By Senator Sehar Kamran (TI)
September 19, 2017
‘Non-proliferation will only work if all states are willing to cooperate, and that will only happen if all feel they are being treated fairly.’ John Bruton, Former EU Ambassador to the US.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is once again featuring in headlines following the detonation of its most powerful nuclear device yet, exacerbating the security concerns of its neighbours and raising the stakes for the international community and the non-proliferation regime (NPR) at large. The country’s actions have elicited a strong, almost unanimous response globally. But the fact remains that such highly irresponsible and continued provocative behaviour by Pyongyang has once again brought to light another, perhaps greater flaw: the limitation and weakness of the international non-proliferation regime, which despite claiming strong, cohesive networks and control, is failing to yield substantive results. This increasingly seems to confirm that the power of international regulatory bodies has eroded to a critical point. It also raises a question-mark over these bodies’ ability to prevent other countries from following suit, which further posits, can the international non-proliferation regime still be trusted as the legitimate guardian of nuclear material security.
This is far from the first time the legitimacy of the regime has come into the limelight; its leniency and continued practice of inconsistent policies, particularly in the context of India, has long been a large chink in its armour. In fact, ‘exceptionalism’ has become the defining characteristic of behaviour of the international community towards Indian nuclear ambitions, especially in recent years. It is a path that has been and is being created specifically, in line with the continued policy shifts of the United States in the region, and short-term economic interests of western powers, seeking to capitalize on the burgeoning Indian nuclear industrial complex. And it is a path being forged at the cost of regional stability and peace. This has also not only seriously undermined the international non-proliferation regime and the NPT framework, but also called into question the IAEA’s role as an independent, international body capable of promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, while continuing to limit the misuse of this technology for military purposes.
In order to comprehend the bigger picture, sometimes it is necessary to take a step back. The first nuclear test by India in 1974 was considered a failure of the watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and necessitated the creation of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group. Thirty years on, with India remaining outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), nothing appeared to have changed on the surface when the then-American President George Bush offered the country a ‘conditional’ NSG-waiver in 2008, allowing it to pursue nuclear trade and cooperation under the ‘123 Agreement’, and the Hyde Act of 2006, which was signed into law specifically to materialize a nuclear deal with India. The conditions included a requirement to separate civil-military nuclear programs completely, as well as bring all their reactors under IAEA safeguards.
However, empirical evidence indicates that India has not in fact been compliant with the ‘conditions’ of the NSG waiver – on the contrary, its nuclear force structure is proactively being enhanced. It is a known fact that at least eight of India’s nuclear reactors, as well as their Fast Breeder Reactors (FBR) program remains outside any safeguards; essentially implying that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has legitimized vertical proliferation in a state outside the NPT. Furthermore, India’s scientific complexes (nuclear, missile, and space) remain poorly separated. Its nuclear programme is partially under international safeguards, but this remains limited and allows India to exercise de facto nuclear weapons state privileges in the context of the production of special fissile material.
Two recent reports from the Belfer Centre and the Alpha Project at the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS), King’s College – respectively titled ‘India’s Nuclear Exceptionalism’ and ‘India’s Strategic Nuclear and Missile Program’ – also claim that at this point, India has already accumulated nuclear material for over 2600 nuclear weapons, including all of its unsafeguarded reactor-grade plutonium, which is weapon-usable, and raised concerns over this stockpiling. The Alpha report argues that ‘the process of Indian science developments taking the lead over policy direction is why India’s technological latency should raise concerns’. Turning a blind eye to these developments and the legitimate concerns of Pakistan vis-à-vis strategic stability in the region will only aggravate this dilemma.
The reports highlight that India’s strategic weapons complex has the potential to push its nuclear capabilities to a full spectrum of weapon systems, should there be political will. It is working on five to six ballistic-missile nuclear submarines; a force larger than either the British or French naval strategic forces; in order to fully operationalize and arm these vessels, it has also been working on the K-4 and K-15 nuclear-capable submarine-launched missiles. Given its growing missile program, and an under-developed naval submarine fleet, the project clearly indicates that India is seeking more plutonium and enriched uranium, ‘by hook or by crook’. Its efforts to join the NSG, therefore, are based primarily on a desire to secure nuclear trade for its ambitious three-stage fuel cycle. Furthermore, the supply of uranium from other countries will free up indigenous production for the expansion of their nuclear arsenal. Enhanced capabilities without restraints also create the possibility of erosion of political control of the nuclear arsenal, as well as of India’s commitment to ‘No First Use’ and to a maximum retaliation-only posture. Furthermore, there remains a risk of onward-proliferation, as military and civil scientists and engineers continue to meet discreetly in forums and conferences, which should raise concerns about cross-field blurring.
