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Indian Irresponsible Behavior as Nuclear Power

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The debate between nuclear haves and have-nots over safety and security of nuclear material has long been dominated by the evolving discourse on futuristic scenarios particularly the nuclear use in a conflict. Consequently, scholars have been divided into two broader categories; nuclear optimists and nuclear pessimists. Nuclear optimists strongly believe in the deterrence capability of nuclear weapons, which diminishes the conventional power among states. Whereas, nuclear pessimists fear of nuclear war and inadvertent use of nuclear weapon in a conflict.

In this regard, South Asia is termed as one of the volatile regions of the world, where nuclear brinkmanship is probable because of the longstanding historical animosity between India and Pakistan. The onus of instability and volatility in the region rests with India’s inspiration for regional hegemon, which seeks domination through coercion and use of power. Its ambitions to join global cartels such as Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) without meeting the criteria is self-explanatory of its coercive yet illegitimate policies.

The irresponsible behavior of India as a nuclear power in pursuit of prestige is more fearsome than the threat of nuclear war.

One of the best examples of irresponsible Indian behavior was misuse of Canadian nuclear power reactor CIRUS. The reactor was given to India for research and development, instead Indian government used that material for making weapons of mass destruction. This Indian decision changed the South Asian security environment for worse and permanently effected the strategic stability. India has never demonstrated acknowledgement of international nonproliferation and disarmament regimes.

India is not a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) or Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and in fact the main conflict in ratification of Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) is Indian stockpile of material that would be used for military purposes. Before 1998, only China was a nuclear power posing no threat to any neighboring country, but Indian nuclearization poses threat to not only China and Pakistan, but also to other regional states. For instance, Indian deployment of Agni series missile targeting 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.

Ever since India tested nuclear weapons, it has proliferated vertically and now it has the fastest growing nuclear weapons program. India is building a largest covertmilitary complex for nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories and development of thermonuclear weapons. Another research carried out by Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs suggests that India can produce over 2,600 weapons, while Pakistan can only produce 207. There are reports not just by international scholars but also from domestic Indian scholars. For instance, Dr R. Rajaraman, an Indian nuclear physicist at JNU expressed that “India does possess around two tones of reactor grade plutonium which can make between 300-400 nuclear bombs”.

Over a decade now India is ranked as the world’s largest importer of arms, which includes both conventional and strategic weaponry. Besides, India not only misused nuclear technology but also the space technology provided for peaceful exploration. Indian ballistic missile program is the by product of Western space cooperation and it tested 22 variant missiles in 2018, making its missiles program also the fastest growing in the world. For instance, K Jayaraman, the director of India’s Defense Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) revealed that India is planning to increase missile production capacity rate to 100 per month and is currently producing 50-60 indigenously-developed missiles.

Indian proliferation record is not only confined to nuclear technology, but also to weaponization of space domain. With the test of ASAT missile, India has initiated a new global arms race, which eventually will result in Indian claims to carry nuclear warhead in space. Indian DRDO chief has recently termed the tested missile a direct-ascent, kinetic kill weapon and further highlighted military dimension of Western aided Indian space program that the country is working on number of killer technologies, for instance, directed energy weapons (DEWs), lasers, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and co-orbital killer weapons.

Indian attempt to test ASAT missile in outer space, further undermine nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament policies and its credibility to enter NSG.

Therefore, Indian signaling is clear that it will use any kind of advanced technology provided for peaceful purposes and will violate any international law for nuclear, space and missiles program to exercise hegemony in the region. Giving India’s entry into international cartels without any insurance will result in further deteriorating security situation of South Asia. South Asian region holds the potential for economic development through Chinese economic initiatives. Pakistan intends to benefit from economic progress associated with trade route projects. India instead of militarizing and threatening strategic stability must join hands with China and Pakistan.

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Defense

“Westlessness” of the West, and debates on China during Munich Security Conference

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image source: MSC/Kuhlmann

The Munich Security Conference, which traditionally brings together heads of state and government, foreign and defense ministers in February, is usually expected to bring some kind of intrigue. This time round, the role was claimed by the conference report, titled “Westlessness,” whose main message was the loss by Western countries of their global leadership and, as a consequence, the growth of nationalist sentiment in Western countries and the loss of their monopoly on resolving international conflicts.

Expectably enough, Russia and China were blamed for the world and the West itself becoming “less Western.” The organizers of the Munich Conference urged China to responsibly handle its role as the world’s new non-Western center of power, and expressed hope that China would over time “adopt liberal values and become a “responsible stakeholder” in a liberal world led by the West.”

A pretty unlikely scenario though. A separate chapter in the report’s “Actors” section is devoted to China. Describing China as the “Meddle Kingdom” (similar to the Middle Kingdom), the authors view the country’s growing economic might and political sway as a potential threat to the world order that exists today.

The authors are concerned about looming Chinese superiority in foundational emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and connectivity technology, as well as surveillance technology and “know-how” in the field of internet regulation. In the case of 5G, they write about an intense debate over how to balance close economic ties with China amid growing security concerns. And, in a truly Freudian slip, they write about “the growing concern that the future holds a technological segregation of the world into those countries operating on Western technologies and norms and those running on Chinese ones.”

The section of the report on China is chock-full of graphs, charts and diagrams reflecting European fears of Chinese technology and investments. However, when carefully examined, these charts show that despite strong opposition from Washington and Brussels, more than half of “respondents” perceive technologies and investments from China positively.

