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HVK Archives: Evolution of India's Nuclear Policy (Statement in Lok Sabha) Par 2 of 2

Evolution of India's Nuclear Policy (Statement in Lok Sabha) Par 2 of 2 - Organiser

Govt of India ()
June 14, 1998

Title: Evolution of India's Nuclear Policy - Part 2 of 2
Author: Govt of India
Publication: Organiser
Date: June 14, 1998

Govt reassures to safeguard India's security interests

India is a nuclear weapon state. This is a reality that cannot be
denied. It is not a conferment that we seek; nor is it a status for
others to grant. It is an endowment to the nation by our scientists
and engineers. It is India's due, the right of one-sixth of human
kind. Our strengthened capability adds to our sense of
responsibility; the responsibility and obligation of power. India,
mindful of its international obligations, shall not use these
weapons to commit aggression or to mount threats against
any country; these are weapons of self-defence and to ensure
that in turn, India is also not subjected to nuclear threats or
coercion. In 1994, we had proposed that India and Pakistan
jointly undertake not to be the first to use their nuclear capability
against each other. The Government on this occasion,
reiterates its readiness to discuss a "no-first-use" agreement
with that country, as also with other countries bilaterally, or in a
collective forum. India shall not engage in an arms race. India
shall also not subscribe or reinvent the doctrines of the Cold
War. India remains committed to the basic tenet of our foreign
policy-a conviction that global elimination of nuclear weapons
will enhance its security as well as that of the rest of the world. It
will continue to urge countries, particularly other nuclear weapon
states to adopt measures that would contribute meaningfully to
such an objective.

A number of initiatives have been taken in the past- In 1978,
India proposed negotiations for an international convention that
would prohibit the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. This
was followed by another. initiative in 1982 calling for a 'nuclear
freeze' -a prohibition on production of fissile materials for
weapons, on production of nuclear weapons and related
delivery systems. In 1998, we put forward an Action Plan for
phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a specified
time frame. It is our regret that these proposals did not receive a
positive response from other nuclear weapon states. Had their
response been positive, India need not have gone for the
-current tests. This is where our-approach to nuclear weapons
is different from others. This difference is the cornerstone of our
nuclear , doctrine. It is marked by restraint and striving for the
total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.

We will continue to support such initiatives, taken individually or
collectively by. the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which has
continued to ,attach the highest priority to nuclear disarmament.
This was reaffirmed most recently, last week, at the NAM
Ministerial meeting held at Cartagena which has "reiterated
their call on the Conference on Disarmament to establish, as the
highest priority, an ad hoc committee to start in 1998
negotiations on a phased programme for the complete
elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of
time, including a Nuclear Weapons Convention. The collective
voice of 113 NAM countries reflects an approach to global
nuclear disarmament to which India has remained committed.
One of the NAM members' initiative to which we attach great
importance was the reference to the international Court of
Justice (ICS) resulting in the unanimous declaration from the ICJ,
as part of the Advisory Opinion handed down on July 8, 1996,
that "there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring
to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in
all its aspects under strict and effective international control".
India was one of the countries that appealed to the ICJ on this
issue. No other nuclear weapon 'state has supported this
judgement; in fact, they have sought to decry its value. We have
been and will continue to be in the forefront of the calls for
opening negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, so
that this challenge can be dealt with in the same manner that we
have dealt with the scourge of two other weapons of mass
destruction-through the Biological Weapons Convention and
the Chemical Weapons, Convention. In keeping with our
commitment to comprehensive, universal and
non-discriminatory approaches to disarmament, India is an
original State Party to both these . Conventions; Accordingly,
India will shortly submit the plan of destruction of its chemical
weapons to the international authority-Organisation for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We fulfil our obligations
whenever we undertake them.

Traditionally, India has been an outward looking country. Our
strong commitment to multi-literalism is reflected in our active
participation in organisations like the United Nations. In recent
years, in keeping with the new challenges, we have actively
promoted regional cooperation-in SAARC, in the Indian Ocean
Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation and as a member of
the ASEAN Regional Forum. This engagement will also
continue. The policies of economic liberalisation introduced in
recent years have increased our regional and global linkages
and the Government shall deepen and strengthen these ties.

