Editorial Board

 

Editor in Chief : Prof. M. D. Nalapat

 

Managing Editor : Dr. H. Vinod Bhat

 

Editorial Advisor : Dr. S. M. Bhaskar

 

Editorial Advisor : Shri. Pradeep Kapur

 

Executive Editor : Dr. Mohini Gupta

 

Features Editor( Security Studies ) : Dr. Nanda Kishor 

 

Features Editor( Foreign Policy ) : Dr. Monish Tourangbam

 

Editorial Consultant : Dr. Arvind Kumar

 

Editorial Co-ordinator : Ms. Dhanasree Jayaram

 

 

Advisory Board

 

Shri Alok Joshi

 

Dr. Anil Kakodkar

 

Ambassador Rakesh Sood

 

Ambassador Sheelkant Sharma

 

Mr. Bhaskar Roy

 

Dr. V. Siddhartha

 

Dr. Suresh Lee

 

 

Technical support: Mr A. Sarvari

 

 

Editorial announcement

 

The Science, Technology, and Security forum (STSfor) with its continued commitment to coveringscientific and technological issues impacting India’s as well as international security, is soliciting article contributions from senior experts and young scholars on four themes of immediate contemporary interest – “North Korea as a Global Existential Threat”, “Pakistan and the Proliferation Axis”, “Thoriumfuel for energy security” and “Chabahar versus Gwadar”.  The focus will be on solutions for the containment of perceived threats and India’s significant role in achieving regional and global peace and stability through political, economic, scientific, and technological leadership.

 

  1. 1. “North Korea as a Global Existential Threat”

 

There is little doubt that allowing North Korea to operationalise a nuclear attack system capable of inflicting simultaneous and unacceptable harm on Japan and South Korea poses a global existential threat. Given the chemistry of the North Korean Leadership (NKL), it would be an inexcusable dereliction of responsibility by the current regimes in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo to allow Pyongyang to graduate into a second Pakistan by having nuclear weapons (rather than simply devices) as well as delivery systems capable of inflicting grievous harm on its real or imagined adversaries. History has revealed that the past inaction of Washington and New Delhi have allowed the unfettered growth of Pakistan into a nuclear Frankenstein with the helping hand of China.

 

STSforseeks to analyse the geopolitical implications of the acquisition and deployment of various military technologies in North Korea, the role of Pakistan and China in the genesis of proliferation networks as they have evolved up to the present and how the international community could contain this threat.

 

The themed series on “North Korea as a Global Existential Threat” was flagged off through a discussion on “Geopolitical Implications of the North Korea Crisis”stimulated by the opinion pieces of STSforEditor-In-Chief Prof M. D. Nalapat and other experts and scholars.

 

  1. 2. “Pakistanand the Proliferation Axis”

 

The proliferation of nuclear technology from Pakistan to North Korea, Iran and other countries, has been well documented. The central role of China in instigating, aiding and abetting Pakistan nuclear ambitions cannot be ignored in any meaningful discussion on the subject. Cooperation in the development of nuclear weapons between Pakistan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been ongoing since the 1970s and was accelerated some years after the 1998 Chagai tests by Pakistan.Warnings that by 2021 and at the latest by 2023 the DPRK and Pakistanwould each have a “fully functional nuclear weapons stockpile together with reliable means of delivery” have also surfaced. With China’s unflagging commitment to both the illicit acquisition and proliferation of technology, it does not come as a surprise it has been intensifying its assistance to Islamabad under the fig leaf of carrying out existing contracts. Against this backdrop, the second article series will assess an emboldened Pakistan’s emerging nuclear policy and evaluate the possibility that through proliferation, Pakistan, and perhaps even North Korea, serve as the cat’s paws for furthering the regional ambitions of China which would in turn, serve to destabilisethe South Asian region and threaten international security.

 

  1. 3. “Thorium fuel for energy security”

 

Anindigenously made Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) fuelled by a mix of thorium and uranium, can generate about 320 MW of electricity at low cost and with a high degree of safety besides having a near zero risk of proliferation. Such reactors are eminently suitable for small towns across India and in several other countries. The Indian establishment needs to take advantage of this innovative technology and as a first step, make the country's nuclear programme self-sufficient in terms of cost.

 

Withpolitical will backing strongscientific leadership, it will be possible to ramp up the electricity production to 500 MW thereby making the unit even more attractive to buyers in the country and outside, potentially propelling India into being a global supplier of affordable and safe nuclear reactors. The ultimate green energy, thorium fuelled advanced reactors could well be the future solution to the burgeoning energy requirements of the world. Yet, while vast reserves of thorium are being indiscriminately plundered in India by vested interests, the chief beneficiary could be China which is purportedly the primary purchaser. With China’s inclination towards developing technology through espionage and unfair means, the somewhat complexscientific and R&D process could be largely by-passed and the time saved could provide them the lead. Long overdue is purposeful and decisive action in the form of enabling and implementing legislation to safeguard our natural resources, restoring thebest scientific leadershipin key institutions across the countryandevolving a strong, focussed and clearly enunciatedscience, technology, R&D policywhich can be adopted at all levels within the country.

 

The third article series will help build the platform for a discussion on these scientific, technological and policy aspects which could aid the utilisation of the country’s thorium reserves for the rapid development of advanced indigenous technology. Apart from the substantial contribution this would make to India’s future energy security, this country could provide safe, clean and indigenous technology world-wide, even to economically challenged nations as a flagship “Make in India” venture.

 

  1. 4. “Chabahar versus Gwadar”

 

Iran’s Chabahar is often projected as India’s answer to China’snefarious schemescentred around the deep-water port at Gwadar in Pakistan. The Pakistan government’s formal transfer of the overall operation of the port to China in 2013 had generated ripples across the Indian strategic establishment. The port is ideally placed to serve as the flagship venture for joint R&D programmes between these two technologically irresponsible nations to aid the transfer of both military and strategic technologies. The ensuing mutually beneficial exchange could serve as a dangerous template for the world’s first formally endorsedbi-lateral proliferation network. The increasing Chinese military presence in Gwadar reported by Pakistan points to the possibility of the Chinese camel having arrived at the Pakistani tent. On the other hand, although Indian investments in Chabahar got a shot in the arm with the partial lifting of the sanctions against Iran (post the 2015 Iran-P5+1 nuclear deal), the shifting sands of US-Iran relations in the Trump era have once again brought an air of caution vis-a-vis India’s approach to Chabahar. India’s opportunity in Chabahar has the potential to dramatically transform its politico-economic and strategic character in the Eurasian geopolitical landscape. The fourth article series will make an attempt to highlight the centrality of Chabahar to India not only as a counter to Chinese designs in Gwadar but also in facilitating India’s strategic foray into Afghanistan and Central Asia.