India charted a neutral path despite pressures

June 22nd, 2023 / 0 comments

India charted a neutral path despite pressures


– J. S. Rajput

India stands with its head high because its political leadership displayed courage and futuristic vision in remaining out of the NPT and CTBT

The Russia-Ukraine war impacts practically every nation in one way or the other. Ukraine gets its aid, support and weapons from NATO nations. Sanctions by the US and its allies no longer create any major concerns amongst the targeted nations which have learnt to face such sanctions. India has solved its oil import issue and is in a much better position than before. The War has already lasted for around sixteen months but there seems to be no leeway in peace efforts, if at all these are underway!

Common people are unaware of any concrete steps being undertaken in this regard.

Apart from the fact that every war invariably inflicts misery, death and destruction, the tragedy is that the Ukraine war stands routinized in the eyes of common people. All of the UN agencies and human rights initiatives appear strikingly helpless in such situations. Think of Afghanistan which has suffered for decades together, throwing thousands of survivors into inhuman misery. Generations continue to suffer, Russians came, and Americans came, both pretending to be their saviours. They left with heads bowed down, leaving Afghans in a state of perpetual misery, with no signs of any redressal in future.

Think of children, particularly girls, most of whom lost not only their childhood but also the most creative and contributing years of life, without education or skill acquisition. There are other nations also that suffer uninterrupted internal strife and rampant violence. While the scholars of the global political scenario may be deciphering the intentions of the warring nations, the suffering citizens, children and women of Ukraine would take decades together to return to normalcy even after the war and internal strife could be managed.

The reconstruction would take an unfathomable measure of resources and time.

 At present there is no hope of a thaw. This war stands routinized for the print media.

Electronic media offers content and helps them run 24X7 shows. Even when Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus warned on June 13 of 2023 that he will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons if his country faces aggression, not many paid much attention to it. In an attempt to warn the US and NATO nations of their support to Ukraine, President Putin made his intentions clear to everyone that he intends to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus Russia’s ally in this war. The threat of a nuclear war could be a reality!

It is also time to reflect on the global farce going paraded in the name of the NPT – Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; CTBT. In December 1953 US President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented his proposal on “Atoms for Peace” to the UN General Assembly to create an international organization that may guard against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It led to the establishment of the International Atomic Energy Agency –IAEA – in 1957. Amongst several developments, The NPT was opened for signatures in 1970. It is a multilateral agreement with 189 States and five ‘official’ nuclear nations.

The CTBT was approved by the UN General Assembly on September 1996 and opened for signatures on September 24 of 1996. India is not a signatory to both of these. CTBT and NPT indeed remain discriminatory not only in percept but also the practice. Does it not astonish that a couple of nations appropriate certain privileges for themselves that they could conduct nuclear tests – but expect others not to enter that privileged area? India has consistently continued its research in areas of its choice and has never surrendered to the bullying nature of certain well-known pressures. Today, India stands surrounded by two rouge nuclear nations that have all along been a security risk.

The US was the first to have successfully conducted an atomic explosion on July 16, 1945. It was also the first and the last to have dropped atomic bombs on the civilian population, that too within a month; August 6, 1945, on Hiroshima and on August 9, 1945, on Nagasaki. Almost four years later, USSR conducted its atomic explosion on August 29, 1949. The UK became a member of this club on October 30, 1952; and France on February 13, 1960. All four were members of the UN Security Council with Veto rights. China conducted its first nuclear explosion on October 16 of 1964. It could get an entry only in 1971. One must appreciate the Indian political leadership for having realized the nature of NPT and CTBT that are the creations of the imperialists of yesteryears. They were and remain keen to explore and insert such treaties and provisions that would shackle the developing nations that were just out of the yoke of colonialism. During the one-year period, the numbers for US and Russia came down; 5428 to 5244 for the US and from 5977 to 5899 in the case of Russia. Numbers remain the same in the case of France and the UK; at 290 and 225 respectively. India and Pakistan possess 164 and 170 nuclear weapons at this stage. Israel and South Korea are the other players at 90 and 30 only. The estimated number of Atomic Weapons globally is 12,512 in January 2023. Of these, 9576 were ready for the use of respective defence forces.

It is also estimated that 3844 of these are fitted to missiles and fighter planes, ready to strike ahead the moment they receive the command! Apart from the fabulous- five, India and Pakistan are also nuclear nations. So are Israel and North Korea.

There could be one or two more also that remain permanent suspects in the eyes of the US and Israel. Imagine the vulnerability of India’s security if it had not become a nuclear power. India now stands with its head high only because its political leadership, irrespective of opposite political ideologies, did not compromise on national safety and security, and displayed courage and futuristic vision in remaining out of the NPT and CTBT. In June it was noted that India could take its own stand – in national interest –and NATO powers could not intimidate it by imposing sanctions.

One could also time to recall with gratitude the role of Dr Homi Jahangir Bhabha in envisioning the nuclear needs of free India, and persuading the Tatas to establish the first and only research institute in nuclear physics in India in 1945; The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research –TIFR. He was also responsible for the creation of the Department of Atomic Energy- DAE – in 1958. Several other initiatives followed. Under the leadership of Dr Bhabha, India created its own high standards of research in nuclear sciences. The experience of the 1971 war with Pakistan made Indian political decision-makers think afresh. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi approved nuclear tests, and these, now known as Pokhran-I were conducted on May 18, 1974. Atal Bihari Vajpayee made it happen again, and the Pokhran-II happened on May 11, and May 13 of 1998. It is the preparedness achieved by India that stands guarantee against its belligerent neighbours.

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