Addressing the key criticisms of the ‘demonetisation drive’

Demonetisation of Indian Rs
Let us take the five key criticisms of demonetisation – Flow vs stock, price of real estate and money, SME impact, lower consumption and inconvenience – are more than negated by the long term effects of formalisation. Let’s look at each criticism in diminishing order of importance in more detail:
Flow vs stock:
• Analysts suggest that demonetisation is “merely” a one-time intervention that reduces stock and does nothing about flow (the fresh creation of black money with new currency). They are right; but dealing with stock creates conditions for even more aggressive action on flow. How? You can expect further curbs on cash payments, a smaller number of high-value notes put back into circulation, the application of big data algorithms to saving, consumption and investment data, and much else.
• This builds on previous actions such as goods and services tax (GST), tax deducted at source (TDS) and PAN requirements, the Undisclosed Foreign Income Act, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, multiple multilateral information exchange agreements, ease of doing business, and the voluntary disclosure scheme. None of them are perfect or complete alone, but seen together, the flow plan is nicely complemented by this stock intervention.
Price of real estate and money:
• India has long mispriced land and money, and analysts suggest a huge impact on both. Analysts suggest that India’s low rental yields of two per cent reflected our black economy because globally rental yields and borrowing rates are similar.
• It is estimated that rental yields will double as the price of residential real estate halves.
• It is also estimated that the shift from black to white savings (banks have received ₹2 lakh crore in deposits on the last two days of last week) could reduce our interest rates by 350 basis points over the next four years. Ending the mispricing of real estate and money is wonderful for entrepreneurship, global competitiveness and job creation.
Bad timing:
• Analysts suggest this could have been timed differently because of the rabi crop, Diwali, and Uttar Pradesh elections. A country of India’s diversity and size will always have some harvest, election or festival coming and a decision of this impact is probably best made in the middle of a government’s tenure rather than too close to the next national election.
• An important part of the fairness of this move was secrecy and surprise; announcing the decision as soon as it was logistically possible with new currency was crucial to its impact.
SME destruction:
• Analysts suggest that many small businesses will not be viable in the white economy because their survival depends on tax or labour law arbitrage.
• A reduction in the number of enterprises is welcome. Of India’s 63 million enterprises, only 8.5 million have any tax registration and only 1.5 million pay Provident Fund.
• The US economy is eight times our size and only has 25 million enterprises. The destruction of low-productivity informal enterprises that don’t pay minimum wages or provide safe working conditions and leave is rather welcome.
• Demonetisation destroys past gains of informality; complementing this with infrastructure building and ease of doing business interventions that reduce regulatory cholesterol could raise formal employment from 10 per cent of our workers to 50 per cent in the next decade.
Lower consumption:
• This is the trickiest to estimate. Analysts agree about short-term pain but are divided on impact. Some suggest pain will be concentrated in the north, rural areas and consumer durables while economist Surjit Bhalla suggests no problem because individual consumption is ₹13,910 per month at the 99th percentile.
• It can be deciphered that the pain will not be as prolonged and as widespread as expected except in jewellery and real estate that delightfully will have a long and overdue cold winter.
• This is a real short-term pain but the amount of tears shed by rich people for the inconvenience of poor people and farmers would probably fill an ocean. Poor people don’t have black money and farmers are untaxable.
• This pain would have been greater before Jan-Dhan, Aadhaar, Direct Benefit Transfer, mobile banking, universal payment interface, Bharat Bill payment, new bank licences, mobile wallets, and other financial inclusion measures that are blunting the traditional defence of cash as access.
• A counterintuitive but effective measure to reduce this temporary pain is the ₹2000 note but the numbers of this high value note should be capped and this new accomplice of black money storage should be demonetised in a few years.
An important upside lost in the black money vaporisation debate is counterfeit money destruction. If you can see the happenings in Kashmir, it is obvious that much of valley terrorism is fuelled by money not printed by India. Getting rid of black money is not the solving of a sum but the painting of a picture; no single action moves the needle but a series of action can change the norms of acceptable, accepted, and expected behaviour.
The boldness of demonetisation suggests a bias for action, however imperfect, after decades of rhetoric. The estimates figuring non-exchange of 12 lakh crore of currency in circulation due to the fear of clamp down by the State authorities, are different by different analysts.
Whatever the final number, as Karl Marx said “Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
Source Business Standard

Air Defence System

If there was one news that dominated the media space like no other in the recently concluded BRICS Summit on 15-16 Oct, it was the one on the signing of the contract between India and Russia for the purchase of five Regiments of S 400 Triumph Air Defence System at the cost of some 39000 Cr. What will be the impact of the induction of S-400 system in our country?

S-400 Air Defence System

Air Defence SystemS-400 is a long range air defence and anti-Missile system. It provides a counter to the air threat from our potential adversaries likely to be prosecuted by multiple air threat vehicles, like multi-role modern aircrafts, attack helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and their combative version (UCAVs), cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles, and more. Today, most of the modern air threat vehicles as mentioned above, strike in all-weather conditions and possess the ability of deep strike with precision and stand-off capability when attacks are delivered from long ranges without the need to close in with the deployed weapons. S 400 being an anti-missile system, can provide a full air defence shield against the adversary’s Surface-to-Surface Missiles (SSMs) including the nuclear capable missiles.

Air Defence System | History

modi_putinEvolution of the system takes us back to 1978-79 when the then Soviet Union started to develop long range Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) to provide area air defence to its large sized Vulnerable Areas (VA) like military bases, industrial centres, logistic and administrative areas and nuclear centres. The S 300 (predecessor to S 400) was the weapon system for this role. This system evolved around three verticals, namely P, V and F series. Here, P standing for PVO Stranny (meaning country’s air defence), was the mainstay development line for area air defence of ground based strategic assets. V (standing for Voyska or Ground forces) was the compact version of the system basically designed for the mobile air defence cover for mechanised forces, while the F (standing for Float), was the naval version of the system. S 400 is the latest of the P series of the system (also called S 300 PMU 3). The weapon designer is Almaz Corp KB-1 (later Almaz Air Defence Concern) while the Missiles have been designed by MKB Fakel Design Bureau.

Air Defence System | Analysing the Technical Muscle

s-400-triumfAny ground based air defence system is essentially configured on the three verticals of Sensors, Combat Teeth and Battle Management and Command and Control (BMC2) System. Sensors are for carrying out surveillance of the air space, detecting the air threat, identifying it to be friend-or-foe (IFF) and finally guiding the missiles to the target. Combat teeth are the Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) to take on the designated target while the BMC2 system exercises minute-to-minute control over air defence battle resulting in the delivery of accurate and lethal fire on the intended target. In each of these three verticals, S 400 has many special features.

Air Defence System | Sensor Speciality of S400

  • The weapon designers have laid great emphasis on the initial detection of the threat.
  • The sensors have evolved along with the revamping of the air threat from Medium/High Altitude to Low level, to Ballistic Missile threat to stealth threat and more.
  • The system has a formidable sensor package covering all altitudes and extending to long ranges up to 600 km.
  • It has sufficient capability to simultaneously track any threat by quantum (300 targets).
  • The latest sensors have cutting edge technology features (3D Panoramic/all-altitude detection) and high survivability muscle in the hostile Electronic Warfare (EW) environment.

Air Defence System | Missiles

maxresdefaultThe most distinctive feature of S 400 is its capability to fire three dissimilar missiles from the same platform with nil/minimal changes on the action stations. The first of the three missiles on board is 9M 96 E with an operational range of 120 Km. The probability of hitting the target with a single launch of 9M96E missile is around 90 %.

The second type of missile on board is 48 N6. Flying at an incredible speed of 17280 km per hour (4.8 km per second, Mach 14), it is eminently capable of closing on to the threat much faster than any known threat can move.

The third type of missile is an extremely long range missile (400 km). The special feature of this missile is its trajectory which has a high apogee (highest point reached during free flight) in excess of 40 km. It means that upon launch the missile rises high into the exo-atmospheric space thus gaining a lot of Potential Energy (PE). Such a missile is optimal in the anti-Ballistic missile role.

What is special about the Missiles of the System?

  • Three dissimilar missiles capable of being launched from the same platform.
  • Range versatility (120-200-250-400 km) suited for multi-role.
  • Variations in the guidance systems to increase effectiveness and enhance survivability.
  • Many special features (17280 km per hour, Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy).

Air Defence System | Likely Impact of Induction

  • It will be a ‘WAY ABOVE’ system, implying thereby, that the capability of range, reach and kill effects it brings, will be way above anything we have had in the existing Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) landscape till date.
  • Its backward system integration and resource sharing capability with the existing GBADWS will provide a paradigm enhancement in the existing surveillance, battle management and kill capability of the entire system as a whole.
  • In specifics, as a far upper end of the area air defence system, it will render large swaths of area under air defence cover. These areas could include high value installations, key Govt. institutions, seat of power, important army/naval / air force bases/assets, oil dumps, refineries, nuclear power installations and more.
  • In the anti-missile role, the system will integrate with our Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Programme named ‘Programme AD’ under development by the DRDO. This programme, as is known in the open source, is a two tier system providing interception of incoming ballistic missiles in the exo-atmospheric region (altitude 50-80 km) as well as, endo-atmospheric region (altitude 15-30 km). The Programme is in two phases. In Phase 1 the system capability will be able to take on the ballistic missiles up to the ranges of 2000 Km while in Phase 2, the system capability will be extended to 5000 km. Phase 1 stands operationalised while Phase 2 is nearing completion. S 400 will bring a quantum enhancement in this capability


Air Defence System | Challanges

  • While the procurement is through Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), the entire procurement procedure is yet to unfold where every step has a time penalty. By any modest guess, the entire cycle could take 3-5 years.
  • The capability enhancement will be incremental as fire units of the regiment get built up over time.
  • The issues of Indian work share and its progressive enhancement, transfer of technology (ToT) and more importantly, its absorption capability by our public and private industry over the years and the entire gamut of ‘Offset’ will be huge challenges, each demanding its timeshare and repeated deliberations/negotiations and more.
  • Associated with the above will be the issues of training, maintenance ToT, Quality assurance and clearances, EMC/EMI clearances, simulators and more.


No doubt the induction of S 400 increases the might of Indian defence forces with a credible defence against the potential air attacks against India. But we should ensure that the issues of training, delivery, maintenance, quality assurance and clearances are addressed to avoid future exigencies.

Nuclear Deal | Indian – Japan

A historic ‘Civil Nuclear Deal’ with Japan was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan, which was in limbo from the last one decade. Apart from the advanced technology and material assistance, India has a lot to gain from this landmark agreement.

Nuclear Deal | Benefits

Japan Nuclear

  • The deal is critical to India’s renewable energy plans as it aspires to fulfil 40% of its energy consumption through renewable energy by 2030, as per the Paris Agreement.
  • Japanese companies would inject state-of-the-art technology to India’s civil nuclear energy dreams.
  • Previously, Japanese companies were not allowed to supply cutting-edge technology to India, which adversely affected Indo-French and Indo-US nuclear deal too because the Japanese have a significant holding in US and French companies. Now with the lifting of the ban, the Indo-French and Indo-US nuclear deal can be materialised to its full strength.
  • Japan now recognizes India’s exemplary record in nuclear prudence which is a moral boost for India’s aspirations for the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) membership.
  • The nuclear deal would boost the meagre, and dipping, bilateral trade of $15 billion and lift the strategic military and defence relationship to a new level.
  • The Westingouse made nuclear reactor planned for Andhra Pradesh in June 2017 would see the dawn of the day with the approval of this deal by the Japanese Parliament.
  • With red signals coming from the President-elect of the United States for India and Japan to become independent in their security apparatus against China, this civil nuclear deal with Japan would bring us much closer in security and military terms too.

