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Israel, Iran and India!
by Rajinder Puri Bookmark and Share
 

The terror attack early this week against an Israeli diplomat in a car close to the Prime Minister’s residence should be a wake up call to the government. The Israeli government has claimed that Iran was behind the attack. A similar terrorist attempt that failed was made on the same day against Israeli diplomats in Georgia. Investigations should reveal more about the perpetrators of the attack. But regardless of the truth that eventually emerges the government should realize that it can no longer afford to adopt its ostrich like approach to foreign relations. India has to be pro-active and interventionist in its foreign policy in order to protect its vital national interests. 

India needs peace in its neighbourhood. India needs a climate of trust that allows fast progress.

India has friendly relations with Iran. India has friendly relations with Israel. Iran and Israel are daggers drawn against each other. If the enmity between Israel and Iran persists and escalates India despite its best efforts to avoid partisanship will be compelled to choose one side over the other. Can India afford to lose the friendship of either Israel or Iran? If not, India must produce a peace formula that achieves a settlement between both nations. There is no country in the world that is attempting to do that. At best some governments are trying to avoid the outbreak of war between Israel and Iran. India alone is best placed, and has the biggest vested interest, in creating a peaceful settlement between Israel and Iran. How should India go about to achieve this? 

Both President Ahmadinejad and Prime Minister Netanyahu are hardliners advocating a rigid approach for their respective governments. However, there are strong restraining influences in both Israel and in Iran seeking a more conciliatory approach. This is what India must build on. For the first time in 33 years the Iranian parliament has summoned its President for questioning.  President Ahmadinejad was grilled about his foreign and economic policies. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, was behind the move. The President is on his back foot. Similarly in Israel there are influential voices in the media urging restraint in the Prime Minister’s approach. 

The biggest immediate issue that divides both countries is Iran’s nuclear programme. If India can take the initiative to defuse this dispute it would have gone a long way to achieve peace. Last year Ayatollah Khamenei stated: "Iran regards utilizing nuclear weapons as forbidden in Islam and it is incumbent on everyone to safeguard humanity from such weapons." Does not this unequivocal statement create an opening? While Israeli concerns about a hostile and nuclear Iran are legitimate, Iranian concerns about a pre-emptive Israeli strike are no less justified. So, how might India intervene to everyone’s mutual advantage? I can do no better than reiterate what I had suggested earlier in these columns. I quote: 

“First, India and Pakistan should bring all nuclear weapons in both nations under control of a common apex body representing India, Pakistan and Iran empowered to use the weapons in case of extreme crisis. This should be the Asian Nuclear Disarmament Association (ANDA). If Pakistan rejects efforts to eliminate the nuclear threat, continuing the peace dialogue with it should be abandoned. In that event Pakistan would be inviting self destruction. With Iran as part of the apex body Tehran would have no excuse to hanker after nuclear weapons. Resolving Iran’s nuclear dispute would facilitate Middle East peace. A representative of IAEA should also be part of the apex body with the world body having full access to monitor all nuclear weapons in India and Pakistan. 

“Secondly, if Pakistan and Iran are agreeable to the proposal the apex body should formulate a time bound phased plan for total nuclear disarmament and present it to the United Nations. ANDA would retain the weapons and the right to use them for Asian security until all nuclear powers surrender their weapons to the UN. The world body would determine how many nuclear weapons to destroy and how many to retain. The UN would keep the retained weapons under its direct control. Meanwhile ANDA could mobilize public opinion across the world in favour of total nuclear disarmament. 

“Thirdly, if ANDA is formed it should invite all the Asian nuclear and threshold nuclear powers in the continent to join the organization and become members of the apex body. China, Israel, North Korea and Japan should be invited. The nations that refuse to join would be free to seek isolation and censure by global public opinion.”

India’s quest for Iranian-Israeli accord would not arise from altruism but from hard headed national interest. India needs peace in its neighbourhood. India needs a climate of trust that allows fast progress. The recent terrorist attack compels India to intervene. New Delhi should not limit its intervention to addressing the allegations by Israel or the denials of Iran. It must address the heart of the problem as suggested by the initiative on the nuclear issue. And by doing that India would in fact defuse the biggest threat facing this nation. It was not without reason that two Indian prime ministers, Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Behari Vajpayee, proposed total nuclear disarmament in the United Nations. In a world of nuclear proliferating regimes and terrorism it is but a matter of time before there is a terrorist nuclear attack. And given its surroundings, location and system India is the most likely target for such an attack. 

