India’s Nuclear Doctrine: Stirrings of Change

17 June 2014

Missile on a road-mobile launcher with a crowd of people in the background, courtesy HaeB/wikimedia
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India has not reviewed its nuclear doctrine for over a decade. With the election of Narendra Modi firmly in mind, P R Chari outlines why a doctrinal revisit is now due and what issues and circumstances New Delhi needs to consider in the process.

By P.R. Chari for Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

This article was originally published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on 14 June 2014. Republished with permission.

In the beginning of April 2014, at a conference initiated by the Indian government, Manmohan Singh casually urged the creation of a global convention to forswear the first use of nuclear weapons. Why the Indian prime minister chose to make this major policy declaration in the last hours of his term in office is a mystery.

To unravel this mystery, it is important to note the context. Singh was addressing a conference at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA) titled “A Nuclear Weapon-Free World: From Conception to Reality.” The IDSA is supported by the Indian Ministry of Defense and has been a favored venue for India’s leadership to make important policy declarations on national security. The Indian bureaucracies that deal with foreign policy and security issues often use this forum to articulate their preferences on arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament issues. It would be natural if these bureaucracies wished to commend the virtues of continuity in policy to the new Indian government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took office in May 2014. Continue reading

Iran News Round Up March 1, 2012

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin.  To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei‘s speech on Tuesday. Video:
  • Abd al-Hossein Rouh-al-Amini, Development and Justice party general secretary whose son was killed in police custody in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election: “Ahmadinejad was not without guilt in the post election events.”
  • Mashreq runs a backgrounder on parliamentary elections in Iran since 1980.
  • Shafaf News runs a chronological backgrounder on the formation of the United Principled Alliance.
  • News stories about the Islamic Resistance Front:
    • Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah Yazdi addresses members of the Revolutionary Guards:
      • “We were under circumstances in which the elected president in reality acted against Islam, the Imam [Khomeini] and the interests of the state. He was even guilty in shedding the blood of hundreds of innocent martyrs… Despite the president being elected by the people, [the voters] did not know him and were deceived by his appearances… One can’t say there was electoral fraud and that he came to power by fraud. There was no fraud. However, there was lack of knowledge. After that some events took place and we understood that we were mistaken [in our support to Ahmadinejad].”
    • Hojjat al-Eslam Mojtaba Mesbah Yazdi officially begins his political career by speaking at the last Islamic Resistance Front seminar prior to the parliamentary election. Mojtaba said: “Opposing the Resistance Front is opposition to original Islam.”
    • Hojjat al-Eslam Morteza Agha-Tehrani calls the existence of the Islamic Resistance Front “a divine act of benevolence.”

Diplomacy

  • Jomhouri-ye Eslami editorializes:
    • “The al-Khalifa must have realized that with the present conditions Bahrain’s crisis will not end. The crisis will only end when the popular will is realized. The majority of the Bahraini people do not consider the present regime a legal regime, demand its resignation and want free elections. Foreign governments, too, contribute to the crisis in Bahrain and prevent the victory of the people. In the Bahrain issue as well it is the Saud clan which plays a major role in debilitating the popular struggle of the Bahrainis. The Saud clan fears that establishment of a popular regime in Bahrain in which the majority of the people are Shi’a would create problems to the Saudi society and the regime in Riyadh. They fear that the revolution would spread to Saudi Arabia. Under any circumstances, such attempts can’t prevent the victory of the popular revolution in Bahrain in the long run and with the present trend the autocratic regime of Bahrain too will be thrown into the dustbin of history.”

Military and Security

Israel ‘not to warn US’ on Iran attack, says US intelligence official

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The Israeli government has reportedly decided not to forewarn the United States if and when it decides to launch military strikes against Iran’s nuclear energy program. Citing a US intelligence insider, the Associated Press reported on Monday that American officials have been given the message “in a series of private, top-level” meetings with senior Israeli leaders. Tel-Aviv’s decision not to notify Washington about a possible attack on Tehran has been allegedly communicated to US officials by none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak.

