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SOUTH ASIA CONFLICT MONITOR

CBRN Digest

Monthly newsletter on Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Weapons, Materials, Proliferation, Environmental and Humanitarian issues.





Arms Control and Proliferation

Ricin Scare in Las Vegas: Facts and Fiction?

Animesh Roul
March 5, 2008

As the investigations into Las Vegas Ricin poisoning continue with the Centers for Disease Control issued a health advisory already, the mystery over two vials of poison found in the Von Bergendorff’s Motel room still haunts Police, FBI and U.S. Homeland Security agents. Police claimed to have found guns, "anarchist-type" fiction (with the ricin section highlighted) and castor beans from Bergendorff’s room who has been under medical supervision since mid February.

AQ Khan Nuke Mart: Pakistan Come Clean on Nuclear Matters

Reshmi Kazi
October 15, 2007

The statement of a former Prime Minister of Pakistan on Dr A Q Khan, although created furor, largely welcomed by the advocates of nuclear non-proliferation. The exiled Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader, Benazir Bhutto categorically stated that she will permit the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to interview Dr AQ Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, to determine the credibility of the allegation against him being solely involved in nuclear technology proliferation from Pakistan to other countries.

Syria and Chemical Weapon: Has Aleppo Blast Said It All?

Ajey Lele
October 9, 2007

Syria's state news agency, Sana reported that a explosion in Aleppo on July 26, killed around 15 soldiers and wounded 50 others. The Syrian officials had claimed that highly explosive products blew up due to an accidental fire at the facility and no sabotage was involved. They had reasoned that the increase in ambient temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius caused an ammunition dump to explode, killing and wounding the soldiers.

Pakistan: Threats to Fissile Materials and Issue of Disaster Management

Dr. Mohammed Badrul Alam
June 5, 2007

Like in any nuclear weapon state, multiple vulnerabilities exist in a nuclear weapons complex. In the case of Pakistan, it is possible that groups or individuals may violate security rules for a variety of reasons, including profit making, settling a vendetta, or religious or ideological motives. Rogue elements may try to gain control over sensitive items for their own use or to transfer these items to another state or to other non-state actors for financial or ideological reasons.

Myanmar: Quest for Nuclear Energy and Concerns

Dr. Pankaj Kumar Jha
June 5, 2007

The Cold War mindset is difficult to fade away. With the announcement of designing and building the nuclear energy centre in Myanmar by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency, the US has raised concerns about the peaceful nature of Myanmar’s nuclear energy programme. The proposed 10 megawatt light water reactor has attracted international attention to Myanmar. The negotiation for acquiring the nuclear technology between Russian Agency and Myanmar was shelved since 2003 due to certain payment problems.

Chemical Weapons Convention: Achievements and Future Challenges

SSPC Research
May 3, 2007

The Chemical Weapons Convention which marked its tenth anniversary on April 29 bans the development, production, acquisition and use of chemical agents (e.g. Vesicants and nerve agents) and requires the destruction of existing stockpiles.

Managing Nuclear Information

Sitakanta Mishra
January 10, 2007

Every consent is manufactured on the basis of the kind of information disseminated. With the revolution in Information Technology (IT), public perception is shaped in varied ways on varied aspects for varied lengths. However, some issues tend to remain in vogue in the public domain for decades owing to its perceived relative impact on the human civilization. Here, the kind and the nature of information disseminated on a phenomenon is crucial than the real nature of the phenomenon itself. One such example is the idea of nuclear technology.

Prithvi Air Defence Exercise: Towards Indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence

Ajey Lele
December 26, 2006

India has put its first successful step in the arena of ballistic missile defence by conducting a successful but a surprise test of new interceptor missile in late November over the Bay of Bengal. This missile, named as AXO (Atmospheric Intercept System), was fired from the Wheeler Islands off Chandipur in Orissa. In fact, AXO is a modified version of Prithvi-II specially manufactured for this test. It intercepted another surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile.

The Global Nuclear Nausea: North Korea Only One Symptom

Sitakanta Mishra
October 16, 2006

North Korea’s defiance has culminated in a seismic wave of around 4.2 in the Richter scale, but its politico-strategic ramifications are beyond calculation. The episode has provided sufficient fodder for the strategic community to interpret vividly the nomenclature of clandestine proliferation, possible actions and reactions of the stakeholders, and the current state of the global nuclear order. However, it should be understood that Pyongyang’s case is not a single phenomenon.

US Military Aid to Pakistan: Issues and Concerns

Ajey Lele
June 30, 2006

Indo-US relations are on the upswing since signing of the coveted nuclear deal during the US President’s visit to India in March. On the other hand, the Americans have not forgotten their old ally Pakistan altogether. The seriousness of the AQ Khan affair prohibits Americans from offering nuclear energy to Pakistan but on military front they are ready to help their ally considerably.