Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 55, March 2001
Nuclear-Related Agreements and Cooperation in South AsiaBy Gaurav Rajen and Kent Biringer
The aim of this paper is to understand the numerous nuclear-related1 agreements that involve India and Pakistan, and in so doing identify starting points for future confidence-creating and confidence-building projects. Existing nuclear-related agreements provide a framework under which various projects can be proposed that foster greater nuclear transparency and cooperation in South Asia.
A survey of the various nuclear-related agreements that involve India and Pakistan is not readily available, and, therefore, the survey presented here should prove useful to other researchers. Elbaradei, Nwogugu and Rames of the IAEA have provided an excellent overview of the international legal framework that governs nuclear energy.2 They do not, however, discuss all existing international and South Asian nuclear-related agreements. Using their description as a guide, the Indian and Pakistani relationships to the many treaties, conventions and codes of practice that form the international legal framework governing nuclear matters are discussed here. A discussion of Indian, Pakistani, and South Asian bilateral, regional, and international nuclear-related agreements not available in the paper by Elbaradei, Nwogugu and Rames is also provided.3 Finally, some ideas for using the reporting requirements of existing nuclear agreements to increase nuclear transparency in South Asia are presented.
An expansion of existing Indian and Pakistani arrangements that require the sharing of nuclear information with international, regional and bilateral entities can initiate a process of greater nuclear transparency between India and Pakistan and in South Asia. But, why should India and Pakistan be interested in increasing nuclear transparency to any extent? The answer lies in the need for both countries to strike a balance between nuclear ambiguity and nuclear transparency for better crisis management. Consider, for example, the security implications of commercially available high-resolution satellite imagery of South Asian nuclear facilities. These implications are both positive and negative. For instance, the high-resolution satellite photographs of Indian and Pakistani nuclear facilities posted on the Internet by the Federation of American Scientists from data procured from Space Imaging Inc. have undeniably increased nuclear transparency. However, increased public access to high-resolution satellite imagery on the nuclear facilities of an adversarial country creates the possibility of increased public misunderstanding of the adversary's intentions, and misinterpretation of the data. It becomes even more important in such circumstances to encourage the cooperative sharing of sufficient information to minimize the risks of such misunderstanding and misinterpretation. It has been suggested by some (for example, by George Perkovich4 in a recent panel organized by the Henry L. Stimson Center) that a level of nuclear ambiguity between India and Pakistan is a stabilizing factor. However, unconstrained ambiguity will jeopardize the verifiability and effectiveness of future nuclear-related agreements India and Pakistan may negotiate, as well as those they have already acceded to. Increased transparency increases the irreversibility of agreements. Limited transparency is also required for management of crises and long-term stability in South Asia. Therefore, a balance between nuclear ambiguity and transparency is required for India and Pakistan.
The aim of this paper is to investigate specific approaches to foster greater nuclear transparency and confidence building in South Asia. The work presented here postulates that a controlled increase in nuclear transparency between India and Pakistan is of value, and suggests projects that could be undertaken by India and Pakistan as a part of a process that incrementally increases nuclear transparency. The basic assumptions and arguments underlying the paper can be summarised as follows:
The bulk of this paper's effort is focused on India and Pakistan, as these are the two South Asian5 countries most involved in nuclear energy and the only ones actively pursuing nuclear weapons development. Table 1 lists select nuclear research institutes and facilities in South Asia. A role for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (the two other South Asian countries involved in nuclear programmes) is discussed primarily in the context of an existing arrangement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for regional cooperation in Asia. The primary reason for beginning Indian and Pakistani nuclear transparency issues in a multilateral rather than bilateral context is that such projects would have the possibility of continuance even if there were an increase in Indian and Pakistani tensions.
(Note: Not a complete but an illustrative list.)
Steve Fetter has made a valuable observation that "unlike past arms control agreements, which were discrete events, we should think of increased [nuclear] transparency as a continuous process, in which we constantly increase the exchange of more detailed information and find ways to corroborate that information."6 The Tokyo Forum7, a high-level group of disarmament experts and policy-makers (serving in their individual capacities) has recently issued a report calling for increased nuclear transparency.8 In the context of India and Pakistan, nuclear transparency can only be increased incrementally, using existing agreements to foster a process of nuclear information exchange. Viewed as a continuous process of increasing sensitivity, any increase in nuclear transparency becomes of value, as it forms a part of a chain of cooperative acts. Increased transparency increases the irreversibility of arms control agreements.
