. How else do you say “arm twisting” or “deal making” in diplomatic?
    Look for Austria to enjoy US support in its bids for a WEOG seat at the Security Council.

  18. Ak Malten (History)

    Dear Friends,

    the following quote on the issue struck me:

    “….“For the first time in my experience of international diplomatic negotiations, a consensus decision was followed by complete silence in the room. No clapping, nothing,” one European diplomat complained to Reuters. “It showed a lot of us felt pressured to some extent into a decision by the Americans and few were totally satisfied.”….”

    The quote is to be found at:

    http://www.cornnet.nl/~akmalten/GANA-Nuclear_Weapons_Future-News-feed-archive-2008-Q3.html#GANA-NWF-2008-09-09-01

    Ak Malten,
    Global Anti-Nuclear Alliance

  19. Bruce A. Roth (History)

    Let’s keep this in perspective. We will be getting Indian mangoes, and they are delicious! As to Bush’s call to China, let’s hope he agreed to import their knockoff watches (with hands that don’t just move between 11:55 and Midnight).

  20. hass (History)

    Arch Robers doesn’t seem to realize that putting India into the “NWS” club is a violation of the text and spirit of the NPT, while trying to deny Iran’s civilian nuclear program is also a violation of the text and spirit of the NPT. So, on what basis would the IAEA have any rights to go anywhere and do anything now that the NPT is just an old piece of paper?

  21. Yossi, Jerusalem

    A post above boasted of India’s impeccable track record of non-proliferation. Is it really so? The Wisconsin Project thinks otherwise, see myth #10. This doc makes a very interesting reading but doesn’t exhaust public info on India’s proliferation.

    India belongs to the Israeli “mutual proliferation club” that included for years the South African Apartheid regime. These countries were said to share nuclear and missile technology, conduct joint tests and exchange nuclear materials. By the way, CDI says that the Indian Defense Research and Development Laboratory is the primary contractor of the Israeli Jericho-2 1500km/1000kg mobile nuclear missile.

    Yet another concern is the possibility of India hiding future nuclear tests with the help of those who control the International Monitoring System or using some secret technology. Some support for the later option is provided by the CIA opinion that small underground tests can go undetected in spite of scientists declaring the opposite.

    It’s said there are several seismic characteristics distinguishing underground tests from earthquakes:

    * magnitude of about 4 or higher (unless it’s a micronuke or fizzle)
    * shallow depth (few hundred meters instead of several kilometers)
    * small shear to pressure wave ratio (S/P ratio)
    * sudden onset
    * presence of Raleigh waves

    The IMS network has no stations inside India and it’s not clear which of the above signs (if any) can be detected at large distances. Do the current US/India deal require building such stations?

    A detonation inside a large air filled cavity will certainly attenuate seismic signals by 1-2 magnitudes. What about the other signs? It may sound as science fiction but seismic signs can be manipulated in principle.

    Depth measurements rely on the lag of reflected surface waves behind the body waves. Suppose an underground test is conducted on an island in the middle of a large water reservoir. The mud ring will block (decouple) the original surface waves and a well timed conventional explosion outside it may be able to mislead depth measurement. If depth is thought to be more than a few kilometers a natural origin is automatically assumed.

    A well planned chain of pre-blast conventional explosions may mask the sudden onset. A sophisticated design of the blast chamber may be able to reduce the S/P ratio.

    At least in principle, a clever highly technological country may hide its underground nuclear tests. Maybe it was done already.

  22. Kannan (History)

    As an Indian I welcome this waiver whole heartedly and in fact very first time I am onboard with Bush on this 100%. Pause and let’s think about it for a while, do you believe this would happen without a careful thought process on both sides? USA has taken extraordinary measure to include India in to international systems says something about this deal. I would say USA has won the harts and minds of 1.2 billion of Indians. We are with you all the way except the naysayer’s on both sides. As I understand it this has tilted the balance of powers in 21 century which I believe good for both countries.

  23. AJ (History)

    On the topic of hiding nuclear tests, I don’t see why India would choose to do so. There are two possible scenarios where an Indian test would be necessary –

    1. To resolve possible questions about the fusion test in 1998 and

    2. To match technical advances, such as when another NWS tests a pure fusion weapon

    In both of these situations India has nothing to gain by hiding a successful test.

  24. Dan (History)

    Who’s following the India nuke bill in front of the House of Representatives today? What do you folks think about it? I’m not against this deal in principle, but I’d like to see some of the political assurances made by India turned into legal ones. Even if we can’t get that because India’s domestic audience won’t countenance it, it still seems to me there’s no big time crunch here so the bill can be pushed off till the spring with a new President. If this deal is going to be based on political assurances, essentially personalities, it seems to me the US should be making the deal with a President who will be around longer than a handful of months.

    Thoughts?

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