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'India most vulnerable to N-weapons'

world Updated: Oct 25, 2011 15:01 IST

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Voicing concern over growing nuclear stockpile in South Asia, Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar on Tuesday said that no other country is as threatened as India is by atomic weapons and prospect of these arsenal falling into the hands of terrorists.

Making a strong case for eliminating nuclear weapons, Aiyar, who is also Chairman of the Prime Minister's Informal group on advancing the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for a nuclear-weapons-free and nonviolent world order, said: "non-proliferation is no substitute for elimination."

"No country is more threatened than India is by the growing nuclear arsenals in our neighbourhood and the prospect of terrorists accessing nuclear materials or even weapons. Unilateral nuclear disarmament is, therefore, difficult to envisage," he said at a nuclear disarmament conference here organised by Global Security Institute and East West Institute.

Elimination of nuclear weapons is the only way to ensure that they are not used for "mass genocide" by terrorists and "mass suicide" by states, he said, adding that "there is no third way."

"So long as nuclear weapons are in existence, they can be used – or stolen," he added.

Pointing out that while unilateral nuclear disarmament will not be easy, he said India "could rid itself of these weapons" within the framework of an international convention for the universal elimination of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

"India must continue to pursue its vision of a non-nuclear world since a Nuclear-Weapons-Free-World would be good for the planet, good for the region and good for India’s national security."