Assessing the reporting requirements of existing nuclear agreements provides an opportunity to suggest incremental advances in the sensitivity and detail of the information being reported.
Studying the Indian and Pakistani relationship to nuclear agreements other than the major nuclear non-proliferation treaties, such as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), also helps in identifying a wider range of policy options for moving these countries towards greater nuclear transparency. For example, the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) has been signed and ratified by Pakistan, but only signed and not ratified by India. The process of building greater consensus within India for signing the CTBT could begin with the international community urging India to ratify the less problematic CNS as a confidence-building step towards the future ratification of more contentious treaties. When India and Pakistan are both parties to the CNS they could initiate a bilateral process of sharing the safety reports that the CNS requires.9 There are other nuclear-related agreements similar to the CNS that India has signed and ratified, but Pakistan has not. These agreements offer options for nudging Pakistan towards greater nuclear transparency with India.
Prospects of Increased Nuclear Transparency: a Survey
Article 8.5 of the draft Indian nuclear doctrine states that: "In view of the very high destructive potential of nuclear weapons, appropriate nuclear risk reduction and confidence building measures shall be sought, negotiated and maintained." This stated commitment establishes that India is certainly interested in nuclear confidence building measures. For India, the greatest need for such measures is with Pakistan, with whom India has had three major military conflicts and long-standing border and territorial disputes. A state of low intensity conflict exists between India and Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir, characterised by cross-border shelling and exchanges of gunfire as a daily occurrence. Therefore, proposing steps for increased nuclear transparency between these countries could easily seem futile to the casual observer. However, the Indian and Pakistani relationship is complex and works at many levels. The complexity of the Indian and Pakistani relationship provides glimmers of hope that progress can occur in some areas of interaction even while there are major setbacks in others.
For instance, in the summer of 1999, military conflict in the Kargil area of Kashmir intensified into a limited war involving a significant loss of lives, massive artillery battles and the use and loss
of Indian fighter aircraft. A few days after this conflict had begun to intensify, the News Network International reported from Islamabad on June 1, 1999, that the Federation of Pakistani Chambers of Commerce and Industry had called for a relaxation of curbs on machinery imports from India.10 The Chamber noted in its proposals for the 1999-2000 trade policy that Pakistani manufacturers often import machinery from distant countries, paying more and waiting a far longer time for delivery than if orders had been placed in India. Another glimmer of hope for progress in nuclear transparency is evident in the fact that in 1998, despite animosities being worsened by reciprocal nuclear weapons tests, Indian and Pakistani representatives worked collaboratively on nuclear safety issues within the Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training in Nuclear Science and Technology in Asia and the Pacific (RCA) framework of the IAEA. Historically, many Indian and Pakistani cooperative agreements have been actively pursued and have survived the tumultuous course of the past five decades.11
The PACATOM project of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) provides a useful precedent to the subject of increasing nuclear transparency in South Asia. CSCAP is a non-governmental organization linking research institutes and security specialists within the Asia Pacific community. Through its international Working Group on Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBM), CSCAP is "examining the possibility of defining and promoting an international Asian or Pacific Atomic Energy Community (PACATOM)".12 The PACATOM project recognizes that the creation of a formal PACATOM institution is premature, and is therefore currently focused on promoting confidence and increasing transparency in the region. The CSBM Working Group has identified six areas of nuclear cooperation: Safety Cooperation; Energy Cooperation; Research Cooperation; Regional Safeguards; Managing the Front End of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle; and, Managing the Back End of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle. From the Working Group's perspective, two of these six areas have been identified as being best suited for multilateral cooperation: "One is safety cooperation; the other is cooperation in managing the back end of the fuel cycle". In the case of India and Pakistan, too, all of these areas of potential nuclear cooperation seem well suited for further exploration.
Safety cooperation in civilian nuclear energy is already occurring between India and Pakistan to some extent through the RCA. The RCA has been in existence for over twenty-five years. In 1998, within the framework of the RCA, China, India, the Republic of Korea and Pakistan, collaboratively developed the "Regional Asia Reference Book on Good Operational Safety Management" of nuclear power plants.13
In recent years, regional energy cooperation within South Asia has been receiving increased attention. An example of such cooperation is the South Asia Forum for Infrastructure Regulation (SAFIR) being currently administered by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, India. "Covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, SAFIR is designed to assist in the building of regulatory capacity in the electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, water, and transport sectors".14 Other energy cooperation measures receiving great attention include the sale of electrical power and oil and gas among South Asian countries.