Nuclear Deal | Concerns over the agreement

  • Article 14 of the deal allows Japan to terminate the nuclear deal in ‘special’ cases (nuclear testing by India). This right to termination is contentious, with India saying it is not ‘legally binding’.
  • With the termination clause in paper, it would snatch away the nuclear sovereignty of India like a virtual NPT condition. The ambiguity over this clause should be cleared in advance to prevent India-US nuclear deal like situation.
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has to approve the deal in the Japanese Parliament in early 2017 which would be an onerous task due to the unacceptable exceptions made for India by Japan for the civil nuclear deal. (Note- India is the first non-NPT signatory with which Japan has signed a civil nuclear deal)
  • China has been looking at the developments closely with his two potential rivals in Asia coming together enormously, creating regional power imbalances for China. We’ll have to see how China responds to this.
  • Russia, the strategic partner of India would not be too delighted about the prospects of further dwindling footholds of it in the Indian nuclear industry. This could become a thaw in the strategic relationship that India shares with Russia.
  • India’s NSG bid might receive a further opposition by China due to our expanding nuclear commerce with Japan, which is a strategic threat to China.

thediplomat_2014-08-22_20-59-44-553x360With the unfolding of the events, it is quite clear that India-Japan needs to guide a strategic rebalance towards the Chinese muscle flexing in Asia. But a relationship cannot be based upon common hatred alone. Convergence of genuine interests, mutual respect for sovereignty and inter-dependence on strategic matters are the keys to build a strong and multifaceted alliance.

With many ambiguous clauses present in the document, it would be prudent for both the parties to clear such ambiguities on the negotiation table. Otherwise, a fruitful deal would go back into the limbo even after a celebrated agreement.

Mosul | The Dynamics of war

Middle East is perplexed by a prolonged multi-level war. The first war is a resurfaced version of the otherwise surreptitious and archaic rivalry between the two cold-war poles of power, i.e. the United States and the Russian Federation. The second war is the war between what we may call ‘political Islam’, i.e. the Shia and the Sunnis, under the patronage of Iran and Saudi Arabia respectively. The third war is a local sectarian conflict which also involves Ottoman legacies. Amidst the turbulence of polycentrism, the radical communities often gain ground to consolidate their support, further their territorial ambitions and foster their ideological solidarity in an otherwise naturally prosperous region.

Mosul | The History

Mosul A city in IraqOn the 17th day of this month, the Iraqi forces launched a heavy armed offensive against the Islamic State militants to recapture the city of Mosul. Mosul, the second largest city of Iraq, 390 kilometres north of Baghdad is now the de facto capital of Islamic State in Iraq. It is an important transportation hub between Iraq and Syria, having few of the largest oil fields of Iraq and a key pipeline that passes to Turkey. Although a cosmopolitan city with a population of 1.5 million people, Mosul is a heartland for Sunni(s) in a Shia dominated country. Majority of the people are ideologically aligned to Ba’athism which seeks a unified Arab State.

The Invasion of MosulMosul was seized in June 2014 by the Islamic State terrorists. During the armed invasion, Iraqi forces fled away and left $500 million in the Central Bank of Mosul and a huge chunk of weapons and ammunitions back in the hands of the homicidal terrorists. These monetary and military resources were used by the Islamic State militants to employ new recruits and arm their forces even across the border in Syria. Peshmerga forces led an offensive battle in Mosul in January 2015 but it was allegedly halted by their Western well-wishers.

If the Iraqi forces taste a significant success in rooting out the Islamic State terrorists from Mosul, it would be a decisive blow to the morale of the already dwindling factory of hatred. Now, the Islamic State fighters might not be able to send fighters in Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State in Syria. But there is certainly an apprehension that the fleeing Islamic State fighters might travel towards Raqqa and perhaps even join their co-Sunni fighters in Aleppo, which might increase the trouble for the Russians and the Syrians who are sincerely working to root out the radical forces from the Northeast Syria.

President Erdogan TurkeyMosul and Aleppo are situated in the region which was claimed by the Ottoman Empire. The claims have been particularly renewed after the strengthening of the hands of President Erdogan over the Turkish administration post a coup attempt earlier this year. According to Dr Wael Awwad of the Syrian Arab News Agency, Erdogan is having neo-Ottoman ambitions. The Kurdistan Democratic Party also sees the city of Mosul and Kirkuk as a door of treasure towards serving the administrative and future bargaining needs of the inevitable Kurdistan State. The oil fields of Mosul are the chief attractions in the multi-actor fight in the region.