It is similarly clear that intrinsically, the geostrategic and commercial interests of the US were the motive behind the waiver. In other words, the interests of greater world were sacrificed by altering international laws, norms and values of peace for securing the national interests of the US. This phenomenon is further demonstrated via the India-US strategic partnership, and the Logistic Support Agreement (LSA), under which the sale of advanced military technologies to India thrives. These recent arms deals, which include submarine and drone sales to New Delhi, are likely to increase both Indian hostility in the region, as well the insecurity of neighbouring countries, completely upsetting the regional strategic balance. They have already dis-incentivized India from pursuing bilateral or multilateral talks for the resolution of core issues, or engaging in efforts to establish a strategic restraint regime and durable security architecture.
And yet exceptionalist behaviour towards the country continues as it is brought into the folds of the MTCR, while distinct pressure is created, once again by the US, for India’s unilateral membership of the NSG! The adverse impact of these developments on South Asia, and the threat that is posed to regional strategic stability can no longer be ignored. If the international non-proliferation regime is to retain both its legitimacy and control, it is vital that the culture of exceptionalism is discarded. It may well be time to also revisit the NSG waiver of 2008, in light of India’s vertical proliferation, continued failure to meet the conditions of the waiver, as well as the increasing threats posed by their force modernization, before considering an application to the NSG that WILL further disintegrate regional stability.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
By Senator Sehar Kamran (TI)
May 01 2017
“Control of the sea by maritime commerce and naval supremacy means predominant influence in the world … (and) is the chief among the merely material elements in the power and prosperity of nations.”
–Alfred Thayer Mahan
The seas have always been gateways to the prosperity and survival of States, facilitating the vast majority of global trade and communications; consequently, maritime security has been of vital importance for the national interests of states. The Afro-Asian Ocean is particularly important, forming the pathway for approximately 70 percent of all global trade and more than 80% of the world’s seaborne oil trade. The term Afro-Asian Ocean may be a surprising new term for many, but it is by no means a novel idea – it has been suggested previously on numerous occasions, and seems the most pertinent to me. It is only through an odd twist of circumstance, however, and in complete contradiction of both geographic and geopolitical realities, that the ‘Indian’ Ocean became the only one in the world to be named after any one country – India. The name is undoubtedly a misnomer, particularly for waters that touch such a vast array of nations and two continents. The Ocean extends from Durban to Perth, touching the entire eastern coastline as well as parts of northern and southern Africa, the western shores of Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and numerous island states, and this is a problem, as the misnomer is preventing its 32 bordering nations from taking charge of their destinies in the region, while allowing one State to treat the entire area as its personal backyard. In this context, the name `Afro-Asian Ocean` would be far more pertinent, and this is the nomenclature that I will be employing in this article.
In order to establish the dimensions and paradigm for maritime security in the Afro-Asian Ocean, it is important to first establish the context for its necessity. As indicated previously, the Ocean holds crucial geostrategic significance, as it houses limitless resources, in addition to numerous trade routes, ports and choke points, including three of the world’s most important choke points – the Straits of Hormuz, Bab-al-Mandeb and Malacca. More than 100,000 ships transit through this ocean annually. It is the world’s third largest ocean covering an area of approximately 68.5 million square kilometers, houses about a third of the global population, connects one fourth of all landmass, in addition to housing three-fourths of the global reserves of oil, iron and tin. The world’s most important Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) pass through the Afro-Asian Ocean.
Recently, we have been witnessing a reprioritisation of maritime borders and trade routes in this region, and a resurgence of competition for influence and control in international waters. The Afro-Asian Ocean has reemerged as a focal point in international geostrategic discussions. As the potential of this region remains largely untapped, ensuring the protection of resources which lie beneath those waters is increasingly becoming as significant as defending a country’s land-based borders.
A large proportion of all conflicts since the Second World War have occurred in or around the Afro-Asian Ocean Region. History seems to be repeating itself again as even today, the AAOR remains one of the most militarised regions in the entire world, housing large contingents of international troops, including the French, British, and the US – which alone has over 360,000 troops. While such massive deployments are mostly either of coalition forces or of navies in collaborative and/or coordinated deployments, competition for control and security of important choke points nonetheless creates space for power rivalry, especially on the basis of clashing geo-strategic and geo-economic interests.
Furthermore, the nuclearisation of the Afro-Asian Ocean is raising the stakes for strategic stability, both of the littoral states, and the extra-regional stakeholders. India’s plans for a blue water navy, its introduction of ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and nuclear-powered general-purpose attack submarines (SSNs) in an arena that does not yet have very strong dispute resolutions mechanisms, not only heightens the possibility for nuclear escalation, but also creates new space for hegemonic coercion by a self-appointed ‘net safety provider’, and it is the disproportionate support and encouragement of one major power – the US – towards these developments that is threating to disrupt regional stability by promoting hegemonic designs in the AAOR.
