Thursday, March 27, 2014

US and Europe Must Accept Pakistan as a Legitimate Nuclear State

"The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance -- even sizable assistance to their own entities -- as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India". US Ambassador Anne Patterson, September 23, 2009
Pakistan has the world's fastest growing nuclear arsenal today in the midst of a fierce insurgency waged against the Pakistani state by Al Qaeda and the Taliban. How should the world respond? Should the response be to further isolate and sanction Pakistan as argued by some Indian and western scholars? Or, should the US and its Western allies engage with Pakistan by accepting it as a legitimate nuclear state and admitting it as a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group?

The first response, as advocated by the likes of TV Paul, a scholar of Indian origin at McGill University, has clearly not worked nor likely to work as explained well by former US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson. The alternative, as advocated in a new book "Overcoming Pakistan's Nuclear Dangers" by former US diplomat Mark Fitzpatrick, is to recognize Pakistan's legitimacy as a nuclear-armed state and work with it to limit the risks of nuclear proliferation in future.

Ambassador Fitzpatrick began by exploring why the West  has been so obsessed with stopping Iran's nuclear program and not Pakistan's. In the end, he came to the conclusion that  Pakistan must be provided "a path to normalizing its nuclear program" in the same way that India was with the US-India nuclear deal. Here's how he describes it on the website of London-based Institute of International Strategic Studies (IISS):

The book was inspired by fellow Londoner Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times, who asked in a June 2012 column why the West was so obsessed with stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons when, ‘by any sensible measure, Pakistani nukes are much more worrying’. I suppose I was one of those who seemed obsessed with Iran, so Rachman’s words hit home. Let’s take a look at Pakistan, I decided.

Successive chapters of my book examine in detail the dangers Rachman ticked off, plus a few more. I concluded that some of the concerns about Pakistan are exaggerated. While the prospect for nuclear terrorism cannot be dismissed, the government’s efforts to ensure the security of its nuclear programme garner too little attention, and compare favourably with India’s nuclear security management. In the ten years since the leakage of the nation’s nuclear secrets masterminded by A.Q. Khan, lessons have been learnt and reforms adopted.

Other concerns get too little attention. As a nuclear wonk, I cannot help but fixate on Pakistan’s veto over negotiations to ban fissile material production and the nation’s move away from signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The most worrisome danger, though, is the prospect for nuclear war in the subcontinent.

One cannot write about Pakistan’s nuclear programme without examining the ways that it is motivated by India’s actions, and perceptions thereof. Therefore, the manuscript is about more than Pakistan. One key chapter assesses the South Asian arms race. Although it pales in comparison with the nuclear excesses of the Cold War, the strategic competition in South Asia is potentially destabilising.

In the conclusions, I offer a policy suggestion for the West that will be controversial. Pakistan, I argue, should be offered a path to normalising its nuclear programme. This recommendation did not sit well with one of the statesmen who, before reading it, had agreed to write a back-cover blurb commending my book. Having vehemently opposed making an exception for India, allowing it to benefit from nuclear cooperation while outside the confines of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he had to back out because he objected to the idea of creating a second such hole in the NPT for Pakistan.

His is a respectable opinion. It had also been my view when I started the book project. If there is one tenet I have taken to heart at the IISS, however, it is that analysis should guide one’s research direction. I reached my conclusion with more surprise than enthusiasm.

I am looking forward to explaining more about my analysis in upcoming book launches in Washington, London, Geneva, Vienna and Islamabad.

In spite of the West's nuclear sanctions, Pakistan has managed to develop and build nuclear weapons using both uranium and plutonium since the 1990s. The country also has built solid-fueled and liquid-fueled missiles of various ranges from tactical to strategic. It has built multiple reactors at Khushab to produce large amounts of plutonium for its growing nuclear arsenal.

On the civilian nuclear side, Pakistan has acquired four 300 MW nuclear plants at Chashma. Two of these are currently operating and two are under construction. Three 1200 MW newer plants are being supplied by China for installation at Karachi as it ramps up its nuclear power plant manufacturing business. The West has essentially given away this civil nuclear business to China on a silver platter.

The West's decades-long nuclear sanctions on Pakistan have clearly not worked to stop the country. It's time to try a different approach along the lines of what Fitzpatrick advocates If the West follows Fitzpatrick's advice and admits Pakistan to the exclusive international nuclear club called "Nuclear Suppliers Group" (NSG), the US and Europe will have a better chance of persuading Pakistan to agree to signing Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) when India also agrees to these international treaties. These two treaties are the cornerstone of the West's efforts to limit development, proliferation and growth of nuclear weapons stockpiles. In return, Pakistan will have access to the West's advanced civil nuclear technology and materials which it needs to deal with the nation's deepening energy crisis. It will be a win-win deal for both sides.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Is Pakistan a Warrior State? 

