TODAY -

What If Burma Goes Nuclear?

By Nehginpao Kipgen *

The Burmese military regime's desire to become a nuclear power is an alarming development for the Burmese people, especially ethnic minorities, as well as nations which like to see a nuclear free world. The documentary, broadcasted by the Al Jazeera news network on June 4, is an indication of how the Burmese military junta has planned to acquire nuclear weapons, with the help of North Korea.

Both Burma and North Korea, along with other totalitarian regimes or dictatorships such as Belarus, Cuba, Iran, and Zimbabwe, were identified as "outposts of tyranny" in 2005 by Condoleezza Rice, the then U.S. secretary of state. The Al Jazeera report featured extensive documentation, including photos and blueprints of tunnels and suspected nuclear facilities. The materials which were provided by a military defector, a former army major, add credibility to the suspicion that Burma is pursuing a nuclear program.

The revelation of such covert activities, by its own military rank at this juncture, is something the Burmese military generals would not like to have happened. Not only has the junta denied such allegations, but also supported establishing a Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SEANWFZ). The joint statement of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States of America, in November 2009 "welcomed the efforts of the president of the United States in promoting international peace and security including the vision of a nuclear weapons free world."

The ASEAN-US leadership also "agreed to work towards preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and work together to build a world without nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction." What could have prompted Burma to build nuclear facilities is an interesting subject. North Korea has managed to defy the U.N. sanctions, and has now considered itself as a nuclear power. Pyongyang flexes its military muscles against the threat of any attacks by Seoul and Washington.

The lack of a strong coordinated international response, despite U.N. sanctions, has emboldened North Korea. Amidst international condemnations, North Korea still enjoys the support of China, its closest communist ally which is also a U.N. Security Council member. Such ineffectiveness on the part of the international community to prevent nuclear proliferation has encouraged the Burmese military junta. The military generals believe that their nuclear ambition will not be blocked by China and Russia the two veto-wielding powers of the U.N. Security Council.

If Burma becomes a nuclear nation, it will make the military leaders more arrogant and intransigent. Having no foreign enemy, the junta will not hesitate to use its power to suppress the county's ethnic armed movements, which are fighting for autonomy in their respective territories. The hope of establishing a federal Union of Burma will become slimmer, if not infeasible. The voice of the international community on human rights abuses and exploitation of other democratic rights will also have lesser impact on the military regime.

Moreover, a nuclear Burma will likely make Southeast Asia insecure, unstable, and possibly might pave the way for nuclear arms race in the region. In the larger interest of the international community and the Burmese people, it is important that the International Atomic Energy Agency investigates the report and act responsibly to maintain peace and stability.

ASEAN should abjure its traditional policy of non-interference, especially when an action of its own member state can disturb the peaceful existence of the entire populace in the region. It is expected that the United States government, in its capacity, will work with the international community to prevent Burma from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, North Korea is an example where the U.S. has a limited role to play when it comes to international crisis.

Unless it is for a peaceful purpose, nuclear powers such as China, India and Russia need to work together with other world powers to prevent Burma from acquiring destructive weapons. Proliferation of nuclear bombs, especially in the hands of totalitarian regimes or military dictatorships, should be considered a threat to humanity.

It is important that the Obama administration appoints a special envoy for Burma, which was authorized by the U.S. congress during George Bush's presidency in 2008. The White House should consider the model of the North Korean six-party talk, involving the United States, European Union, ASEAN, China, India, and Burma.

Burma pursuing nuclear weapons is a violation of ASEAN's collective commitment for establishing SEANWFZ and nuclear weapons free world. It is also a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874 (2009) for North Korea to export nuclear materials.

A nuclear Burma is a grave danger to its own ethnic minorities who have suffered racially and psychologically, in the hands of the military junta, for decades.

Note: The article was first published in The Brunei Times, Asia News Network, Journal of Turkish Weekly, Malaysian Mirror, and Asian Tribune.


