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India’s fastest growing nuclear weapons program



Few months before the Operation Shakti, in which India tested nuclear weapons in May, 1998. The former Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, during his election campaign, on 25 February declared that their government would, “take back that part of Kashmir that is under Pakistan’s occupation”. It was clear that long before India became a nuclear weapons state, it had the intentions to openly threat, deploy and use the nuclear weapons against neighboring countries to achieve the national interests.

Similarly, in 2012, to sabotage the Sri Lankan trade route opportunities and objectives to build nuclear power generation capacity with the help of China and Pakistan, respectively. Credible intelligence information indicated that India has deployed Agni series missiles to target strategic locations in Sri Lanka. Though India had denied any such claims but the purpose was to threat Sri Lanka to refrain from friendly relations with China or Pakistan.

Likewise, last year India deployed BrahMos missile series on the borders linked with China. BrahMos missiles were made by India with the help of Russia. It shows that India will use any kind of advanced technology, i.e., uranium, space or missile, given by foreign countries for peaceful purposes to build up military capabilities and then to threat neighboring countries. China’s Defence Ministry rightly questions the Indian intentions, along with a hope that instead of creating hostility in the region, India will put more efforts to promote peace and stability.

However, it only seems to be a hope because since 1974, India is continuing the path to violate the nuclear nonproliferation regimes. Undoubtedly, India is pushing the nuclear arms race further as compared to Pakistan or China, probability ration of the missile tests is 3:1/1, respectively. Disturbingly, the director of India’s Defense Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), K Jayaraman told that Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Defense, is planning to increase missile production capacity rate to 100 per month and is currently producing 50-60 indigenously-developed Akash missiles per month.

India has the fastest growing nuclear weapon and missile programs in the world, which is not only dangerous for the regional but world peace because of intolerance and poor nuclear security, and safety. India has developed a nuclear triad of bombers, missiles and submarine capable of firing nuclear weapons. The Indian triad consists of 400-600 nuclear weapons including the thermonuclear weapons and this will increase the insecurity among the regional states.

In order to complete this triad, India is rapidly expanding its nuclear weapons program under many covert projects. Such as, it is operating a plutonium production reactor, Dhruva, and a uranium enrichment facility, which are not subject to IAEA safeguards. India is building South Asia largest military complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories. This facility will give India ability to make many large-yield nuclear arms & hydrogen bombs. Dr R. Rajaraman, an Indian nuclear physicist at JNU expressed that “India does possess around two tonnes of reactor grade plutonium which can make between 300-400 nuclear bombs”.

Dr Bharat Karnad, a security expert at the Centre for Policy Research also admitted that “We have weapon grade plutonium in our possession. All it needs is to be reprocessed. Once this fissile material is converted into energy, it can blow us all to smithereens on Ground Zero”. Crispin Rovere, member of Australia Labor Party also believe that India has a plan to test, a powerful thermonuclear weapon due to the failure in first attempt.

In the back drop of Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement, undisclosed plutonium reserves were not inspected and were left with Indian weapons development facilities. Al Jazeera and Foreign Policy investigation reports also specified that India is secretly building a nuclear enrichment complex in Challakere to escalate arms race and to deeply unsettle China and Pakistan. It will covertly triple the number of nuclear warheads in coming years from what India possess today. Currently, a huge segment in India is pushing for a policy change to use nuclear weapons first against all states. The sole purpose of Indian policies is to somehow force its hegemony and thus it is wrong to say that India is living in a dangerous neighborhood, in fact, the truth is all other regional states are living with a dangerous neighbor, India.

In past many years, likeminded western and Indian writers are trying to divert the attention of international community from the fastest growing Indian nuclear weapons program and threats associated with it to the peaceful neighboring countries. Now it is time for international community to realize the dangers, if India is given the membership of NSG.