Nuclear Power Plants in Pakistan

"Eating Grass" Book Launch in Silicon Valley

India's "Indigenous" Nukes and Missiles

US-India Nuclear Deal

China Signs Power Plant Deal with Pakistan

Pakistan's Defense Industry

Energy Crisis in Pakistan

13 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Indian analyst M.V. Kamath's review of Daniel Markey's recent book "No Exit From Pakistan":

For a brief period the US was friendly towards India as during the Clinton regime. It didn’t take the US anywhere. Markey makes a deep study of China’s relationship with Pakistan and the latter’s own naivetĂ©. According to Markey “Pakistan and China may claim deep, abiding friendship but in their rhetorical excesses both tend to mistake China’s hard-headed realism for generous altruism.” As he put it: “In Pakistan’s major war with India, as well as in more recent Indo-Pakistani crises, Beijing’s assistance has been marginal. China has been more likely to counsel Pakistani restraint than to back its leaders to the hilt.”

As for the US leaders, Markey add s: “The rising Chinese dragon makes friendship with India more appealing and complicates relationship with Islamabad.” And to that he adds: “Why not let China tend its troubled Pakistan filly while America cultivates the far more fertile Indian soil?” But as Markey sees it, America cannot quit Pakistan.

It has several options likes: Turn to a strategy of defensive insulation and include India – bolster it as important component in the defensive scheme; option two: Strive for a comprehensive partnership across military and civilian sectors and address ‘the threat of Pakistan-based terrorism at multiple levels’.

Option three: Downsize US Embassy, Consulates and USAID presence – a tiny skeleton staff could manage US diplomacy. Option four: Introduce a credible threat of overwhelming retaliation in order to make Pakistan think twice about using or sharing its nuclear weapons. However, Markey feels that “a strategy of defensive insulation would be effective if Washington count on firms Indian support”. He didn’t say: “If only”.

But Markey is not in favour of that. He feels that it is wise to establish “a foundation for strengthened partnership… based on a shared commitment to improving the living conditions of the people through, strengthening democracy…”

Markey wants “quiet lobbying” for bringing together Pakistan and India, considering that encouraging Indo-Pakistan normalisation is the best way to grow the Pakistani economy and enhance the nation’s stability. In the end Markey concludes by saying that “over the long run, a strong US-Pakistan relationship offers the only way to save Pakistan from a dark and violent future, the only way to protect America from the changes that lurk in Pakistani soil”.

As Markey sees it, for the United States it is huis clos, French for “No Exit”. For better or for worse, the US must stay put in Pakistan”. In a way for the Americans “You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t” help Pakistan. Right now as Markey sees it, there is no immediate way out. Patience is its own award. His book explains how Washington can prepare for the worst, aim for the best and avoid past mistakes.

Summing up Markey says: “The United States should begin by recognising that Pakistan is not a lost cause. It is more like a race that must be run as a marathon rather than a sprint.” Wise words. India can only wait and see and itself take Markey’s advice seriously. Right now there seems to be no other ray to avoid a complicated problem.


http://freepressjournal.in/no-exit-from-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

PAKISTAN’S NUCLEAR CAPABILITY: COST AND BENEFIT – OPED

Nuclear weapons and the debate over the necessity for such weapons have persisted for several years. As opinions against nuclear weapons increase, so too do more and more countries yearn to possess these weapons and demonstrate their power. This means that we have to discover those benefits which are of such significance that a country prefers to divert a huge portion of its finances from public sector to become a nuclear capable state.

The rational for Pakistan to develop a nuclear weapon was so that the country could have the self-reliance to ensure its security. After the hefty losses in the wars of 1948 and 1965, and the debacle of 1971, Pakistani leadership understood that none of the great powers were going to support Pakistan in times of crisis against any Indian aggression. Therefore self-reliance was the crucial idea of Pakistan’s policy makers to make sure that only Pakistan should be responsible for defending their country against any Indian offensive. In this regard, we must understand that being a nuclear power is crucial for Pakistan’s survival and sovereignty. Preserving and improving national security is vital to the national interest, and expenses from the state budget in support of this objective are permissible.

For a country like Pakistan, having nuclear weapons means that it has the ultimate strategic defense. Wars are bad for the economy and nuclear deterrence is a best tool to avoid wars. A short conventional war between India and Pakistan would cost Islamabad U.S. $ 350 million per day. Now one can easily estimate the economic deprivation if Pakistan had to face another 1971 debacle without having any nuclear weapons. In contrast, to conventional warfare, nuclear deterrence has made wars between nuclear states rationally non-viable.

