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India nuclear regime after Pokhran-II Nuclear test

Context

On 11th may India marked 20 years of the Pokhran-II Nuclear test.

Background

On 11th May 1998 India conducted a series of nuclear bomb test explosion at Pokhran, Rajasthan which was popularly known as Pokhran II.

  • Pokhran-II was India’s second nuclear test popularly known as Operation Shakti. ( Watch upcoming John’s Movie – PARMANU)
  • Pokhran-II consisted of five detonations, of which the first was a fusion bomb and the remaining four were fission bombs.
  • The first’s nuclear test named Smiling Buddha was conducted in May 1974.
  • 11th May is officially recognized as National Technology Day in India to commemorate the first of the five nuclear tests carried out on 11 May 1998.

Why India did Pokhran-II?

  • The primary reason for the Pokhran tests of 1998 was right time for India to emerge as a self-declared nuclear power.
  • The Pokhran-II nuclear tests established India’s capacity to foster nuclear power in the world.

Consequences post Pokhran II

  • Pokhran-II nuclear tests resulted in a variety of sanctions against India by a number of major states, including Japan and the United States.
  • The challenge to mitigate international opposition with US and eventually bridge the trust gap was a great concern.
  • The test opened floodgates of trouble for India which include: economic and military and interactional isolation.

Pokhran II has brought India to the nuclear mainstream and opened up the global nuclear market for development of nuclear power without signing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) or the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which further lead to The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal

The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal

The India-US civil nuclear deal was signed in 2008, after nearly 30 years of US-imposed sanctions since India tested its first nuclear weapon (1974).

  • The agreement saw an implicit recognition for the first time – of India as a nuclear weapons power.
  • The core of this agreement was the emphasis on non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Even though India did not officially join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

Advantages of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Deal

  • The deal lifts a three-decade U.S. moratorium on nuclear trade with India.
  • It provides U.S. assistance to India’s civilian nuclear energy program
  • The deal calls for expanding U.S.-India cooperation in energy and satellite technology.
  • The U.S. companies will be allowed to build nuclear reactors in India and provide nuclear fuel for its civilian energy program.
  • The deal does not require India to restrict the number of nuclear weapons it plans to produce.
  • It makes the provision that US would pressurize NSG to give a unique waiver to India.

NSG waiver

The NSG waiver means India now has the legal right, under the world nuclear regulatory regime, to trade for civilian nuclear fuel and technology.

  • The exceptional waiver provided by the NSG in 2008 was an acknowledgement of India’s non-proliferation record.
  • NSG waiver has opened the floodgates for the international companies to have a share in the vast nuclear market of India. India came up with nuclear agreement with various countries such as France, Australia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Canada and many more.

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act

  • In order to attract the US companies involved in nuclear commerce such as General Electric and Westinghouse, it is necessary to introduce a liability bill.
  • The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act created a mechanism for compensating victims of nuclear damage arising from a nuclear incident.
  • The act ensure to take insurance or provide financial security to cover their liability
  • The Act specifies who can claim compensation and the authorities who will assess and award compensation for nuclear damage.
  • Those not complying with the provisions of the act will be penalized.

A Multilateral Export Control Regime (MECR) :

  • A Multilateral Export Control Regime (MECR) is an international body that states use to organize their national export control systems.
  • It includes four groups Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, and Nuclear Suppliers Group
  • Recently India became a member of three out of four multilateral export control regime i.e Wassenaar arrangement, Australia group and Missile technology control regime.
  • India is putting its effort to get into Nuclear Supplier Group. This shows India is no longer a nuclear pariah state.
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