South Asia

Assessing India Under Modi: Progress, Controversies, and Global Implications



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Promising change, Modi swept to power in 2014, and he has subsequently solidified his position through the use of welfare economics, a focus on improving infrastructure, and strong Hindu nationalism. Despite the INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) coalition, a survey by India Today-CVoter Mood of the Nation indicates that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to run for a third consecutive term in office in 2024. The INDIA coalition is predicted to win 193 seats with a 41% vote percentage, while the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is predicted to win 306 seats with a 43% vote share. With 287 seats, down from 303 in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is expected to surpass the majority threshold on its own. The BJP’s vote share is likely to increase by 2 percent.

Apparently, there has been a noticeable increase in India’s economic growth since the election of the Modi government, but it is important to note that citizens continue to face several difficulties in spite of this great rise. The persistence of problems such as income inequality, poor access to healthcare and education, unemployment, human rights violations, and environmental concerns highlights the necessity for all-encompassing and inclusive development strategies that lift up all facets of Indian society.

While evaluating the condition of locals, one can realize that during the Modi administration, farmer suicides significantly increased. On the requirement of a minimum support price plus 50%, the BJP provided a version in its final budget that no one found acceptable. Parallel to this, the Modi administration carelessly imported wheat and pulses, which caused the cost of indigenous produce to soar. Adding to this the bad idea of changing the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 to forcibly seized farmer-owned land.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the Modi government, has been linked to statements and actions that some have come to believe are prejudiced against Muslims and other religious minorities. Incidents like the riots in Gujarat in 2002, when Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister, which led to a substantial death toll among Muslims. Some critics contend that the government has inadvertently backed episodes of violence committed by self-described cow protection groups against religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Dalits.

Council on Foreign Relations claims the Citizenship Amendment Act, which allows for the expedited naturalization of migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who identify as Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, or Christian, was approved by the parliament in December 2019 and signed by Modi. This law is discriminatory since it forbids Muslims and, for the first time, bases citizenship on a religious standard.

Alarming trends in hate crimes are revealed in Amnesty International’s 2022 report, with Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and religious minorities all experiencing violence. Religious tensions have been aggravated by BJP politicians’ remarks that defend prejudice and promote hostility and violence against Muslims.

Sikhs in India have long experienced prejudice and marginalization, frequently as a result of their unique religious identity. Different manifestations of this prejudice include limiting access to resources, opportunities for education and work, and political representation. Due to the treatment of Sikh people and communities as second-class citizens, there are social and economic inequalities.

Additionally, concerns regarding freedom of expression and political opposition have also been highlighted by the government’s actions in the Jammu and Kashmir region during the August 2019 curfew, especially the protracted internet shutdowns and arrest of political leaders. Allegations of human rights violations have been fanned further by the crackdown on civil society organizations, media restrictions, and the handling of rallies.

The Modi administration’s support for Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) threatens India’s secular and pluralistic heritage and may have an impact on its reputation as a diverse and inclusive democracy abroad. The government’s goal of building a strong, independent India could strain its relations internationally, particularly with neighbors like Pakistan and China. There have been complaints about the Modi administration’s suppression of dissent and restrictions on the right to free speech, which some claim could harm India’s standing in the international community.

There is a need for international community to carefully assess the consequences of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continued leadership in light of the mounting worries about religious tensions, limitations on free speech, and the repression of dissent. Evaluating whether the Modi government is in the best interests of both India and the foreign community is vital since India’s standing in the international arena and its dedication to democratic values are on the line.

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U.S. Strategic Engagement in the Bay of Bengal: Navigating Superpower Rivalry

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Over the past two decades, the geopolitical landscape of the Indian Ocean has undergone a profound transformation. China,  once viewed the Indian Ocean as the “Far Sea”  has enhanced its influence in East Asia and expanded its reach as far as Europe. India has emerged as a dominant maritime force in the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, to contain India, China has invested billions of dollars in South Asian nations, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. This strategic maneuver, coupled with China’s strong presence in the South China Sea has left the Bay of Bengal as a focal point for Washington’s ambitions to assert dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. 