In this regard, the possession of nuclear weapons serves not only military and political purposes, but also economic functions. The acquisition of nuclear weapons appears to be associated with the long-term decline in conventional military spending. This is acutely accurate in the case of Pakistan. Pakistan’s conventional military expenditure has been constantly on decline since the nuclear tests. Military expenditure (% of GDP) in Pakistan was measured at 5.3 % in 1998, according to the World Bank. In 2012 that expenditure was 3.13 %. This is a clear instance where nuclear capability served as a major cause to diminish military expenditure in Pakistan.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/09012015-pakistans-nuclear-capability-cost-benefit-oped/

Riaz Haq said...

From India Today:

A Chinese official has confirmed that China is involved in as many as six nuclear power projects in Pakistan and is likely to export more reactors to the country, indicating that the much debated civilian nuclear cooperation between the two countries will go ahead despite concerns voiced that it is in contravention of Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) guidelines.

While China has in the past declined to confirm or share details regarding the extent of its on-going civilian nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, a top official of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the planning body, was quoted as saying on Saturday that Beijing has been involved in the construction of six reactors in Pakistan.

Wang Xiaotao, vice-minister of the NDRC, was quoted as saying by State media that the NDRC was keen to support further exports to Pakistan and other countries. To this end, the NDRC is drawing up new guidelines to announce supportive financial policies for exports in the nuclear sector. Railways exports would also be supported under the new guidelines, Wang said.

Announcing the guidelines at a Beijing press conference, Wang said that China "has assisted in building six nuclear reactors in Pakistan with a total installed capacity of 3.4 million kilowatts". China was also exporting nuclear technology to Argentina, with the two countries on Wednesday signing a deal for exporting heavy-water reactors.

China's recent projects with Pakistan have come under scrutiny as the NSG does not allow members to supply nuclear technology to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). India had to seek a waiver from the NSG for its civilian nuclear cooperation with the US, and obtained one only after undertaking a range of commitments.

China only declared the first two reactors it had constructed for Pakistan, Chashma-1 and Chashma-2, at the time of joining the NSG, according to Indian and American officials.

In 2009, the China National Nuclear Corporation signed agreements for two new reactors, Chashma-3 and Chashma-4. The deals became a matter of controversy and were debated at the NSG, with China arguing that the reactors were "grandfathered" as part of its earlier Chashma agreement and were not new projects per se. China also argued that the deals were under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and were legitimate.

The two countries last year announced they would undertake a new project in Karachi, with Pakistani media reports saying China would provide $ 6.5 billion to finance two reactors there. At the time, Beijing declined to confirm those reports.

While the Chinese Foreign Ministry has, in the past, argued that China's cooperation with Pakistan "did not violate norms of the NSG", Beijing's main argument was that the Chashma reactors were part of an earlier deal. With China going ahead with building two new reactors in Karachi, it remains to be seen how Beijing will explain the deals' validity under NSG guidelines.



Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-pakistan-nuclear-projects-beijing-chashma-atomic-energy/1/417661.html

Riaz Haq said...

The U.S. cannot afford to forget #Afghanistan and #Pakistan. #Taliban #Nukes US-#Pakistan #nuclearenergy deal #India http://wpo.st/G6Of0

A third round (Afghan-Taliban talks) was scheduled for early August in Murree (Pakistan). But it was torpedoed by the leak from Afghanistan that Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s supposed leader, had actually been dead for two years. After a brief interlude, Akhtar Mohammed Mansour became leader of the Taliban. U.S. officials believe he launched the recent offensive in Afghanistan to consolidate his control of the group, and they’re wary of resuming the talks until the violence ebbs.

The White House is also exploring what could be a diplomatic blockbuster: possible new limits and controls on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Such an accord might eventually open a path toward a Pakistani version of the civil nuclear deal that was launched with India in 2005.


The nuclear dialogue is especially important because it would begin to address what U.S. officials for two decades have viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous security problems. A source familiar with the talks said Pakistan has been asked to consider what are described as “brackets.” Pakistan would agree to restrict its nuclear program to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defense needs against India’s nuclear threat. Pakistan might agree not to deploy missiles capable of reaching beyond a certain range, for example.

In return for such an agreement, the source said, the United States might support an eventual waiver for Pakistan by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which the United States is a member. At U.S. urging, that group agreed to exempt India from rules that banned nuclear trade with countries that evaded the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This so-called “civil nuclear agreement” allowed India partial entry into the club of nuclear powers, in exchange for its willingness to apply International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to its civilian program.