The US intelligence official, who tipped off the Associated Press anonymously, said that the two men have been relaying the same message to a host of American officials who have visited Israel in the past several weeks. The officials include the US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, as well as several senior American lawmakers. The intelligence source told The Associated Press that Tel Aviv’s decision to keep its cards on Iran close to its chest was solidified following a series of meetings last week between the Israeli leadership and White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon (pictured). The American official relayed to Netanyahu, Barak and others, the opinion of the White House that a military attack on Iran would be both dangerous and counterproductive.

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IranDaily Brief February 13, 2012 – Full Report

Map of Iranian Dynasties c. 1000

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International Affair

Ahmadinejad: “God willing, the world will witness the inauguration of great achievements in the nuclear sphere in a few days”

Key Points:

  • Nuclear power: great nuclear achievements to be revealed in a few days – Ahmadinejad spoke at length about Iran’s achievements during the revolutionary years and said, “You have witnessed, and the whole world has witnessed, that the domineering powers put enormous pressure [on Iran] to prevent the Iranian nation from becoming nuclear. Today, we can witness that the Iranian nation has become a nuclear power and is answering most of its needs on its own… all the needs of the Iranian people will be provided for by Iranian scientists in the near future and, God willing, the world will witness the inauguration of great achievements in the nuclear sphere in a few days.”
  • Presents optimistic statistics for Iranian economyOver the past two years, more than USD 15 billion have been saved in gasoline consumption alone, and the money has been given to the people. Two or three years ago, and until last year, we imported petrol. Today, I am proud to announce that we are among the main exporters of petrol and gasoline in the world. A miracle has happened in non-oil exports, which are the indicator of economic activities, we have also succeeded in controlling imports, and the Iranian stock market is the most efficient market in the world, showing our economic revival.
  • Meddling of arrogant countries will not lead nations to freedom – The regional (Arab) governments should be aware that enemy (Western countries)  is seeking to save the Zionist regime and are therefore seeking to sow discord among governments, nations and followers of various religions. These governments, standing today alongside America and some European countries to save the Zionist regime and suppressing the resistance of freedom seeking people, should know that their turn will come tomorrow. When there is a line of resistance (against US and Israel) the US pays attention to them, but if the line of resistance is broken, they will be thrown away. They are not true friends. They will sacrifice you. Return to the Prophet Mohammed’s pure religion… first and foremost we should believe in God. Afterwards, we must stand firm against the domination of the US and the West in the region, the aggressive and artificial Zionist regime and the occupation of Palestine. All of our problems stem from US domination and the existence of the Zionist regime. All dictatorships in the region and the world are supported by the US and the Zionist regime. Continue reading

Radioactive Material Stolen in Egypt

KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images

A radioactive warning symbol

Summary

Calibration devices that may contain radioactive material were reportedly stolen from a contentious nuclear power plant that is under construction Jan. 18 in Dabaa, Egypt. Due to the small amounts of radioactive material that would be in each device, the threat of malicious exposure to radiation is very low, though accidental exposure is a possibility. In fact, given the public discontent over the power plant, it is likely that the thieves do not know what the devices are and only took them as part of a larger theft intended to delay the plant’s construction.

Analysis

Egyptian state-run newspaper Al-Ahram on Jan. 19 reported the theft a day earlier of calibration devices that may contain radioactive material from a controversial nuclear power plant under construction in Dabaa, Egypt. The identities of the thieves are unknown, but it is possible that they are local Bedouins, who have been vandalizing and violently protesting against the plant, which is being built on land taken from them without compensation.

If the stolen devices do contain radioactive material, that material could be extremely dangerous, but it is unlikely that the thieves even know what they possess. The radioactive devices were likely just part of a larger theft intended to delay the plant’s construction. For this reason and others, the threat of malicious radiation exposure is very low. Instead, the greater risk is from accidental exposure.

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December 21, 2011 – Full Report – Iran Daily Brief

Map of Arab League states in dark green, Iran ...

