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  • Author: David Cortright, Amitabh Mattoo
  • Publication Date: 11-1997
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: The Survey. An opinion survey of elite opinion on India's nuclear policy was conducted between late September and early November 1994. The survey consisted of face to face interviews with educated elites in seven Indian cities. Respondents were government civil servants, academicians, scientists, journalists, lawyers, politicians, doctors, public and private sector executives, members of the police and armed forces, and sports figures. Interviews were conducted by MARG, Marketing and Research Group Pvt. Ltd. (New Delhi), for the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and the Fourth Freedom Forum, Goshen, Indiana. The target sample size was 1000, with 992 responses. Respondents were interviewed in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Banglore, Lucknow, and Hyderabad. Views on India's Nuclear Policy. Respondents were divided into three groups. The first and largest group (57 percent, N=563) consists of those supporting India's current policy of keeping the nuclear option open: neither renouncing nuclear weapons nor acquiring them. The second group (33 percent) supports India's acquisition of nuclear weapons (N=326). The third group (8 percent, N=83) favors renunciation of nuclear weapons. The survey probed the factors that might convince respondents to alter their views on nuclear weapons policy. For those supporting government policy or favoring weaponization, i.e., the vast majority of respondents, the most important considerations that would permit India to renounce the nuclear option are "a time-bound plan for global nuclear disarmament" and "a verifiable renunciation of Pakistan's nuclear option." Looking at the reverse question, what would justify India's development of nuclear weapons, nearly half of those supporting the government's position believe that India should proceed with weaponization if Pakistan tests a nuclear device. Threats from a nuclear Pakistan are also the primary consideration for those favoring weaponization. By contrast, the prospect of a border settlement with China and removal of Chinese nuclear weapons from Tibet appears to have little influence on opinion. Nor is there strong belief that a serious deterioration of relations with China could justify the development of nuclear weapons. These findings suggest that the primary motivation for the nuclear option in India is not the perceived threat from China but concern about the Pakistani nuclear program. An intensive effort to negotiate a verifiable test ban and nuclear inspection agreement with Pakistan could significantly enhance prospects for denuclearization. The strong consideration given to global disarmament also suggests that the most important step the United States and other nuclear powers could take to defuse nuclear tensions in South Asia would be to support negotiations for comprehensive nuclear disarmament, as called for in Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Support for Multilateral Arms Control. Thirty-nine percent of all respondents support the idea of India signing the NPT with or without the condition that Pakistan also sign the treaty. Forty-two percent of those who support the government's nuclear policy favor India signing the NPT either unilaterally or bilaterally with Pakistan. Even 32 percent of those who favor the development of nuclear weapons support India's signing of the NPT. More than 90 percent of all respondents express support for an international agreement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Only 2 percent oppose the idea. Use of Nuclear Weapons. Forty-four percent of all respondents feel that nuclear weapons could never be used. Thirty-three percent of respondents feel the use of nuclear weapons would be justified if Pakistan were about to take over Kashmir. Only 23 percent believe that a nuclear response would be appropriate if China were about to overwhelm India militarily. Factors Shaping Views Respondents were asked what would motivate them. to advocate India's acquiring of nuclear weapons as well as what might lead them. to support India's renouncing them. When those supporting India's current policy were asked what circumstances might lead them. to renounce nuclear weapons use, 58 percent cited a time-bound plan for global nuclear disarmament. The survey analysis found a significant correlation (r=.218, significant at .01 level) between the belief that threats from other nuclear powers justify India's development of nuclear weapons and the view that India could renounce nuclear weapons if a time-bound plan for global disarmament were in place. This buttresses the argument that greater international cooperation on disarmament might reduce the tendency of elites to accept nuclear weapons development as a policy option. The next largest proportion of respondents favoring government policy (26 percent) cited a verifiable ban on Pakistan's nuclear weapons development. Fifteen percent saw a boundary settlement with China and the removal of nuclear weapons from Tibet as a prerequisite for India's renunciation of nuclear weapons. This pattern of responses suggests that, while regional security issues are important for reducing the attractiveness of India's nuclear option, a far more important factor in reducing the inclination of elites to support the acquisition of nuclear weapons is a comprehensive treaty leading toward the global elimination of nuclear threats. Respondents who indicated that India should develop nuclear weapons most frequently cited threats from a nuclear Pakistan (57 percent) and an interest in advancing India's international bargaining power (49 percent) as their reasons for taking such a position. Twenty-seven percent of this group saw threats from other nuclear powers as motivating their interest in seeing India go nuclear. While a third of this group saw no circumstance which would lead them. to change their position on nuclear weapons, 42 percent saw a global agreement to eliminate nuclear testing and development as a situation under which India could renounce nuclear weapons. It appears that an international treaty would do two things that would address the primary concerns indicated by these respondents. First it would reduce the regional threat caused by the possibility of Pakistan acquiring a nuclear weapon. Second it would reduce the political leverage which nuclear weapons states have over nonnuclear states, thus reducing the attraction of nuclear weapons development as a political strategy. The group opposed to India's acquiring of nuclear weapons remained firmly opposed to their use, with 60 percent indicating that no circumstance would make them. consider that India should adopt such weapons. Of those who viewed some situations as calling for a nuclear response, the largest proportion viewed threats from other nuclear powers-as opposed to regionalized threats or other international pressures--as a situation which would lead them. to consider changing their views. This would suggest that the absence of international controls on nuclear weapons states creates insecurities which might prevent opponents of nuclear weapons from eschewing their use in international politics. Larger Study. This study is part of a larger study on India's nuclear choices, David Cortright (President, Fourth Freedom Forum, Goshen, Indiana) and Amitabh Mattoo (Associate Professor in International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India). The study is the result of a collaboration between Indian and American scholars, including Dr. Sumit Ganguly (Associate Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York), Dr. Kanti Bajpai (Associate Professor in International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), Dr. Aabha Dixit (Research Officer, Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, New Delhi) and Dr. Varun Sahni (Reader in Politics, University of Goa). For more information about the survey and the larger study, contact David Cortright at 1-800-233-6786, or fax (1-219-534-4937) or mailto:fff@tln.net (outside the U.S., call 1-219-534-3402). Amitabh Mattoo can be reached in India by mailto:Mattoo@jnuniv.ernet.in or faxing 011-91-11-689-6454.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, New Delhi
  • Author: Mordechai Abir
  • Publication Date: 09-1997
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The stability of Saudi Arabia (and the Persian Gulf as a whole) is crucially important to the world's industrial countries. According to the Gulf Center of Strategic Studies, "oil is expected to account for 38 percent of all the world consumption of energy until 2015, compared to 39 percent in 1993. Increasing world-wide demand for oil, now about 74 million barrels per day, is projected to rise by 2015 to about 110 million" (Gulf Report, London, July 1997). Over 60 percent of the world's proven oil reserves are located in the Persian Gulf, and Saudi Arabia alone controls 25 percent of the total.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Energy Policy, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: David Newman
  • Publication Date: 07-1997
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Maps are a very important part of the political process of conflict resolution known as the peace process. Maps are important parts of all territorial conflicts. We often walk around with the idea of a map in our head and think we know what we are talking about, but often we do not.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Peace Studies, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine