Archive for March, 2013

Lessons from Cyprus: Russia and India Comment on the Bank Bailout and Financial Globalization

The banking crisis in Cyprus has generated a fierce outcry in Russia, while also highlighting the problem of tax havens in a globalized economy. This post examines Russian and Indian commentary on these questions. 


In Russia, the EU-Cyprus agreement to seize a part of large deposits in its two main banks, including those belonging to Russian nationals, was decried as grossly unfair to Russian interests.  Russian companies and individuals reportedly hold over $30 billion- about a third of all deposits– in Cyprus’ banks.
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RPI Author Deepa Ollapally: Misguided Resistance to India’s Possible Entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group

NSG and IndiaBy Dr. Deepa Ollapally, Project Co-Director, Nuclear Debates in Asia; Associate Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies and Associate Research Professor of International Affairs, GWU

The argument that inducting India into the NSG as a member would seriously damage the NPT regime is rather disingenuous. The global nonproliferation regime has been most battered by signatory countries like North Korea and Iran that have been trying to do an end-run around the NPT, and by the 1995 NPT Review process itself that extended the NPT indefinitely without sufficiently strong conditions to ensure credible leverage over the P-5’s own disarmament agenda. The regime is languishing in a weakened state without any quick or easy solution. There is no chance that India will sign the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state and gain NSG membership. Given that India is now in a “half-way house” in a clearly imperfect NPT regime, the question that should be debated is whether it does more damage to the goals of nonproliferation to have India inside or outside the NSG. The answer to that question is not difficult.

Nearly all independent observers agree that India holds an exceptionally good record on nuclear trade and follows global norms even without NSG membership. But having India in the NSG will increase transparency of India’s actions and presumably aid international coordination—outcomes no one can argue with. On the other hand, Pakistan has not been able to shake off the fallout from highly incriminating allegations in 2002 about its trade of sensitive nuclear information with North Korea in exchange for ballistic missiles. It is practically impossible to find any credible analyst willing to confidently vouch for Pakistan’s clean record on nonproliferation—in the past or future. That China, a country linked to controversial nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, is raising obstacles to considering Indian membership in the NSG is telling. Indeed, one can only conclude that China is much more motivated by political competition with India and supporting India’s rival Pakistan, than by any real concern for nonproliferation protocols.

For more on the debate over India’s possible NSG membership, click here.

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Nuclear Debates in Asia Digest: India Eyes Membership Debate at Nuclear Suppliers Group

NSG LogoMembers of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) met in Vienna last week to debate the possible inclusion of India into the group. China and several European nations resisted efforts by the United States, France, Britain, and Russia to integrate Asia’s third-largest economy into the NSG, a decision that could reshape the nuclear energy and nonproliferation landscape. The debate is being closely followed within India, who has yet to formally apply but could gain considerable prestige as part of the exclusive nuclear group.

The NSG, established in 1975, is a group of 46 nations who voluntarily agree to coordinate their export controls for transfers of peaceful nuclear material and related equipment and technology to non-nuclear-weapon states. NSG members promise to not transfer these sensitive items to governments outside of the international nuclear safeguards regime.

Asia is at the center of the current rise in demand for nuclear energy around the globe. India is looking to establish itself as a major player in future nuclear energy trade. Due to U.S. and international sanctions against India stemming from its nuclear weapons program and status outside the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), India developed a largely indigenous nuclear power program. According to the World Nuclear Association, India’s nuclear energy program will have a 14.6 MWe power capacity by 2010 and plans to supply a quarter of its electrical needs from nuclear reactors by the middle of this century.

This Nuclear Debates in Asia digest outlines why membership in the NSG is so important to India and how New Delhi can benefit from a place at the NSG table. (more…)

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Asian Powers React to Hugo Chavez’s Death

Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, died of cancer last week.  In this post, we examine Russian, Indian and Chinese reactions to the death of this legendary and controversial icon in contemporary Latin American politics.


Russian leaders sent warm condolences to Venezuela, praising Chavez for strengthening Russo-Venezuelan ties during his presidency and expressing hope for continued partnership.

  • Referring to Hugo Chavez as “a dear friend of Russia,” Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope on Thursday that Moscow and Caracas will continue developing friendly bilateral relations, while Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev commended Chavez for his life’s devotion to “justice and equality.”
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised Chavez for helping Moscow to reach a new level of partnership with Latin American countries.

Members of the business community expressed concern over the future of Russia’s oil contracts in Venezuela despite assurances of continuity by Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro. (more…)

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RPI Author Scott Snyder on the Latest U.N. Sanctions Against North Korea

Li Baodong

China’s Ambassador to the UN, Li Baodong, speaking before the Security Council last year (Credit: Xinhua News Agency)

After several weeks of internal deliberation, the United Nations Security Council agreed on Thursday to expand sanctions against North Korea in response to its February 12 nuclear test. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2094 joins a number of prior resolutions (1695, 1718, 1874, and 2087) issued after past missile experiments and nuclear tests by the reclusive nation.

The latest vote was unsurprisingly met with condemnation by Pyongyang, which announced that it was nullifying nonaggression and denuclearization pacts with South Korea, silencing an emergency hot-line between the two countries, and earlier this week threatened to carry out “a preemptive nuclear strike” on the United States.

RPI Nuclear Debates in Asia author Scott A. Snyder writes that the increasingly punitive resolutions are “designed to cut off flows of nuclear and missile technologies between North Korea and the outside world and to signal international disapproval of North Korea’s nuclear-related activities.” Furthermore, Snyder highlights that the resolution “reaffirms its support to the Six Party Talks, calls for their resumption, urges all the participants to intensify their efforts on the full and expeditious implementation of the 19 September 2005 [Six Party Talks] Joint Statement.”

Despite the unanimous vote on the Security Council, Snyder believes it remains to be seen:

“whether member states, including China, are prepared to implement these new measures, or whether they will be subjected to a combination of strict interpretations and “willful blindness” on the docks that would render the new measures ineffective.”

Snyder, a senior fellow for Korea Studies and director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, advises North Korean leaders that continued brinksmanship which “turns a deaf ear to the international community’s frustrations” could ultimately undermine its strategy of regime survival if these provocations lead to more “vigorous” implementation of current U.N. Security Council resolutions by long-time but increasingly irritated partners such as China.

Read Scott Snyder’s full blog post here.

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