India Nuclear Deal Math

During a press conference last week, a reporter from _Dawn_ asked Richard Boucher about the US-India nuclear deal:

bq. … we would like to have your response on Pakistani concerns on this nuclear issue, which is also supported by many critics in the U.S. and other critics that it would trigger a nuclear arms race in Asia. And Pakistan talks of the deal undermining Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence and saying you know, it would do whatever is required to restore its deterrence, which I suppose would mean making more bombs.

Acknowledging that this issue “comes up in the States in our discussions with Congress, comes up in discussions of _arms control experts and others_[emphasis mine],” Boucher replied:

bq. This is not an arrangement that in any way helps or promotes the military side of whatever India may be doing with nuclear material. We still take our obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty very seriously. We would not have entered into this deal if we had thought it contravened Article I of the Non-Proliferation Treaty that says we will not help anyone in any way to build nuclear weapons.

Then rolled with:

…you have 19% of India’s nuclear capability under safeguards now. Implementation of the deal will put 65% under safeguards. As India builds more civilian factories, more plants, there will be an expansion of the nuclear power sector and an expansion of the amount of percentage of India’s plants under safeguards. That’s not an expansion of capability on the military side, that’s actually dedicating for sole civilian use a bigger and bigger portion of India’s nuclear industry.


And I just think, you know, it’s an argument that’s made. I acknowledge that. We hear it again and again. We also answer it again and again. But it just doesn’t make sense to me. If you’ve got a program this big, and it’s not under safeguards, it’s all available for military purposes, and you make it a program this big, it’s smaller.

Yeah, obviously we’re a bunch of idiots. Do I really need to explain what happens to that percentage if and when India builds more military facilities?

Anyway, I think Islamabad has a slight difference of opinion.

For example, “_AFP_ reported”: 13 April that President Musharaff chaired a meeting of Pakistan’s Nuclear Command Authority. According to the article, the NCA issued a statement saying:

bq. In view of the fact that the agreement would enable India to produce significant quantities of fissile material and nuclear weapons from un-safeguarded nuclear reactors, the NCA expressed firm resolve that our credible minimum deterrence requirements will be met…

And “according to _APP_,”: told Sen. Hagel that his government has “[C]oncerns on its [the agreement’s] implications for regional stability and security.”

On top of that, “a spokesperson”: for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry expressed “concern” about

…provisions in the agreement that could have serious implications for the strategic stability in the region. Also, we feel that it is discriminatory because both Pakistan and India are nuclear weapon States which are not part of the NPT. Instead of making exception for one, a package deal would have been preferable that would have taken care of energy requirements of the two countries, the strategic stability in this region and the global non-proliferation efforts.

And speaking of math, know that “snakes + plane”: = genius.

Have a good weekend.

16 thoughts on “India Nuclear Deal Math

  1. RT


    I’m not sure what your point is in this post but factual analysis will tell you that Indian leaders have always CHOSEN to produce fewer, far fewer, atomic weapons than India is capable of. India will make n-weapons based on its strategic threat perception. You obviously don’t care that China continues to make more bombs as I type this but Indian leaders have to account for that. India’s restraint will be dependent on Chinese restraint which in turn is based on what the US does. This is common sense. Artificially constructed treaties cannot change human behavior.

    The fact is that India is likely to build several times more civilian nuclear facilities than military ones because that is what makes sense for India. However, that decision will be made by Indian leaders, not by the IAEA – just as it is the case for NPT NWS.

    Pakistan is merely posturing here and expressing impotent rage. It knows that China cannot carve out a Pakistan-specific NSG exemption and it knows that the US won’t allow it in any case.

  2. Haninah

    Are we to take the last block quote as an indication that Pakistan actually wants in on this type of deal itself? Is that simply a sign of how much of a sweetheart deal this is, or could this be a lever for getting Pakistan to make some real concessions?

