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India's PM proposes global convention on 'no-first use' of nuclear weapons
Publication Date : 03-04-2014
In a strong plea to ensure the elimination of the use of nuclear weapons, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh proposed a global convention on ‘no-first use’ of nuclear weapons.
Speaking at a seminar “A Nuclear Free World: From Conception to Reality” organised by the IDSA in New Delhi, he said, “if all states possessing nuclear weapons recognise that if this is so (nuclear weapons are only for deterrence) and are prepared to declare it, we can quickly move to the establishment of global no-first use norm.”
Singh felt this could “open the ways to gradual reduction and finally elimination through a nuclear weapon convention. Such a convention would require necessary verification. It would also require political measures to ensure the stability is maintained at the level as nuclear arsenal approaches zero.”
“More and more voices are speaking out today that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons while they exist should be to deter a nuclear attack,” he said.
The Prime Minister felt it was important to reduce the importance of nuclear weapons. However, this cannot be done by a single nation, but requires a multilateral agreement, he said.
“What is important today is an agreed multilateral framework that can involve all states possessing nuclear weapons. What is needed is focus on practical measures that reduce nuclear dangers,” he said.
Singh said although India supports a nuclear-free world it declared itself a nuclear state owing to the ‘harsh’ security environment. “As a responsible nuclear weapons state India supports the idea of a nuclear weapon-free world,” he said.
“We are the only country that demonstrated its capacity in 1974 but maintained a quarter century of restraint, before a harsh security environment obliged us to (conduct) test in 1998 and declare ourselves nuclear state,” the PM said.
While spelling out the dangers of nuclear power and the need to control the use of atomic weapons, Dr Singh also highlighted the benefits of nuclear energy.