[The following text on NMD is being released by the Coalition for
Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (India). ]

18 June 2001


1. The National Missile Defence (NMD) system and Theatre Missile Defence
(TMD) systems comprise an integrated US effort and plan to build a missile
shield for its national territory. The aim is to have interceptor missiles
which can hit and destroy in flight the incoming nuclear-tipped missiles
of any potential or actual rival before they can release their nuclear
warheads. Eventually the aim is to have a full-fledged ìStar Warsî shield
equipped with space-based laser and radar-guidance systems (as well as
interceptor missiles) for hitting and destroying not just targets in
flight but also on the ground.

2. The US says it needs such a shield to protect itself and its allies
from ìrogue statesî which might develop over the next two decades the
capacity to hit the US mainland with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental
ballistic missile. But this is an excuse and not the real reason behind
the NMD-TMDs project.
3. The real reason is simple and obvious. After the end of the Cold War
the US sees itself in a unique position of global dominance over all other
countries and now wants to make this permanent. The NMD-TMDs project is an
attempt to achieve for the US absolute security (even from the nuclear
weapons of an opponent) and unilateral global dominance, specifically over
Russia and China.
4. The US believes it can achieve both these goals by developing a mix of
offensive and defensive nuclear war-fighting capacities. This, it
believes, will give the US the capacity to ëwin a nuclear warí and to
threaten a nuclear exchange which it can then ëwiní, thus giving it what
it believes will be a great political advantage over all other countries.
Since the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty between the US and
Russia specifically prohibits the development of such a national defence
shield, the US must either abrogate this Treaty or ëmodifyí it with
Russian assent. The word ëmodificationí is a face-saver for the Russians
since the only modification acceptable to the US is one which repudiates
the original purpose of the Treaty itself. Moreover, a full-scale Star
Wars project will, it is believed, provide all the new technologies for
monopolizing global space surveillance and for controlling in the future
through space-based weapons, the ëbattleground of spaceí itself. This
space dominance will also make the USís conventional military power
supreme as never before.
5. This US search for global dominance will only usher in a Second Nuclear
Age. In the longer run, regardless of any temporary agreements between the
US and Russia or China, the latter countries have to try and develop ways
of countering US ambitions and plans. They will try and build their own
defence shields and to overload and disrupt the US shield by building more
missiles, more and bigger nuclear warheads, decoy systems, etc. The end
result will be another nuclear arms race in even more lethal and
destabilizing weaponry, as well as the emergence of a new arena of
militarisation, nuclearisation and arms racing space itself. This means
more nuclear rivalries and tensions, more dangers than ever before and a
world moving even further away from the goal of total nuclear disarmament.
6. The building of such a shield is far from inevitable. Though
technological difficulties will not in themselves prevent the US from
moving ahead, these difficulties are very real and formidable. There is a
lot of time for political opposition in the US itself and worldwide to
organize, grow and successfully oppose the Star Wars project. This
opposition will grow in civil societies and among many governments.
7. The Indian government, however, has very unfortunately endorsed the
NMD-TMDs project. While the US is playing for very high stakes seeking
world dominance, the Indian government is playing for very low stakes
seeking more recognition from the US of its nuclear status, earlier
lifting of sanctions, support for Indiaís claim for a permanent Security
Council seat, more dual-use technologies, etc. The Indian government is
desperately seeking to persuade the US that it will be a ëfaithfulí ally
of the US in its future global designs.
8. This is foolish behaviour, because India is bent on forcing China to
regard India as a strategic opponent which does not enhance Indiaís
regional security. Furthermore, Indiaís relationship with the US is
inherently one-sided. The US can pressurize India to do what it wants but
not vice versa. It is India that is losing ëstrategic autonomyí and the US
whose ëoptions are enhancedí by growing Indian subordination and
dependence on it. The NMD-TMDs project will force China to expand its
nuclear arsenal which will be taken as an excuse for India to do the same
which in turn will push Pakistan to expand its arsenal, i.e. the regional
nuclear arms race is further exacerbated by the NMD-TMDs project.
9. The NMD-TMDs project expresses even more clearly the fundamental
insanity of seeking security through nuclear weapons. The very countries
with nuclear weapons far in excess of what the rest of the world has,
still feel so insecure that they, either like the US are taking nuclear
developments to altogether newer and more dangerous heights than ever
before, or are getting caught in the absurd ëfollow-the-leaderí dynamic of
constant nuclear preparations and development. The end result is that
neither these nuclear weapons states, nor the world as a whole, is made
safer but made more unsafe, more insecure and tension-filled, and more
nuclearised than ever before.

