http://www.gulfnews.com/world/India/10301063.html Cyber warfare bigger threat than nukes in future, says APJ Abdul Kalam By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter Published: April 03, 2009, 23:02 Abu Dhabi: The possibility of cyber warfare in a knowledge economy may balance thousands of nuclear weapons stockpiled by superpowers, according to the father of Indian missile technology. Video: Abdul Kalam gives views on India's future Nuclear weapons will be insignificant without superpowers' knowledge, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam , former president of India who was also a major contributor in building India's nuclear capability, told Gulf News in an exclusive interview at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi during his visit to the UAE on March 31. The following are excerpts: GULF NEWS: You have been promoting education through your speeches and writing. But an age-old criticism - on world governments spending huge amounts on military and weapons which could be used to alleviate poverty and illiteracy - still exists. Critics allege that military complexes influence government policies. Do you think the struggle for disarmament and peace is essential to promoting education? Dr A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM: India has spent $11 billion (Dh40.4 billion) on education in [the] 10th plan [national five-year plan] and the 11th plan proposes to spend $55 billion. For infrastructure development in rural sectors, we proposed to spend around $14 billion. Thus there is no confusion in our mind about the importance of education and rural development. But sometimes the whole world around has [various] weaponries, so we have to defend ourself and India is spending minimum amount for that - less than three per cent of GDP. However there is a need for promoting disarmament and peace at the global level. US allied nations and Russian allied nations both have about 10,000 nuclear warheads each and carriers. They have programmes [Start-1 and Start-2] to reduce the number of weapons, but it is not happening. They consider nuclear weapons as status symbols and [ways to show] strength. Within a few years, the economy will be [a] knowledge economy - fully electronically connected. So if you damage that electronic link, it will be more lethal, than any missile or nuclear attack. So such electronic warfare may neutralise the might of nuclear powers, without their knowledge. Nuclear arms may become insignificant. At least 50 nations should join together and persuade the big powers to reduce the 20,000 nuclear warheads to zero, so that world can live peacefully. To keep the nuclear warheads with safety and security needs tremendous expenditure. Since the UN is not doing anything, others have to push for it. If the United States and Russia do it [disarmament], others will follow. The political problems in South Asia, especially between India and Pakistan, have prompted governments to increase defence budgets at the cost of poverty alleviation and education. Are there enough peace efforts to reverse the situation so that the youth in the region can dream of a better education and living standards? In common meetings, I have always been saying that our common enemy is poverty and illiteracy and we should work together to fight this enemy. If you look at Europe, they were fighting each other for hundreds of years - they caused two world wars. But today 23 nations have joined together under European Union to work for economic prosperity and peace. The United States and Russia are also at peace now. Saarc nations [South Asian nations] should join together to focus in fight against poverty and disease. I am optimistic that it will happen as it happened in Europe. The world talks a lot about Mahatma Gandhi these days. As he did, you too want to build a self reliant India. Which ideals and plans of Gandhi are relevant now? What do you think about the decentralisation of power which may fulfil Gandhi's dream of Gramaswaraj? (Village self rule) Gandhi successfully used [and promoted] Ahimsa-Dharma [non-violence] against apartheid in South Africa and to win freedom for India. He always talked about rural prosperity. We are pushing for Pura - Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas. About 700 million people (70 per cent of the population) live in 600,000 villages. We want to combine 15 to 20 villages with physical and electronic connectivity. It follows Mahatma Gandhi's dream. You have always been talking about changing the adverse situations into opportunities. How the world (especially the youth) should approach the downturn? I call it 'economic turbulence', [and] not downturn. It didn't affect [much of] India for three reasons. First, the economic reforms were not fully completed. Secondly, Indian banks are still conservative and thirdly, Indians by nature are savings-minded.