The preceding half of the century saw the United States and its allies primarily focused on the Middle East and Africa. Their approach often involved aggressive tactics like regime changes, intimidation, and, in some instances, the elimination of perceived threats. In contrast, China adopted a “soft power” strategy in East and South Asia with non-interference in domestic affairs and economic and infrastructural developments. However, as the new century dawned, Beijing’s relations with South and East Asia began to expand and deepened significantly in line with its broader efforts to ‘Go Global’.

This transformative shift has placed Beijing in a formidable position to compete with Washington at a time when Indo-Pacific nations increasingly lean towards China. Consequently, a significant strategic maneuver has unfolded by the US, centering the Bay of Bengal, particularly in Bangladesh. 

For nearly two decades, Washington’s priorities in South Asia were significantly influenced by the conflict in Afghanistan. Concurrently, a strategic partnership with New Delhi was evolving within the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific, later the Indo-Pacific. President Donald Trump first introduced Washington’s ” Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” vision. Washington’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) is marked as the beginning of a US-led alliance aimed at containing China.  However, China’s soft power tactics have ensnared and indebted nations along the Indo-Pacific shorelines.

China’s strategic infrastructure projects, including seaports like  Gwadar in Pakistan, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, and Kyauk Pyu in Myanmar, as part of the “String of Pearls” strategy mark to contain India and secure a strategic advantage in the Indo-Pacific region. China’s relations with  North Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, and Myanmar have successfully counterbalanced the  US and Indian geostrategic maneuvers. Beijing forced New Delhi to devote time and resources to its neighbors rather than extend influence into East Asia. Subsequently, India’s Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government could not substitute China’s role in its neighbors. That is why, Washington’s supremacy in the Indo-Pacific is now at stake and necessitates a more robust,  action-oriented approach with the Bay of Bengal as a prime theater to establish its hard presence.  

In response, the United States has reevaluated its geostrategic approach towards the region to make its policies less about influencing the allied governments and more about engaging with people-to-people in South Asian nations. While, the United States sought to make the BJP  see  China through its eyes, and BJP also tried to showcase Indo-Pacific nations through its eyes. But, in the end, Washington has not gained any geopolitical leverage from India’s BJP.  While the USA was engaged with countering extremist groups in South Asia and sought to increase the capability of those nations to fight against terrorism, at that time, China was enhancing cooperation, low-cost consumerism, and people-to-people engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. 

India’s historical ties with Russia, its non-alliance membership, and its inability to prevent the expansion of BRICS have irked the US. In the last G20 summit, India’s diplomatic maneuvering on the Russia-Ukraine conflict further strained its relations with Washington. Furthermore, internal issues within India, such as BJP’s handling of human rights, and freedom of expression have dampened Washington’s enthusiasm for partnership with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  The unfolding events exposed India’s vulnerability when sandwiched between the Chinese and Russian blocs from all sides.

Bangladesh, a South Asian nation sharing borders with India and Myanmar has long maintained a balanced foreign policy. So far, Bangladesh has also maintained balanced relations with India, China, and the USA. But,  over the past decade, substantial Chinese investments in multi-billion-dollar projects have converged with Prime  Minister Sheikh Hasina’s development agendas.  It has raised the eyebrows of US  policymakers and they have found China’s massive influence over Bangladesh. Moreover,  Sheikh Hasina’s proposal to China for building a deep sea port in Sonadia made skeptical India, Japan, and the US. According to PM Hasina,  the US expressed the intention of establishing a naval base in the Bay of Bengal and this proposition met with rejection by her government caused discontent among the  Western powers. Hasina’s government stance is also not aligned with the US’s approach in Arakan of Myanmar. 

Washington has dissatisfied with the BJP’s approach towards China. When Barack Obama questions India’s territorial integrity that means Washington is taking an assertive posture toward South Asia.  The US-backed Canada’s accusation of the BJP government for Hardeep Singh’s murder has tarnished the diplomatic relations with the Western powers. Once India became preoccupied with domestic issues would create an opportunity for the West to destabilize  Bangladesh. The US seeks to establish an independent and puppet government in Arakan to contain China’s ascent.