1. What is the National Missile Defense (NMD) system?

The NMD as conceived by this Bush administration of the US is a
ìmulti-layeredî shield comprising a system of radars to detect and track
the incoming ballistic missiles of an ëenemyí and to guide the USís own
interceptor missiles which are also an integral part of this defence
system. These interceptors aim to knock out an opponentís missiles by
hitting, and therefore destroying them, before they can release their
nuclear warheads. It is like trying to hit a bullet (the incoming missile)
with your own bullet (your interceptor missile).

The purpose of the NMD is to protect the US mainland. The system is
multi-layered because it wants to be able to knock out incoming missiles
as early as possible and should this fail to still have chances of doing
so later on in the flight path and pattern of the incoming missile. So the
shield aims to have interceptors which can be launched from ships on sea
near the borders of the ëenemyí so that it can knock out the missiles in
their ëboostí phase (before it enters space), and if this fails, then to
do so in space through other ground- or air- launched interceptors, or
even after an incoming missile re-enters the earthís atmosphere. The US
intends to go on to try and develop an ever more sophisticated system
using technologies that are currently on paper only, such as ground, air,
and space-based laser systems and particle beam weapons. The eventual aim
is literally a ìStar Warsî programme of a combination of ëkillí techniques
(projectiles, lasers, beams, pulses, etc.) to knock out incoming missiles
and even (once laser systems are sufficiently developed) to attack ground
targets from space itself.
2. What are Theater Missile Defenses (TMDs)?

TMDs do not aim to protect the US mainland directly but indirectly. They
aim to do what the NMD does not do to counter the non-strategic
ëtacticalí nuclear missiles of a presumed enemy, opponent or rival. The
TMDs represent a system of sea-launched, air-launched and ground-based (on
the territory of the USís regional allies) interceptors and radars that
would be positioned in certain regions where certain non-nuclear but
nuclear-capable ëenemiesí or potential enemies of the US are said to
exist. The US currently identifies these as Iran, Iraq, Libya and North
Korea. The TMDs will be sold to the USís regional allies by the claim that
these are shields for protecting their territories from attack by ërogueí
or ëenemyí states. Thus the US is aiming to set up TMDs in East Asia (with
the help of South Korea, Japan and Taiwan) explicitly against North Korea
and implicitly against China; in the Middle East (with the help of Israel)
explicitly against Iran, Iraq and Libya; in Europe (with the help of its
NATO allies) explicitly against possible targeting of this area by ërogueí
states, implicitly seeking to reassure allies against possible tactical
strikes by Russia.

However, the main purpose of the TMDs is not regional protection of allies
but to integrate these with the NMD so as to provide the most
comprehensive possible missile defence system which will remain under US
control and command even though parts of the overall system (the TMDs)
will be situated outside the US mainland. It is precisely because this
Bush administration has such an integrated system in mind and at the same
time wishes to delude others into thinking this is not part of a system
which above all else aims to protect the US mainland, that it refuses to
call it a ënationalí missile defence but wishes to refer to it as simply a
ëmissile defenceí system.
3. Why does the US want the NMD?

