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N-deterrence a myth

india Updated: Oct 15, 2006 01:26 IST

NUCLEAR DETERRENCE had proved a myth as even small nations had these weapons, said freelance journalist Prafull Bidwai and media personality Gauhar Raza.

“Weapons of mass destruction do not ensure peace,” they said during a public lecture at Lucknow University on Saturday.

“Nine countries of the world have nuclear weapons now against five some 30 years ago. Even a small country like North Korea has them, in spite of opposition from several big nations.”

The duo took a dig at India for playing second fiddle to the US. They described the Indo-US nuclear treaty as an unholy alliance which had led to a change in New Delhi’s long-term stand on nuclear disarmament.

Bidwai said, “For instance India’s nuclear doctrine reads that we will not use it first, but then we are free to use it with devastating force, if anybody uses nuclear weapons on us. So the threat perception remains.” “Now that more nations possess nuclear weapons, there is a greater threat perception for the humanity. Forget about a deliberate attack, even miscalculations can cause a huge loss.”

Bidwai also dispelled the myth that nuclear technology was sophisticated. He criticised the theory of balance of terror, as a theory of nuclear deterrence.

Speaking of Indo-US relations, he said, “We are legitimising the United Sstates as a nuclear power. India at one time had criticised both manufacture and possession of nuclear weapons as a crime against humanity. Our independent stand is now threatened.”  Bidwai has been a visiting professor at the Nelson Mandela Institute and has recently published a work on nuclear disarmament with Achin Vinayak.

On the other hand, Gauhar Raza who has made over 50 documentaries and has been working consistently for popular understanding of science, urged the intellectuals to dream of a nuclear-free world.