The Geneva nuclear accord between Iran and the USA has been described as potentially a historic breakthrough. It remains potential because the agreement is a half step forward. Iran has suspended progress in its nuclear program but not renounced in principle its right to make the bomb. It can still militarize its nuclear know-how. This has infuriated Israel because the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb has not been eliminated but merely suspended. Optimists perceive this accord leading eventually to a changed middle east. But before their hopes can fructify the agreement must move forward to its final resolution. In other words a settlement over the nuclear dispute is the starting point for ushering historic change. That is where India can play a decisive role to bring such change.
In principle India is on the same side as Iran. New Delhi has always considered the present nuclear order unjust. That is why it refused to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Some nations have the nuclear bomb. Israel is among them. On what grounds can all other nations be deprived of the same right?
If it be argued that the big five nations that comprise the nuclear club are responsible powers this claim can be rubbished. China has acted as the fountainhead for nuclear proliferation through Pakistan and North Korea acting as its conduits. The hypocrisy of the western powers in ignoring this could not be more brazen or shameful. Not much hope therefore can be placed upon the US to successfully clinch the accord with Iran. That is where India can play a decisive role.
As advocated earlier through these columns New Delhi should take a daring initiative and launch the Asian Nuclear Disarmament Association (ANDA). It should outline a phased plan for total global nuclear disarmament by reposing ultimate nuclear power in the hands of the United Nations. Until such a plan can be implemented it should invite other Asian nations – China, Pakistan, Japan, North Korea, Australia, Israel and Iran – to become its members. During the interregnum ANDA should create an apex body of all its members to jointly control the deployment and use of all the nuclear weapons available to it for regional security. Even if one or two nations, hopefully Iran and Pakistan were to join, ANDA should be launched. India should pool use of its nuclear deterrent with fellow members.
If this were to happen a historic start to wipe out the trust deficit between India and Pakistan would be accomplished leading to total accord. Likewise the trust deficit between Israel and Iran would be removed. And a giant step towards achieving total nuclear disarmament proposed by Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Behari Vajpayee, and more recently endorsed by Henry Kissinger, would be taken.
But this calls for ability to think out of the box and the courage to act. For that a strong government is required. India today is virtually without government.