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'N-proliferation affected India's security'

world Updated: Jun 05, 2010 18:49 IST

In a clear reference to Pakistan, India on Saturday said clandestine proliferation network in the region had adversely affected its security and pitched for a new global paradigm to meet the challenge, factoring in the "real" risks of terrorists gaining access to nuclear material.

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon also highlighted the dangers India faces by being in the vicinity of "epicentre" of global terrorism and pressed for increased global collaborative efforts to defeat the menace particularly when terror groups are "networked to an unprecedented extent".

Addressing the 9th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Asia Security Summit -- The Shangri-La Dialogue here, he said, "security has acquired new transnational dimensions because of recent geo-political, technological and economic developments" and these have to be "dealt with differently from traditional security concerns".

Elaborating on the new transnational dimensions of security, Menon identified areas like spread of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and climate change which need to be countered and ensuring cyber security, maritime security and outer space security.

"The world may now be at the proliferation tipping point in terms of both nuclear weapons and the militarisation of space. For India, clandestine proliferation networks in our neighbourhood have already adversely affected our security," the NSA said.

He did not name Pakistan but was clearly alluding to the country whose father of nuclear programme A Q Khan is known to have run a clandestine network of nuclear proliferation.

"The risk of nuclear weapons or of other weapons of mass destruction falling into extremist or terrorist hands is real and must be factored into our thinking," Menon said.

"It is clear that a new non-proliferation paradigm is necessary to deal with issues of nuclear security, caused by the rise of non-state actors and their links to formal or organised structures in weak states," he said.

He noted that India is the only nuclear-weapon state to announce an unequivocal no-first-use commitment and to declare that a world without nuclear weapons will enhance security.

On terrorism, Menon said it had been empowered by new technologies and in this context referred to Mumbai attacks.

"The Indian experience of cross-border terrorism shows the complexity of what we are dealing with. The 26/11 attacks on India were planned and organised in one country, where the attackers were trained, the logistics and communication support chain extended over at least seven countries," he pointed out.