Paper: General Studies Paper-II
Section: India and the World
Topic: Nuclear Policy
Explain the significance of placing India’s Nuclear Reactors under IAEA safeguards.
The IAEA safeguards in the country are implemented in accordance with the agreement entered between Government of India and the IAEA. In 2014, India ratified the additional protocol, a commitment given under the Indo-US civil nuclear deal by the government to grant greater access to the IAEA to monitor country’s civilian atomic programme. In India, IAEA applies safeguards under agreements that cover only the nuclear material, facilities, equipment and/or materials specified in the agreement.
Significance for India
Given the ambitious scope of its peaceful nuclear energy activities, India could gain considerable benefits through making use of the variety of IAEA’s peer reviews and safety services
From security point of view: Safeguards mechanism ensures extensive safety reviews, pursuant to which necessary measures to further augment safety of India’s operating nuclear power plants. Complementing the reviews of nuclear power plants in India by the Nuclear Power Corporation and the regulatory agency, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). Enhances collaboration of India and IAEA in nuclear safety matters through the various activities under the IAEA Action Plan for Nuclear Safety.
Strategic point of view: Safeguards mechanism gives credibility to India as a reliable nuclear country in front of international community. It makes India’s case of permanent member to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) strong despite of not signing NPT. Safeguards mechanism ensures India’s easy access to nuclear fuel like uranium from uranium exporting countries.
The government of India has signed several nuclear agreements with countries including the United States, Russia, the UK, South Korea, Canada and Australia. IAEA safeguards act as a surety to these nuclear exporting countries that India will use the nuclear technology and fuel for peaceful purposes. It also helps in seeking ground for India’s increased interest in technological co-operation, and influence at the international level.
Energy point view: Nuclear Energy is renewable, reliable and least carbon intensive source of energy. Increasing number of nuclear power plants India and their recognition under IAEA guarantees India a sustainable source of energy in the near future.
What do you understand by a Nuclear Triad Nation? Recently India successfully completed its nuclear triad capacity. In this context elaborate strategic importance for nuclear triad for India.
A nuclear triad is a three-pronged military force structure that consists of land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-missile-armed submarines and strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs and missiles. Specifically, these components are land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
The purpose of having this three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility of an enemy destroying all of a nation’s nuclear forces in a first-strike attack. This, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike, and thus increases a nation’s nuclear deterrence.
Strategic Importance of Nuclear triad
The most common way of launching a nuclear weapon is through land-based systems. However, the drawback is that the movement can be tracked through a wide range of monitoring systems including satellites. And there is a possibility of the enemy taking out the nuclear system even before one launches it.
The alternate way of delivering a nuclear weapon is through fighter jets designed to carry such weapons. However, even though the advanced fighters are a great way of launching nukes, they also can be tracked and shot at.
The most deadly option is launching a nuclear weapon from under the water, through a submarine. Because of the submarine being powered by nuclear energy, the INS Arihant would be able to remain under-water for much more than the conventional diesel-electric submarines.
In any warfare where submarines are involved, it becomes the most deadly asset and the biggest threat to the enemy. Submarines are difficult to spot, especially nuclear-powered submarine.
The indigenous development of the SSBN and its operationalisation attest to the country’s technological prowess and the synergy and coordination among all concerned.