Historically in Pakistan, unfortunately, there has been a distinct tendency to neglect this arena, with traditional strategic imperatives focused almost entirely landwards, despite the fact that the maritime sector is the bedrock of our national economy. However, with Pakistan’s recently expanded continental shelf, and developments like the operationalisation of CPEC and Gwadar, the seas have regained the attention of strategic and policy-making circles. Under CPEC, Pakistan is seeking to become the connector between the land and sea routes of One Belt One Road (OBOR), and in conjunction with the launch of Gwadar Port, these developments further consolidate Pakistan’s geo-strategic importance. Within the maritime arena, this translates to a multitude of regional and trans-regional economic prospects.
However, evolving regional strategic relationships are threatening the fruition of Pakistan’s strategic imperatives. To date, despite various constraints, Pakistan Navy has proven highly effective in successfully thwarting any challenges faced by the country in this domain, upholding `time and again’ its reputation and credibility worldwide. But in order for the economic evolution on our horizon to occur, the transition must be managed with the utmost care.
Tackling any challenge requires constant vigilance, and one as sensitive as maritime security in the Afro-Asian Ocean demands even greater attention. Having recognized this challenge, it is similarly important to acknowledge that managing maritime security is an arduous endeavor. It requires cooperation between all stakeholders and states.
This century has rightly been dubbed as the ‘Asian Century’, and attaining this potential future demands the 3 Cs – Connectivity, Cooperation, and Communication. Pakistan is highly cognisant of the potential these upcoming opportunities are bringing to the table, and the challenges that come with them; it requires initiating cooperative mechanisms and encouraging partners to collaborate for mutual benefits. It also requires a strengthening of the country’s maritime sector, especially the capacity and capabilities of the Pakistan Navy, in line with the role it is expected to play in the near future.
For this purpose, a broad and inclusive ‘National Maritime Policy’ (NMP) must first be identified, acknowledging the various facets of maritime security, including trade, economy, environment and security, to facilitate the creation of targeted strategies for implementation. Secondly, in order to launch effective, coordinated strategies to implement Pakistan’s Maritime Policy goals, a ‘National Maritime Authority’ (NMA) must be created. At the moment, a coordinating and monitoring mechanism is lacking between the various ministries and departments of the government that tackle maritime issues; the NMA can fill this gap. Strengthening current legislation at the earliest and filling in gaps where necessary is vitally important, particularly in light of the launch of CPEC and Gwadar. Pakistan must also take the lead in the pursuit of the renaming of the Ocean through robust diplomatic efforts.
The need of the hour is the vision to foresee upcoming challenges, and prepare for them, in line with pre-identified national interests, if Pakistan is to actually achieve its dormant potential.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
Islamabad, January 24, 2017: Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) praised Pakistani scientists and engineers and congratulated them on the achievement of a new, historic milestone – the successful test of ‘Ababeel’, a ballistic missile with the range of 2200 kilometers. The Senator said it is crucial for Pakistan to sustain effective deterrence for the preservation of strategic balance in the region, particularly to counter belligerent Indian developments like the Ballistic Missile Defence, nuclear submarines, and aircraft carriers, as well as their various, belligerent war-fighting ‘strategies’ under the umbrella of nuclear weapons. She highlighted that as with the nuclearization of South Asia in 1974, India now sought to nuclearize the Indian Ocean as well, and it was irrational not to expect Pakistan to strengthen its national defenses in response to such activities.
Senator Kamran commented that by introducing the BMD system in the region, India’s sense of security in its abilities has increased, increasing with it a tendency to ‘pre-empt’, seeking limited spaces for a conventional war against Pakistan. This is not only an irrational and irresponsible notion, but also increases the possibility of an escalation between the two nuclear neighbours. Furthermore, she stated that such Indian aggression towards Pakistan has escalated in light of their failure to access the NSG unimpeded; even their entry into the MTCR did not discourage the test of BrahMos (with a range of 600 km). She said that such behavior was an impediment to regional deterrence stability. By successfully conducting this test of the Ababeel Ballistic Missile, and thereby attaining Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) capability, Pakistan has plugged the gap, she said. The Senator highlighted that this is also significant because MIRVs missiles have the capability to hit multiple targets with multiple warheads through a single missile, which essentially renders BMD systems of little use.
Speaking further on the credibility of the MIRVs capability, the Senator stated that this missile is not for fighting wars, but ensuring that any external threats understand that any unacceptable or belligerent actions will be met proportionately, with potentially undesirable consequences. In other words, its purpose is to strengthen Pakistan’s Full Spectrum Deterrence against Indian ambitions only. She said Pakistan is a peace-loving country and wants to maintain friendly relations with all states in the region. However, the aggressive developments at our eastern border have compelled us to take necessary countermeasures. Senator Kamran also said that Pakistan desires and promotes arms control and disarmament measures in the region, and in this regard, has also offered bilateral control measures several times, including constraints on a missile race. It is India that is not ready to accept any proposal for arms control, but rather is building an enormous stockpile of advance war machineries – canister-based missiles like the Agni-V have reduced launch times from half a day to half an hour – as well as apparently endorsing the dangerous doctrine of ‘Cold Start’, she added.
