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Defusing World’s Deadliest Danger
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
Roadmap to Total Nuclear Disarmament
China has blocked India’s chances of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). It wants equal opportunity for Pakistan to become a member. That Pakistan is a notorious nuclear proliferator while India has an impeccable record seems to matter not at all. Several western nations support China’s objections. That China is the fountainhead of nuclear proliferation being the sole supplier of nuclear technology and nuclear weapons to Pakistan bothers them the least. The west is hungering for Chinese investment. It is time that India shed its rose tinted glasses and recognizes reality.
Rajiv Gandhi proposed total nuclear disarmament in the UN. Atal Behari Vajpayee echoed and furthered that goal. Now it is not enough to air fine sentiments at global forums. Depending on the hypocritical west is a waste of time. Concrete action is needed. India should pursue a radical agenda of its own. It should ignore the assumptions voiced by the west which today acts as Beijing’s lapdog. India needs a bold, radical, even a utopian approach to safeguard its future security. What might that be?
For a start consider Iran which is the biggest bugbear for the west. Its nuclear programme alarms the west. The west’s concern is legitimate. President Ahmadinejad’s extreme statements against Israel in the past do cause concern. But the threats of pre-emptive strikes against Iran by nuclear Israel should cause equal concern. Nevertheless it is desirable that Iran desist from making nuclear weapons. But let’s view the situation objectively. Some years ago President Ahmadinejad said that if India and Pakistan could have nuclear weapons, why not Iran? India refused to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty because it discriminated in favour of the big five nuclear powers. But would it not be equally discriminatory for India to object to other nations having nuclear weapons when India has them? Let us go beyond the issue of discrimination to consider the current situation.
Last week the second international conference on nuclear disarmament hosted by Tehran was held. It was virtually ignored by the international media. Forty delegates from 40 nations as well as representatives from both the United Nations and its nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) attended the conference. Iranian President Ahmadinejad had once again expressed readiness for talks over Tehran’s nuclear programme. He once again announced Iran's readiness to resolve Iran’s nuclear issue through negotiations with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. The Iranian government stressed that it had very good cooperation with IAEA which provided proof of Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had stated: "Iran regards utilizing nuclear weapons as forbidden in Islam and it is incumbent on everyone to safeguard humanity from such weapons." Should not India test Iran’s credentials through a bold initiative involving Tehran in the Indo-Pakistan negotiations related to nuclear issues? On July 27 the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan will meet in Delhi to discuss Confidence Building Measures (CBM) related specifically to nuclear issues. In the dire situation that obtains in the subcontinent more confidence is not enough. There is urgent need for total trust. New Delhi should present a plan for achieving it to Pakistan on July 27. This is what Foreign Minister Krishna could suggest. In order to fulfill Rajiv Gandhi’s goal of total nuclear disarmament India, Pakistan and Iran could consider a phased plan.
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.
This plan is open to ridicule. People might laugh at it for being impractical and utopian beyond measure. The world has been practical for the past six decades. Nuclear proliferation has spread. Terrorism has spread. The ability of terrorists to infiltrate high security military establishments in nuclear Pakistan has been repeatedly demonstrated. India and Pakistan continue to manufacture hundreds of nuclear bombs. Why? The world still shudders from its use in Hiroshima. In what circumstances could India or Pakistan use all the bombs manufactured? Both governments display insanity.
Is it not time to be impractical? Going by the present trend the explosion of a dirty bomb, or a tactical nuclear weapon, or a nuclear suitcase bomb is just a matter of time. If a nuclear explosion is created by terrorists in Pakistan, India would be blamed. If it occurs in India, Pakistan would be blamed. Ironically, it could be outsourced to terrorists by any third power. We would never know. So why not have the courage of conviction and give ANDA a chance? It is later than what most people think.
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07/22/2011 22:31 PM
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