Global Nuclear Challenges: Energy, Proliferation and Disarmament

Manpreet Sethi

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The inherent dual nature of the power of the atom, as provider of electricity or as a weapon of mass destruction, has dictated national policies and international security agendas for decades now. A resurgence of interest in nuclear energy promises a reliable and environmentally sustainable source of electricity. But it also poses the risk of nuclear proliferation since mastery of nuclear fuel technology can also bring nations to the technical threshold of nuclear weapons. The decision, then, to cross the line is a political one.

Except for four countries (India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea), every other nation is a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This should practically obviate the possibility of new states going nuclear unless one withdraws from the NPT and makes the bomb. Yet, the risk of proliferation remains alive.

Nuclear disarmament provides one plank on which the spread of nuclear energy could be sustainably reconciled with nuclear nonproliferation. However, not many of those who matter are yet ready to acknowledge its desirability or feasibility.

It is against the backdrop of this conundrum of nuclear issues that the Centre for Air Power Studies organised a seminar on Global Nuclear Challenges whose papers are reproduced in this volume. They reveal the complex interlinkages of contemporary nuclear concerns. The book should be essential reading for all involved in negotiating the maze of nuclear challenges confronting mankind today.

Manpreet Sethi Dr Manpreet Sethi heads the project on Nuclear Security at the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) New Delhi. Over the last twelve years, since completion of her Ph.D from the Latin American Division, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, she has focussed on issues related to nuclear strategy, energy, proliferation, export controls and disarmament. She was earlier on the research faculty of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, from 1997-2001, and has been at CAPS thereafter.
She is the author of Argentina’s Nuclear Policy (1999), co-author of Nuclear Deterrence and Diplomacy (2004) and editor of Towards a World Free of Nuclear Weapons (2009). Her research papers are widely published in national and international journals and books. She is a visiting lecturer at training establishments of the Indian Armed Forces and a participant in Track II diplomacy.

 

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