There are many Shia Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) operating in the region, allegedly having links with the Iranians. Iranians are apprehensive of the fact that if Iraq is to be balkanized, the northern territories must not be compromised with the administration of Sunni leaders. The United States is also apprehensive of the influence of Iran in the region and the prospects of Iranian dominance in the region may jeopardise the gains that it has made in the form of oil contracts and two permanent military bases in Iraq.

Mosul - Shiite clergy But a significant question that has sprung up at this hour is regarding the future administration of the colossal city of Mosul (in case it gets liberated). The Baghdad Government, guided by the Shiite clergy of Najaf and Karbala might face legitimacy crisis in the region due to Sunni dominance. If the administration is handed over to the PDK, then it may invite stiff resistance from the Turkish brigade already being stationed in the north of Mosul. A huge number of stakeholders claiming power to the city are unsympathetic to the vent left open by the power vacuum that the liberation of Mosul might create in the near future.

Will Mosul have a similar fate to that of Fallujah and Tikrit? Would the UN Security Council Resolution (2254) see the dawn of the day? The gradual unfolding of the dynamics that are clouding the city of Mosul would definitely impact the next struggle of peace against outright hatred hiding under the garb of religion.

Nuclear Abolition : Justification

Nuclear Abolition - Justification

Nuclear Abolition | Humanitarian Necessity:

  • No effective humanitarian response possible
  • Effects of radiation on human beings would cause suffering and death many years after initial explosion.
  • Eliminating nuclear weapons – via a comprehensive treaty – only guarantee against their use.

Nuclear Abolition | Direct and Constant Threat to mankind

  • Far from keeping peace – breed fear and mistrust among nations.
  • Ultimate instruments of terror and mass destruction – no legitimate military or strategic utility.
  • Uselessness in addressing any of today’s real security threats like terrorism, climate change, extreme poverty, overpopulation and disease.

Note :

  • More than 40,000 nuclear weapons have been dismantled since end of cold war.
  • Nations still hold fast to misguided idea of “nuclear deterrence”.

Nuclear Abolition | Environmental Concers

  • Only devices ever created with capacity to destroy all complex life forms on Earth.
  • Less than 0.1% of explosive yield of current global nuclear arsenal can bring about devastating agricultural collapse and widespread famine.

Nuclear Abolition | Economic Concerns

  • Divert public funds from health care, education, disaster relief and other vital services.
  • Nine nuclear-armed nations spend in excess of US$105 billion each year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals.
  • US alone spends more than US$60 billion annually, and Britain’s plans to replace its ageing fleet of nuclear-armed Trident submarines could cost taxpayers over £100 billion.

Note :

  • Despite renewed commitments by nations to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world, all of nuclear powers continue to invest disproportionate sums of money in their nuclear forces.
  • Funding allocated to national disarmament efforts is minuscule by comparison.
    It’s fine for some countries to possess nuclear weapons When it comes to nuclear weapons, there are no safe hands. So long as any country has these weapons, others will want them, and the world will be in a precarious state.
    It’s unlikely that nuclear weapons will ever be used again. Unless we eliminate nuclear weapons, they will almost certainly be used again, either intentionally or by accident, and the consequences will be catastrophic
    Nuclear weapons provide a useful deterrent against attack. Nuclear weapons do not deter terrorists. Nuclear-armed nations are actually more vulnerable to pre-emptive strike and terrorist targeting than non-nuclear countries.
    Nuclear weapons can be used legitimately in war Any use of weapons would violate international humanitarian law because they would indiscriminately kill civilians and cause long-term environmental harm.

Chabahar Port: Strategic Importance

Chabahar Port | Strategic Importance for India

Chabahar Port

  • International North- South Transport Corridor (INSTC) connects South and Central Asia to North Europe via Russia.
  • Iran is a partner nation in INSTC and Iran’s efforts to enhance utility of Chabahar Port by developing linkages that will connect it with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics most economically should also be seen in this context.

Strategic Importance and India

India and Iran agreement signed in 2002 to develop Chabahar into a full deep sea port.