Nehginpao Kipgen


* Nehginpao Kipgen is a researcher on the rise of political conflicts in modern Burma (1947-2004) and general secretary of the U.S.-based Kuki International Forum (www.kukiforum.com). He has written numerous analytical articles on the politics of Burma and Asia that have been widely published in five continents (Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and North America). .
He can be contacted at nehginpao(at)yahoo(dot)com. This article was webcasted on June 13, 2010.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • A Voice From Khurkhul
  • Violence in Manipur 2023 :: News Timeline
  • Has appeasement towards Kuki backfired ?
  • Roaring through the Frontier
  • 3rd June is World Bicycle Day
  • Witnessing the resurgence
  • Setting the narratives right
  • Pinning hope on judicial probe to end crisis
  • Human-chain @ Keishampat #1 : Gallery
  • Wanted : The Idea of Manipur
  • Post of DGP Manipur
  • Fallout a legacy of colonial British rule #2
  • Workshop: Integration of Communication
  • Union Home Minister's visit is a step too late
  • Manipur in flames since one month
  • Random use of firearms debunks communal
  • Amit Shah visit to Manipur [31 May] : Gallery
  • Fallout a legacy of colonial British rule #1
  • Day 3 report of Amit Shah's visit
  • 8000 surrender since 2014; Manipur burning
  • Breast Cancer! What all you need to know
  • No magic formula spelt out
  • Armed attacks corroborate irrelevance of ST
  • Singju Fest @Heingang #2 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2023 : Tools
  • Memorandum to Union Home Minister
  • Condemned Vandal, Media Misinformation
  • The voice of India's traditional handlooms
  • Amit Shah in town
  • Task cut out for Centre to prevent battle
  • A family of painters & their works
  • Peace first - Solution next
  • Concern over ongoing ethnic violence
  • Condemnation of Act by Armed Militants
  • Nation building through Jan Bhagidari
  • Playing the victim card
  • Internet ban serving no real purpose
  • Relief camp @ Khundrakpam #2 : Gallery
  • How Nehru accepted ... a religious head
  • Observation of present unrest in Manipur #2
  • When rage hijacks sanity
  • Why internationationalisation of education
  • A case of Nero fiddled while Rome burnt ?
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #4
  • The Good Old Days :: Poem
  • Status of Mithun farming in NE
  • Beauty essentials for your holiday
  • Chaudhary Charan: The Voice of Rural India
  • Manipur crisis on centre's menu, at last
  • Curfew : Night time in Imphal : Gallery
  • Manipur turmoil - Dynamics and misgivings
  • Debate on Art 371-C, new facet to violence
  • Sausage as a value added product
  • Gender & anti-corruption : G-20 Agenda
  • Waiting for the Union Home Minister
  • Insecurity among MLAs as violence continues
  • Advanced INA Headquarters, Moirang #2
  • Mt. Khangchendzonga and me
  • Awakening call to our leaders :: Poem
  • The unseen costs of Internet shutdown
  • An open letter to PM Narendra Modi
  • Best choice of career options after 12th Arts
  • Time to think for the children
  • Gunmen loose in foothill, military in city
  • Sit-in-Protest [21 May] : Gallery
  • Manipur situation mentioned at UN
  • Observation of present unrest in Manipur #1
  • Man, woman, sex, sexuality and the truth
  • Japanese koi fish: Farming in Manipur
  • Khurakki Eena Lai Saba
  • Time to tilt the balance
  • The Story of Leishemba : Fungga Wari #2
  • Press Meet at Dispur Press Club, Guwahati
  • Condemns assault on media by armed forces
  • What/who is tearing Manipur apart ?
  • The fast & ugly spread on social media
  • Separate admin call: Acceptable to the Nagas?
  • Task for men in uniform to restore peace
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Science
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Arts
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Commerce
  • Why should Meitei be included in ST list?
  • Books are our Best Friends
  • Forced peace not viable line
  • Expansionism agenda at play
  • Sit-in-Protest @ Ima Keithel : Gallery
  • International Tea Day : Jimli
  • CSO meet at Manipuri Basti, Guwahati
  • History - A New Perspective :: Poem
  • Posers to New Delhi and Imphal
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #3
  • Silent murmurs longing for answers
  • Perturbed about the future of Manipur
  • Take immediate action to bring normalcy
  • Can Myanmar-B'desh cooperate in disaster
  • Reopen national highways before it's too late
  • Tree's greatest strength lie in its roots
  • Press Conference at Press Club of India
  • Solidarity meet in support of women wrestlers
  • Management of Fall Armyworm
  • Benefit & drawback of Taka-Rupee exchange
  • Time to set right the narrative
  • Sit-in-Protest in Imphal : Gallery
  • Writer of 'CCpur da khundariba Meetei sing'
  • Landing in Sikkim, 1983
  • Request for lifting ban on Internet
  • Farm income through efficient farm mgmt #2
  • Condemns rape of a minor girl in Assam
  • SoO pact under scanner
  • Price of cooked up stories & hatred
  • Angamba & Samuel: Friendship beyond riot
  • Supreme Court ruling on Manipur High Court
  • Bijou Thangjam in Kannada film: Chilli Chicken
  • Do you want a "New Nagaland" ?
  • Our nurses, our future
  • Attempt to seize ancestral Meetei land
  • Significant stand of TNL
  • Relief camp @ Khundrakpam #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2023 #2: Gallery
  • Instigating violence for narrow political gain
  • Agri-Tourism: Approach to rural development
  • Manipur on the boil since May 3
  • Time for introspection on communal riot