10th October, 2016, Islamabad: President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS), Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) has strongly condemned Indian Premiere Narendra Modi’s statement of attributing terrorism to Pakistan at the recent BRICS Summit held in Goa. She said this statement is in-line with the current Indian propaganda and its bid to isolate Pakistan in the international community, but is failing to find partners to shoulder its claim due to its own provocation and aggressive posture.
Senator Sehar Kamran said that in 2016 alone, India violated ceasefire at the Line of Control more than 90 times. She said the current Modi regime has entered into a blind alley in its baseless campaign against Pakistan; it has now become extremely difficult to find support internationally. Despite their best efforts, India cannot divert global attention from the atrocities New Delhi is committing in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. She said the world has witnessed how India is involved in covert activities inside Pakistan and trying to sabotage Pakistan’s interests by sending people like Kulbhushan Yadav and pursuing Ajit Doval’s ‘Offensive Defence’ doctrine.
Senator Sehar Kamran said peace in South Asia cannot be achieved unilaterally. Pakistan has been proposing talks but New Delhi keeps running away from dialogue due to its domestic compulsions and politics, which revolve around an anti-Pakistan narrative to divert attention away from their internal problems, she added.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
10th October, 2016: President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS), Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) has raised strong concerns over reports of a radioactive leak at the New Delhi airport. The airport was reportedly sealed off ‘after officials suspected a consignment containing radioactive material had leaked.’
Senator Kamran said this incident raises further serious question marks on the credibility and reliability of the Indian state machinery when handling radioactive material. She highlighted that unfortunately, this was not a stand-alone incident, but merely an ‘add-on’ to the list of nuclear and radiation-related accidents which have occurred in India. The world has not yet forgotten the death of the scrapyard worker in Delhi in 2010 due to radiation poisoning, an accident that also injured an additional seven people, she added.
Senator Sehar Kamran also called upon the global community, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) member states to look into India’s abysmal track record of nuclear-related accidents as they move towards the next NSG plenary session where discussions will be held over the Indian bid for full, unilateral membership. The core premise of India’s application is its claim to being a responsible nuclear power, but what we continue to witness, even if the past is ignored, is contrary to such assertions. Senator Kamran further state that a formal investigation ought to be launched to investigate this matter properly.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
By Senator Sehar Kamran (TI)
September 29, 2016
“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”–Prof Dr Howard Zinn
Historians agree that major underlying causes, which resulted in the outbreak of the First World War, were ‘nationalism, imperialism, arms race and an alliance system that repressed and bullied the smaller states’.
The consequences led to the death of 17 million people, and even more wounded.
A 102 years on, it is unfortunate that we seem to have come full circle, especially where the belligerence of bigger state bullies is concerned.
In the context of Pakistan-India relations, three out of those four causes perfectly fit the current scenario.
This ever-repetitive circle of allegations and war threats, aggressive posturing that lies beyond the realm of rationality to ‘thrash’ the other, simply to reassert/reaffirm the narrative of being a major power is at play again by India, particularly in the aftermath of the Uri attack.
As Pakistan successfully continues to fight its war against violent extremism and terrorism in the form of operation Zarb-e-Azb, external threats to its territorial sovereignty and integrity are mounting on its borders, bothon its Western, and recently on the Eastern, fronts.
India is strategically increasing pressure on Pakistan under the premise of its Kautilyan policy of encirclement.
Following the Uri attack, the world is witnessing the jingoistic Modi regime -infamous for the Gujrat massacre of 2002 – thumping its ’56 inch chest’ once again while chanting slogans of war, and blaming Pakistan for perpetrating this attack without any concrete evidence.
The hyper-nationalist right wing regime, instead of answering for and addressing the atrocities that are being committed by Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir since July 8th and have left more than 120 innocent Kashmiris dead, is currently engaged in a war of words with Islamabad, putting humanity to shame in Indian held Kashmir.
Issuing statements to the tune of ‘revoking’ the Indus Water Treaty or surgical strikes inside Pakistan not only reflects a dangerously irresponsible policy mindset, but also echoes the ramblings of an unstable regime caught between the rhetoric of ‘Shining India’ and making the world cognizant of the ‘greatness of India’.
For a country, which is an aspirant of a permanent seat on United Nations Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, as well as the largest country within South Asia, India has little to show for its perceived ‘greatness’.
History bears witness to the fact that India has had border clashes and disputes with all of its seven neighbor states, barring none, exposing its heinous face and aggressive ambitions time and time again.
Today, this ‘aspiring leader’ has opened a multi-front war against Pakistan.
The biggest offense right now is directed against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The $46 billion dollar flagship project by China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative, even after nine months of its inauguration, is still not acceptable to India.
