by Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace(CNDP)
May 11th and May 13th, 2016 will mark the anniversaries of nuclear tests that India conducted in 1998.
After 18 years of the nuclear tests, the security that the atomic weapons were supposed to bestow on us is conspicuously missing and South Asia is becoming more dangerous with each passing day. India has become the world’s largest arms importer, with a share of 14 per cent in the entire world’s weapons’ trade. Between 2006–10 and 2011–15, India’s weapons imports have grown by 90 per cent. Similarly, Pakistan’s defence budget has also seen a steep rise. Evidently, the claims of nuclear weapons supporters that these lethal weapons would bring security and stability to the region have proven to be untrue.
It’s time we realise that nuclear weapons do not provide us security. They just push the world into a spiral of insecurity and arms racing. As the documents from the Cold War era unclassified in recent years have shown, nuclear deterrence is a dangerous myth and the non-use of nuclear weapons since Hiroshima has been more a matter of of sheer luck given various close calls caused by both accidents and near-fatal miscalculations.
Totally unprovoked, and in fact carried out at a time when India’s relationship with both Pakistan and China were getting better in the 90s, India’s nuclear tests in Pokharan had more to do with the militant Hindu-majoritarian jingoism of the BJP and RSS. The rise of religious fundamentalism in both India and Pakistan has made the region more dangerous and there is a real possibility of a limited conventional war that can then escalate to a nuclear exchange. In today’s world, only South Asia is a region which has two nuclear-armed neighbours with an unabated history of of hot and cold wars from 1947 onwards.
The increasing privatisation of defence sector in India under the Modi government is also creating entrenched lobbies that have an inherent interest in deepening insecurities. Mr. Modi’s manifesto in the last general elections vowed to reconsider India’s declared policy of ‘nuclear restraint’ – namely reassessing no-first-use doctrine, while pursuit of triadic deployment of nuclear weapons makes a mockery of the notion of being committed to a policy of minimum and stable deterrence. The Modi government’s evident lack of professionalism in foreign policy and the ideological penchant for jingoism to divert public criticism on domestic issues has only worsened the situation and there are apprehensions that the BJP might promote war hysteria as we reach closer to the next elections.
At this important juncture, we demand that confidence building measures pertaining to nuclear weapons in South Asia be urgently pursued, that a moratorium on nuclear use in the region must be signed at the earliest. That India and Pakistan along with neighbours pursue a South Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone as well as actively supporting the global efforts to outlaw and abolish nuclear weapons.
Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace (CNDP)
A-124/6, First Floor, Katwaria Sarai, New Delhi – 110016, Ph: 011-65663958, Telefax: 011-26517814
E-mail: [email protected], Website: www.cndpindia.org