Mob Control Manager
- Feb 12, 2009
N-arms debate revives
Today, faced with the forthcoming Review Conference of the NPT in 2010, concerned by threats of nuclear terrorism and the potential of further nuclear proliferation to the countries not aligned with the Western powers, there has been a storm of initiatives, mainly from the West and its allies, to promote the goal of a nuclear weapon- free world. Starting with four eminent statesmen from the US — Kissinger, Nunn, Perry and Schultz — followed by the UK’s initiatives and multiple-point programmes and the setting up of yet another Commission on Disarmament by Australia and Japan, the rhetoric of nuclear disarmament has reappeared on the table.
India continues to be in favour of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, including presumably, its own. While this is a perfectly acceptable objective, the question arises whether this position has been reached after examining all the implications of total nuclear disarmament to our security interests, which was the reason in the first place for having weaponised our nuclear technology in the 1990s.
At that time, and presumably even today, the threat identified was of nuclear blackmail, if not a more direct threat of nuclear attack, from the Sino-Pakistani nuclear condominium. There is little to be gained by trying to analyse why China would have taken the risk of not only providing Pakistan with designs, technology and materiel to build a nuclear weapon, but also helping in the first Pakistani “hot test” in 1990. What is important is that Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine is solely India-centric, and Pakistan is today in an unstable situation. If a Taliban government were to take over in Pakistan, India would have to consider its strategic options.
At any rate, the role of nuclear weapons in our military strategy is a deeply held secret, not available even to the strategic community. The last substantive pronouncement on the subject was the adoption of the nuclear doctrine in January 2003.