  3. RT

    I think India can live with this deal. India has no interest in amassing nukes and all it needs is the option of building more nukes to be preserved in case the NPT NWS start testing and arming again. In any case, India has to contend with the Chinese build up, even if it is not directly aimed at New Delhi. In an ideal world, India could ask for the same treatment as the NWS but things like separation of civil and military facilities and safeguards in perpetuity are things that will benefit India in the long run. As long the maintenance of a deterrent force is left at the hands of Indians, we are good.

  4. RT


    Pakistan will not and should never get this type of a deal until it hands over A.Q.Khan to UN or US authorities.

  5. Amit Joshi

    As regards Pakistan, it may be possible for India to export nuclear energy across the border. The nuclear plant and materials would be housed at a safeguarded Indian site.
    This arrangement could work for the next 20 yrs or so, by which time Pakistan would hopefully have demonstrated a better record on non-proliferation.

  6. Sampathkumar Iyangar

    Only gullible Indians obsessed with “feel-good” syndrome would buy the “impeccable nonproliferation record” lie of Machiavellian pundits of New Delhi. No amount of hard sell can ever succeed if you want to sell a fundamentally flawed position. The real position is India’s Department of Atomic Energy, which holds the monopoly to everything nuclear by virtue of Atomic Energy Act, is in the clutches of a powerful Mafia that has been thriving under Kafkasque secretiveness ever since the program was hijacked in the 1970s by Indira Gandhi for becoming a Durga (Hindu goddess of power). Proliferation misadventures engineered by nuclear czars in 1974 and 1998, which made India a rogue state, were to gain a sacred cow status for DAE so that they can enjoy nonaccountability in the guise of “national strategic interests”. The Mafia enjoys the blessings of corrupt bureaucrats, scientists, and slimy politicians of all shades including Communists and religious fundamentalists. DAE is beyond scrutiny by judiciary, media, statutory audit, and even Parliament. Corruption abounds and safety is compromised with abandon. Until DAE is purged of fake scientists serving narrow vested interests of this Mafiaso and full transparency is ensured, any international technological cooperation will only be at a grave risk to the entire planet, given the maturity level of the nations in the region.

  7. Sampathkumar Iyangar

    I have just said: Until the nuclear science establishment is purged of fake scientists serving narrow vested interests of the Mafiaso consisting of corrupt bureaucrats and slimy politicians of all shades including Communists and religious fundamentalists and until full transparency is ensured, any international technological cooperation will only be at a grave risk to the entire planet, given the maturity level of the nations in the region.

  8. RT

    Mr. Iyangar

    The US nuclear program too is run by secretive bureaucrats. The Pentagon, the NRC etc are super secretive. No one is more secretive than China is. If you catch my drift, you’ll see that all nuclear bureaucracies tend to be secretive and possessive. The “maturity levels” of Indians is just as high or as low as anyone else. If all these nations can collaborate on nuclear matters, so can India – regardless of what some washed up wannabe scientist says.

  9. Manne


    Given that you haven’t been able to answer questions I have posed so far, I am not very hopeful of you answering this one but on the other hand I am the eternal optimist….

    So, you say “Yeah, obviously we’re a bunch of idiots.” which I will not particularly challenge but then we have “Do I really need to explain what happens to that percentage if and when India builds more military facilities?”

    A-ha! Yes, I think you do need to explain that. And while you are at it, please also explain what civilian capacity India is interested in putting up (MWe will do nicely) and what happens to the percentage then unless you are bright enough to imply that construction of mil reactors of that order of MWe rating is plausible in the India scenario (remember, the need for the deal is limited Uranium!).

    On the other hand, if you just count the reactors and not take their MWe rating into account I will ask you to explain the basis for finding a 40MWe mil reactor comparable to a 1000 MWe civilian reactor.

    See what I mean? I really don’t have to try hard when asking such questions.


  10. Manne

    Sampathkumar Iyangar,

    We would really be interested in reading your essays but care to substantiate all the allegations you have made so far?

    For example,
    – are you sure no mechanism exists for review of budget utilisation by DAE and its arms?
    – what does maturity level of other nations in the region have to do with India’s civilian programme?
    – what sort of tranparency are you talking about? Surely you wouldn’t want their design data to be posted on the net now, would you?

