Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday that India is a “reluctant” nuclear weapons state. Singh was speaking at the launch of Observer Research Foundation’s Nuclear Order in the Twenty First Century written by former diplomat Rakesh Sood, PTI reported.
“India is the only country that had an extensive and advanced peaceful nuclear programme before we were compelled to shift in response to security threats, and the only country that exercised nearly a quarter century of restraint after having demonstrated its technical capability,” the former prime minister said. “This is why we decided to base our nuclear doctrine on a credible, minimum deterrent.”
The waiver the Nuclear Suppliers Group granted India in 2008, while the India-US nuclear deal was being signed, is a “clear acknowledgement of our impeccable non-proliferation credentials and our responsible posture”, the former prime minister added, according to The Indian Express. Singh said it gave him “deep personal satisfaction” that the civilian nuclear agreement was signed when he was in charge.
Singh said the existing global nuclear order is coming under strain as some of the previous arms control agreements are being scrapped. Unpredictability has increased because of developments in nuclear science and technology, as well as in artificial intelligence, over the last 70 years.
“Many leaders are concerned that these lead to greater unpredictability and compress the timelines for decision making,” Singh said. “It can lead to unintended escalation, increasing the likelihood of a nuclear strike, something the world has not seen since 1945.” The former prime minister said that though we now live in a multipolar world, some countries still practise outmoded ways of thinking.
“Many countries are modernising their nuclear arsenals with tactical and low yield weapons, increasing the likelihood of their use,” he said. Singh added that nuclear disarmament does not seem to be an important goal any more.