The areas of regional research cooperation, safeguards, and managing the front and back end of the nuclear fuel cycle are much more contentious, and thus not so open for collaboration. Back end issues such as reprocessing and storage of spent fuel are probably the most contentious and sensitive nuclear related issues. From the viewpoint of increasing nuclear transparency related to warheads and fissile materials, these are the very issues that need most careful attention. In these contentious areas, incremental progress is the most plausible short-term scenario.
The agreements discussed in this paper are those that have been signed and ratified, simply signed, or acceded to in some measure by India or Pakistan. International conventions that have neither been signed nor ratified are not discussed. To suggest nuclear transparency measures for agreements and conventions not yet acceded to by either India or Pakistan, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty (FMCT)15, is far more problematic than to consider measures that strengthen existing arrangements. To the extent possible, however, proposals for increased transparency should try to anticipate some of the requirements of future treaties, and attempt to foster conditions promoting Indian and Pakistani signature and ratification of the NPT, the CTBT and (in the future) the FMCT.
Table 2 lists the nuclear-related agreements (in alphabetical order) involving India and Pakistan and applicable dates of signature and accession.16 The following sections discuss many of these agreements in terms of their reporting requirements and the framework they provide for India and Pakistan to share nuclear information.
Bilateral Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities
The bilateral Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities (the No-Attack agreement) prohibits attack, directly or indirectly, against nuclear installations or facilities in either country. This agreement is a unique bilateral agreement that no other hostile countries have yet emulated. It expands - in a sense - the scope of Articles 56 and 15 of the first and second protocols to the Geneva Convention. These articles state that: "Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population."
The scope of the Indian and Pakistani No-Attack agreement is much broader than the Geneva Convention's prohibition against nuclear electrical generating stations. Nuclear installation or facilities against which attack is prohibited are defined in the Indian and Pakistani agreement to include "nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotopes separation and reprocessing facilities as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radioactive materials".
On January 1 of each calendar year, each country provides the other with a list of the latitude and longitude of its nuclear installations and facilities. In the past, proposals have been made by India to extend the list to include population centers and targets of economic value. These are counter-value targets, as opposed to counter-force targets such as missile silos, air bases and nuclear weapons production facilities. However, India's recent draft nuclear doctrine involves a deterrent capability based on unacceptable damage to an opponent; thus, the likelihood of expanding the
No-Attack agreement to include counter-value targets may now be small.
There are other benefits to sharing this list. The existence of the officially exchanged list creates an excellent framework for nuclear information sharing, constituting the common basis of a database which could form the backbone of a nuclear information sharing process. Implicit in the exchange of a list of the latitudes and longitudes of their nuclear facilities is the recognition that each party will gather satellite imagery of the sites. To increase the transparency and information value of the list exchange, the two sides could begin to share some ground truth data from each facility that would enable each side to better analyze and track changes at the facilities. The list could be used to create a cooperative database that scientists from each side
would access. Only public information would be supplied. However, the act of linking publicly available information into a cooperative database referenced to an officially exchanged list will strengthen norms for bilateral nuclear data exchange that currently are extremely weak.
The Lahore Memorandum of Understanding
On February 21, 1999, in Lahore, Pakistan, the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that calls for nuclear-related measures. One of these seeks to prevent accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons. Another calls for the creation of communication mechanisms similar in some aspects to those required by the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident. Among its several points, the Lahore MoU states that: "The two sides are fully committed to undertaking national measures to reducing the risks of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons under their respective control. The two sides further undertake to notify each other immediately in the event of any accidental, unauthorised or unexplained incident that could create the risk of a fallout with adverse consequences for both sides, or an outbreak of a nuclear war between the two countries, as well as to adopt measures aimed at diminishing the possibility of such actions, or such incidents being misinterpreted by the other. The two sides shall identify/establish the appropriate communication mechanism for this purpose."
The range of nuclear installations covered by the proposed bilateral agreement will be greater than that covered by the existing international Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (restricted to non-weapons facilities); and presumably will cover the facilities listed in the "No-Attack" agreement. The Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident provides a guide to the eventual form of a future Indian and Pakistani bilateral agreement. The bilateral agreement is also envisaged as diminishing the possibility of misinterpretation of data. The scope of the bilateral agreement, therefore, unlike the international Convention, raises the possibility of baseline radiological release data being shared on a regular basis. Such data could also include other supporting data such as climatic data (wind, precipitation, etc.) required for radiological release modelling, so as to allow better interpretation of any readings above normal.