The US says it wants to protect itself from what it abusively and
dishonestly labels as ërogueí states. [If a rogue state is one which
repeatedly flouts international laws and norms or carries out the greatest
human rights abuses outside its own borders then an objective, unemotional
and scrupulously honest assessment of reality would have to declare that
the worst rogue state of all ever since the Second World War ended, is the
United States itself. No other country has killed more civilians outside
its own territories or supported more dictatorships since 1945 than the
US.]. According to the US these ërogueí states could over time develop
missiles that could reach the US mainland, and though these are
self-declared non-nuclear states and members of the NPT, they could
develop nuclear capability and therefore represent a threat to the US that
it must address.

The fundamental reason why the US wants an NMD is not because of the
so-called threat posed by ërogueí states. The US has mainly two other
purposes in mind. 1) The US wants to acquire a decisive military-nuclear
advantage over all other nuclear rivals, particularly Russia and China. It
believes that having the NMD-TMDs in place will give it the capacity to
actually ëwiní and, certainly, to threaten to ëwiní even a nuclear
exchange or war with rivals. Thus the new policy represents a shift from
the view that nuclear security between rivals, say US and Russia, means
reliance on mutual deterrence (what was called mutual assured destruction
or MAD) to the policy of preparing for ëwinnableí nuclear wars and
exchanges. 2) Through the various technologies that will be promoted by
the development of the NMD the US wishes to prepare itself for the
military domination of space. This is to be accomplished by using space
for global surveillance while denying rivals a similar capacity (winning
the all-important battle of information-knowledge control) and
establishing its superiority over the ëbattleground of spaceí itself by
developing space-based weaponry of various kinds. Control over space will
give the US domination not just on the nuclear front but even for the
exercise of conventional forms of warfare. An additional consideration no
doubt, particularly important for the current Bush presidency, is that
among its principal political and financial backers are the various vested
interests connected to the military-industrial complex whose profits and
influence would be greatly enhanced from going full-steam ahead with the
NMD-TMDs project.
4. But what about ëRogueí states?

The idea that these states pose or could pose a nuclear threat to the US
is utterly ludicrous. There is no evidence that any of them are clearly
determined or definitely intend to betray their existing non-nuclear
status, or that they intend to nuclearly confront the US in the future, or
that they could somehow secretly acquire the capacities to do so without
the international community becoming aware of such efforts long before
they are actually achieved. The US is simply citing a purely abstract,
theoretical and artificially constructed ëthreatí to justify and cover up
what it anyway wants to do for other more fundamental and important

By claiming that these states constitute a nuclear threat although the US
has an overwhelming capacity to nuclearly annihilate any such state that
attacked it with nuclear weapons, the US is effectively saying that
nuclear deterrence cannot give it nuclear security. This is in the larger
sense quite true. The search for security through the operation of nuclear
deterrence only leads to greater insecurity. But the attempt to achieve
security through the NMD/TMDs only makes matters worse.

As for the US claim that it must protect itself from a terrorist nuclear
threat, and therefore, needs to build a missile shield, this is also a
subterfuge. It is much easier and less costlier for a terrorist
organization to use a suitcase bomb or to ëunderflyí any missile shield
(NMD or TMD) through a nuclear tipped short-range missile (sea- or
air-launched) missile or through a cruise missile against whichever target
it might choose. It would also be much more difficult to trace which state
(if any) was responsible for such an attack.
5. What will be the impact of NMD/TMDs?

Building such systems gives the US a new mix of offensive and defensive
nuclear capabilities. What this means is that the US can come to believe
that it has a decisive political ëadvantageí over any nuclear rival
because it can launch a massive first-strike on an ëenemyí destroying most
or all of the warheads/missiles/launchers of that country and then rely on
its shield (which even if it is not functioning at optimal levels but
works at say 50% efficiency or less) to ëmop upí any remaining missiles
that the ëenemyí might launch in retaliation. Even if a few warheads got
through the damage might be considered to be within ëacceptableí limits.

