STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Walking Back Delusional Nuclear Policies

Bharat Karnad is Professor for National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. The views expressed are personal.
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  • May 2018
    Volume: 
    42
    Issue: 
    3
    Articles

    India’s ‘dual use’ nuclear policy has been strung out from the beginning between the peaceful atom and military atom as illustrated in Jawaharlal Nehru’s use of the phrase for the country’s nuclear energy programme—‘Janus-faced’. However, the Indian Government has been too influenced by its own rhetoric of peaceful use to equally emphasise the security aspects that the phrase implied.

    While Nehru championed disarmament, he did so in the 1950s in the United Nations’ First Committee as cover for the military capability being developed under Homi Bhabha’s astute leadership. But the myth about disarmament leadership meant that even after Indira Gandhi refrained from signing the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty because it sought to freeze the ‘have and have-not’ divide, Delhi has been pusillanimous about weaponisation but gung-ho about beefing up its non-proliferation credentials by joining or seeking to join the very technology denial regimes (Missile Technology Control Regime, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenar Arrangement, Australia Group) that have victimised the country. The desire to please the US and the West has to end and national security aspects prioritised as all weapons states are doing.

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