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In A See-saw Of Changing Equations

Anindyo J. Majumdar

Edited by C. Raja Mohan and C. Uday Bhaskar
Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, 2005, pp. xii 318, Rs. 500.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 12 December 2005

The irony of the near-universal Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is that despite all the hype and adulation, it remains a flawed arrangement in practice, repeatedly facing crises in one form or the other. As it created two separate categories of states, it also created two clashing sets of interests which can perhaps only be reconciled in nuclear disarmament. The NPT has effectively slowed down the process of nuclear proliferation but could not prevent the eventual progression and apparently the original aim has been much diluted with the passing years creating disillusionment and a sense of dejection.     Emerging Nuclear Proliferation Challenges is the outcome of the proceedings of a conference that took place before the May 2005 NPT Review exercise. The papers presented in the Conference have been divided in segments comprising the future prospects of the NPT regime, the associated debates, new initiatives beyond the regime, and the perspectives of select countries like the P-5, Iran, Japan and India on NPT.     Divergent views have been accommodated in the collection. K. Subrahmanyam draws attention to the fact that a predicament now exists as the states are now increasingly adapting themselves to the non-use of nuclear weapons while non-state proliferation tends to pose a grave threat for the future. On the other hand, Jasjit Singh suggests that strengthening nonproliferation will continue to suffer setbacks as long as the  nuclear weapons retain their pre-eminence in the security policies of the major powers. However, all agree that the NPT is ill-equipped to deal with catastrophic terrorism, a new item added to the already troublesome unfinished agenda. Measures beyond the existing NPT system become necessary to tackle the threats posed by the non-state actors. However, these measures—ranging from Multilateral Nuclear Approaches for peaceful application of nuclear energy to Proliferation Security Initiative and Container Security Initiative in order to prevent shipment of sensitive materials to hostile destinations—have their own limitations with regard to widespread cooperation and effective implementation.       At any rate, the  performance of the NPT regime in curbing proliferation among states too is desultory. Rajesh Rajagopalan forcefully equates the vested interests of the Great Powers and the success (or failure) of a particular regime. As the NPT regime has served and continues to serve the interest of the  Great Powers—albeit in different degrees at different points of time—he argues that the NPT regime will be sought to be further strengthened by possibly ...

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