Limiting the Areas of Deployment of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia
Pakistan has, for several years, proposed the idea of a South Asian Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone (SANWFZ) that India has not accepted. India has, however, supported the concept of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (IOZP). Such a zone is proposed to restrict nuclear weapons in the Indian Ocean. Combining some aspects of each of these proposals, a stabilizing measure for India and Pakistan to consider could involve first pledging to restrict nuclear weapons deployment from the western and northern Indian Ocean and their coastal areas. This first phase is a compromise of the SANWFZ and the IOZP ideas. It would also limit Indian plans to deploy nuclear-tipped missiles on submarines, restricting such deployment to the oceans on India's eastern seaboard. As a second phase of restricting areas of nuclear weapons deployment, India and Pakistan could apply a similar pledge for the Kashmir region. Such agreements would still leave open a wide swath of territory for basing nuclear weapons. The threat of the use of nuclear weapons in a tactical battlefield scenario in Kashmir could be minimized through the pledges suggested here.
The IAEA Regional Cooperation Agreement and South Asian Frameworks for Environmental Data-Sharing (RCA)
The IAEA works in collaboration with Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on a variety of projects, providing a structure for greater South Asian nuclear transparency. The RCA is described in the IAEA Information Circular 167. The RCA includes the following countries along with the four South Asian countries mentioned above: Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Mongolia, New Zealand, People's Republic of China, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The RCA provides a valuable framework for promoting greater Indian and Pakistani (and South Asian) cooperation. India is one of the principal countries involved in creating and maintaining the RCA. In the mid-1960s, a collaborative project between India, the Philippines and the IAEA formed a precursor to and the genesis of the RCA. India has since then remained very active in regional cooperation and the RCA. Through the IAEA, the Indian Department of Atomic Energy (IDAE) provides training facilities and fellowships to numerous foreign visitors. These services are also provided to individuals from countries with which India has bilateral agreements. In 1999, a Cooperation Plan was signed between the Indian Atomic Energy Commission (a part of the IDAE) and the Vietnam Atomic Energy Commission for cooperation in the field of nuclear power, exchange of scientists and assistance in setting up a training centre at Vietnam. In 1999, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in India trained 6 scientists from Bangladesh, 1 from Myanmar (Burma), 1 from Romania, 1 from Thailand, and 4 from Vietnam.19 Pakistan joined the RCA on September 6, 1974 (three months after India's first nuclear explosion). Given the involvement of India and Pakistan in the RCA, as well as that of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the RCA provides a structure within which a sub-regional grouping could focus on South Asian issues.
Three of the four South Asian countries involved in nuclear activities (Bangladesh, India and Pakistan) operate research reactors. Bangladesh's Atomic Energy Research Establishment (BAERE) operates a 3 MW TRIGA Mark II research reactor in Savar, near Dhaka. This research reactor is under full IAEA safeguards. Indian research reactors are not under IAEA safeguards. Two of Pakistan's research reactors (PARR-1 and PARR-2) in Rawalpindi are under IAEA safeguards. Demonstrating systems that can monitor the operations of research reactors and share the information cooperatively can be a key component of South Asian nuclear transparency measures. A beginning in this direction could be made using the facilities of a neutral third party such as Bangladesh. Technical assistance could be provided through the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute's Department of Research Reactors at the Tokai Research Establishment (JAERI) that regularly hosts international visitors, and held the Third Asian Research Reactors Symposium. The facility in Bangladesh could play a useful role in initiating a South Asian process of sharing information on research reactors. The BAERE 3 MW TRIGA research reactor could be used as a test facility to demonstrate the feasibility of remote monitoring of power and fissile material production. The BAERE has had close working relationships with the JAERI; and, scientists from the BAERE have proposed that the Nuclear Data Center at JAERI be used as an umbrella to establish a regional nuclear data centre for Asia and the Pacific.20
Unlike the situation with research reactors, both India and Pakistan have nuclear power reactors under IAEA safeguards. These facilities provide another opportunity for using the RCA to foster nuclear transparency in South Asia. Some of the facilities at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS), north of the city of Mumbai in India, and the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) in Karachi, Pakistan, are under IAEA safeguards. Facilities such as these - each being under IAEA safeguards (though only parts of TAPS are under safeguards) - could provide locations for demonstrating nuclear transparency and nuclear information sharing technologies.