Pakistan prizes its nuclear program, so negotiations would be slow and difficult, and it’s not clear that Islamabad would be willing to accept the limitations that would be required. But the issue is being discussed quietly in the run-up to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington Oct. 22. Any progress would break a stalemate that has existed since the United States detected Pakistan’s nuclear program in the mid-1980s, and especially after Pakistan exploded its first weapon in 1998.

The United States may have forgotten Afghanistan and Pakistan, but those volatile countries haven’t forgotten about the United States. The dangers are as real as ever, and so is the need for aggressive diplomacy to reduce the threat.

Riaz Haq said...

US-#Pakistan Civilian Nuclear Deal, like US-#India nuclear deal, on #Obama -#Sharif Washington summit agenda? http://krepon.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/4739/a-normal-nuclear-pakistan-2 …

The Stimson Center and the Carnegie Endowment published a 20,000-word essay on Pakistan’s nuclear program and diplomatic ambitions last week. My co-author Toby Dalton and I did not write this assessment to cause harm to Pakistan. We support Pakistan’s quest to be viewed as a normal state that possesses nuclear weapons, and we support Pakistan’s desire to gain entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group. We also agree with Pakistan’s view that the entry of new members that possess nuclear weapons ought to be criteria-based. Where we disagree with the Government of Pakistan – as well as the Government of India – is on the criteria to be met by new members.

It’s striking to us how little media coverage there is of the nuclear competition between Pakistan and India, compared to the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran. We pay attention when firing across the DMZ on the Korean peninsula occurs for a day or two – and rightly so. Firing across the Kashmir divide now occurs every week. The trend line is up, which is worrisome.

We pay a great deal of attention about the possibility of Iran accumulating enough weapon-grade fissile material to build a bomb within a year or seven months – ten or fifteen years from now. In contrast, Pakistan has the capacity to manufacture around twenty warheads annually. This number, based on unclassified sources, could be somewhat less or more.


For the last seven years, there have been no concerted, sustained efforts by leaders in India and Pakistan to improve bilateral relations – not since the Lashkar-e-Toiba sent young recruits by boat to kill people in Mumbai. High-level diplomacy is dead in the water. A one-topic agenda for talks – terrorism – is bound to fail, as was evident by the recent disruption of a scheduled meeting between the national security advisers. All of the warning lights on the subcontinent are now blinking yellow. We are one major terror attack by the LeT or a like-minded group away from another nuclear-tinged crisis.

The nuclear competition on the subcontinent is very unusual. Pakistan faces grave economic and social challenges. It is deeply engaged in a military campaign along the Afghan border. And it is out-competing India, a country whose economy is about nine times larger, on several important nuclear weapon-related metrics. Pakistan appears to be producing annually around four times as much fissile material dedicated for weapon purposes as India. Pakistan has four plutonium production reactors in operation; India has one. Another might begin construction in perhaps two years. India appears to be producing around five warheads annually, compared to Pakistan’s 20. After a late start, Pakistan has caught up with India’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, and now appears to have exceeded it.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan seeks to join the mainstream of the international nuclear order with Beijing’s support. Washington has offered words of qualified encouragement. A June 2015 US-Pakistan joint statement “emphasised the desirability of continued outreach to integrate Pakistan into the international nonproliferation regime.” But Pakistan’s path to the mainstream faces many obstacles.

The immediate objective of Pakistan’s mainstreaming diplomacy is to be accorded a civil nuclear deal like that given to India by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008. Islamabad also seeks to become an NSG member, alongside India. Or, failing this, to block India from becoming a member. The NSG operates by consensus, meaning if India became a member it could block Pakistani membership in the future.
India is pushing hard for admission in 2016, with support from the Obama administration and other NSG members, including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Russia, and the UK. There is not yet consensus about Indian membership, but New Delhi’s case is advancing. The window for Pakistan’s mainstreaming into the global nuclear order is closing.
Since Pakistan is already receiving nuclear reactors from China — and since it cannot finance reactors elsewhere — why does it need or want to be an NSG member? Presumably, the answer has to do with standing in the nuclear order equivalent to India and not being frozen in an ‘inferior’ position.
India was able to secure a nuclear deal by leveraging international commercial interest in its nuclear market, and by offering improved strategic political relations to the US and others. Pakistan lacks these means of suasion, making a commercial N-power path to mainstreaming unlikely. For Pakistan, the path to success lies in n-weapon-related initiatives.
Pakistan has worked hard to build diverse nuclear capabilities, which it will retain as a necessary deterrent against perceived existential threats from India. At this juncture, Pakistan’s military leadership can choose to accept success in achieving a ‘strategic’ deterrent against India, sufficient to prevent nuclear exchanges and a major conventional war. Alternatively, it can choose to continue to compete with India in the pursuit of ‘full spectrum’ deterrence, which would entail open-ended nuclear requirements. These choices lead Pakistan to two starkly different nuclear futures and places in the global nuclear order.
Pakistani officials reiterate their intention not to enter an arms race with India, but the growth in Pakistan’s N-weapons complex suggests otherwise. More nuclear weapons and more fissile material will not deter India to a greater extent than is already the case. On the other hand, more nuclear weapons and more fissile material will not help Pakistan address its internal political, economic, and security challenges. Nor will these programmes help Pakistan join the nuclear mainstream.


Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/08/27/nuclear-mainstream/if7t

Riaz Haq said...

Indian hawk RAMAHARITHA PUSARLA (NitiCentral) on "Pakistan’s Nuclear Posturing and the Americans":

two US think-tanks The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and The Stimson Centre together released a report titled: “A normal nuclear Pakistan” a fortnight ago (1). The report authored by Toby Dalton and Michael Kripon quite characteristic of the US double speak, justified its infallibility towards Pakistan and postulated subtle rationalisations for normalisation Pakistan’s nuclear arena. Drawing parallels to the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, the authors appealed to the US to consider Pakistan for a similar kind of treaty paving way for its eventual entry into global nuclear regime. Authors plead the US administration to extend concessions to Pakistan and seriously contemplate on helping it become “a normal nuclear state” on par with India. This intimidating explanation logically strengthens India’s doubts of the US double standards. It is intriguing as how the report chooses to ignore malefaction of Pakistan and its alarming pace of vertical proliferation of nuclear arms.

Despite being identified as the aggressor in Indo-Pak Wars of 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 Pakistan seems to have floored the defence analysts of the US by invoking the apprehensions of being over ridden by a bigger country – India. With its obsessive paranoia of India as the enemy, Pakistan has embarked on a race of outcompeting India in nuclear weapons production. Post 1998 India shifted gears and focussed on building conventional military capabilities while Pakistan was relentlessly engrossed in bomb-building. While Pakistan blames India for the nuclear build-up in the region, international community must raise a toast to India for maintaining peace in the region despite unequivocal provocations from belligerent Pakistan and a nuclear weapon state China. Seeking a waiver of all the brutal terrorist activities funded by it to organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that carried the gruesome Mumbai blasts, it assures that it conducted massive clamp down operations against extremist groups. But alas! Counter terrorism operations were directed against Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that targets the military. It is now a known fact that LeT works in collusion with Pakistan’s military and intelligence services and expectedly so, in spite of concrete evidence furnished by India stating its direct involvement in the Mumbai blasts no legal action has been taken. Pakistan in fact revels in patronising the scourge of terrorism and considers extremist groups as real assets of state. But tactfully complains of being victims of terrorism (read as Pakistani Taliban) and for not getting enough credit for containing some extremist groups.

Till now the popular deterrence theory holds that possession of nuclear weapons would deter nuclear exchanges and other conventional military threats. Nuclear weapons are reckoned as long term fixed assets of state since they checkmate the aggression of rivals. Observers world over feel that repeated provocations by Pakistan coupled with sustained toleration of sponsored extremist activities might inadvertently educe India into a battle with its neighbour. Principally nuclear states behave responsibly and try to avoid evade situations that can spark a war. But the combative nuclear posturing of Pakistan indicates that it is not a normal state. Envisaging a framework for mainstreaming Pakistan’s nuclear program is dangerously preposterous and illogical.


http://www.niticentral.com/2015/09/13/u-s-report-endorsing-pakistans-nuclear-posturing-333529.html

Riaz Haq said...

Indian hawk RAMAHARITHA PUSARLA (NitiCentral) on "Pakistan’s Nuclear Posturing and the Americans":


Despite the insidious attitude of Pakistan the report appeals to help Pakistan to become normal state. It recommends Pakistan to fulfil five conditions for its nuclear normalisation. These are: shift from the full spectrum deterrence to strategic deterrence, limit production of tactical weapons or short range delivery weapons, become amenable to talks on the fissile material cut off treaty (FMCT), delineate civil and military nuclear programs and finally sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). But Pakistan wielding to any these conditions is next to impossible as their military leadership firmly believes that nuclear weapons are matter of national survival. Further the recent US-Pakistan joint statement indicates that President Obama clearly favours integration of the Pakistan to the global nuclear order (4). Reassured of Washington’s consent the National Command Authority (NCA) of Pakistan began making unauthenticated claims that India has fissile material enough for 2000 warheads (5).

