Global nuclear disarmament could help address concerns ranging from “food, energy and human security to environmental security and cyber and financial security,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, inaugurating the international conference ‘Towards a World Free of Nuclear Weapons’.
Recalling that 20 years ago on the same day, then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had unveiled his vision for a world free of nuclear weapons by 2010, Singh said: “Our energy needs will continue to rise in the foreseeable future. We don’t have the luxury of limiting our options of energy sources. We, therefore, wish to create an international environment in which nuclear technology is used not for destructive purposes but to help us meet our national development goals and our energy security.”
He, however, quickly added it was not possible to “regionalize” disarmament and India was committed to “global, universal and non-discriminatory” disarmament. He also called for negotiation of a global agreement among nuclear weapons states on ‘no-nuclear-first-use.’
The conference, to commemorate Rajiv Gandhi’s address to the third special session on disarmament of the UN General Assembly, is jointly organized by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (Delhi) and the Indian Council for World Affairs.
Sergio Duarte, UN high representative for disarmament affairs, and Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, who had worked with Gandhi on his disarmament vision, were among the speakers.
Aiyar said the ongoing non-proliferation debate should be linked to the larger question of disarmament and the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons by countries, which are stockpiling them. He said the international system that accommodates only “nuclear haves” as permanent members of the Security Council has acted as a disincentive to disarmament goals.
The PM said India is aware of its responsibilities as a nuclear weapon state and has a declared doctrine of no first-use based on “credible minimum” deterrence. “We have in place strict controls on export of nuclear and fissile related materials and technology. India has no intention to engage in an arms race.
Above all, India is fully committed to nuclear disarmament that is global, universal and non-discriminatory in nature.”