And to highlight its unacceptability and official policy to actively sabotage the progress on this mega-project, India is working on a multi-front strategy.
From actively changing its maps to include the area of Gilgit-Baltistan in its domain, to removing the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed zone by declaring it an integral part of State of India, to the Indian officials registering their concerns with the Chinese Premier, to including Azad Kashmir under its own borders, to starting a Baloch language radio channel from an All India Radio station, to the Indian PM acknowledging how India is sympathetic to the people of Azad Kashmir, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan; little can be said in India’s defense in the face of these facts.
The Modi regime needs to place blame somewhere, because it has failed spectacularly in fulfilling its promises.
India is not only struggling with their efforts to sustain their grip on Kashmir but with the terrible truths of its political and military failures in Kashmir, its inability to quell indigenous uprisings and oppression by the means of brute force alone, its incompetence in asserting itself on the world stage and in the region as a major power, and its ineffectiveness in providing a raison d’etre for why Modi’s “achaydin” are nowhere on the horizon, as well as failure in being answerable to its public and explaining the catastrophe which is Indian state policy today, as we have seen in a recent survey in which over 50 percent of Indian citizens disapproved of Modi’s Pakistan policy.
India is playing a dangerous game in this highly volatile region.
If New Delhi wants to further its ‘Doval Doctrine’ by increasing covert activities and expanding the presence of Kulbhushan Yadavs in Pakistan, then the country should remember that India also has an unresolved Junagadh, Khalistan, Naxalite and many other insurgency movements within its own territory, and has high stakes in maintaining regional deterrence.
This said, let me reiterate that we at least are cognizant of the fact that war is never the answer – it is not a solution, but if a constantly belligerent tirade against Pakistan is continued from New Delhi in its vow to ‘isolate Pakistan in the world’, then as the Newton’s third law of motion states: every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Perhaps this will keep the Hindutva diatribe in check, which, it seems, only understands the language of power and strength.
Pakistan is getting tired.
Tired of the Indian diatribe, tired of being the only one interested in establishing peace in the region, tired of the one-sided efforts to consistently propose and maintain strategic stability in the region.
After all, for how long can the people of Pakistan be expected endure this direct affront on their state before they start pressurizing the government to issue a strong rebuttal – a ‘tit for tat’ response, if you will?
The Indo-Pakistan region houses more than 1.5 billion people who deserve better.
A blame game will not strengthen our schools, economy or public health.
‘Blame will only destroy progress.Blame will breathe more violence’.
Blame will not rid us of our problems but will only fuel the hatemongers on both sides causing more long-term harm than good.
Let us seek then to move beyond the current stalemate, for the sakes of the millions of lives and futures at stake.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
By Senator Sehar Kamran (TI)
September 29, 2016
To a state where many still prescribe to the Kautilyan ideal of a single sub-continental Indian State, and revere his tenets for statecraft and foreign policy, deception and misdirection come as naturally as the involuntary function of breathing.
In fact, India has mastered these arts to such perfection that it manages to point bloody fingers towards its western neighbour over any and every incident, even as it stands squarely in the middle of the carnage, so to speak, and does it so effectively that the world lambasts Pakistan instead.
The curious case of India’s relationship with North Korea is no different.
In recent weeks, particularly in the context of the American push for India’s unilateral membership of the prestigious Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the mud-slinging campaign has reached new highs – or lows, depending upon where you stand.
In a classic attempt at misdirection, to distract from India’s failures and shortcomings as a responsible nuclear state, an offensive campaign has been launched to shift focus onto and detract from Pakistan’s application for simultaneous entry into the NSG instead.
At least twice over the past couple of months, questions have been raised in US Congress committees on possible links between Pakistan and North Korea.
Both times, the insinuation has been shot down – there is simply no evidence.
Interestingly, the question of India’s relationship with North Korea is never raised, and this is despite the fact that flags were raised in this context as recently as March 2016 in an annual report to the UN Security Council, and highlighted again – in a fairly comprehensive manner – in an article published this June in Al Jazeera, by an Indian journalist, Nilanjana Bhowmick.
As she aptly points out, by training North Korean scientists and equipping them with the sensitive knowledge and information regarding nuclear weapons and missile technology, India has not only violated the UN sanctions but also undermined international efforts to stop their spread to North Korea.
Unsurprisingly and extremely artfully, India continues to present itself as staunch opponent of the North Korean nuclear weapon development programme, terming the January test ‘a grave concern’, and the pantomime is bought by the international community hook, line and sinker.
Its actions, however, in stark contrast to its very effective words, portray a very different reality.
The first five major sanctions against North Korea were issued by the UN in 2006.
Of them, the Security Council Resolution 1718 stringently prohibits all UN Member States from any transfers to the DPRK – via nationals or territory – of ‘technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of missiles, missile systems or other items, materials, equipment, goods and technology’ that could potentially further the DPRK’s nuclear related programmes.