    Talk is cheap.

  11. Prashant R. Dahat

    It is a glorious to me for research on this perticular matter, for that please send me some historical and prospective data on it.

  12. Sampathkumar Iyangar

    Manne (and RT)
    1. Transparency: The diabolic nexus between the organs of the state including judiciary in India and the cabal of nuclear “experts” is brought out in a news item in The Telegraph on January 6, 2004
    Extracts: The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) against a High Court’s refusal to issue a directive to the government to disclose the contents of a report of the Atomic Energy Regulation Board (AERB). The main author of the report (prepared 8 years previously), former AERB chairman A Gopalakrishnan was also a petitioner. He contended that “serious nuclear accidents” could take place at Narora and Kaiga as well as in other facilities because of cover-ups. PUCL had submitted, “Safety violations and defects in nuclear installations and power plants across the country are alarming as nuclear degradation is feared” and “citizens should have access to the report” to know about the danger. The court upheld attorney general Soli Sorabjee’s contention that the AERB report would reveal to “enemies” data containing “inventories, spent fuel, waste, etc, facilitating the calculation of the country’s nuclear programme potential”. The judges agreed that the “right to information is a fundamental right” and “horror of nuclear holocaust was taught to the human race when the American bomber, Enola Gay, from the clouds emptied its bowels on Hiroshima,” but the Chief Justice added, “in a civil democratic society, every right is a regulated right” and denied access to the AERB report. Under this situation, nukes with Iran’s Mullahs and North Korea’s junta should be much more safe! My information is that the former conscientious AERB Chief has since been brought around.
    2. Maturity Level: Mature people realize that “peaceful atomic implosion” is an oxymoron and cannot be considered as “impeccable nonproliferation record”. Also, the “maturity” shows in President Musharaf’s public warning, “Our response shall be swift and massive if provoked” just before neighbor Pakistan conducted retaliatory nuke test blast in June 1998, which a “mature” politician (who was beaten to the post of Prime Minister and who may well become PM next year!) in the New Delhi dispensation attempted to preempt.
    3. Budget utilization: The ONLY publicized review of the budget utilization of DAE was in 1994-95 report #17 by the Parliamentary joint standing committee on energy, headed by the then opposition MP Captain Jaswant Singh. It revealed that the state-owned monopoly nuclear power utility Nuclear Power Corporation showed a dud inventory of unused and obsolete equipment worth Rs 1300 crore ($320 M, more than a whole year’s budget allocation those days), half of which constituted warehousing and interest costs. The nuclear cabal saw to it that such “matters of national interest” did not get published in future! This gentleman Jaswant Singh eventually became defense and foreign minister in the next government that ended India’s virtual, 24-year, testing moratorium to perpetrate pariah status internationally that benefits no one but the nuclear cabal.
    TALK IS CHEAP. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the semi-literate, college-educated “intelligentsia” of India does not realize. Thirst for a sense of euphoria blinds them of the enormous cost – certainly not affordable by the Fourth World nation – which it costs to the half-starving population. The weapons program, pursued by the Mafia to divert attention off nonperformance and shenanigans of the nuclear establishment, like the power program, employs look-alike imitations for handling the inherently dangerous technology. More serious than the heist, taking liberties with nuclear safety constitutes a graver danger to the whole planet.

  13. Amit Joshi

    “More serious than the heist, taking liberties with nuclear safety constitutes a graver danger to the whole planet.”

    What kind of illogic is this? After plenty of atmospheric tests and a nuclear accident at Chernobyl, the rest of the world is doing fine, thank you very much.

  14. Sampathkumar Iyangar

    Mr Amit Joshi:
    It is one thing to conduct trials & tests according to carefully designed protocols or facing an accident despite having taken utmost care of safety. It is entirely another thing to let a Mafia siphon off huge funds behind a thick veil of secrecy for erecting nuclear facilities that employ look-alike imitations. Thirst for a sense of euphoria must not blind a country to wink at shenanigans while handling the inherently dangerous technology.


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