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International Affairs

Majlis Speaker: Islamic Awakening, reflection of Palestinians resistance – Ali Larijani said that Islamic Awaking in the region is a reflection of the Palestinian nation’s resistance. Larijani noted the effects of the Palestinian nation’s resistance are seen inside the region, and the Islamic Awaking is the reflection of resistance of Iranian nation at the time of the victory of the Islamic Revolution and Palestinian resistance as well. Larijani stressed Iran’s support for Palestinians, pointing out that resistance is the only way for Palestinians to realize their rights and a path for Zionist regime’s retreat. Larijani referred to the presence of two members of Ismail Haniyeh’s Cabinet who were freed from Zionist regime jails and were in the Iranian Majlis and said, “The main reason the Zionist regime has freed more Palestinians is that Palestinian resistance has continued on its course and never showed any sign of compromise.” More photos

Foreign Minister defends foreign policy – Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi responded to cumulative criticism targeting Iran’s foreign policy by certain quarters in Iran and said that diplomatic relations are not based on sentiments, but on international conventions. He defended the official position of Iran regarding the storming of the British embassy in Tehran and said that the action of Iranian students cannot be justified, as Iran is bound by international regulations. “We managed to prevent a greater crisis through the appropriate actions of the Foreign Ministry […] How can we explain entering a foreign embassy which is regarded sovereign soil of that country? We cannot sever diplomatic relations because we have conflicts with a country. Did the Prophet (Muhammad) not engage in dialogues with the polytheists and hypocrites of his time?”

Deputy Foreign Minister: Iran supports Syrian President’s decision to start implementing the Arab League plan – Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that Tehran suggested it was not entirely happy with the pressure Arab states had brought on Damascus “Iran’s official stance regarding Syria and the Arab League plan is that we would approve and accept whatever Bashar al-Assad deems as acceptable.” He added that the Arab League plan “contains many of the points Iran was also looking at,” even if not all concerns were addressed. Ahmadinejad said that “Certain regional countries carry out acts which Iran considers to be more like a joke […] Some regional countries, which have never held elections, have come together and passed resolutions against another country saying ‘Why don’t you hold an election’?” He said that Saudi intervention in Bahrain was a strategic mistake, adding that the only solution to the problem is responding to the Bahraini people’s desire for democracy. He did not give response to IRNA’s question about the outcome of Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi’s negotiations with Saudi leaders in Riyadh and said that the question must be posed to the Intelligence Minister. Read on

Former foreign minister: Turkey should revise its Syrian policyManouchehr Mottaki, criticized the Turkish stance on Syria and recommended that the Turkish authorities revise their policy. Mottaki also urged the Syrian government to focus on reforms and rejected the possibility of Iranian military intervention in Syria.

Kayhan editorial: “How Iran won the game” – The article reads, “It is still too early to end the discussion surrounding the American UAV that Iran captured. As it pertains to the Americans, the discussion is continuing at ever-greater intensity. Anonymous sources constantly being interviewed in the media are all saying the same thing, “The US fails to realize the blow that it has suffered.” This article attempts to provide a more comprehensive look at this issue, and examine its impact on the strategic conflict between Iran and the US under the currently extremely sensitive circumstances. For the Americans to fully understand how this plane was taken over, they must look at the composite of events in a broader perspective and review all of the scenarios. Perhaps they will realize the full magnitude of the incident.

The Americans must first reexamine all of their assessments regarding Iran’s capabilities in electronic and cyber warfare The incident, in and of itself, shows how little the Americans know about their most sensitive battle arena with Iran. The capture of the UAV proves how far ahead Iran is and how much more advanced it is than the Americans, whereas the Americans think that Iran has stopped and is waiting for them.

The “inconceivable scale of the radius of Iran’s intelligence” – The most important question Americans are asking themselves is not “How did Iran take control of the drone,” but how Iran spotted this drone. That is the question they must work very hard to answer, and one they may never solve. See Fars News Agency cartoon

U.S. basket of alternatives against Iran completely empty – For some time, the US has established intelligence operations as a permanent strategy against Iran, at least since the June 2009 elections. One of the most important messages from the capture of the drone is that just as the West’s soft actions against Iran have lost their power, the time needed for semi-tough actions against Iran has expired. From a strategic perspective, the basket of U.S. options against Iran is now empty.