The Annual Report, as well as some other documents, highlight exactly how India has trained many North Korean scientists and engineers, who have gone on to hold key positions in its hypersensitive missile programs.
Some key names in this context include Paek Chang-ho, who received instruction in satellite communications at the Indian Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), which was clearly important enough to allow him to become the head of an agency responsible for DPRK’s first satellite launch; Hong Yong-il, a North Korean official in Delhi, was amongst the first of the DPRK’s students trained at CSSTEAP – he studied remote sensing technology – and went on to head a research group on the subject in his home country.
Despite India’s protestations that the courses offered at this institute are generic, it is interesting to note that all of the DPRK’s thirty or so students to date have gone on to hold similarly important positions within its nuclear program.
The fact that the state continues to apply to the institute is also telling.
This is further evidenced in the concerns raised in the annual report, which considers more than one course to be ‘directly relevant’ to the development of North Korean expertise in the field.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise how extraordinarily unwise, and indeed irresponsible, it is nowadays to train North Korean operatives in technologies that can be used to improve and perfect their ballistic missile programme, ” opines Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economic at the American Enterprise Institute, adding that “the government of India needs to acknowledge the seriousness of this error, take accountability for it, and publicly commit that it will not be an enabler of North Korean WMD programmes thenceforth.
” And yet, Indian double-speak maintains sway within the United States, which remains sceptical of Indian complicity with the North Korean nuclear programme, even with this evidence, and certain of Pakistan’s involvement, with no evidence.
Let us remember that during the Cold War, India – champion of the Non-Allied Movement (NAM) – was both a ‘close and trustworthy ally’ of the Soviet Union, as well as a ‘loyal’ friend of the US.
Deception has time and time again been shown to be the country’s strong suit, and it has no qualms in manipulating, dodging or arm-twisting to achieve its strategic and policy objectives.
The origins of its nuclear weapons program are a testament to this.
It has a history of conducting business with countries that have been termed as ‘rogue states’ at critical junctures in time, including Iran during the embargo period, and continually growing trade with Pyongyang, despite stringent UN Security Council sanctions.
The UN Security Council Resolution 1874 of 2009 explicitly prohibits any financial transactions with North Korea which could contribute to DPRK’s nuclear, ballistic or other weapons of mass destruction related programmes or activities, and yet surprisingly, from a mere $10 million in 2000, the India-North Korea bilateral trade increased sharply to $199 million dollars in 2014.
The North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong also visited India in April 2015, apparently to hold talks with the Indian Minister for External Affairs, Shushma Swaraj, on the North Korean nuclear program.
As its long-suffering and perpetually undermined and defamed neighbours, Pakistan has vast experience of Indian demagoguery.
Despite the country’s continual proxy engagement and territorial interference in Pakistan – of which the country has provided solid evidence many a time – Pakistan is portrayed as the ‘evil’ state, with unendingly belligerent intentions.
‘Heinous’ is the term most commonly used I believe, in spite of its constant attempts at reconciliation, including most recently the proposed bilateral restraint regime, which once again and in line with Indian policy, was rejected outright by the country.
India’s role in straining Pakistan-Afghanistan is undeniable, and, as Chuck Hagel points out, India may well be ‘using Afghan soil to finance problems for Pakistan’.
Its naval ambitions are known to all.
It has at the helm of its foreign affairs a hardcore nationalist ‘spy’, Mr Ajit Doval, who classifies Pakistan as an ‘Indian Enemy’ that must be ‘isolated’, and promotes the use of TTP to destabilise Pakistan internally.
All this on public record!
It is high time that India’s flimsy mask of respectability is removed and the state seen for what it is – a troublemaker with grandiose ambitions.
If the region is to step out of the perpetually looming shadow of war, apprising these facts at face value is of the utmost importance.
It is the only way the South Asian region can realistically move into the future in a sturdy and sustainable manner.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
By Senator Sehar Kamran (TI)
September 12, 2016
Pakistan has recently applied for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Much has been written on the subject, but as is always the case with matters of such complexity, much more remains unsaid. In the context of the upcoming plenary session of the group, it has become exceedingly important however that these conversations take place.
The NSG is part and parcel of a series of mechanisms that feed into the international non-proliferation regime. Membership of the NSG allows a state potential access to the technology and fuel – particularly in the context of nuclear energy – that can move it into the future in leaps and bounds.
Pakistan has operated secure and safeguarded power plants for over 40 years – despite the withdrawal of vendor support but the current electricity mix is only 4.3% or 2200 MW. Given the extreme shortages we currently face, Pakistan has ambitious plans to expand its nuclear energy profile, as outlined in the Nuclear Vision 2050, whereby we plan to increase generation to 40,000MW. Thus far, all of Pakistan’s nuclear power plants have been operating under IAEA safeguards, and the country remains committed to synergizing its efforts with nuclear supplier cartels to harness this vast potential. Without access to the NSG however, this process becomes very difficult.