To nullify this sought for ëadvantageí the USís rivals will try to develop
the capacities to overload the NMD/TMDs. This can be done in five ways and
almost certainly all will be used. a) By developing various
counter-measures like decoy targets, jamming radar functioning, ëmaskingí
nuclear warheads, etc. to confuse the system. b) By producing and
deploying an increased number of missiles so that the chances of enough
getting through become greater. c) By producing more warheads per missile
(what is called MIRVing or ëmultiple independently targeted re-entry
vehiclesí, i.e. having multiple warheads on a missile which can separately
aim at and hit as many as twelve or even more different targets after
separating from the ëmotherí missile). d) By having even more explosive
power per warhead, so that more warheads can get through and do more
damage when they do get through and land. e) By promoting the development
of anti-satellite warfare systems to destroy the ëeyesí and ëearsí and
ënervous systemí (communications network) of the NMD system.
In short, building the NMD/TMDs will guarantee an acceleration of the
nuclear arms race, even if, to begin with, it is accompanied by some
reductions in the numbers of ballistic missiles by the US and/or Russia.
Furthermore, the NMD means the introduction of an arms race into a
completely new area space itself, which is now going to be militarized
and nuclearised as never before. The overall result then is a dramatic
worsening of global tensions and insecurities between nuclear rivals, the
emergence of a new and more dangerous kind of nuclear arms race. All this
means a terrible setback to the existing efforts to bring about total
global nuclear disarmament.
6. What is the ABM Treaty? Why is it important?

This stands for the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty which was
bilaterally agreed upon between USSR/Russia and the US in 1972. The Treaty
outlaws the building of missile defences to protect the national territory
of either country. By leaving both countries vulnerable to each otherís
attacks it sought to remove the much stronger temptation that either
country would have (if it had a defence system) to launch a first-strike
in the belief that its shield could then care of any retaliatory missiles
by oneís opponent.

The ABM Treaty by establishing agreed rules for the conduct of the
ëcompetitive nuclear gameí paved the way for reductions in the numbers of
offensive missiles of the US and Russia/USSR because of their enormous
ëoverkillí capacities. Reductions through Strategic Arms Limitations
Treaties (SALT-I and II), and through Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties
(START-I and II) only became possible because of the prior 1972 ABM
Treaty. The two countries came down from having arsenals which could
destroy each other many times over to levels where they could ëonlyí
destroy each other a few times over (i.e., ìmutual assured destructionî or
MAD at a somewhat lower level). In other words, the ABM Treaty didnít
eliminate the existing arms race nor weaken the factors that drove it, but
derived its rationale from the fact that it prevented a new direction and
impetus being given to the arms race which would have made the situation
even worse and more dangerous in the absence of such an ABM Treaty.

By the late sixties it was clear to both the US and USSR/Russia that there
was a rough nuclear ëparityí between the two sides, each possessing
grossly redundant ëoverkillí capacities. The ABM Treaty was itself the
prime embodiment and expression of this accepted parity and therefore of
the futility of either country striving for a nuclear ëadvantageí over the
other. It is not surprising, however, that now that the US believes it can
gain a decisive ëadvantageí through going ahead with its Star Wars
project, it wants to either jettison the Treaty or have it ëmodifiedí in a
manner that would destroy its original purpose preventing national
missile defences.

The ABM Treaty allowed each country to set up very limited defence systems
(comprising radars and interceptors) which were so designed and situated
as to allow each country to defend two sites their capital city and one
other ICBM complex. A 1974 protocol to the Treaty reduced this to one site
each with Russia deciding to defend Moscow and the US its ICBM complex at
Grand Forks, North Dakota. The Treaty banned all other land-based as well
as sea-based, air-based, space-based and mobile land-based interceptor
systems. It also outlawed the stationing of NMD-related radar systems
outside the US mainland. These are all strictures which the currently
planned NMD system aims to override and defy. Tactical TMD systems,
however, are not banned under the ABM Treaty. But there are bilateral
agreements between the US and Russia which aim to maintain the spirit and
purpose of the ABM Treaty and thus seek to prevent TMDs from developing
NMD-type capacities, e.g. radars and interceptors which can operate in an
NMD mode.
7. Is the NMD technologically feasible?

