Mayankote Kelath Narayanan
Non-Proliferation, Arms control and future of nuclear weapons; is zero possible? 06.02.2009
|Redner:||Narayanan, Mayankote Kelath|
|Funktion:||Mitglied des Nationalen Sicherheitsrates, Neu Delhi|
|Land / Organisation:||Indien|
It gives me immense pleasure to present before such a distinguished audience India’s views on the question – Non-proliferation, Arms control and the future of nuclear weapons; is zero possible?
To share a panel with distinguished personalities such as Dr. Henry Kissinger and Foreign Minister Steinmeier of Germany is indeed a privilege. Dr. Kissinger was the author of forward looking studies in the late 1980s wherein the doctrine of ‘Discriminate Deterrence’ was propounded. This doctrine in one way or the other has influenced during the decades of the 1980s & 1990s the development of military systems – both conventional and nuclear. It has thus had a significant impact on arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation per se.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier was our honoured guest in India last year, as was Ambassador Ischinger, and is widely respected in our country. What Foreign Minister Steinmeier has said today was heard with great interest since Germany, though not a nuclear weapon State, had nuclear weapons stationed on its soil for decades. No issue relating to European or global security, or for that matter nuclear disarmament, can be meaningfully addressed without Germany’s contribution.
It is, therefore, befitting that Munich, and the Munich Security Conference, should form the setting for a discussion on an issue of a seminal interest. In the past, the Munich Security Conference had played a key role in bringing together two antagonistic entities. If this Conference succeeds in not merely addressing the issue of nuclear reductions, but also devise pathways to their elimination, this might well be the transforming moment for the global community.
For many of us here questions relating to nuclear weapons viz. their control, reduction or elimination, is not a mere matter of academic debate. It involves serious, and vital, questions of national security.
At the outset, however, I would like to spell out how we define the three terms – arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation -which could be at some variance with the views of some other countries. We view disarmament as referring to concrete reductions in nuclear arsenals with the ultimate objective of achieving a nuclear-free world. We do not envisage it as replacing existing arsenals by new categories of nuclear weapon systems. Our perception of arms control is that by addressing the issue piecemeal it merely tends to perpetuate nuclear weapons in the hands of a few chosen nations. Non-proliferation is seen as essentially an extension of the arms control regime.
India’s approach to nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and by extension to arms control, is essentially based on the belief that there exists close synergy between all three. Non-proliferation cannot be an end in itself, and has to be linked to effective nuclear disarmament. Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation should be seen as mutually re-inforcing processes. Effective disarmament must enhance the security of all States and not merely that of a few.
India had set out goals regarding nuclear disarmament as far back as 1988. In June of that year, the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, had presented to the United Nations an ‘Action Plan for ushering in a nuclear weapons-free world and non-violent order’, which outlined India’s imperatives. It is significant that the Action Plan began with the following words which appear even more relevant to-day:
“Humanity stands at a cross-roads of history. Nuclear weapons threaten to annihilate human civilization and all that mankind has built through millennia of labour and toil. Nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states alike are threatened by such a holocaust. It is imperative that nuclear weapons be eliminated”.
The Action Plan was by far the most comprehensive initiative at the time, on nuclear disarmament, covering issues ranging from nuclear testing and cessation of production of fissile material for nuclear weapons to a time-bound elimination of stockpiles. At the heart of the Action Plan was a commitment to eliminate all nuclear weapons in stages by 2010.
India has been, and still remains, a strong and unwavering advocate of global nuclear disarmament, reflecting the passionate advocacy of nuclear disarmament of its first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Even to-day, India is perhaps the only nuclear weapons State to express its readiness to negotiate a Nuclear Weapons Convention leading to global, non-discriminatory and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.
In October 2006, India put forward a set of proposals at the United Nations General Assembly in a Working Paper which outlined certain steps that could lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons. I might here mention a few of these suggestions here:
--Reaffirm the unequivocal commitment by all nuclear weapon States to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons;
--reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines;
--reduce nuclear danger, including the risk of accidental nuclear war, by de-alerting nuclear-weapons to prevent unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons;
--negotiate a global agreement among nuclear weapons States on ‘no-first-use’ of nuclear weapons;
--negotiate a universal and legally-binding agreement on non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States;
--negotiate a Convention on the complete prohibition of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; and
--negotiate a Nuclear Weapons Convention prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons and on their time-bound destruction, leading to the global, non-discriminatory and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.
While awaiting concrete and practical measures for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the means of delivery, and the creation of a legal regime or universal applicability, India welcomes the renewed interest in and support that nuclear disarmament has received from statesmen as well as experts in the field. India is prepared to engage with the various proponents of nuclear disarmament and to meaningfully contribute to these initiatives. India has taken note of the initiatives in this regard launched by four eminent statesmen
– Dr. Kissinger, George Shultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn, whose ideas are now included in the ‘Hoover Plan’. India’s position was very recently enumerated by India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. First, on June 9, 2008, to mark the 20th anniversary of the presentation of the Action Plan by Shri Rajiv Gandhi at the United Nations, and next, when the Prime Minister addressed the UN General Assembly in September 2008. The running theme of both the speeches was a reiteration of India’s support for a Nuclear Weapons Convention and endorsement of a nuclear weapons-free world as enshrined in the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan of 1988.
The debate on disarmament, specially nuclear disarmament, gives rise to the hope of greater understanding that could lend itself to a firm commitment for action on nuclear disarmament. As concrete steps towards this end, I shall mention the following:
--Reaffirmation of the unequivocal commitment by all States possessing nuclear weapons to the goal of complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Commitments must be clear and unambiguous and convey some urgency for achieving this goal. This would apply to NPT States as well as non-NPT States.
--Reduction of the salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines. It is unfortunate that despite the end of Cold War, there has not been any appreciable change in the centrality of nuclear weapons in the security doctrines of the major nuclear weapon powers.
--Adoption of measures by States to reduce nuclear dangers, including preventing the unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons. Since 1998, India has been sponsoring in the General Assembly a Resolution entitled “Reducing Nuclear Danger”. We welcome the fact that more countries are now paying attention to global de-alerting of nuclear weapons.Negotiations on global agreement among the nuclear powers of a ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons.
--Negotiations towards a universal and legally binding agreement on non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States.
--Negotiation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention on the prohibition of the use, and threat of use, of nuclear weapons. Since 1982, India has proposed that such a Convention be negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament.Negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention that would prohibit the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons and on their destruction leading to a global non-discriminatory and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified time-frame.
I would like to conclude by once again recalling Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s stark warning when he presented his Action Plan to the UN General Assembly in 1988. He said that the ‘alternative to co-existence is co-destruction’. We hope that the message of this Conference will be firmly in favour of humanity’s co-existence in a nuclear weapon free world.
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