India’s Singh Wants Global Convention on No-First Use of Nuclear Arms

Global Security Newswire Staff
April 2, 2014, 9:59 a.m.

In­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh on Wed­nes­day called for the es­tab­lish­ment of a glob­al con­ven­tion on a no-first-use policy for nuc­le­ar weapons.

“If all states pos­sess­ing nuc­le­ar weapons re­cog­nize that if this is so” — that is, that nuc­le­ar weapons are only for de­terrence — “and are pre­pared to de­clare it, we can quickly move to the es­tab­lish­ment of glob­al no-first use norm,” Singh was quoted by the Press Trust of In­dia as say­ing at a sem­in­ar on how to achieve world­wide nuc­le­ar dis­arm­a­ment.

New Del­hi pre­vi­ously pro­claimed its de­sire for such a world­wide pact that would in­volve all nuc­le­ar-armed coun­tries pledging to nev­er be the first one in a con­flict to use their atom­ic weapons. In­dia and China already have de­clared nuc­le­ar doc­trines of no-first use.

In­dia is es­tim­ated to re­tain an ar­sen­al of roughly 100 weapons, a stock­pile be­lieved sim­il­ar in size to its re­gion­al rival, Pakistan.

Singh touted a no-first use con­ven­tion as an im­port­ant step that could “open the ways to gradu­al re­duc­tion and fi­nally elim­in­a­tion through a nuc­le­ar weapon con­ven­tion.”

Some coun­tries have be­gun try­ing to drum up sup­port for es­tab­lish­ing a dead­line for atom­ic weapon pos­sessor states to be­gin ne­go­ti­ations on a nuc­le­ar dis­arm­a­ment treaty.

Singh said while it was a good idea for coun­tries in their na­tion­al de­fense doc­trines to lim­it the num­ber of cir­cum­stances un­der which their nuc­le­ar weapons could be em­ployed, na­tions would have to act to­geth­er in this arena.

“What is im­port­ant today is an agreed mul­ti­lat­er­al frame­work that can in­volve all states pos­sess­ing nuc­le­ar weapons,” the prime min­is­ter said. “What is needed is fo­cus on prac­tic­al meas­ures that re­duce nuc­le­ar dangers.”

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