The fact that Pakistan is not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty has been the reason cited for its exclusion to date. What this argument does not consider however, is the recent push for the unilateral entry of India into the Group, particularly by the United States, or even the Waiver that it was granted in 2008 to circumvent this regime altogether. What is also not considered is the fact that in keeping with the spirit of this regime, and reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to its principles, the country has suggested a Strategic Restraint Regime as well as bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, and both these overtures have been met with silence.
Now I believe that one of the aims when establishing the NSG was also to engage into the non-proliferation regime countries that were advanced in nuclear sector but were not party to the NPT. Pakistan has an advanced nuclear program, and has had one for approximately four decades. It has the experience, expertise, credentials and immense untapped market potential, in addition to the manpower, infrastructure and ability necessary to supply NSG controlled items. Short of being a signatory to the NPT, it possesses every quality to render it an invaluable addition to the group. Pakistan has not only the potential to become a recipient but also a supplier of a full range of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. And unlike the second membership applicant – India – Pakistan has also not enjoyed the benefits of an exceptional ‘waiver’, and as such is also an important new market for NSG member states.
Pakistan’s application therefore, stands on solid grounds of technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to nuclear safety and security, as well as great potential for actual growth. We currently provide a market that is larger than that of the UK, France and Germany combined!
Furthermore, what we often overlook is that while many non-proliferation experts discuss the matter of the NSG membership from technical, legal and procedural viewpoints, they, perhaps inadvertently, deemphasize the political aspect which remains a dominant factor in shaping policies of key NSG members. Put simply, for several years now the political and economic interests have influenced decisions and policies to a far greater extent than technical, legal and procedural guidelines. Had it not been so, we would not have witnessed the American nuclear deal with India and the subsequent Waiver in 2008.
There would also not be such disproportionate support for the unilateral entry of India into this prestigious group, despite the fact that the country has failed to uphold an alarmingly significant number of its commitments that were pre-conditions to the Waiver, including the separation of its civil and military nuclear facilities. Geopolitical and geo-economic objectives continue to create space for exploiting loopholes in NPT provisions and NSG guidelines. The unfortunate reality remains that despite its hefty portfolio, Pakistan continues to be sidelined and neglected.
It is also important to remember that today, the non-proliferation regime and the various multilateral arrangements working under its umbrella are faced with a host of challenges, at the heart of which is their relationship with de-facto nuclear weapon states (such as Pakistan and India), and how to incorporate them into the mainstream without impinging upon the goals and objectives of NPT regime.
Given the challenges, the question that presents itself is whether there are any ‘alternative’, pragmatic approaches to the question of the NSG membership of non-NPT, and how would they be applied? Will the international community oversee the continuation of an ‘exceptional’ approach, or will applications be tested against singular criteria in a uniform manner, particularly when discriminatory approaches have not only aggravated regional imbalances (and Pakistan’s security concerns) but also undermine the underlying principles of the non-proliferation regime?
Pakistan currently faces the worst energy crisis in its history, hindering its capacity to deliver on various socioeconomic and industrial development programs, despite the fact that it has been a highly responsible nuclear power. Pakistan’s civilian nuclear programs extend beyond the realm of energy to include cancer diagnoses and treatment, agriculture, food preservation, and water management amongst others. Pakistan has also made modest contributions to IAEA’s activities by sharing its experience and providing services of experts in diverse technical areas such as nuclear radiation, transport and waste safety, nuclear security, application of nuclear technology in agriculture, medicine, industry and nuclear energy.
The clearest example is that of the 18 nuclear medicine and oncology hospitals currently being operated by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, that are a source of solace not only for Pakistani people, but also the people from other poorer or war-torn parts of this region, despite their increasingly insufficient capacity.
All imbalances can be remedied however, and we remain hopeful that NSG member states will consider all these factors as they work towards a criteria-based approach for membership of non-NPT states.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
By Senator Sehar Kamran (TI)
JULY 02, 2016
I am writing this open letter to you as a concerned member of Senate of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan – I am writing to express our gravest misgivings over the discriminatory behaviour that we fear is being demonstrated towards Pakistan by some members of the prestigious organisation currently under your chairmanship, at a time when once again we are faced with the dilemma of legitimised Indian ‘exceptionalism’. I wish to draw your attention not only to the folly of such isolationist behaviour towards a highly responsible member of the international nuclear community, but also to highlight Pakistan’s continued commitment towards the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, reflected in the series of concrete steps that have been undertaken by Pakistan over the past 40 odd years.