  • Circumvention of Pakistan
  • Route to landlocked Afghanistan which has security ties and economic interests.
  • Trade with Europe.
  • Indian Ocean outlet for New Delhi’s grand International North- South Transit Corridor (INSTC) initiative.
  • With India’s overland access to Central Asia blocked by Pakistan, this will provide New Delhi vital access to Central Asian, Russian, and ultimately European markets, enabling India to effectively compete with China.
  • Compared to current Indian Ocean-European transport route via Red Sea, Suez Canal and Mediterranean, Chabahar-based INSTC is estimated to be 40% shorter and will reduce cost of Indian trade by 30%.
    • Recently India also proposed membership for Turkmenistan for NSTC.
  • Possibility of importing gas from Iran via Mundra Port along with enhanced trade and oil import opportunities – South Asia Gas Enterprises Pvt Ltd (SAGE) – undersea pipeline to bring gas from Oman and Iran to India. 
  • For protection of interests in Afghanistan, India requires a viable access and Iran provides India most viable transit.

Strategic Importance | Benefits for India

  • India’s intentions to build a 900 kilometer rail link from Hajigak iron ore mines in Bamiyan to Chabahar Port and 600 kilometer road from Chabahar to Iranian city of Zahedan.
  • India considering investing in Chabahar-FarajBam railway.
  • Chabahar port will serve as a cost-effective outlet to bring iron ore.

Past Hiccups and Future Prospects

  • Until 2012, India ceased construction of Chabahar port under US pressure to toughen international sanctions against Iran.
  • However in 2012, when a China took over administration of Gwadar port, India resumed construction of Chabahar port.
  • Whereas original Chabahar port project and transit corridors involved a trilateral agreement between Iran, India and Russia, Indian- led 2012 resumption of project involves participation of 11 additional countries from Middle East, Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe, each lured by benefits of easier access to Indian Ocean.
  • Trade between Afghanistan and Chabahar will bolster Iranian and Indian influence in Afghanistan after NATO’s withdrawal, providing a measure of counter- balance to Pakistani influence.
  • India’s substantial investment present and future in Chabahar and traditional old ties with Iran, also provide India with an opportunity to become a player in Middle East and Indian influence over Chabahar could be leveraged in many ways.

Strategic Importance Vs Gwadar | India Vs China

  • Chabahar is located on Arabian Sea’s Makran coast in Sistan and Baluchistan Province.
  • Pakistan’s Gwadar port also is situated on Pakistan’s Baluchistan province’s Makran coast.
  • Both offer direct access to Indian Ocean.
  • Both China and India are seeking closer relations with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  • For India, Chabahar is nearest port to Indian Ocean providing direct access to Middle East and Central Asia.
  • For China, Gwadar with a substantial head start over Chabahar could be a terminus for pipelines in its oil and gas supply chain from Africa and Middle East, allowing it to bypass congested pinch point that is Strait of Hormuz.
  • Gwadar also brightens prospects for a pipeline corridor bringing oil and gas to China from Middle East as an alternate route to transport oil around Indian Subcontinent and through increasingly disputed territorial waters of South China Sea.
  • Route will be cheaper, less vulnerable and give Beijing greater freedom of action to pursue its claims to sovereignty over South China Sea.
  • Direct access to India Ocean would give China a strategic post of observation and a key location for its navy and a listening post from where Chinese may exert surveillance on hyper-strategic sea links as well as military activities of Indian and American navies in region, and second, dual-use civilian-military facilities providing a base for Chinese ships and submarines.
  • For India, Gwadar port being so close to Straits of Hormuz has implications for India as it would enable Pakistan to exercise control over energy routes along with challenging Indian assertion over Indian Ocean.
  • Iran is more stable than Pakistan, it has better relations with Afghanistan and Central Asian states, Chabahar route goes through relatively stable parts of Afghanistan and Iran already has good relations with everybody along route leading north (including local “warlords”) into Tajikistan.
  • Significantly, it is in Tajikistan where Iran has already been financing several transport projects including Anzob tunnel.
  • Luckily for Iranians, U.S. constructed a bridge over Amu Darya that fits in nicely with Chabahar to Khojent route.
  • Problem with Gwadar is that while port has been built -supporting infrastructure of railroad link, industrial capacity, and civic structures at Gwadar is almost non-existent and proposed Gwadar route also goes through more problematic areas of Afghanistan.
  • Countries of Central Asia will likely benefit from both Chabahar and Gwadar.