There is no definite answer to this. Building a reliable system of
interceptors is itself an extremely complex matter. Going beyond this to
build laser systems, etc. is to enter the field of as yet untried
techniques and of incomplete and uncertain experimental efforts.
Furthermore, the counter-technologies and techniques which can make the
shield extremely ëleakyí and inefficient are very much easier to develop.
A technology regime that is not viable now however, may become viable
later. Moreover, even if technological ëadvancesí are slow in coming and
do not make the shield foolproof, as long as limited accumulative advances
do take place, vested interests will make sure that the project of Star
Wars remains in place despite whatever cost and time-overruns there may

In other words, whether or not the technology works well enough is not
going to be the decisive factor in determining whether or not the Star
Wars programme survives and expands. The rejection of Star Wars has to be
a political decision determined above all by political and ethical
considerations, not by technological considerations or economic ones. That
the project can cost trillions of dollars only makes it a mouth-watering
prospect for the US arms industry and its supporting networks. Also,
countries seeking to counter Star Wars technologies will have to assume a
big economic burden on themselves, and this many believe will also work to
the USís advantage.
8. Why has the Indian government shifted its stand from opposing to
supporting the NMD?

Even the post-Pokharan II Indian government initially understood that the
NMD project would seriously de-stabilise an already unstable nuclear
situation, promote a new arms race in space, and by seeking to
institutionalize an enduring US nuclear supremacy create all kinds of
tensions and rivalries. Like other nuclear countries apart from the US,
India would have preferred a world without the NMD system. That is why it
opposed it in the first place. However, once the US decided to ignore and
override the objections of other non-nuclear weapons states (NNWSs) and
even of the nuclear weapons states (NWSs), whether friends, allies or
rivals, India believes it must not risk alienating the US but must instead
seek to ingratiate itself with the US in the hope that it will thereby be

Longer term national and global interests which are served by moving
towards complete global disarmament and by opposing NMD-like efforts to
extend the arms race have now been jettisoned in favour of much narrower,
short-sighted and shorter term considerations of a) how best for India to
gain greater acceptance and recognition from the US as a nuclear power,
and b) how best to utilize the situation to forge a closer relationship
with the US even though this means growing dependency and subordination of
Indiaís foreign policy framework to US dictates and concerns.
9. But wonít supporting the NMD give India important benefits? What is
wrong in trying to become a close friend or even ally of the US?

In going in for the NMD/TMDs the US is playing for very high stakes
trying to achieve global nuclear-military dominance. In supporting the
NMD/TMDs India is playing for very low stakes quicker (even if informal)
entry into the nuclear club, lifting of remaining sanctions which are
being eased off anyway, other sops and ëcarrotsí from the US, like more
access to dual-use technologies, surveillance information, stronger
support for Indiaís claim to a Security Council seat, and so on.

On one side we will have greater nuclear tensions and rivalries and a
world moving further away from disarmament. This creates greater
insecurities for everyone but above all for the NWSs themselves, India
included. Even the most powerful nuclear country, the US, feels so
insecure that it wants to go in for an NMD which will create yet another
spiral of insecurity amongst nuclear rivals. An inevitable consequence of
the US going ahead with the NMD is that China will be forced to greatly
enhance the quantity and quality of its nuclear arsenal. This will have
repercussions on India where this Chinese reaction will become the
rationale and excuse for India to similarly enhance its nuclear arsenal,
which in turn pushes Pakistan to do the same.

On the other side, you have an India angling for minor and dubious
ëbenefitsí for which it must also pay a heavy price in loss of national
sovereignty and greater subordination to the USís foreign policy dictates.
It is not just a question of supporting the NMD. India will have to
repeatedly support various US actions (or at least not seriously oppose
them) if it wants to secure from the US a certificate of reliable ëgood
behaviourí. Isnít it obvious that the balance sheet regarding the effects
of the NMD project on India is overwhelmingly negative?

