Like shifting sands of a desert, the global nuclear landscape changes every few years across its three main constituents–nuclear energy, non-proliferation and disarmament. Each of these has seen phases of cautious optimism, deep scepticism and outright pessimism over the last two decades. This book offers a bird’s eye view on all the three, even as the individual authors offer a worm’s eye view on each specific topic within the larger ambit.
The first section of the book examines developments in the nuclear energy sector. A broad-brush scan of the contemporary drivers and challenges for nuclear energy at global level, as also that of India, reveals a positive trend line. There is also cautious optimism around the concept, developments and prospects of small modular reactors. It remains to be seen how effectively and quickly licensing and regulation issues are resolved for the new concepts to become commercially viable.
The second part of the book is devoted to non-proliferation. Vertical nuclear and missile proliferation amongst nuclear armed states, and horizontal proliferation cases of Iran and possibilities in East Asia are considered. Nuclear terrorism and the state of the NPT are also examined. Collectively, these issues reflect a mood of pessimism on non-proliferation at this juncture.
Neither is there much to cheer on nuclear disarmament. The last section of the book examines the consequences of use of nuclear weapons, concepts of CBMs and arms control, and recent disarmament initiatives. A tentative exploration of the prospects of disarmament in the wake of Russia-Ukraine conflict is also undertaken. A hope that good sense will prevail, and fear that it might not, seem to coexist at this moment.
It is in India’s interest to proactively shape the landscape across these three elements. The book seeks to provide the basis to do so.
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