The founding statute of the IAEA requires the "observance of any health and safety measures prescribed by the Agency". Having facilities under IAEA safeguards requires India and Pakistan to provide operational data, material accounting, and environmental release data from these facilities to the IAEA. This opens up the possibility that such information could also be shared bilaterally. However, a question that arises is - under what framework or existing agreement should India and Pakistan share environmental or effluent release data of any sort from the nuclear facilities under safeguards? IAEA inspection reports are not made public, and, therefore, supplemental safeguards would be needed for India and Pakistan to share IAEA inspection data bilaterally.
Regional Data Sharing Frameworks
The South Asian Seas Action Plan (to which India and Pakistan are signatories) provides a framework under which limited environmental release and effluent data from TAPS and KANUPP could be shared. Both of these facilities are located on the coastline of the Arabian Sea, impact coastal regions and are potential thermal, chemical and radioactive pollutant sources. Sharing information on these facilities is suggested in the South Asian Seas Action Plan that has been created to implement requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). With the assistance of the United Nations Environment Program, various regions of the world have set up Regional Seas Programs to implement UNCLOS. The South Asian Regional Seas Program involves the marine member states of South Asia: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. These countries adopted a South Asian Seas Action Plan at a meeting of plenipotentiaries in New Delhi in March 1995; the plan came into force in January 1998. The South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP)21 has been designated as the Secretariat for the implementation of the Action Plan. SACEP was established through the initiative of the United Nations Environment Program-Regional Office of Asia Programs. The member countries of SACEP are Afghanistan (not an active member), Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
One of the key elements of the South Asian Seas Action Plan is to encourage collaboration among regional scientists and technicians and their institutions through the establishment of coordinated regional marine pollution monitoring programs. The UNCLOS has specific provisions relating to the prevention, reduction, and control of marine pollution from land-based activities. In keeping with these provisions, Annex IV of the South Asian Seas Action Plan includes a "Regional Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the South Asian Seas from Land-based Activities." The proposed activities include the "Development of a Regional Program for Monitoring of Marine Pollution in the Coastal Waters of the South Asian Seas and the Regular Exchange of Relevant Data and Information."
The BARC in India has initiated two projects in the marine pollution area. One involves the use of radiotracers in the Hoogli estuary near Calcutta. In this study, the BARC has released and tracked 8 Curies of a radioactive Scandium isotope in the form of Scandium glass from disposal sites of materials dredged from Calcutta Port. The other BARC marine research project is in cooperation with the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in India and involves the use of "Nuclear and Biotechnological Tools in Coastal Systems Research".22 Given this interest in the marine coastal environment, the BARC could be a suitable partner for supporting the South Asian Seas Action Plan.
Pakistan, too, plays an active role in the RCA and its marine-related projects. An example of such Pakistani involvement in the RCA is the workshop hosted by Pakistan in 1999 on a "Review Meeting to Analyze a Regional Database on Marine Radioactivity".
The RCA has an existing project underway to study the "Management of the Marine Coastal Environment and its Pollution". Australia is the lead country for this project. This project on marine pollution is one of five sub-projects under a larger project on "Better Management of the Environment, Natural Resources and Industrial Growth through Isotopes and Radiation Technology" funded jointly by the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the IAEA. The RCA marine project is currently seeking to identify suitable sites within the Asia-Pacific region to conduct technology demonstrations and studies.
As an existing regional framework for the sharing of coastal environmental monitoring data, the South Asian Seas Action Plan promotes Indian and Pakistani sharing of environmental release and effluent data on TAPS and KANUPP. Linking the South Asian Seas Action Plan with the RCA would provide the framework under which such Indian and Pakistani nuclear collaboration could occur.
Nuclear-related Programs of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations
India and Pakistan are members of the FAO of the United Nations. In October 1964, the FAO teamed with the IAEA to develop a Joint Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. This Joint Division unified FAO's atomic energy branch and the IAEA's agricultural unit. Nuclear technologies have been used in food and agriculture for plant mutation breeding, sterile insect techniques for pest control, food irradiation for improving crop and livestock production, and improved soil and water management using, for example, radioactive isotopes as tracers. The Indian and Pakistani membership in the FAO provides an opportunity for technological collaboration in nuclear fields.
The FAO Soils Bulletin 61 presents a detailed review of issues related to "Radioactive fallout in soils, crops and food".23 The FAO has recognized the importance of early action in mitigating the effects of radioactive fallout and is a party to the IAEA international conventions on "Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident" and "Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency". Intervention levels have been determined for food and crops that have increased radioactivity levels after a nuclear accident. The FAO helps provide consistency in the regulations countries impose on the import and export of food products tainted with radioactive fallout. Based on the Chernobyl experience, the FAO has determined that there exists a need for improved communication to the farm level, and has suggested the creation of independent facilities for local monitoring, especially within the 150-km range of nuclear installations. The FAO suggests the setting up of small highly mobile units with trained personnel and relatively simple portable equipment to detect any significant rise in radioactivity level, e.g., in rainfall over pasture or crops. Such units could visit worried communities, communicate in simple language, and obviate unnecessary suspicion or alarm. These suggestions of the FAO provide opportunities for Indian and Pakistani nuclear collaboration. Joint experiments on monitoring airborne emissions of radionuclides could be conducted within a 150-km radius of nuclear power plants as a start towards planning for mitigating the effects of an accident on food crops. These experiments could demonstrate radionuclide samplers, data logging and telemetry technologies.
The FAO/IAEA Joint Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture has a project involving India and Pakistan on the "Management of nutrients and water in rain-fed arid and semi-arid areas for increasing crop production" that includes participation by Indian and Pakistani research institutes. The Indian and Pakistani institutes participate in contracts that form a part of this project. The Nuclear Research Laboratory of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi is working on the "Use of nuclear techniques to improve management practices and increase crop production in rain-fed areas with limited water resources". In Pakistan, the Nuclear Agriculture Division of the Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture in Peshawar is working on "Increasing crop production in rain-fed areas by improved water and nutrient management using nuclear techniques". Such joint Indian and Pakistani involvement in common FAO nuclear-related projects could be nurtured to increasingly deal with more sensitive subjects. For example, a project that monitors Cesium-137 levels in desert soils as a measure of erosion could demonstrate technologies that might form a part of future cooperative surveillance of nuclear test sites. Joint surveillance could verify and increase mutual confidence in a nuclear test ban.
IAEA Safeguards Agreements
India and Pakistan both subscribe to site- or material-specific safeguards agreements modelled on the IAEA's Information Circular 66 (INFCIRC/66). These safeguard agreements have emerged out of the purchase of foreign nuclear technologies. Table 3 lists Indian and Pakistani facilities under IAEA safeguards. The safeguard agreements are designed to prevent the diversion of nuclear material from peaceful to weapons-oriented uses.
There is no legal obligation on either India or Pakistan to strengthen existing IAEA safeguards. However, there are many voluntary steps that each country could take in this direction. A simple first step could involve releasing data each supplies to the IAEA for review by the other. Further, civilian nuclear facilities not under safeguards could be temporarily opened for IAEA inspection for safety audits and reviews. Managed access would allow safety inspections to occur without divulging any security-related information. For example, India has allowed personnel from the World Association of Nuclear Operators to assist in safety audits at some civilian nuclear facilities that are closed to IAEA inspectors and not under IAEA safeguards.
International Nuclear-Related Agreements
This section summarises the main reporting requirements of the agreements mentioned in Table 2. For many of these agreements, only India or Pakistan has signed. Therefore, there is a need to press India and Pakistan to sign all existing nuclear-related agreements, along with the ongoing international pressure for them to sign the major non-proliferation treaties, such as the CTBT and the NPT. Signing nuclear-related agreements has the benefit that, if both countries become signatories to an agreement, they can begin to share the information required by the agreement. Another benefit is that when a country becomes a party to an existing nuclear-related agreement it enters more fully into the fold of the established international legal framework. Eventually, this process could culminate in the signing of the more contentious treaties that the international community wishes to promote.