The initiative suggested on the nuclear issue might appear extreme to many. The situation we face is extreme. New Delhi should muster the courage and confidence to take it. Recently former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger was in Delhi. Addressing a TV audience he said that the secret of his success was that the word “impossible” did not exist in his dictionary. The government should draw a lesson. Nothing will be achieved until it dares. There is no challenge that cannot be surmounted. But if nothing’s ventured, nothing’s gained!
   

14-Feb-2012
More by :  Rajinder Puri
 
Views: 1090
Article Comment RDASHBY has made an important point in last comment, that if world is deprived all nuclear weapons, then it will resume frequent wars in some or the other regions of the globe.

Indeed, it's imp point. Even Alfred Nobel believed (until late years of his life) that there need to be a great bomb in place to ensure peace.

But, certainly, all that is needed is deterrent, not numerous bombs each capable of destroying whole human civilization. A few 100 kilo ton bombs on the earth, kept within a world body, monitored by many, will serve the purpose !

Would like to recall the whole paragraph from the article above, that clearly mentions the proposal" (Read the line - The UN would keep the retained weapons under its direct control):

-------------extract from above article -----------------------------------

"Secondly, if Pakistan and Iran are agreeable to the proposal the apex body should formulate a time bound phased plan for total nuclear disarmament and present it to the United Nations. ANDA would retain the weapons and the right to use them for Asian security until all nuclear powers surrender their weapons to the UN. The world body would determine how many nuclear weapons to destroy and how many to retain. The UN would keep the retained weapons under its direct control. Meanwhile ANDA could mobilize public opinion across the world in favour of total nuclear disarmament."

-------------End of extract from above article -----------------------------
Dinesh Kumar Bohre
02/18/2012
Article Comment It is not the clarity of the conveying of your ideas, dear sir, but the ideaIity implicit in the definition of idea that builds a sort of Utopia in concept, and this based on the conditional - the key word - assent of the would be participants. If we look at your proposal for ANDA, it is rather a golden anda (egg) full of conditional clauses, 'if's and 'should's, in terms too dictatorial to be feasible. No one doubts your good intentions.

The issue of nuclear arms is one that will remain with us, not so much as one to be suppressed, as a call for total nuclear disarmament amounts to being, but to be lived with, even as a guarantee of the peace in its by now proven deterrent effect. Having said that, it has been made apparent that nuclear deterrence is no deterrence for warfare, in fact, it empowers conventionally armed forces like the Taliban in Afghanistan with qualities of endless resistance. Total nuclear disarmament would unleash the dogs of conventional war worldwide, and render countries more vulnerable to attack - we have only to read the history of conventional warfare, WW1 and WW2 most recently; WW3 stopped in its tracks by nuclear deterrence. Would not the threat of China over India's borders be then substantial?
rdashby
02/17/2012
Article Comment rdashby, the acceptance of nuclesr disarmament in principle by governments would bring about a paradigm change in the world's politics even though its implementation may take years. Of course there is no guarantee that a terrorist strike will never occur, but won't its chances diminish? It is unrealistic to talk of absolutist solutions. As for Iran being demonized by the west, how does the proposal, which entails a leap of faith by India, in any way encourage the west? I thought it would help defuse the crisis and imply confidence in Iran and offer it moral support! Perhaps I have failed to convey my ideas with sufficient clarity.
My Word
02/16/2012
Article Comment I appreciate your concern about a nuclear device 'falling into the hands of terrorists', which we all must share, perhaps presently fantasise about, and some of us would rely on providence to resolve, even by the bestowal of divine grace, but I cannot see how a policy of 'total nuclear disarmament', which would take years to effect, would somehow act as an antidote to this form of terrorist threat, both in the extended interim period of negotiation to this end, and in the extremely unlikely abandonment of all nuclear 'deterrent' in the end; not to mention, the availability of knowhow in perpetuity, which would always be a clandestine threat to international security.