Foremost, let me appreciate the wisdom of the decision of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in not allowing the membership of India into the group without the establishment of previously agreed upon criteria for the entry of a non-NPT state, particularly in light of the pressure to accept Indian exceptionalism. It is indisputable that any state’s membership bid for the NSG should and must be scrutinised in the backdrop of the applicant’s record vis-à-vis the benchmarks of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. It is beyond question that such a criteria-based approach is the foundation of stable and just international regimes, which reject country-specific exceptionalism and political preferences. We place our faith in these regimes on this very basis that every case will be examined impartially, and in light of the guiding principles of the organisation – the NSG is no exception. The world believes that through the NSG, a state may embark upon nuclear trade that will definitely be for peaceful purposes, and not “contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, and that international trade and cooperation in the nuclear field is not hindered unjustly in the process”, as it will ensure adherence to these guidelines.
Similarly, it is undeniable that ignoring these NSG guidelines when considering an application will weaken international non-proliferation norms, as only an objective, non-discriminatory, equitable, ‘rule and criteria-based’ system, in line with existing international nuclear non-proliferation norms will strengthen the structure of the non-proliferation regime.
Excellencies, let me highlight that despite being a non-NPT state, I have no qualms in supporting and promoting Pakistan’s case for inclusion in the NSG. I believe whole-heartedly that our case is strong, legitimate, logical and legal from an entirely unbiased perspective. Some of the fundamental credentials Pakistan holds include:
Excellencies, the entire edifice of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation has been gravely undermined over the past decade through the pursuit of discriminatory policies based on double standards. The foremost of these is the NSG waiver granted to India in 2008 – the non-NPT state that is single-handedly responsible for the creation of the NSG itself – in the pursuit of temporary financial gain, and at the cost of the de-legitimisation of international regulatory regimes. India abused the opportunity, as can only be expected in a non-regulated environment for a country with a similar track record, by expanding its nuclear arsenal as a result of diverting its domestic fissile material towards weapon production. For a country that had previously diverted the fissile material imported for the Canadian-supplied reactor in Tarapur to weapon production, enabling its first nuclear test in 1974 and introducing nuclear weapons to the South Asian region, such exceptionalist policies hardly seem justified. It has since also refused to sign the NPT, and opposed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It conducted further nuclear tests in 1998, forcing Pakistan to respond accordingly to counter what it perceives as an existential threat.
Today, the Obama Administration is going a step further by actively lobbying for Indian membership of the NSG. Let me remind you, Excellencies, that this is the same country that has a history of nuclear accidents and incidents, which have proven to be serious concerns for international peace. The Kakrapar Atomic Power Station in the Indian state of Gujarat has faced many accidents since it was commissioned in 1993, including a major incident in 1994 when the reactor was flooded and water reached inside the reactor building itself!
Excellencies, once again we find ourselves standing at a crossroads. Pakistan’s commitment to the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament is unwavering It also has legitimate needs for civil nuclear power generation to meet the growing energy demands of its expanding economy. This is an essential part of the country’s national energy security plan, and this can be easily achieved if the status of NSG membership is approved. However, if Pakistan continues to be treated discriminately vis-à-vis the NSG membership, and India is granted access to the group bypassing all criterion and guidelines and in ignorance of the past, not only will the structure of strategic stability in South Asia be irreparably damaged and destabilised, but international non-proliferation regimes will become weaker and lose the trust of the global community. Global nuclear disarmament will recede even further into the distance.
NSG membership is only via a unanimous vote. With India as a member, and despite its claims to the contrary, Pakistan has historical reasons to believe its dream to become a legitimate and responsible member of this nuclear group will remain nothing more than a pipedream. It is no wonder Pakistan desires a simultaneous membership of the NSG, alongside India, through a fair, transparent and criteria-based approach. Without this, there can be no hope for the strategic stability of the region, and we may once again be witness to one of the world’s most volatile region’s descent into an arms race.
Excellencies, as a citizen of the part of the world directly affected by this decision, I urge you all to carefully consider the consequences on your decisions for the future generations of this region. If a non-NPT nuclear weapon state is to be admitted into the NSG at all, it must be on a non-discriminatory, non-preferential, non-exceptionalist basis. The eyes of the world are upon you all to ensure that justice and transparency prevails.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
28th May, 2016: President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) congratulated the nation on the 18th ‘Youm-e-Takbeer’. She said this day reminds us that the defense of Pakistan is impregnable.
Senator Kamran said Youm-e-Takbeer is a day of pride and jubilation for Pakistanis living across the world. This day is a testament that the people of Pakistan will do whatsoever necessary to ensure that the defence of their country remains well-fortified.
Senator Seharsaid on this day we must remember the hundreds of people who have dedicated their lives in this mission to help Pakistan attain its nuclear programme. She said today people from all walks of lives acknowledge the contribution of the founder of Pakistan People’s Party Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who set the foundation for the country’s nuclear programme in order to enhance and protect the national integrity and sovereignty in the face of a myriad of challenges and threats to the country’s existence.
Senator Sehar Kamran said nuclear deterrence provides a credible guarantee for regional peace and security.Pakistan’s nuclear tests restored this fragile region’s strategic stability, she added.
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