China has so far chaperoned Pakistan’s odyssey into the nuclear arena but with the US too giving into the Faustian bargaining of the Rawalpindi overlords, India might witness unprecedented ceasefire violations and intransigent infiltrations bids. The most debilitating account of the report has been its nonchalant account of Pakistan despite nurturing anti-India terrorists.

http://www.niticentral.com/2015/09/13/u-s-report-endorsing-pakistans-nuclear-posturing-333529.html

Riaz Haq said...

Time of India: US in talks with Pakistan over capping its nuke range

The Obama administration is exploring a possible civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit to Washington later this month, a Washington Post columnist has reported, citing a sole source "familiar with the talks" who said Islamabad has been asked to consider "brackets" relating to the deal.

Brackets, in diplomatic parlance, are numerous alternative formulations that are negotiated towards an eventual agreement. According to the report, the deal centers around a civilian nuclear agreement similar to the one the United States arrived at with India, in exchange for a Pakistani commitment that would "restrict its nuclear program to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defense needs against India's nuclear threat."

Pakistan might, for example, agree not to deploy missiles capable of reaching beyond a certain range, the report said, citing the source, who indicated that the US might support an eventual waiver for Pakistan by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the same way it has done for India.

READ ALSO:
US cautions Pakistan over brandishing of nuclear status

The Obama administration said it was in "regular contact" with the Government of Pakistan on "a range of issues" as it prepared for the visit on October 22 of Prime Minister Sharif, but declined comment on the specifics of the discussions.

"The United States urges all nuclear-capable states, including Pakistan, to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. We encourage efforts to strengthen safety and security measures and continue to hold regular discussions with Pakistan on a range of global issues, including nuclear security, counterterrorism, and international norms," an administration spokesperson said in a tacit acknowledgement that some sort of dialogue is taking place on the nuclear issue.

Successive US administrations both under Presidents Bush and President Obama, have knocked down the idea of a deal for Pakistan like the one Washington arrived at with India, saying the background and circumstances surrounding the US-India civilian nuclear agreement was entirely different, and pointing to Pakistan's record of nuclear proliferation.

READ ALSO:
In 10 years, Pakistan will have largest N-stockpile after US and Russia, report says

However, President Obama's recent track record vis-a-vis Iran and Cuba, both regarded for a long time as outlaw nations, suggests there may be some substance to a nuclear outreach towards Pakistan. There is also less pathology about Pakistan in Washington's official circles, where many veterans have a romanticized recall of Islamabad's role in the Cold War when it offered its services to Washington, for a price. The strategy helped Pakistan circumvent nuclear non-proliferation roadblocks that the US all too readily winked at.

In recent months, Pakistan has tried to project itself as a responsible nuclear power, although some of its politicians and generals reflexively brandish the country's nuclear weapons to assure themselves and their constituents about security against India. "We are a nuclear-armed country and we know how to defend ourselves," Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz boasted recently in a suo motu assertion although no one had talked of a nuclear war.

Riaz Haq said...

Lack of knowledge and wrongly constructed narratives are a source of misconceptions about Pakistan’s nuclear energy program, which has been running safely for the last four decades.

Contrary to the myth, currently thirty countries in the world use nuclear power and twenty-three of them are planning to expand. Even resource rich countries like UAE and Qatar are going to use nuclear energy. Despite the Fukushima accident, Japan has resumed nuclear energy production and there is a global nuclear energy renaissance. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that the world’s nuclear power generating capacity is projected to continue to grow by 2030. Interestingly, all this is happening or going to happen in Asia and China, India, Korea, etc. which are leading the trend.

There is a common misconception that China’s ACP-1000 nuclear reactor design is very new and has never been tested before, and indeed Pakistan is going to test them for the first time. The fact is that ACP-1000 is a product of an evolutionary process of existing and long-tested pressurized water reactors from around the world.

It is important to see the nuclear accidents elsewhere in proper context. For instance, in case of Chernobyl the operators experimented increasing the plant’s output without thorough analysis and research. What they did not realize was that nuclear power plants are not meant for experiments. Such experiments are done on research reactors and that too with a great care. Therefore, it is incorrect to associate such a stupid practice to that of Pakistan’s impeccable operating and regulatory record. Likewise, Chernobyl was a different RBMK design (Light-water Graphite Reactor) and ACP1000 is PWR. We cannot compare apples to oranges.

Some particular people have lead an effort to create a misconception that Pakistan’s emergency plans regarding power plants either do not exist or are not executable. After interacting with both the operators and regulator of nuclear energy in Pakistan, I have learned that the business of operating and regulating is taken very seriously and no stone is left unturned in ensuring the ‘enactment of this seriousness’.