The major types of information that could be or are being shared using existing frameworks involve the following:
Sharing Nuclear-Related Information
To promote incremental progress in nuclear transparency, nuclear-related information currently being shared by India and Pakistan could pass through equivalent and mutually understood information management infrastructures within each country. Such an infrastructure could consist of dedicated nodal agencies created on each side, with the participation of personnel from the defence, foreign affairs and nuclear ministries and other security agencies. The information-sharing process would be defined and understood on both sides by key policy and decision-makers dealing with nuclear and security issues. As future agreements are negotiated, the existence of an information-sharing infrastructure would facilitate the transfer of progressively more sensitive information. A single agency serving as a point of contact for sharing nuclear-related information could make it easier to shut off all information flows in a situation of worsening relations. However, the ability to tightly control nuclear information transfer is what would convince policy makers to increase the sensitivity of the information being shared. Transparency in the sharing of nuclear information could begin by India and Pakistan cooperating in the following analysis:
Prospects for Nuclear Information Sharing
Table 4 summarizes the reporting requirements of various existing nuclear-related agreements between India and Pakistan. As can be seen, there is some overlap between the information flows required by each agreement. Detailing the exact reporting requirements of each agreement and passing it through a single point of contact prevents unnecessary duplication. Having a clear understanding of the kind of information being shared also precludes a situation in which a concerned agency might deny release of data that is already freely available from another source.
This paper has identified several information-sharing opportunities that arise out of the various nuclear-related conventions that India and Pakistan have signed. The opportunities that arise out of bilateral and regional agreements are:
Among these information-sharing opportunities, there are seven that lend themselves well to technology-based cooperative monitoring projects. Table 5 lists these projects, the parameters that could be monitored and the technologies that would be used to implement the projects.
The nuclear-related agreements unsigned by India and Pakistan present opportunities for pressing these two countries for greater nuclear transparency and cooperation. There are two nuclear-related agreements that Pakistan has acceded to but not India: the Convention on
Nuclear Safety, and the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter. Similarly, there are five nuclear-related agreements that India has acceded to but not Pakistan: the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention Concerning the Protection of Workers against Ionizing Radiation, the Convention on the Liability of Operators of Nuclear Ships, the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Many of the agreements that have been signed by India and Pakistan involve the sharing of information. Incrementally increasing the sensitivity of the information being shared will strengthen norms for nuclear transparency. Basing the nuclear information sharing process within a South Asian context involving Bangladesh and Sri Lanka could be a suitable starting point. The RCA involves India and Pakistan in a regional nuclear-related cooperation agreement spanning the entire Asia Pacific region. Within the structure of the RCA, South Asian nuclear-related projects could be initiated that would be restricted to non-sensitive nuclear issues. Table 5 sets out suggestions for some projects and the existing agreements that provide an information-sharing framework. Eventually, these projects could create an atmosphere conducive to bilateral Indian and Pakistani nuclear transparency projects. Incrementally, as the number of such nuclear transparency projects grows, the level of sensitivity of the nuclear information being shared could be increased.
Notes and References
1. The term nuclear-related is used somewhat loosely, as several agreements are discussed whose main purpose, for example, is the protection of an ocean or other natural resource. These agreements do include articles on nuclear issues or radioactive substances and so are considered nuclear-related.
2. Mohamed Elbaradei, Edwin Nwogugu and James Rames, "International Law and Nuclear Energy: Overview of the Legal Framework" (International Atomic Energy Agency, Bulletin 373, 1999), http://www.iaea.or.at/worldatom/inforesource/bulletin/bull373/rames.htm.
3. The agreements not specifically discussed by Mohamed Elbaradei, Edwin Nwogugu and John Rames are the Indian and Pakistani Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities, the Convention for the Protection of Workers Against Ionizing Radiation and the Convention on the Liability of Operators of Nuclear Ships. The South Asian Seas Action Plan and the South Asia Cooperative Environment Program are also discussed here as these agreements provide a framework for sharing environmental data from nuclear facilities located on the Indian and Pakistani coasts.
4. In a Panel on South Asia's Nuclear Future, involving Gary Samore (Chair), National Security Council Staff; George Pervkovich, W. Alton Jones Foundation, Ashley Tellis, RAND, organized by the Henry L. Stimson Center as a part of its South Asia Luncheon Series, George Perkovich stated, "Ambiguity in strategic relations may have more benefits than commonly recognised. Indian and Pakistani leaders used their ambiguous nuclear capabilities in the late 1980s and the early 1990s to invoke nuclear deterrence against each other while avoiding the costs of building, testing, and deploying nuclear arsenals.... Ambiguous nuclear capabilities and ambiguous invocations of nuclear threats actually may be more effective modes of deterrence in this relationship because the ambiguity allows face-saving."
5. South Asia is usually thought to consist of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. China is sometimes viewed as both a South Asian and an East Asian country. Similarly, Iran can also be viewed as both a South Asian and a West Asian country. In this paper, we define South Asia in the more conventional manner, using the shorter list enumerated here.
