INDIA DEFENCE CONSULTANTS
Nuclear Missile Defence and India's Options --
Delhi, 22 May 2001
Elements of NMD
three weeks since President Bush announced his NMD plan despite the 1972
ABM Treaty, on the grounds that the cold war between Russia and US is
over. So is the concept of MAD, hence the world must take a relook at the
nuclear defence and disarmament systems as a whole. To support his missile
defence shield, Bush has offered limited cover to all friends and allies
–– who give up their right to manufacture missiles –– and
reduction of US nuclear weapons by as much as 70 percent.
envoys have been to the capitals of several important countries to explain
and obtain a ‘no objection’ to the American proposals. The Foreign
Ministers of Russia and US have also had a round of talks and a summit
between Bush and Putin has now been preponed to mid Jun to continue the
dialogue. However, a hint has been dropped by American Secretary of State
Powell that discussions on the US proposals cannot go on and on. In Delhi
Richard Armitage the US Deputy Secretary Defence talked of the 'four
elements' of the framework: non proliferation, counter proliferation,
reactions of the world can be summed up in three categories, firstly of
unqualified support from Australia and UK, secondly welcome to further
nuclear disarmament but no abrogation of existing arms control treaties
without putting up alternative structures and questions on the extent of
the missile defence programme that US has in mind. Most European and other
countries except China fall in this group. The third reaction is of
general opposition led by China and supported by Pakistan for whom the development and
deployment of ballistic missile defence would jeopardise strategic
stability, trigger a new arms race and undermine international efforts
aimed at arms control and disarmament.
the second largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, Russia despite its
diminished economic status, still remains a force not to be disregarded.
Hence Bush is prepared to have detailed discussions with them to arrive at
as much mutual understanding as possible. But there are strong hints that
Moscow whilst being critical in public would press in private for a
prominent role in a missile defense programme, like other major NATO
countries. In other words Russia would press for a "joint"
approach to missile threats in which it could participate with the
Americans, the Europeans and others as partners. Their position should
become more evident after the summit in June.
is clear that everyone is aware of the underlying American intentions of
keeping an undisputed lead over the rest of the world and ensuring its
national/territorial security to an impregnable degree. The tools that
they have are their vast economic resources and technological prowess.
They are aware that whilst they could be possibly challenged in the
economic field by a single country (China) or a combination –– China,
Japan, Russia, Europe and/or India, their overwhelming superiority in
discovering, harnessing and mastering newer technologies will remain
supreme for at least a century to come. They have been able to manage and
control to their advantage the present 20th century world order
and the state of armament (nuclear included),.
Their concern is for the new millennium, which they want to lead on the
technological front. The first indication of which is the missile shield
using the mediums of land, sea, air and space.
of space though not spelt out in clear cut terms is implied. They are also
fairly confident that they neither have to fear or defend anyone in
Europe. The African continent is the sick man of the world and can be
taken care of by economic means. The arena of attrition hereafter lies in
the Asia and Pacific region. Hence the antimissile shield to protect their
own territory and people, and a capability of long distance warfare ––
the ability to inflict without self-infliction. These are the US
military/strategic aims, which can be achieved only by use of
long-distance missiles, UAVs, submarines and space. The first part, the
missile shield has been unfolded by Bush already in his address at the US
National Defence University and the second one will be done by him next
week at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis.
us now look at what India should do. The next two decades will pose
following demands on its policy and strategy:
A sizable foreign investment and trade.
Continuation and acceptance of multiethnic, multireligious
and democratic socio-political structures, for which support on Kashmir is
Access to advanced technologies.
Removal of constraints of CTBT and recognition as a nuclear
A permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
Acceptance of its natural role in South East Asia
commensurate with its size, population and economic potential.
of existing nuclear arms treaties by US and discussions to build new
regulations will help India’s cause for recognition as a nuclear power
and remove the irritants of CTBT. A vibrant economic partnership
between the world’s two great democracies should be the natural goal,
which is quite possible due to India's potentially huge market and the
highly visible role played by Indians in key sectors of the US economy.
Lifting of US sanctions imposed after the Pokhran II will give access to
advanced technologies. US understanding of India’s position on Kashmir
has become more positive after their own experience with terrorism and the
drug menace. Thus India stands to benefit on all counts from a positive
and more friendly relationship with the US as commonality of interests now
are in ascendancy as never before. Hence we need not go out of our way to
find holes in the US policies. What we need to safeguard is that our
search for friendliness with the US does not come in the way of our time
tested friendship with Russia and is not at the cost of an even
relationship with China. The Indian Government’s stance so far on the
American proposals has been in consonance with the above inferences.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has lauded Bush's vision of nuclear disarmament but has stopped short of openly endorsing the NMD plan. He also pointed out that India would retain its minimum viable nuclear deterrence. Despite virtually being the first on the block in welcoming the Bush speech, New Delhi's formal response has not been without nuances. India needs to remain in close touch with Russia and France and be aware of Chinese machinations, in building up its own public stand on new American politico military policies.
Effect on ABM Treaty
Under the new NMD concept, the ABM treaty will go for a six. The ABM treaty was signed in 1972 between USA and then USSR. It prohibited manufacture of defensive ballistic missiles. It was amended in 1997 when it permitted for area defence provided that the development did not involve testing against missiles having ranges in excess of 3500km and/or speeds in excess of 5000 m/sec. USA wants to keep ahead of technology and has a hidden agenda for NMD as a push for its Military Industrial Complex. Armitage calls this " a new security regime for the whole globe“ and it is not for India to argue, as we can gain brownie points if we do not oppose USA.