As a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan is member of all important international nuclear safety and security conventions such as Convention on Nuclear Safety, Convention on Early Notification of a nuclear Accident, Convention on Assistance in Case of Nuclear Accident or a Radiological Emergency, Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear material and Code of Conduct on Safety and Security of Radiation Sources. Pakistan has taken all these obligations despite adverse discrimination against it in the global nuclear order because it is a proactive state whose good practices in safety and nuclear regulatory mechanism are recognized and appreciated.

The skill and qualification of the staff of PAEC and PNRA is internationally recognized. Their staff is part of international missions for conducting reviews and assessments of the regulatory framework and plant operations such as World Association of Nuclear Operators, IRRS, OSART and IPSART, etc. The IAEA invites Pakistan’s to its expert missions for the development and capacity building of its other member States. International peer reviews of PNRA and PAEC also recognized the knowledge level, skill and abilities of their staff.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/26102015-six-things-about-pakistans-nuclear-energy-program-oped/

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s casual approach to guarding its #nuclear sites ranks it 23 among 25. Only #Iran #NorthKorea worse. #safety http://www.newsweek.com/india-nuclear-sites-rock-roll-426134 …


They said that India’s security practices have repeatedly ranked lower in these assessments than those of Pakistan and Russia, two countries with shortcomings that have provoked better-known Western anxieties.

In all the categories of interest to the U.S. intelligence experts making the rankings—the vetting and monitoring of key security personnel, the tracking of explosives’ quantities and whereabouts, and the use of sensitive detectors at nuclear facilities and their portals—the Indians “have got issues,” a senior official said. (He spoke on condition that he not be named, due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue.)

Cautioning that Washington probably does not know everything that India has done to protect its facilities because of its obsessive nuclear secrecy, the official said that according to “what we can see people doing...they should be doing a lot more.”

He added that it is “pretty clear [they] are not as far along as the Pakistanis,” explaining that, as with the Russians, Indians’ confidence in being able to manage security challenges by themselves has repeatedly closed them off to foreign advice not only about the gravity of the threats they face but also about how to deal with them.

When U.S. officials made their first visit to the restricted Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in Mumbai, a complex where India makes plutonium for its nuclear weapons, their observations about its security practices were not reassuring. “Security at the site was moderate,” a cable from November 2008, approved by embassy ChargĂ© d’Affaires Stephen White, told officials in Washington.

Identification checks at the front gate were “quick but not thorough,” and visitor badges lacked photographs, meaning they were easy to replicate or pass around. A security unit at the center’s main gate appeared to be armed with shotguns or semi-automatic Russian-style rifles, the cable noted, but as the U.S. delegation moved toward the Dhruva reactor, where the nuclear explosive material is actually produced, there were no “visible external security systems.”

White’s cable noted that a secondary building where engineering equipment was stored also had “very little security.” While there was a sentry post at a nuclear Waste Immobilization Plant that processes radioactive water, no guards were present, and visitors’ bags were not inspected. No security cameras were seen inside, White added. The cable was disclosed by WikiLeaks in 2011.

A U.S. nuclear safety official, also on the visit, who still works in the field and was not authorized to discuss it told the CPI in an interview that “laborers wandered in and out of the complex, and none of them wore identification.” He said that “the setup was extraordinarily low-key, considering the sensitivity,” explaining that guards could not see camera footage from other locations. There is little evidence that conditions have changed much since then, officials say.

U.S. and Indian officials also have privately expressed worry about the security surrounding India’s movement of sensitive nuclear materials and weaponry.

For example, an industrialist who provides regular private advice to the current prime minister about domestic and foreign strategic issues said in an interview that due to India’s poor roads and rail links, “our nuclear sector is especially vulnerable. How can we safely transport anything, when we cannot say for certain that it will get to where it should, when it should.”

Riaz Haq said...

Civil nuclear deal helps #Pakistan overcome energy crisis: #China Daily. #loadshedding http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/?p=499051 via @ePakistanToday

China’s civil nuclear power support to Pakistan is meant to help the time-tested friend to overcome its energy crisis, said Chinese scholar in an article published in China Daily.

While setting aside the misperception and unfounded allegations in regard to Sino-Pak nuclear deal, an associate professor at Peking University’s School of International Studies said that some vested interest groups were pointing a finger at China over the two-country cooperation in nuclear field issue.

He clarified that the sale of nuclear reactors to Pakistan was part of their long-term nuclear cooperation agreements reached in the late 1980s. Chinese companies joined Pakistani side to build a nuclear plant at Chashma in 1991, he said. By 2000, the first reactor at Chashma was ready to generate electricity. Five years later, Chinese companies began building Chashma 2, which is scheduled to be operational next year.