The participants in the Munich Conference also spent a lot of time trying to present the coronavirus epidemic as a “Chinese threat,” even though China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Munich that his country would soon be able to check the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking at the conference, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized: “We are prepared to join efforts on other pressing issues of the global agenda, including epidemiological threats. We are ready to work together on other pressing issues on the world agenda, including epidemiological threats. In this regard, I would like to note China’s open and responsible approach to international cooperation in combating the spread of the coronavirus.”

The Munich conference never found a cure to the problem of “Westlessness” though. Well, maybe they should look at themselves instead of faulting China, Russia and others? At least, Russian and Chinese representatives reaffirmed their readiness to engage in a constructive and inclusive dialogue.

From our partner International Affairs

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Does NATO respond positively to the Turkish supererogation?

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Turkey is once again turning to the West, while over the past two years, it had been distancing from the West and trying to collaborate with Russia due the success of the Astana peace process on the Syrian conflict.

Damascus’s strategic patience is over because Ankara has failed to fulfill its commitments regarding retaking the areas captured by terrorists backed by Turkey. The Syrian army’s widespread advances over the last two weeks in areas occupied by terrorist forces in the northwest have led to Ankara’s reaction and increased tensions between Syria and Turkey. Along with wresting control over the strategic Damascus-Aleppo highway, the Syrian army carried out successful operations in recapturing 1500 km2 of Syrian territory and about 100 towns and villages in west and south Aleppo, especially key towns of Khan Tuman and Saraqib. Following the Syrian army’s operations, the Turkish government has sent thousands of troops and military equipment to the outskirts of Idlib to prevent the continued advance of the Syrian forces.

Turkey’s moves were due to greenlight by the U.S., NATO, and the EU, which have so far not been in Ankara’s favor; rather they have resulted in massive casualties and the loss of six military bases in Syria’s territory.

Recently, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to support the Turkish military in order to halt the Syrian army’s offensive against Idlib, the stronghold of the latest Turkish-backed terrorist elements.

Obviously, the move by Turkey has broken the commitments to the Sochi agreement and the Astana process, with the aim of holding its place in NATO. This is a wish that seems unlikely to come true, given the chaotic situation of NATO and the West’s distrust of Turkey.

Accordingly, it is certain that Idlib and its outskirts will soon be completely liberated because of the high motivation and ability of the Syrian army. The liberation will definitely thwart all hostile policies that Turkey has adopted in Syria for many years and will bring heavy defeat for Ankara.

The developments in Syria in recent days shows that Turkey is no longer trustworthy as it has explicitly violated Syria’s sovereignty as an independent state. There have been some accords on Syria, such as the Sochi agreement, regarding the establishment of a safe zone in Idlib, while Turkey has not considered the slightest value for the agreements. 

From our partner Tehran Times

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Lithuania: To serve or not to serve in the army

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source: flickr.com

It is well known that in 2015 Lithuanian authorities reintroduced compulsory military service due to the potential threat caused by the Russian Federation.

It should be said, that young Lithuanians do not appreciate the idea and try to avoid the service in every possible way. They even are not afraid of penalties and imprisonment.

In order to force them to serve Lithuanian authorities are inventing new “tools” to make the process of avoidance the conscription harder.

From the beginning of 2015 all Lithuanian men aged 19-26 had to perform compulsory military service in the Lithuanian Armed Forces for a period of 9 months if fate decided.

The matter is the way of choosing the men who will serve is more than surprising. They say that 2 percent of men are randomly selected to complete vacancies in the army within the year. The lists of military conscripts then are published on the Internet. But “randomly” could also mean “nobody knows how they are selected.”

At the beginning of this year authorities lowered the age range at which men are called up for mandatory military service to 18-23 years and banned volunteer soldiers from holding seats in the parliament and municipal councils.

Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said that the aim of lowering the conscription age is to ensure that conscripts’ military service causes the minimum possible disruption to their civilian lives.

The matter is the way of choosing the men who will serve is more than surprising. They say that 2 percent of men are randomly selected to complete vacancies in the army within the year. The lists of military conscripts then are published on the Internet. But “randomly” could also mean “nobody knows how they are selected.”

In reality the Ministry of National Defence can’t meet its recruitment goals.

The system includes Lithuanians living abroad who are forced to leave their home and come back for the service. The government of Lithuania doesn’t care that men living overseas have their personal life, own career paths and financial responsibilities.

The military authorities are trying to take immigrants for service on purpose, not caring about their personal problems, including health issues and financial commitments.

They also discriminate homosexual men by giving them specific tests to find out how gay they are, including a talk with the psychiatrist. Because homosexuality is still a sickness in Lithuania, with existing laws against gay people.

A lot of Lithuania men who decided not to come back for the service, are often wanted by police, and in some circumstances might end up in prison for up to 3 years.

Thus, in December 2019, 24-year-old Marius H. from Kedainiai was prosecuted for not visiting the military registration and enlistment office, but did not change his position. He said later that he would not go to serve, it is not in his interests. He has a well-paid job in Belgium and is not going to change his way of life. So he paid penalty (800 euros) and left for Belgium. And he is not the only one in the country who has made such choice.

Evidently, it is impossible to solve the problem in that way, using methods of coercion and punishment. Unfortunately, reintroducing of compulsory military service was the decision of the authorities, finding the ways to avoid it is the choice of youth. If the government doesn’t respect the citizens, the citizens have a right not to obey their decisions.

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