South Asia’s regional three-day meeting of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament has started in Delhi. On September 29th Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy had said that global non-proliferation should be universal and non-discriminatory and linked to the goal of complete nuclear disarmament. He reiterated India’s commitment to total nuclear disarmament.
Fine sentiments! Brave words!
But how to ensure that these words move towards achieving their purpose instead of dissolving as hot air?
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief Mohammed ElBaradei who also addressed the conference described India as the world’s leading advocate for nuclear disarmament. Very flattering! But how might that praise be justified?
To genuinely move towards total nuclear disarmament bold and unconventional thinking is required. Presented below is a concrete five-point plan to achieve total nuclear disarmament that prevails over a foot-dragging world.
1) The first need is to draw a roadmap for making Asia a nuclear free zone which then might pressure Europe and USA to accept total nuclear disarmament. That plan would require joint nuclear deterrence for all Asian nations till the West is compelled to accept total nuclear disarmament. Joint nuclear deterrence implies not only a unified nuclear command under the nations that accept the plan; it would also require a plan for phased world nuclear disarmament. That in turn would require IAEA under the aegis of UN to create a routine mechanism for periodically inspecting nuclear facilities worldwide. Until the plan is accepted worldwide the nations that embark on the road to achieving it must consent to this provisional arrangement with IAEA.
2) India must initiate quiet diplomatic persuasion with its immediate nuclear seeking neighbors, Pakistan and Iran, to join in this venture. This would be the hardest part. If it does not succeed nothing is lost. There does remain a chance however that Iran might come on board to share nuclear defense under this plan. If that happens Pakistan too would be tempted. If even one nation is willing to come aboard India can move to the third step.
3) India should then formally move ahead with the goal of making Asia a provisional nuclear free zone as the first step towards total nuclear disarmament. It should announce an Asian conference to formalize this plan and invite China, North Korea, Japan and Israel in addition to Pakistan and Iran to attend its deliberations. Even a two-nation or three-nation attendance would indicate the start of the movement. Those invitees that decline to attend the conference or to accept the plan after attending it would be the ultimate losers. Global public opinion would overwhelmingly support concrete measures to achieve total nuclear disarmament.
4) Once a core Asian group has been formed to further total nuclear disarmament there will be created leverage to pressure the West and also those Asian nuclear or potential nuclear nations that do not associate with the plan. This leverage will be created by the core group propagating the plan among all the non-nuclear nations of the world and exerting pressure in the UN.
5) Even before all the nuclear powers accept total disarmament the core group should finalize the draft plan for the transfer of authority to monitor nuclear inspection and disarmament to the UN which could oversee the IAEA working directly under its supervision. There would be serious technical problems arising from the need for safe destruction of existing nuclear weapons, the transfer of all the residual nuclear weapons worldwide to the control of the UN, and the UN authority sanctioned by all its members to exercise such control. Clearly, such arrangements imply revamping and reforming the UN itself to bring it closer to the concept of a world federal government. Total nuclear disarmament therefore would be a catalyst for taking a giant step towards shaping the New World Order. But that need not concern the founding nations of the movement at the primary stage. The movement would have to take one step at a time.
This Five-Point Plan may appear wildly impractical and filled with reckless ideas to critics. The critics could be right. But for six decades the world has tried to move forward sensibly and safely towards avoiding nuclear disaster. It has failed miserably. Nuclear proliferation has increased, global terrorism has spread, and nuclear aspirations among nations have mounted.
To obtain successful results therefore why not try some unconventional ideas for a change?