No, the issue here is that Iran itself is demonised as a window for terrorism in the perception of the west - that somehow it would be the first to use a nuclear bomb to achieve its ends with terrorist abandon, or make freely available such a device to terrorist organisations it supports, which are all, unlike al Qaida, land based, like Hamas in Palestine, nothwithstanding, in both cases, the prospect of retaliation in kind. The Ayatollah in Iran has recently confirmed as evil the using of nuclear weapons; though the development of them might be justified as a means of deterrence, in much the same 'holier than thou' stance adopted by today's nuclear-armed nations claiming deterrence as their reason for retaining nuclear arms.
rdashby
02/16/2012
Article Comment rdashby, I agree that sanctions against Iran would be counterproductive. But the need to use this crisis as an opportunity to move forward towards total nuclear disarmament is necessary because the real danger comes from nuclear weapons, even of a crude kind, falling in the hands of terrorists. Depending upon Christian grace for restraining use of nuclear weapons is all very well. But such grace may inform governments, it is unlikely to affect terrorists.
My Word
02/16/2012
Article Comment In Christianity there is a concept called 'grace'. It is virtue that manifests itself in the individual's restraint from evil actions in a milieu where evil actions are possible, and is considered a gift from God. St Paul says, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."— Romans 5:20. An example of this dictum is provided in the completely restrained response men display to fashionably attired women in Western society, whose bodily exposure is part of that fashion. In a strict Islamic society, restrictions on women's wear are defined by law on the basis that exposed women's bodies, and even faces, are an irresistable temptation and source of sinful lust in men. In the west there is a term 'sexy' that is synonymous with 'attractive' - no more; certainly not stoking of venereal passion as it might be deemed to be in Islamic society, prompting its restrictive laws.

In the matter of nuclear weapons, the destructive nature of these devices builds a case for the necessity of laws against their use and proliferation, without which all hell would be presumed to break loose. Let us consult history, the cold war between the US and Russia: was there ever a nuclear exchange of explosions, despite the mutual threats, over a period spanning roughly fifty years? Was this mutual restraint due to a law against such implementation each side respected? No, it was sheer common sense; or grace, a Christian might call it. In its deployment of armed forces in Korea, Vietnam, or Iraq, it was not a law that blocked its use of nuclear weapons by the US, and, crucially, because of which law it was restrained from doing so -no, it was the unwritten power of grace, or what we might term common sense, that a nuclear deployment was each time avoided: producing the practical result no law could ever effect.

In the matter of Iran's nuclear industry, it appears that law, in the form of trade sanctions, against all the lessons of experience and history, is once more mooted as the solution to the problem it poses. Aren't we ignoring the grace every nuclear power, including Korea, including confrontational countries like India and Pakistan, including Israel, has so far manifested in non-deployment, fulfilling the Pauline dictum? Why should it be different with Iran? Even on the basis that it denies the legitimacy and therefore the existence of Israel, this does not mean it will deploy nuclear weapons - there is a precedent in the cold war between two like opponents, the US and USSR, who had opposing ideologies and wished each other’s destruction - surely, grace, or common sense, will prevail in the case of Iran. Trade sanctions against Iran can only be the futile application of law, against all the lessons of the power of grace to effect the ends no law can ever achieve, especially in the history of nations possessing nuclear weapons.
rdashby
02/15/2012
Article Comment On second thought, even though fresh design can be prepared through computer silmulations by select super-powers (including India), the bomb still needs fissile material.

In the event of total nuclear disarmament, watchdogs will need to monitor production and movements of fissile materials that can be used to create nuclear bomb.

This monitoring needs to be done FOREVER (until some other technology comes to replace this manual work!)

So I would like to revert the earlier view expressed in comment of this article - total nuclear disarmament is not ruled out just because someone can prepare a fresh design through computer simulation.
Dinesh Kumar Bohre
02/15/2012
Article Comment Dear Sir,

There is no channege that cannot be surmounted.

Indeed, but cowards prefer taking strong stands on issues that do not challenge them and like to turn back to the issues that really need courage.

That's about current rulers sitting in New Delhi.

And indeed, possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack cannot be ruled out, one should not even call it an extreme imagination.

---------------------------------

Anyways, there is a practical challenge to total nuclear disarmament - the nuclear weapons can be designed again through computer simulation. This is possible for those super-powers who have generated sufficient data from past nuclear tests. India is one of them.

In fact, as per scientists' claims, India has enough data to support computer simulation to produce much larger bombs than tested in 1998.

So, even after all nuclear weapons are destroyed, what will be the guarantee that those supoer-powers (including India) will remain out-of-stock of the nuclear weapons ?

Especially, given the human characterstics, such a possibility will become indeed a truth in future.
Dinesh Kumar Bohre
02/14/2012
 
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