  • Ground assessment to expose riot plotters
  • Relief camp @ Moirang #2 : Gallery
  • Appeal to people who are blocking highway
  • Plantation drive of medicinal plants
  • People spirit to help each other shone bright
  • Useful tips for healthy teeth & a happy smile
  • Suspension of internet
  • Violence subsides, tension persists
  • The Story of Leishemba : Fungga Wari #1
  • Mother's Day calls for Peace
  • Farm income through efficient farm mgmt #1
  • Nari Shakti : Empowering the Nation
  • From streets to political corridor
  • Onus on SF to justify normalcy claims
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #2
  • Impact of Internet Ban on Students
  • An open letter to citizens of Manipur
  • Help Rebuild Manipur
  • Nutrition garden for food security
  • Condemns lack of efforts by state govt
  • Curtain Story
  • Shirui Lily Fest 2022 #2 : Gallery
  • The only way forward is peaceful coexistence
  • Advancing Indo-Naga peace process
  • The courage to be 'yourself'
  • Mass culturing technique of nematode
  • 3 decades of Panchayati Raj Institutions
  • Blacking out stand of 10 MLAs
  • Need to present a strong case
  • Bye to cashless transactions for now
  • Accelerate probe into communal clash
  • Mithingai Amagi Meeshi @ Drama : Gallery
  • Fight to end corporate capture of healthcare
  • Mother to all :: Poem
  • International Nurses Day - 12 May
  • NPF condemns same sex Marriage: Azo
  • Commercialized artificial insemination in pig
  • Not all in designated camps
  • Relief camp @ Moirang #1 : Gallery
  • Mass gathering for peace & harmony at Pune
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind :: Rvw
  • 'Demographic threat' to indigenous inhabitant
  • Galvanising Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  • Uneasy calm as state limps back to normalcy
  • Probe inevitable to expose mayhem instigator
  • Time to focus on rehabilitation
  • Spare women and children, medical
  • Kangkum Village in Kamjong : Gallery
  • Appeal to all the people of Manipur
  • Genesis of Manipur crisis
  • Of people and communities
  • Scholarship for civil service aspirants
  • Understanding IES/ISS Examinations
  • Catalyst & solutions to ethnic clashes
  • Appeal to restore normalcy in Manipur
  • We need groundwater in Manipur
  • Just a little courage for the word 'No'
  • Working journalist movement
  • To SC against HC directive
  • 'Peace Appeal' by Women of Northeast
  • Celebrities urge national media not to publish...
  • To our Brothers and Sisters in Manipur
  • Calling for peace and relief
  • Importance of post harvest technology
  • Watermelon a Summer fruit
  • From May 3, 1993 to the present
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #1
  • Ishanou : Film recognised as World Classic
  • Meghalaya government launches helpline
  • Manipur & NE - PM's favourite on MKB
  • Comfort Zone and Days of Yore :: Poem
  • Singiri Kona, the solitude Narasimha Temple
  • Advanced INA Headquarters, Moirang #1
  • Candle light vigil at Delhi
  • Restore calm & prevent further escalation
  • Appeal to give up violence
  • Refrain from violence
  • How to go for quick revision for JEE Advanced
  • It is not Tribals Vs Meiteis
  • MANITEX @ Nilakuthi #5 : Gallery
  • Designers : Interact with creative leaders
  • An appeal for peace
  • Call for cessation of violence
  • Appeals for communal harmony, peace
  • Mopping approach is not enough to end TB
  • An Ode to my House :: Poem
  • Suspending social media services
  • Three Mothers Art Gallery : Wood Art
  • Public Curfew Orders in Manipur
  • Use of drugs & precaution in Veterinary
  • COVID-19 Status 03 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Legal Aid Defense Counsel System Thoubal
  • Colposcopy, LEEP Services launched
  • Careers in improving public health
  • 30th Anniversary of Pangal's Black Day
  • Tension simmers as ST demand, eviction...
  • Opposition to ST demand for Meiteis
  • Lui-ngai-ni@ Chandel #2 : Gallery
  • The phenomenon that is Radhakumar
  • COVID-19 Status 02 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Jobs @ CNBT worklinksystem, Imphal
  • Press Freedom Day: Journalism independence
  • Legal Aid Defense Counsel System Bishnupur
  • Value addition to fish in the context of NE #3
  • PM Modi's Mann Ki Baat reaping fruit
  • Politics along community line
  • Gakripu : A Naga Folk Tale
  • COVID-19 Status 01 May : Govt of Manipur
  • MKF at C20 Conclave in Sikkim
  • Workshop : Youth20 Engagement group
  • Lament over peace process stretching 25 yrs
  • Wind of Change
  • Khongjom Day @ Khebaching : Gallery
  • 100th Episode of 'Maan Ki Baat' : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 April : Govt of Manipur
  • ADB financing in Manipur & accountability
  • 'Mann Ki Baat' screening at Raj Bhavan
  • Embracing Chaos in Jewelled Land :: Poem
  • Same sex marriage & popu control
  • Education commissioner take on Govt teacher
  • Wetland conservation needs holistic approach
  • My Memories of Imphal #20 : Download
  • Ranjeet Chingtham : Martial art performer
  • Id-ul-Fitr @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Thabal Competition #3 : Gallery
  • Lembi Leima :: Movie Review
  • N Tombi's contribution to Anganghal #4
  • Research Officer @ Amethyst
  • Ningtam Lan Ningshing Numit : Gallery
  • Shajibu Cheiraoba @ Pune : Gallery
  • Mangka tour of Switzerland & France : Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Houses @ Thalon, Tamenglong #2 : Gallery
  • English Pronouncing Skills : Book Download
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar for 2023