AQ Khan’s escapades on proliferation of nuclear technology have
become stale and the important subject for discussion now is the so
called –– Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).
the cases of sale of Pakistani nuclear technology for missiles and
the N Korean ship Ko Wol Son which was caught at Kandla carrying
missile parts manifested as sugar making machinery, a documentary
entitled “Behind the Axis of Evil” had tried to explain the
Pakistan, China and N. Korea nexus. It was made six months ago by
Iqbal Malhotra of AIM but was not very well received. Today many
countries are showing the documentary and we recommend experts to
get hold of this docudrama, for lay people of a country to
understand how important PSI is. India as a nuclear state and part
of the exclusive club has to see there is no more proliferation. In
this analysis we wish to highlight that proliferation is more
rampant than previously thought and how USA has articulated PSI and
how India can support it.
Security Initiative (PSI) and the IAEA’s Additional Protocol were
adopted in the aftermath of 9/11 with the aim of interdicting ships,
airplanes and cargos suspected of carrying weapons of mass
destruction (WMD). The IAEA adopted the Additional Protocol in 1997
as a result of “Program 93+2”. The Protocol aimed at enhancing
IAEA’s technical ability and intrusiveness to verify compliance of
NPT obligations by States.
with agreement for full-scope safeguards with the IAEA can negotiate
individually with the IAEA to accept an Additional Protocol (also
known as Model Protocol, INFCIRC/540 Safeguards Agreement). The
Additional Protocol then serves as a complimentary legal document to
the existing full-scope safeguards. Post 9/11, states on the US list
of “axis of evil” were forced to accept the “Additional
Protocol”. This raised fears that it may perhaps become a norm to
control other States’ nuclear programs instead of eliminating WMD
threats from non-state actors and other amorphous entities.
is also notable that traditional non-proliferation measures
involving international bodies like the United Nations — which has
a wide range of international institutions and structures — had
been marginalized in the context of dealing with the WMD threats, in
favour of US unilateralism.
proliferation of nuclear weapons and knowhow is worrying the world.
The world was nuclear wise stable till 9/11 despite India and
Pakistan going nuclear and not signing the NPT and CTBT. This was
because the ABM Treaty of 1972 and USSR–USA dialogue to reduce
nuclear weapons was moving ahead.. However, today USA has decided to
go unilaterally with likeminded nations, and it has its strong
points. Terrorism whether it is Bio or Nuclear is a clear and
Security Initiatives came into USA after the 9/11 attacks and
rightly so, but only 16 states have so far supported it and it has
no legal sanction. The Law of the Seas does not allow any nation to
arbitrarily inspect ships at sea and Art 23 gives a right to ships
to convey nuclear material. Hence there is a clear contradiction
between ‘freedom of the seas’ and surveillance needs of 'board
and search', which is advocated by PSI.
IAEA is the designated agency to ensure full inspection of nuclear
plants and facilities. The safeguards and technical verification
procedures are designed to see that nuclear materials do not get
into the hands of non-nuclear states for weapon making –– though
India and Pakistan evaded these and Iraq was suspect. South Africa
under Waldo Stumfph closed its nuclear facilities but one knows they
can be restarted to make bombs as the know how exists. Israel has
the capability and Brazil is near it too. The efficacy of IAEA as a
watchdog agency is suspect as seen in the cases of Iraq, Iran and N.
Korea –– not much needs to be said about India and Pakistan as
they too managed to go nuclear despite IAEA. The aim of IAEA is to
DETECT the transfer of nuclear material and trail it in nuclear
facilities. Hence, in non-nuclear named facilities they have no
power to inspect.
is therefore the tool to do so and International Law must evolve to
achieve it, though like the Iraq war it is mainly unilateral at
present. Therein lies the catch. Hence under PSI additional
protocols were made to verify “correctness to completeness” of
information. Even intelligence inputs can be acted upon. Inspectors
were to be given extra powers of inspection by tools, cameras etc.
Iraq was a good example. Although Iran signed the NPT it managed to
get away. There were several violations.
wish to emphasize that PSI and Additional Protocol are objective but
not yet universally accepted, as nuclear countries would like to
safeguard their own interests and others like Iran would like to go
nuclear. So the UN needs to be involved. But the truth is that
earlier western nations had supplied materials for making WMDs to
nations with a Nelson’s eye. Today they want PSI to become their
Indians in MEA, academia and mainstream feel that PSI is being
pursued by USA as a club approach, but we would like to urge that
India joins the club. If preemption is the norm, then India should
consider PSI seriously. India has to stabilize the neighborhood and
cannot shine alone in South Asia. Most experts agree that PSI will
eventually come into force –– only the degree of implementation
will vary depending upon how the nuclear and western nations
vs Law of the Seas make an interesting subject for ensuring the
freedom of the seas. PSI insists on a ‘board and search’
approach. At present board and search is permitted for piracy,
contraband and ensuring local laws in territorial waters, but PSI
as articulated by USA wants it to be an all encompassing
anticipatory action. So many legal hurdles will have be overcome.
Another factor to be overcome will be that operationally PSI will be
difficult to prosecute.
attempt has been to explain PSI in simple terms –– let not
experts confuse you!