Curbing Proliferation from Emerging Suppliers: Export Controls in India and Pakistan

By Srivastava, Anupam; Gahlaut, Seema | Arms Control Today, September 2003 | Go to article overview

Curbing Proliferation from Emerging Suppliers: Export Controls in India and Pakistan


Srivastava, Anupam, Gahlaut, Seema, Arms Control Today


Reducing nuclear and other proliferation dangers in South Asia is a crucial goal for the international community. Thus far, maximum international attention regarding India and Pakistan has focused on two approaches: one, encouraging bilateral dialogue and nuclear risk-reduction measures, and two, exhorting them to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). After September 11, 2001, international attention has expanded to include discussion of the two states' abilities to secure their nuclear weapons and fissile materials.

Still, so far the international community has focused primarily on controlling technology trade and transfers to India and Pakistan. Experts have far less understanding of the motivations or policies of export restraints in the two countries.1 Yet, growing indigenous capabilities make it imperative for the focus to expand to include controls on trade and technology transfers from India and Pakistan.

Several reasons justify this expanded focus. First, as Table 1 shows, the two countries have significant nuclear stockpiles and other capabilities that are outside International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. Second, until now, both countries have unilaterally controlled sensitive exports through broad regulatory powers exercised by the federal governments and by keeping the relevant technology sectors within state-owned enterprises. This situation appears to be changing as economic liberalization leads to a greater role by the private sector. Third, the leadership of both countries is facing significant domestic pressure to capitalize on the commercial and/or strategic potential of their respective technological capabilities, mostly through trade and transfers.

Both India and Pakistan, as targets of existing technology control agreements, remain outside the ongoing multilateral efforts to harmonize and coordinate trade and transfers of sensitive technologies. As such, they have no formal stakes in and obligations toward international efforts to regulate the diffusion of sensitive technologies. For instance, both remain outside the NPT, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). They have not signed the CTBT but state their willingness to participate in discussions for a fissile material cut-off treaty. Still, Pakistan has signed 10 of the 12 international conventions on physical protection and nuclear security while India has signed all 12. Further, both are members of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and of the Biological Weapons Convention but remain outside the Australia Group-a voluntary group of countries that work to harmonize export controls on chemical and biological materials.

The possibility of secondary proliferation from states that have recently obtained nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons capability is more than a hypothetical concern. Recent assessments and press reports suggest that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea have been able to circumnavigate the multilateral export control regimes in two ways: one, by focusing on traditional supplier states for mass-market, dual-use equipment and materials, and two, by complementing such acquisitions via a parallel focus on emerging supplier states, such as India and Pakistan, for materials and technology integration. For instance, the Iraqi chemical weapons program obtained the majority of its equipment and materials from western Europe but secured additional materials from a range of developing states, such as Egypt, Brazil, Singapore, and India.2 Similarly, North Korea's centrifuge program was reportedly helped by prototypes, designs, and personnel training from Pakistan3 and Germany.4 Finally, Iran's nuclear facility at Natanz5 reportedly consists of centrifuges based on western European design, but it has benefited from an unspecified degree of assistance from Russia6 and Pakistan.7

These examples highlight secondary proliferation as a critical challenge facing the nonproliferation community. …

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Curbing Proliferation from Emerging Suppliers: Export Controls in India and Pakistan
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