India most threatened nation by N-weapons:Mani

New York: Voicing concern over growing nuclear stockpile in South Asia, Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar today said that no other country is as threatened as India is by atomic weapons and prospect of these arsenal falling into the hands of terrorists.

Making a strong case for eliminating nuclear weapons, Aiyar, who is also Chairman of the Prime Minister`s Informal group on advancing the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for a nuclear-weapons-free and nonviolent world order, said: "non-proliferation is no substitute for elimination."

"No country is more threatened than India is by the growing nuclear arsenals in our neighbourhood and the prospect of terrorists accessing nuclear materials or even weapons. Unilateral nuclear disarmament is, therefore, difficult to envisage," he said at a nuclear disarmament conference here organised by Global Security Institute and East West Institute. Elimination of nuclear weapons is the only way to ensure that they are not used for "mass genocide" by terrorists and "mass suicide" by states, he said, adding that "there is no third way."

"So long as nuclear weapons are in existence, they can be used ? or stolen," he added. Pointing out that while unilateral nuclear disarmament will not be easy, he said India "could rid itself of these weapons" within the framework of an international convention for the universal elimination of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. "India must continue to pursue its vision of a non-nuclear world since a Nuclear-Weapons-Free-World would be good for the planet, good for the region and good for India?s national security."

"The more the nuclear weapons state cling to their nuclear arsenals and base their security doctrines on the retention of the nuclear deterrent, the greater is the danger that non-nuclear weapons states will learn the same lessons and decide that if nuclear weapons are good for some, they must be good for others," he said.

Further, armed intervention to effect regime change in states without nuclear weapons encourages states who are apprehensive of external intervention to acquire nuclear weapons. He said the report of his group focuses on the "strategic partnerships" that India has in recent years forged with all major players on the international stage, including Russia and the US besides the intensive dialogue process initiated with Pakistan and China.

It urges that the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan, 1988 be brought on the agenda of the on-going diplomatic discussions with all partner countries, with special emphasis on the Nonaligned Movement.

Separately, Member of Parliament Prakash Javadekar, speaking on `Effects of Atomic Radiation` at a session of the 66th UN General Assembly, said India welcomes the proposal by the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) to prepare a report on the radiological consequences of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant.

The UNSCEAR has undertaken development of relevant scientific annexes like the methodology for estimating radiation exposure due to biological effects of internal emitters and radiation exposure from different options for electricity generation. "As India is emerging as a major user of electricity generated from nuclear power plants, the safety of our citizens is our top priority," he said.