6. Steve Fetter, "A Comprehensive Transparency Regime for Warheads and Fissile Materials," Arms Control Today (January-February 1999), http://www.armscontrol.org/ACT/act.html.
7. The Tokyo Forum included four members of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and was convened following the May 1998 nuclear tests of India and Pakistan. One of the Tokyo Forum's key recommendations is to "Adopt nuclear transparency measures. Irreversible reductions in nuclear forces require great transparency. The Tokyo Forum welcomes the transparency measures undertaken so far by the nuclear-weapon states and calls on them to take steps to increase transparency further. Recent transparency measures by the United Kingdom and France have shed considerable light on their nuclear weapons numbers and stocks. These could be further developed. The United States has put in place many transparency measures concerning its doctrines, deployments and technical developments. More information on reserve stocks would have a positive impact on steps towards nuclear disarmament. The Russian Federation has declared some aspects of its nuclear weapons program. The Russian Federation could increase the degree of transparency concerning doctrine, numbers of tactical nuclear weapons and stocks of fissile material. China has put in place few transparency measures. The implementation of further transparency measures on the numbers and types of nuclear weapons and on the amounts of fissile material should be encouraged in view of the favorable regional and global impact."
8. Patricia Lewis, "Facing Nuclear Dangers: an Action Plan for the 21st Century", Disarmament Forum, 1, (2000), http://www.unog.ch/unidir.
9. Although Pakistan has not yet submitted its national safety report required by the CNS, Pakistani representatives participated in the first Conference of Parties, and there is every expectation that Pakistan will soon submit its safety report.
10. News Network International, "FPCCI demands machinery import from India", June 1, 1999.
11. Shirin Tahir-Kheli and Kent L. Biringer, "Preventing Another India-Pakistan War: Enhancing Stability Along the Border", Occasional Paper, (Sandia National Laboratories, SAND 98-0505/17, 2000). In this paper, Shirin Tahir-Kheli and Kent L. Biringer list a range of Indian and Pakistani cooperative agreements that have been developed over the last five decades; and that have survived with varying degrees of success.
12. Ralph A. Cossa, "PACATOM: Building Confidence and Enhancing Transparency, A CSCAP Working Group Special Report", Occasional Paper, (Honolulu: Pacific Forum CSIS, 1998).
13. International Atomic Energy Agency, Annual Report for 1998,
14. Tata Energy Research Institute, SAFIR web site, (1999) http://www.safir.teri.res.in/about/about.htm.
15. An international convention on nuclear terrorism is also currently being discussed by UN members, including India and Pakistan
16. Existing nuclear-related agreements that neither India nor Pakistan has signed are (in alphabetical order) - Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; Convention on the Establishment of a Security Control in the Field of Nuclear Energy (restricted to Western European nations); Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials; Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources; Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage; Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy and associated Protocols; Convention Relating to Civil Liability in the Field of Maritime Carriage of Nuclear Material; Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management; Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and associated Protocols (e.g. Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage); Various treaties on nuclear weapons free zones at different locations around the world.
17. In October 1964, the FAO and the IAEA established a Joint Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.
18. These agreements were entered into at various times, as each country procured foreign technologies that were sold under conditions of safeguards
19. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Newsletter, No. 187, September, 1999.
20. S.I. Bhutyan, S.I. and N.I. Molla, 1995, "Nuclear Data Activity at Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Savar, Dhaka" paper delivered to the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute Conference, 1995, Paper 008.
21. SACEP came into existence in February 1981 at a meeting of the Environment Ministers of the member countries with the adoption of the Colombo Declaration and the Articles of Association of SACEP.
22. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, RCA Annual Report, 1998, http://www.barc.ernet.in/webpages/rca_india/annual_report.html.
23. Food and Agriculture Organization, Radioactive Fallout in Soils, Crops and Food, FAO SOILS BULLETIN 61, (1989). A background review prepared by F.P.W. Winteringham for the FAO Standing Committee on Radiation Effects, the FAO Land and Water Development Division and the Joint FAD/IAEA Division on Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0228e/T0228E00.htm#Contents.
Gaurav Rajen is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, University of New Mexico, and Visiting Research Scholar at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, specialising in environmental cooperation and nuclear non-proliferation issues in South Asia. Kent L. Biringer is a Distinguished Technical Staff Member at the Cooperative Monitoring Center, Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy.
© 2001 The Acronym Institute.