India has an age old tradition of being peace loving country and this, it has depicted in all its activities and attitudes through the ages. But, with the growth of Science and Technology, the world has gone far ahead in using its knowledge of Science as an instrument of destruction. The movement of the world in its knowledge of Science has been thought provoking for the Indians also, and they have had to do some rethinking in the matter.
Immediately after independence, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India started building friendships with other countries but, somehow, since its very inception, our relations with our closet neighbour Pakistan, have been mutually lacking in trust, and as such they remained strained always.
During the span of 25 years, from 1948 to 1971, India has three wars thrust upon it by Pakistan, which India obviously had to fight. In the year 1962, a war was also thrust upon India by another neighbour Chin. It is with this background that, India had to review its defence policy and defence budget. This it had to do only to be able to defend itself from onslaughts of others. Even after the wars India had to fight, in its thinking and attitude of not fighting. India did not undergo any change, but, it also realized that, with others continuing to advance in destructive management, India had to develop its knowledge of destruction, only if it was to save itself. With this background, and the scenario of the world India had to perforce plan out a strategy of defending itself.
The world scenario that has developed through the years is that, the great powers have increased their know how and also their arsenals of nuclear weapons, by leaps and bounds, and India is expected to just wait and watch. When India became independent, illiteracy and poverty were rampant, and Nehru started the process of planning the development of higher scientific and technological education and research in different fields. These were considered necessary for the eradication of poverty, development of agriculture and advancement of the country to compete with other countries of the world. It is with this in view that, the atomic energy establishment for study and research in the field was started in India, in the fifties, with the first atomic research centre, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre being set up in Bombay, for the study and advancement of knowledge of the Science of Nuclear energy.
Nuclear energy has a number of useful applications, specially in the field of power generation. A number of atomic energy power stations were established in the country with the idea of utilizing this energy for peaceful purposes. This was achiebed in India with the help form various countries who had know how in the field. The Indian scientists continued to advance their knowledge by a close interaction with their counterparts in other countries, and through their own researched.
What has been the advancement in the field can be verified only with nuclear explosions, and, like and other branch of Science this experiment is necessary to understand the extent to which we have progressed in the line. The knowledge developed in the laboratories was experimented by India in its first nuclear explosion conducted at Pokharan in Rajasthan, in the year 1974. This was just a simple ground trial of the laboratory research of the scientists. With further development, the second test of nuclear know how was conducted by India in May 1998. this test was also conducted at the same location of Pokharan in Rajasthan and is so called the Pokharan-II.
So much for the knowledge of India in the sphere of nuclear science but, what is our policy in the matter? Our policy has not changed from the early days of our independence, for, even to-day, when we realize that, we have the skill and the know how, we still are against using this knowledge as a weapon of destruction. The situation of the world to-day is that, the five big powers that have the maximum knowledge and reserves of nuclear weapons are, U.S.A., Russia, Britian, France and China. These powers are the five who have huge stock piles of nuclear weapons which they can legally develop and increase but, all the other powers of the world not supposed to grow in this sphere. Now that, some powers have nuclear weapons the natural corollary for all other nations of any magnitude is to have a desire to enter the arena even if it be in a small way. India’s nuclear policy has always been very clear in as much as, India is avowed to use its nuclear knowledge only for purposes of peace and never for confrontation with any one.
India has always been pressing from time to time on all world forums for a restraint on these big nuclear powers. India’s stand is that, they should stop the manufacture of nuclear arms for destructive purposes, and also destroy their existing dumps of arsenals, then, India will also convinue the smaller countries of the safety of their respective states. However this point pressed by India has not been acceptable by the big powers. With this attitude of the big powers, the small powers have a continued feeling of insecurity, and they have also started a movement on the path of nuclear growth. The examples of this, are the latest entrants in this race, India and Pakistan. The two countries did this only to highlight to the world their know how in the Science, and thus showed to the world that they are not very far from the others in their knowledge. However, on the other side, the five big powers want to impose a discriminatory world order called the C.T.B.T., that is Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, on all the nations of the world.
By this the big powers want that, while they themselves can retain their huge nuclear dumps and even keep on adding on to them, the other countries will not be allowed to develop their nuclear powers. In respect to this decision, India has said very clearly that, this treatment of diiferentiation will not be accepted, and it is in no norms of natural justice that, ther should be such a clear demarcation between the Haves and Have Nots. Thus, the truth of the matter is that, though the world claims to have reached the stage of global oneness but, in reality,some countries do continue to dominate the others. While some countries think it is their prerogative to sit on dumps of nuclear arsenals, they would not like the other lesser powers to develop even a simple know how of the technology. Thus India’s plea in the matter is absolutely correct when it says that, either all countries stop developing the nuclear weapons or all should be allowed to do whatever they can in the matter. For, when all countries are supposed to be equal then why this partiality? While some countries can fulfil their priorities, the others are denied the right. India’s policy is for the good of her own security and the stopping of the big powers becoming more powerful and thus more dangerous for world peace. Experience has shown the world how atomic invasions destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima in the World War-II, and taught all, about the potentially of the nuclear weapons for massive destruction. Thus so far, nuclear power has only acted as a deterrent to ensure that a military power does not indulge in any misadventure.
India wants to develop nuclear know how in all its forms specially for only peaceful purposes of nuclear energy. Being essentially a peace loving nation India can be fully trusted in, never being the offender in the matter of disturbing world peace. This is further corroborated by the latest declaration of the Prime minister of India that ours will always be the “No first use” policy as far as nuclear weapons are concerned. Presently just as in the past, India continues to press on al a world forums about-one, total nuclear disarmament of all the powers of the world. Secondly, India insists that, the big five powers that are established nuclear power must destroy all their nuclear arsenals in a phased manner, in a stipulated time frame. This action of the big powers total disarmament in the world. This will put a stop on the attempts of smaller countries trying to develop their know how and researches on the subject. This is the basic and though very logical approach of India, it has not found much acceptance in the comity of nations, and received any positive response from the nuclear powers. That this will lead to a continuing the latent attitude of suspicion of countries against each other, and this continues to point at the fact of the desire of the big countries to dominate the world scene. In this matter it would be advisable and more practical to achieve results that, the big brothers give examples to the younger brothers round the world, by disarming and destroying their nuclear wepons by and by. This will build a confidence in the smaller powers and then there is a chance that they may follow suit, and drop their pursuit of nuclear studies and research. For this, it is all important for the big powers to control themselves and then they may get obedience as, the smaller powers will feel secure and confident. This would be ideally achieved by the elder brother cajoling the younger, instead of punishing by means of imposing sanctions.
To-day this is the policy of India and when it has achieved a breakthrough, instead of appreciating the growth of the once backward country, the big brother is punishing by sanctions. How far does this indicate the equality of nations, or similarity of attitudes towards the rich and poor countries. India’s stand on nuclear arms is quite logical for, once other powers get nuclear and India is not allowed to grow on this front will it not be left behind in its growth of knowledge? Is it not enough for India to declare that it will never use it first to show that, it does not want to develop nuclear know how with any destructive ideas in mind. For India to become a nuclear power, it requires a colossal investment for the manufacture of the bomb and its delivery systm. An economically weak country like India is not likely to embark on such a course unless its security environments compel it to. This also is a serious stopper placed in India and would always prevent it form trying any misadventure of nuclear destruction. Seeing this scenario, India can not take upon itself the onus of any destruction by nuclear arms, as for one, it can not afford the fun, and for second, it is not its policy to destroy, it has always been peace loving and mature country.