As for becoming an ally of the US, it is vital to recognize and remember
that there is an enormous asymmetry and disparity of power between the US
and India. This means any relationship between the two can never be one
amongst equals regardless of what diplomatic rhetoric and language either
side uses. Indeed, the relationship will have to be established on terms
decided predominantly by, and acceptable to the US. India becoming a
ëfriendí or ëallyí of the US does not mean that the US will discard
Pakistan as a ëfriendí or ëallyí in favour of India. It is the US that is
in the driverís seat, that has many options, and that will decide who its
friends or allies should be, not India. It is the US that can and will use
India for its purposes not the other way around, whether in regard to
China, Pakistan or anyone else.

The NMD issue itself makes this clear. It is not the US that has shifted
to accommodate India but the other way around. In fact, the US seeks to
bully and coerce not only its perceived rivals or opponents but also its
friends and allies, and does this as a matter of routine. Witness how it
has disregarded the concerns over the NMD of Japan and the European/NATO
allies who can now be expected to (howsoever reluctantly) line up in
support of the NMD/TMDs. By going ahead with the NMD project it has shown
that it treats countries far more powerful than India, with contempt and
disregard, and this is the country with which India thinks it can have an
ëequalí or ëbalancedí relationship! India is not a key determinant or axis
of the USís foreign policy framework. Indeed, not even countries much
stronger than India like Russia, China, Britain, Japan, Germany, France
can play such a role. But for India, especially after Pokharan II, the US
has become the single most important, indeed determining, axis of the
whole of Indiaís foreign policy thinking and framework of operation. So
much for Indiaís post-Pokharan II claims that going nuclear would enhance
Indiaís autonomy and sovereignty in the world order.

10. Wonít the nuclear order of the NMD era be a better one for India and
the world than the pre-NMD nuclear order? What about the reductions in
offensive weapons/missiles promised by the US?

For all the reasons already pointed out, the NMD will greatly worsen the
world situation. Believing in the efficacy of MAD was bad enough and a
huge obstacle to bringing about true security through complete nuclear
disarmament. But believing in the possibility of ëwinningí nuclear wars is
even worse and far more detrimental to the prospect of bringing about
total nuclear disarmament. The new nuclear order will be more dangerous,
unstable and lethal in its potential for destruction than the older one.
There are some who think that India will get a place in the ënew nuclear
orderí and that, therefore, India is justified in endorsing the NMD
project. This is extraordinarily foolish thinking on the part of the
Indian government and its acolytes. The existing nuclear order is not a
club of equals. It has three grades of membership. The first-class members
are only the US and Russia. The second-class members are China, France and
Britain. The third-class aspirant members who may be accommodated
informally but not formally, are India and Pakistan. Israel is like a US
appointed caretaker-employee of the club with ëbombs in the basementí but
not yet interested in applying for formal or even informal membership. It
has ënuclear cardsí but instead of entering the ënuclear gameí and playing
its hand, it is holding it back as a ëreserveí.

The NMD seeks to change the whole character of this nuclear club so that
it would eventually have four, rather than three, grades of membership. In
the first class would, if the US has its way, only be the US itself.
Russia would then be long way behind in the second class. China, Britain
and France would be in the third-class with China making desperate efforts
to get into the second-class. India and Pakistan would be even further
behind in the fourth category with ënuclear cardsí that are even ëweakerí
than before for the purposes of the ëgameí with new rules that they are so
keen to enter and play.

The reductions that the US is offering (coming down below the START-III
stipulated level of 2500 warheads deployed on each side) are feeble
compensation for it going ahead with the NMD/TMDs project. US war-planners
believe that the countryís Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) for
targeting and deployment of nuclear weapons requires a minimum of 2000
warheads deployed (with a few thousand other warheads stored in reserve).
The Russians want to come down to 1500 deployed (with a few thousand other
warheads in reserve). These arsenals are still more than enough to destroy
the world a number of times over. Reductions to these levels are not
certain but even if they do take place, the NMD itself acts as a limit to
further deductions on any serious scale. When these thousands of warheads
(deployed and stored) that are still existing are allied to an array of
defence mechanisms including possible new kinds of more accurate and
lethal weapons, there would then emerge a situation which is far worse
than the situation today where there are more warheads in the possession
of US and Russia and more warheads in the global total but no missile
defence systems.
11. Can the NMD/TMDs provide a shield to India and South Asia?

