India Should Have Greater Transparency in its Nuclear Policy, Feel Experts

August 06, 2014

New Delhi: Reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in the security doctrines of nations is the most promising way of working towards nuclear disarmament, said the veteran diplomats & nuclear strategy experts at a panel discussion on ‘Emerging Trends in Nuclear Disarmament’ on August 6, 2014. The discussion was organised by the Indian Pugwash Society to commemorate the 69th year of ‘Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ and to pay homage to the victims of the tragedy.

Commenting on India’s stand on nuclear disarmament, the experts echoed that from the times of Gandhi and Nehru, India has shown a serious commitment towards nuclear disarmament. Over the years, India failed to mark its territory in the international arena and has appeared as a reluctant nuclear power.

The experts felt that though India now possesses strong nuclear and conventional forces, the issues such as terrorism, socio-economic disparity etc, feeds insecurity into country’s national security discourse. Perceptions about lack of credibility in country’s defence forces exacerbate this insecurity. To combat this scenario, the Indian government should bring in greater transparency in its defence posture and especially in the nuclear policy, insisted the experts. Disarmament can be a credible option only when we have faith in our security, they concluded.

In light of the current international political scenario – global terrorism, renewed tensions between US and Russia, China’s activities in Asia-Pacific - the experts agreed that the de-legitimising nuclear weapons’ is a better option. Although in global nuclear trajectory, the number of weapons has reduced considerably, the number of countries with nuclear arsenal has gone up manifold, in view of which complete nuclear disarmament will be a distant dream, they stated.

Referring to the decline in the US-Russia bilateral arms control initiatives, the experts stated the need for new multilateral initiatives on disarmament as well as on combating terrorism, spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) etc. This makes the whole process of nuclear disarmament extremely complex.

The panellists included Ambassador Sheel Kant Sharma, Former Indian Representative to the IAEA, Ambassador Rakesh Sood, Former Special Envoy of the Prime Minister (SEPM) for Disarmament & Non-Proliferation Issues, Ambassador Jayant Prasad, Former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Algeria, Nepal and the UN Conference on Disarmament, Dr Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, and Dr RR Subramanian, Member, Indian Pugwash Society. The session was presided over by Dr Arvind Gupta, Convener, Indian Pugwash Society. Every year the Indian Pugwash Society commemorates the atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

The US forces had dropped an atomic bomb in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 to accelerate Japan's surrender in the WW II killing an estimated 140,000 people. Another atomic bomb had hit Nagasaki after three days, August 9 forcing Japan to surrender to Allied Forces on August 15, bringing an end to the war.