China and Pakistan both assert that the proposed sale is not only in line with the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) rules, but it is also transparent and peaceful in nature. It has already been clarified officially that the “China-Pakistan cooperation on civilian nuclear energy is consistent with the two countries’ respective international obligations, and is for peaceful purposes and subject to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguard and supervision”.

The article further said: “India, seen as a long-time foe of Pakistan, seems to be using diplomacy to block the Sino-Pakistani deal, even though it signed a similar deal with the US in 2006. Most China-baiters, particularly in the US, allege Chashma 3 and 4 violate NSG guidelines, which prohibit nuclear states from exporting nuclear technology and materials to non-nuclear states which, like Pakistan, are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and have not adopted IAEA safeguards for nuclear establishments.”

Ever since China joined the NSG in 2004, some critics have been saying it has to fulfill its non-proliferation commitment and comply with the group’s rules and guidelines. And because Chashma 3 and 4 were initiated after 2004, they have to be approved by NSG, most probably by seeking an “exemption” solution from its 46 member states as the US-Indian nuclear deal did in 2008.

Non-proliferation proponents have expressed concern over the Sino-Pakistani nuclear deal. But some doubt whether it could be blocked like the 2006 US-Indian nuclear deal was for setting “a dangerous precedent”, because if Washington opposes it openly, it would face charges of exercising “hypocrisy” in non-proliferation.

Ashley Tellis, a senior associate at Carnegie Endowment, who as part of the George W Bush administration played a key role in negotiating the nuclear deal with India, draws a line between the US-Indian and Sino-Pakistani nuclear deals, saying the latter is not the outcome of a public debate in Washington or in NSG. But the fact is that “integrity” of the shattered global non-proliferation regime was already breached when India, which is outside NPT, NSG and other non-proliferation regimes, was “exempted” and the US-Indian nuclear deal was allowed to go ahead.

Pakistan faces severe electricity shortage leading to economic difficulties. The BBC, citing Pakistani government sources, said Pakistan faced an energy shortfall of 3,668 MW per day. Expanding the nuclear energy industry is one way Pakistan can meet its electricity shortfall, which in turn causes social unrest and extremism. At present, nuclear power comprises just 2.34 per cent of Pakistan’s total energy generation, it said.

Riaz Haq said...

US never had & still does not have "No First Use" #nuke policy. #USA #India #Pakistan #nuclear http://thebulletin.org/careful-we-might-nuke-you-consequences-rejecting-nuclear-no-first-use-pledge9917 …

Since developing nuclear weapons in 1945, the United States has maintained the right to use them first against another country, whether or not that country launched a nuclear attack at the United States. Over the past several months President Obama considered changing that “first-use” optional policy to one under which the US declares that it will only use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack. China and India have such policies today. Russia had this policy, but in 1993 changed it to reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in response to attacks that threaten the survival of the Russian state, even if those attacks do not employ nuclear weapons.

Press reports now assert that key members of the president’s cabinet, including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz all opposed the adoption of a US nuclear no-first-use pledge, and the president ultimately accepted their advice. There are reasonable arguments, reviewed below, on both sides of the no-first-use debate. Unfortunately, there may be negative consequences for raising the issue publicly and then rejecting it. Such consequences could include a hardening of reliance on nuclear weapons by Russia, China, and North Korea, intensification of the global nuclear arms race, further weakening of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a possible reversal by China of its own no-first-use pledge in the near future.

These consequences are likely because the “power ministries” of the United States—those that wield diplomatic and military power to implement national security strategy—have just re-asserted their belief in the power and value of nuclear weapons for the indefinite future. Combined with plans to modernize the entire US nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years, this pro-nuclear message contradicts President Obama’s 2009 Prague speech and its focus on the dubious value of nuclear weapons. In the speech, Obama said, “Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. And as a nuclear power—as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it… So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The choice to reject a no-first-use pledge is a choice of fear over hope. Carter, Kerry and Moniz, like the three wise monkeys, see no evil in claiming the right of the United States to defend itself and its allies by threatening to kill millions of innocent people from hundreds of different nations throughout the world—the outcome of an exchange of nuclear weapons using only a small fraction of the existing US arsenal. In essence, they told the president that he should not risk devaluing the investment in fear that the potential first use of US nuclear weapons represents. These cabinet officers embrace the postulated ability of nuclear weapons to scare adversaries into inaction. In other words they told the president he was wrong in Prague, and the nuclear fear that he pledged to reduce is actually good for America, because it is a handy tool that underwrites the world order, discourages enemies from doing things we would rather they not do, and calms our allies. The three wise men told the president that he must continue to place national security above human security, that it is OK to value American lives and the lives of its military allies above all other human lives.