The NMD is for the US mainland only. The US is not planning any regional
TMD for South Asia. Why should it? Contrary to some Indian hopes, the US
does not regard Pakistan as a nuclear threat to it. However, even if a
regional South Asian TMD were to be set up, there are any number of ways
to ëunderflyí it. TMDs are ineffective against short-range, low-trajectory
missiles of the kind that would suffice for much of India-Pakistan
cross-targeting purposes. Moreover, TMDs do not affect or address
aircraft-deliverable bombs where reliance has to be on conventional
anti-aircraft defences that however, cannot distinguish between planes
carrying nuclear warheads and those which do not. Moreover, a plane
carrying nuclear warheads even if it is ëhití or ëdownedí, provide it does
not explode immediately, can still have time to release or ëunpiní its
warheads before crashing, or even detonate at the point of crash contact
itself. In short, a TMD would not provide a meaningful shield for
preventing a major India-Pakistan nuclear exchange were either country
determined to use its nuclear weapons.
12. Could India have acted differently?

Of course, it could have. The first step in preventing the development of
the NMD/TMDs is to oppose it firmly and unequivocally. The next step is to
join forces with all other governments and Civil Society Organisations and
with people everywhere (including in the US) against the NMD/TMDs project.
This is the only way to move towards global disarmament and nuclear
sanity. By treating the NMD/TMDs as ëinevitableí, one only makes its
construction more likely, and the struggle against it more difficult. Such
acceptance also promotes and justifies immoral and unprincipled political
behaviour, misleads the wider public, and legitimizes wrongdoing.

Furthermore, governments which have good relations with the US but are not
prepared to compromise on principle and firmly oppose US nuclear
behaviour, do not fear any untoward US reaction or punishment. Indeed, for
all its irritation and dislike of such government resistance and
opposition, the US does not impose penalties on such countries. To give an
example, Sweden, Brazil, South Africa and Egypt (members of the New Agenda
Coalition which is at the forefront of the global struggle to bring about
disarmament) all have good relations otherwise with the US but are firmly
against the NMD/TMDs. They pursue an independent line on nuclear matters
without fear of US reprisal. Indeed, the US as well as other nuclear
powers (including India) find it extremely frustrating that international
public opinion (including in their own countries) makes it so difficult
for them to successfully threaten or blackmail non-nuclear weapons states
with their nuclear arsenals.

Of course, what is common to the four countries mentioned above is that
all of them have rejected going in for nuclear weapons although they have
the capacity to do so if they wanted (Egypt is the most scientifically and
technologically advanced of the Arab countries), and all have refused to
ëshelterí behind the nuclear umbrella of anyone. Not having nuclear
weapons and refusing to ëshelterí behind them, has given these countries
greater national security, not less and enabled them to be more
independent and critical of the nuclear powers, not less.

By gong in for nuclear weapons in May 1998, India has created greater
nuclear insecurity for itself and for the South Asian region. It has
embarked on a fateful and dangerous escalator of arms racing, an escalator
whose movement is outside of its own control. Nuclear India is less able
than before to behave independently. It is more subject to nuclear
ëimperativesí not of its own making. The NMD is a perfect example of all
this, forcing India to now pretend that the escalator it is riding on is
going where it wants it to go when it so obviously isnít.

India has a choice, however. It can get off this crazy escalator of
constant nuclear arming by giving up nuclear weapons altogether. Doing
this will not only make India safer but will also strengthen the struggle
to make the world safer through the complete and permanent elimination of
nuclear weapons.

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