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Nuclear weapons: India can be part of the solution

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COMMENTS

23 January 2008 15:40

India’s 1998 nuclear tests and the current controversy over the US-India nuclear deal have obscured one important strand of Indian thinking on nuclear weapons. New Delhi championed a nuclear weapon-free world long before the cause was taken up by the likes of Kissinger, Schultz, Perry and Nunn. Now one of India’s most respected and influential strategic thinkers, K Subrahmanyam, has urged his government to regain that country’s reputation for such a vision. As he argues in this opinion piece in The Indian Express:

...India cannot take a cynical indifferent attitude when the former American hawks are displaying interest in the elimination of nuclear weapons...

He notes that the Indian nuclear doctrine is against nuclear war-fighting and espouses no first use of nuclear weapons – quite unlike some disturbing advice being proferred to NATO at the moment.

Subrahmanyam’s column is an important reminder that India should not be seen narrowly as part of the problem in the global nuclear proliferation debate. It adds fuel to the argument that there might even be opportunities for countries like Kevin Rudd’s Australia to work with India on fresh approaches to reducing nuclear dangers, such as pressuring all nuclear-armed states to take their weapons off needless levels of alert. This kind of new initiative, rather than obstructing a prospective Nuclear Suppliers’ Group exemption for India’s civilian nuclear sector, is where Australia should invest diplomatic effort.

Photo by Flickr user Kingdafy, used under a Creative Commons licence.

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