China is always one step ahead of the USA in Indo Indo-Pacific region. Sino-Myanmar bilateral relations are very warm, in terms of economic and military cooperation. China’s influence in Myanmar is further evident by the Rohingya crisis. China considers Rohingya Muslims as its potential threat. The China-backed military junta in Myanmar is facing widespread civil protests, armed resistance from ethnic insurgent groups, and civil defense forces backed by the National United Government(NUG). NUG has acknowledged and accepted the arms struggle of the Arakan Rohingya  Salvation  Army (ARSA), which has a deep-rooted connection with the ISI( Pakistani espionage agency). Both NUG and ISI have strategic ties with the US. Hasina’s government stance on ARSA may not align with US expectations.

The Western powers have a keen interest in the golden triangle of Bangladesh Hill track, Mizoram, and Arakan areas, which are very rich in mineral resources. So, Beijing has worked to destabilize this region with the support of the Myanmar military and the Kuki-Chin nationalist front, a banned ethno- nationalist and separatist political organization. The strategy yields geostrategic advantages for China over India and the US.

PM Sheikh Hasina has openly lambasted the intention of the USA which does not want the Bangladesh Awami League in power. That is why we can see proactive measures taken by Washington to oust the ruling government. The USA emphasizes human rights, freedom of expression, and fair electoral practice, then what about Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, and Israel? Washington previously used a Visa restriction policy for fair elections in Nigeria and Uganda, after the election was held.  But, in Bangladesh, it was executed before the election. That means a fair election is not an issue for the Western powers. PM Hasina also refused to join the military alliance in QUAD. To contain China, Washington needs bold strategic maneuvers in the Bay of Bengal, necessitating reliable partners in India and Bangladesh. 

Bangladesh and other South Asian nations find themselves at the crossroads of superpower rivalry. A crucial time is ahead for these nations. To survive this crisis, national unity and political acumen are required to navigate this turbulent era. Last but not least, no Superpower will go against the local populace’s support. History attests that without it, Superpowers cannot remain in foreign lands, despite the presence of the fifth columnist. This historical lesson is evident in Bangladesh’s struggle for independence in 1971 and Afghanistan recently.  

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The Significance of the United Nations High Seas Treaty for Bangladesh

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As the sun sets below the horizon over the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is at a pivotal juncture in its distant past. The state of the seas is crucial to Bangladesh’s economic development and sustainability in the future because the country’s waterways and maritime heritage serve as a major defining feature. Thus,  the United Nations High Seas Treaty in 2023 provides Bangladesh with a once-in-a-generation chance to safeguard its interests and promote sustainable growth in an age of mounting international challenges.

The historic treaty to protect international waters from exploitation, oil extraction, and climate change has been signed after two decades of talks under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. In March of this year, countries reached an agreement on a worldwide commitment to protect marine life, and in June, the United Nations officially adopted the treaty for the protection of the world’s seas. The treaty was ratified by 67 nations on September 20, 2023. Under this treaty, the UN has recognized international jurisdiction over two-thirds of the seas. This implies that every nation has the right to engage in fishing activities, shipping, and scientific research in that particular region.

To protect vital ecosystems from “extractive activities,” member states will follow the guidelines established by the Treaty on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) to establish a marine protected area (MPAs). In this regard, it is considered a vital resource in attempting to achieve the “30 by 30” goal of protecting 30% of the world’s land and sea by 2030. As the signing process is scheduled to go until 2025, experts are optimistic that this will be a watershed moment in the history of marine conservation.

On September 20, 2023, Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, ratified the treaty to avert the further destruction of the maritime environment caused by overfishing and other human endeavors.

