India’s ‘dodgy’ nuclear programme, and why it’s unlikely to be stopped
India’s nuclear programme is a dodgy mess and the country is unlikely to stop building its arsenal anytime soon, a leading Indian expert has said.
The expert, Dr. Sudhir Desai, an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Al Jazeera that India’s plans to build a dozen more nuclear power reactors were a major stumbling block to its peaceful nuclear programme.
Desai, who is the head of the Centre for Advanced Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, said the Indian government has “fiddled” with its nuclear weapons program and there was no clear plan to get rid of it.
“We do have a policy of having no more than five nuclear weapons but we have been making a big mistake in the nuclear policy.
They are now working on the plan of two or three nuclear weapons,” he said.”
It is a big problem.
I think the government of India has a very bad grasp of the nuclear weapons issue and they are trying to play catch up.”
India has plans to upgrade its nuclear warheads to the highest nuclear standards in order to combat the spread of conventional weapons and to counter China’s growing military power.
“The nuclear weapons programme is going in the right direction.
We have started the nuclear power programme and now we have more than 100 nuclear warheads and we have also started the work on the nuclear submarines and they will also be nuclear powered,” Desai said.
But he said India’s new plan for nuclear power is not “a good one”.
“I think it is a bit of a big fish in a small pond,” he told Aljazeera.
“I am not sure that it will work because they are not ready to go nuclear in a reasonable time.
I would not be surprised if they don’t go nuclear at all.”
Desai also said India has had some problems with its uranium enrichment facilities and is likely to need to spend “tens of billions” of dollars on refurbishing them.
“If they go nuclear, the whole thing would be a big fiasco because you would have to do a lot of uranium enrichment.
The government is spending a lot on uranium enrichment and I think it will be a problem,” he added.
India has already invested about $500 million in the refurbishment of its nuclear facilities.