“Implementation of reactions” against the latest U.S. pressures – What is more important than anything is that the capture of the UAV is not an isolated incident, but the start of the middle- to long-term destructive ramifications for U.S. security and interests. The incident launches a process that can be called ‘implementation of responses’ to the latest U.S. pressures that are gradually becoming more exposed to the price they must pay for their anti-Iranian measures.

Iran reserves the right to implement ‘legal countermeasures’ on U.S. soil – Another important point is that this illegal action and breach of Iranian airspace has essentially allowed Iran to commit a legal countermeasure. According to international law, Iran is now permitted to implement any countermeasure against any American target it wants. The massive US presence around Iran provides Iran with critical opportunities. Continue reading

CIA operations in Iran underway to take out Tehran bigs in mission to dismantle weapons program  

Explosions and assasinations at Iran nuke base pinned to Israel may have been CIA

Monday, November 14 2011, 12:11 AM

Vahid Salemi/AP

 

In public Sunday, President Obama was at a summit unsuccessfully leaning on Russia and China to back diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuke program.

In private Sunday, there was more evidence of an efficient and brutal covert operation that continues to degrade Iran’s military capabilities.

Iranian officials revealed that one of the 17 men killed in a huge explosion at a munitions depot was a key Revolutionary Guard commander who headed Iran’s missile program. And the IRNA state news agency reported that scientists had discovered a new computer virus in their systems, a more sophisticated version of the Stuxnet worm deployed last year to foul up Iran’s centrifuges.

Iran said the army base explosion was an accident and the new Duqu virus was contained. But Israeli newspapers and some U.S. experts said it appeared to be more from an ongoing secret operation by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad to eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat.

The covert campaign encompasses a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and a similar explosion at another Iranian missile base two years ago both widely attributed to the Mossad.

“May there be more like it,” was all Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said when Army Radio asked about the new blast.

There was a third mysterious event: The son of a top Iranian hard-liner was found dead — a seeming suicide — in a Dubai hotel on Sunday. His father called it “suspicious” and linked to the base explosion, without elaborating. Continue reading

Ayatollah for a Day

I war-gamed an Israeli strike on Iran — and it got ugly.

BY KARIM SADJADPOUR | NOVEMBER 10, 2011

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The International Atomic Energy Agency’s new report on Iran’s nuclear program asserts that Tehran "has carried out … activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device" and that the agency sees "strong indicators of possible weapon development." In other words, the IAEA has finally reached the same conclusions that Israel first reached in 1995. So should we really be worried about an Israeli strike now?

Historically, there has been an inverse correlation between Israeli saber rattling and military action, but senior Obama administration officials consistently confirm in private meetings that they take "very seriously" the prospect of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.

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Israel tests new nuclear-capable missile, ends joint air exercise with Italy, starts missile drill

Wednesday, Nov. 2, shortly after announcing the successful test launch from the Palmachim base of a new, intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, Israel disclosed in unusual detail a joint Israeli-Italian air exercise ending last Friday, Nov. 29, at Sardinia.

Foreign sources identified the ICBM as an upgraded Jericho 3 said able to deliver a 750-kilo nuclear warhead to a distance of 7,000 kilometers – further, if fitted with a smaller warhead. Western intelligence experts estimate that 42 missiles with conventional warheads are enough to seriously disable Iran‘s main nuclear facilities in Natanz, Isfahan and Arak.

As for Iran’s newest subterranean Fordo facility near Qom, the US supplied Israel with GBU-28 bunker busters in the third week of September.

Six IAF squadrons took part in the joint one-week exercise with Italy consisting of fourteen F-16 F-16 single and twin-seaters from the Ramat David air base, joined by Boeing craft for in-flight refueling of war planes, the Eitam (G550) Air Control early warning aircraft and Hercules transports taking off from the Nevatim air base in the Negev.

The Italian air force flew the advanced Eurofighter Typhoon, AMX, Panavia Tornado and F-16s.