Water is more than a natural resource in Bangladesh; it is essential for survival. Bangladesh is often referred to as the “Land of Rivers” due to the country’s extensive river network. Water is are intricately interwoven with society, economy, and culture. The waters of the Bay of Bengal, which extend into the high seas, play a vital role in our daily lives, supplying us with fish—a primary source of nutrition for millions—and connecting us to the rest of the world. Under the provisions of the new treaty, countries will share genetic resource profits equitably. The Treaty is a forward-thinking piece of international law because it gives developing and least-developed nations such as Bangladesh a voice by promoting capacity development.

From the magnificent Royal Bengal tiger to the mysterious Irrawaddy dolphin and a variety of sea turtle species, Bangladesh is home to a diverse maritime ecosystem. However, overfishing and habitat loss pose major hazards to numerous species. The United Nations High Seas Treaty seeks to establish marine protected zones in international waterways, recognizing the interdependence of oceans and coastlines. The initiative is commensurate with Bangladesh’s commitment to marine life conservation. This treaty makes an explicit effort to ensure that everyone, including developing and underdeveloped countries, benefits from a shared space, a principle that has been neglected for decades in international agreements, particularly in terms of global commerce.

The issue of overfishing is a problem on a worldwide scale, and Bangladesh is not an exception. In the Bay of Bengal, there are several instances of local fishermen having to compete with foreign vessels. As the high seas are inaccessible without using enormous amounts of energy and money, this is crucial information: 97% of commercial fishing boats in the high seas are registered to higher-income nations. Countries with lower incomes are frustrated by the fact that fish migrating to their waterways are now being caught by wealthy nations. The pact seeks to solve this problem by encouraging responsible fishing techniques and enforcing strict rules in international waters. This not only safeguards Bangladesh’s fishery industry but also contributes to global efforts to reduce overfishing.

Bangladesh is at serious risk from climate change as rising sea levels submerge agriculture in salt water and force entire coastal villages to relocate. Due to its strong link with atmospheric CO2, the ocean is vital to climate change. Again, marine bacteria that break down methane could make biofuels. By addressing climate change globally and transforming clean energy, the deal indirectly helps Bangladesh. International cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect vulnerable coastal areas from climate change is enabled under the pact.

There has been a rise in transnational threats, including piracy and illicit fishing in the Bay of Bengal. The UN High Seas Treaty is anticipated to increase maritime safety by encouraging governments to collaborate and share intelligence. This means a safer marine environment for Bangladesh, where fishermen have no reason to fear for their safety and criminals have no desire to leave.

There may be a palpable concern about obtaining sufficient funds for the treaty’s implementation. By establishing a shared trust fund to pay for technological transfers, capacity building, and training for low-income governments so they can participate in scientific missions and development, the Treaty aims to offer a framework for the equitable distribution of high seas earnings. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates that $500 million will be required initially and yearly $100 million may be needed for a special implementation and capacity-building fund.

Despite its complexity, such as the potential harm of deep-sea mining on sensitive ecosystems, world leaders and environmental activists are optimistic about the treaty. According to Mads Christensen, the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, “we welcome so many governments signing the UN Ocean Treaty. This sends a powerful signal to the world that governments will maintain momentum towards protecting 30% of the oceans by 2030, after the historic Treaty agreement back in March. But this signing is a purely symbolic moment, now politicians must bring the Treaty home and ensure it is ratified in record time”.

Although Bangladesh is devoting a lot of resources to the blue economy and other development initiatives, environmental deterioration and climate change are major concerns. In the context of a global landscape characterized by enormous environmental and climatical concerns, the United Nations High Seas Treaty emerges as a source of optimism and promise for the nation of Bangladesh. It guarantees the continued success of the “Land of Rivers” and the protection of the waterways that connect us to the rest of the globe. The importance of this deal to Bangladesh goes beyond politics and directly threatens the country’s survival. Let us seize this opportunity as we navigate the murky oceans of the 21st century and collaborate with the rest of our neighbors to establish a safer, more prosperous maritime future.

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