Welcome Address by Dr. Arvind Gupta, DG, IDSA at International Conference on A Nuclear Weapon Free World: From Conception to Reality
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  • Respected Prime Minister,

    The Hon’ble National Security Adviser,

    Amb. Rakesh Sood, Spl. Envoy of the Prime Minister,

    Senior officials of the Government of India,

    Members of the Armed Forces,

    Dr Theresa Hitchens, Director, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR),

    Distinguished Participants,

    Distinguished members of the strategic community,

    Members of the IDSA Executive Council and IDSA colleagues,

    Members of the media,

    Excellencies,

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    It is a matter of great honour for me to welcome you, Sir, and express my gratitude for inaugurating this International Conference on the theme “A Nuclear Weapon Free World: From Conception to Reality”, being organized by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and the Indian Pugwash society.

    Sir, the Institute since its very inception has made notable contribution to the nuclear debate in India and is continuing to engage with the complex issues of international security. Your presence amidst us today provides tremendous encouragement to the IDSA and its scholars.

    The presence of the Hon’ble National Security Adviser is matter of great satisfaction for us. We value his constant support and advice. Thank you very much, Sir, for being with us.
    We are grateful to twenty six internationally well-known experts from India and abroad for their participation at short notice. They have come from the renowned centres of knowledge and learning including from Australia, China, France, India, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, UK and the US.

    We are encouraged by the presence of Dr Theresa Hitchens, Director of the UNIDIR at this conference. We look forward to hearing from them on an issue, which remains critical to the survival of mankind.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    The world is experiencing multiple transitions. The old world order is vanishing but the contours of a new world order are uncertain.

    Even though the cold war has ended and the dynamics of nuclear deterrence is changing, the nuclear weapons continue to retain salience in the security doctrines and strategies of various countries.

    The world without nuclear weapon remains a cherished but, unfortunately, a distant goal. We must analyse why it is so. While the threat of WMD proliferation continues to rise, the issue of nuclear terrorism and nuclear security have taken centre stage in the nuclear discourse.

    In the backdrop of emerging, worrisome global security trends, there is a danger that the world’s attention from the goal of universal, non-discriminatory, verifiable nuclear disarmament may waver. This should not be allowed to happen. We must continue to make efforts to find pathways to a nuclear weapon-free world.
    Hence, this conference.

    India

    India’s unequivocal commitment to complete elimination of nuclear weapons has been expounded and reiterated in numerous official statements and documents.
    It has advocated the review of nuclear doctrines and suggested steps to reduce the risk of accidental use of nuclear weapons through de-alerting and de-targeting & a global agreement on NFU.

    Following a policy of credible minimum nuclear deterrence, India also advocates the reduction of the salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines, de-legitimisation of nuclear weapons through multilateral, universal and legally binding instruments prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons.

    Further, India recognizes the use of nuclear weapons will have “catastrophic humanitarian consequences”. This approach strengthens the case for complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

    Friends,

    This Conference will explore several complex interconnected themes including how to make tangible progress towards a nuclear weapon-free world.

    Holding such a conference at a relatively short notice would not have been possible without the invaluable support of Ambassador Rakesh Sood, the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues. He was involved in the initiative right since its inception.

    I would like to place on record our deep appreciation of the support and assistance of the Ministry of External Affairs in making this conference a reality.
    I would now request Amb Shivshankar Menon, the National Security Adviser, to kindly conduct the proceedings.

    Thank you and Jai Hind.

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