After the two releases, the Israel Defense Forces announced Wednesday that a large-scale exercise had just begun to prepare central Israel for missile attack.

This rush of military activity coincided with speculative reports splashed across Israeli media in the last fortnight that Israeli leaders are in mid-debate over whether or not to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Those reports are unfounded, debkafile‘s military sources report. Binyamin Netanyahu‘s inner cabinet of eight is in fact trying to determine the usefulness of abandoning its longstanding policy of nuclear ambiguity at this time. An attack is not on its current agenda.

November promises to be an especially critical month.

The report on Iran the International Atomic Agency in Vienna is due to publish next Tuesday, Nov. 8 is generally expected to reveal in close detail the advances the Islamic Republic has made toward producing a nuclear weapon. Most of this will not be news to the parties which follow Iran’s progress toward this goal. However, the formal exposure of the scale of this program and Iran’s indictment by the nuclear watchdog is intended to shock world opinion, thereby helping US President Barack Obama to go all the way with really tough sanctions, such as international boycotts of Iranian fuel and the Iranian state bank.
Tehran has warned that these sanctions would be deemed an act of war.

Western intelligence experts as well debkafile‘s Iran watchers believe that the Iranian leadership will not be content with statements refuting the IAEA report but will opt for a more active response. They suggest Tehran may lift the veil over a section of its nuclear achievements, as though to say: Enough of this nuclear hide-and-seek; we are about to be a nuclear power like just like Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
Tehran may also conduct a complete or partial nuclear test, or else exhibit a new ballistic capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

These steps might be designed to give President Obama pause. Because Tehran would calculate that if it has already crossed the nuclear threshold, what would be the point of tough sanctions?
At the same time, Tehran has made the necessary preparations for counteracting the impact of drastic penalties with the help of Russia, China and to a lesser extent India. Nearly all Iranian oil deals are now channeled through a Russian-Iranian sales mechanism operating in Moscow and out of American and Western reach. Russian banks are handling Iran’s international financial transactions in currencies other than the US dollar – mostly the Russian ruble and Chinese yuan.

However, Iran’s leaders are still weighing their response to the IAEA report and have not yet decided finally how to treat the new sanctions President Obama may have up his sleeve. The tense debates afoot in Washington and Jerusalem over how to handle the volatile scenario ahead have not missed Tehran.
Syria is another complicating factor and poses hard dilemma:

This is because Bashar Assad’s continued crackdown on protest with dozens of deaths caused day by day on both sides of the conflict could at any moment galvanize Tehran into radical action in the wake of the nuclear controversy. Counter-responses by the West and Israel could light the fuse of a regional war.

In these circumstances, a damaging IAEA report on Iran would do more than expose its nuclear misconduct; it could bring the Middle East dangerously close to a regional conflict.

In the last two weeks, therefore, Western governments led by the US as well as Israel have been turning over their options for urgent decisions on how to react to potential Iranian aggression.

The Israeli media’s portrayal of the debate within the cabinet in Jerusalem as an argument between two ministerial factions for and against attacking Iran is false, designed to assault the judgment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
It is also seriously detrimental to Israel’s security.

In an angry statement Wednesday, Nov. 2, Minister of Intelligence Dan Meridor condemned those reports as irresponsible and more damaging even than the betrayal by the Israeli soldier Anat Kamm of secret military documents to an unauthorized person for which she was given jail time this week. The more publicity given this non-existent debate, he said, the edgier Damascus and Tehran will become and the closer to warlike steps. It also has an undesirable effect on Iran’s nuclear decision-making and the severity of Assad’s campaign of suppression.

Military action against Iran, alone or with US support, is therefore not Israel’s current agenda, although an ever-present option.The subject under discussion, debkafile‘s military and intelligence sources stress, is what to do if the nuclear watchdog’s revelations next Tuesday demonstrate that Tehran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon is too far advanced to stop and a nuclear-armed Iran is therefore close to reality.
The cabinet is consequently trying to decide whether the time has come for Israel to come clean on its presumed nuclear capability, or stay silent and back Washington on the imposition of sanctions, knowing that their deterrent value has dropped to nil.

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