Our nuclear policy has been marked by restraint and
openness. It has not violated any international agreements
either in 1974 or now, in 1998. Our concerns have been made
known to our interlocuters in recent years. The restraint exercise
for 24 years, after having demonstrated our capability in 1974, is
in itself a unique example. Restraint, however, has to arise from
strength. It cannot be based upon indecision or doubt. Restraint
is valid only when doubts are removed. The series of tests
undertaken by India have led to the removal of doubts. The
action involved was balanced in that it was the minimum
necessary to maintain what is an irreducible component of our
national security calculus. This Government's decision has,
therefore, to be seen as part of a tradition of restraint that has
characterised our policy in the past 50 years.

Subsequent to the tests Government has already stated that
India will now observe a voluntary moratorium and refrain from
conducting underground nuclear test explosions. It has also
indicated willingness to move towards a de-jure formalisation of
this declaration. The basic obligation of the CTBT are thus met;
to refrain from undertaking nuclear test explosions. This
voluntary declaration is intended to convey to the international
community the seriousness of our intent for meaningful
engagement. Subsequent decisions will be taken after assuring
ourselves of the security needs of the country.

India has also indicated readiness to participate in negotiations
in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on a Fissile
Material Cut-of Treaty. The basic objective of this treaty is to
prohibit future production of fissile materials for use in nuclear
weapons or nuclear explosive devices. India's approach in
these negotiations will be to ensure that this treaty emerges as
a universal and non-discriminatory treaty, backed by an
effective verification mechanism. When we embark on these
negotiations, it shall be in the full confidence of the adequacy
and credibility of the nation's weaponised nuclear deterrent.

India has maintained effective export controls on nuclear
materials as well as related technologies even though we are
neither a party of the NPT nor a member of the Nuclear
Suppliers' Group. Nonetheless, India is committed to
non-proliferation and the maintaining of stringent export controls
to ensure that there is no leakage of our indigenously
developed know-how and technologies. In fact, India's conduct
in this regard has been better than some countries party to the
NPT.

India has in the past conveyed our concerns on the
inadequancies of the international nuclear non-proliferation
regime. It has, explained that the country was not in a position to
join because the regime did not address our country's security
concerns. These could have been addressed by moving
towards global nuclear disarmament, our prefered approach.
As this did not take place, India was obliged to stand aside
>from the emerging regime so that its freedom of action was not
constrained. This is the precise path that has continued to be
followed unawaveringly for the last three decades. That same
constructive approach will underlie India's dialogue with
countries that need to be persuaded of our serious intent and
willingness to engage so that mutual concerns are satisfactorily
addressed. The challenge to Indian statecraft is balancing and
reconciling India's security imperatives with valid international
concerns in this regard.

The House is aware of the different reactions that have
emanated from the people of India and from different parts of
the world. The overwhelming support of the citizens of India is a
source of strength for the Government. It not only tells that this
decision was right but also that the country wants. a focussed
leadership, which attends to national security needs. This the
Government pledges to do as a sacred duty. The Government
has also been greatly heartened by the outpouring of support
>from Indians abroad. They have, with one voice, spoken in,
favour of the Government's action. The Government conveys
its profound gratitude to the citizens of India and to Indians
abroad, and looks to them for support in the difficult period
ahead.

In this, the fiftieth year of our Independence, India stands at a
defining moment in our history. The rationale for the
Government's decision is based on the same policy tenets that
have guided the country for five decades. These policies were
sustained successfully because of the underlying national
consensus. The present decision and future actions will
continue to reflect a commitment to sensibilities and obligations
of an ancient civilisation, a sense of responsibility and restraint,
but a restraint born of the assurance of action, not of doubts or
apprehension. The Gita explains (Chap. VI-3) as none other
can:

(Action is a process to reach a goal, action may reflect tumult
but when measured and focussed, will yield its objective of
stability and peace.)


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