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Nuclear Security Summits

Nuclear Security Summits | Purpose

Nuclear Security Summits

Nuclear Security Summits purpose is to prevent non-state actors, particularly terrorists, from acquiring nuclear material

US President Obama in 2010
Nuclear Security Summits | Objective
To secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years
Nuclear Security Summits | Success Stories

  • 175 tonnes of highly enriched uranium (HEU)—enough for 7,000 nuclear weapons—has been removed or down-blended (mostly from Russia)
  • 30 countries have eliminated HEU
  • Radiation detection equipment has been installed at 329 international border crossings, airports and seaports to prevent, detect and respond to trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive material.
  • Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM), is now only eight signatures shy of entering into force .
  • International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) has been signed by 103 of the 193 United Nations members.

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM)

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material was signed at Vienna and at New York on 3 March 1980. The Convention is the only international legally binding undertaking in the area of physical protection of nuclear material. It establishes measures related to the prevention, detection and punishment of offenses relating to nuclear material.

International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT)

The Nuclear Terrorism Convention (formally, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism) is a 2005 United Nations treaty designed to criminalize acts of nuclear terrorism and to promote police and judicial cooperation to prevent, investigate and punish those acts

Nuclear Security Summits | Paradigms yet to achieve
Generic Paradigms

  • 1,400 tonnes of HEU and 500 tonnes of plutonium—enough for about 200,000 simple fission-type nuclear bombs is still held by more than 30 countries.
  • Possibility of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities has not been eliminated

Paradigams In Terms Of Multipolar World

  • Absence of Russian President Putin (over strategic differences with the US) indicates progress towards cause is susceptible to overall state of bilateral relations.
  • The failure to invite Iran (despite the nuclear deal) was missed opportunity to engage Tehran on  crucial issue of global importance.

Nuclear Security Summits | Key Lessons
Generic Lessons

  • Experts argue NSS process only deals  nuclear material in civilian facilities & not military facilities, which account for 83% of nuclear material.
  • Disputed by others who assert that the NSS communiqués along with the CPPNM, the ICSANT and UN Security Council resolution 1540 deal with all nuclear material—civilian and military.


United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 was adopted unanimously on 28 April 2004 regarding the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The resolution establishes the obligations under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter for all Member States to develop and enforce appropriate legal and regulatory measures against the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, in particular, to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors.

Lessons In Terms Of Multipolar World

  • Because the NSS is narrowly focused on the threat of non-state actors acquiring nuclear material, it took great initiative on part of the US to get it going; it is unlikely that any other world leader could have led a similar project. This indicates that even in the multi-polar era, the world is dependent on US leadership.
  • However, as the absence of Putin and the inability of the process in securing all nuclear material in four years reflect, there are limits to even what the US leadership can achieve.
  • Besides, the fact that the 2012 and 2014 summits were held in South Korea and the Netherlands respectively—both US allies from the developed world—indicates that Washington is still not able to find willing partners for its initiatives in the global South.

Lessons In Terms Of Institutional Failure

  • No international regime or institution to deal with biological weapons, they remain largely unregulated.
  • Relative success of NSS process also underlines the failure of the international community to address similar dangers emanating from biological weapons.

 Nuclear Security Summits | Progress

Six years and four summits later ; the aim has not been reached, despite substantial progress being made.

Nuclear Security Summits | India’s perspective

While its contribution to the success of the NSS process is useful to highlight its credentials as a responsible nuclear state, any initiative on similar threats from biological weapons and its ability to rally others to the cause would enhance its credibility as a global leader.

Way forward
Non-state actors and individuals are increasingly conducting research in biotechnology, especially, synthetic biology to come up with more rational solutions to the issue.
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