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India keen on nuclear disarmament, says official

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Joint Secretary (Policy Planning and Research), Union Ministry of External Affairs Subhakanta Behera (second from left), with Director of Centre for South Asian Studies of Pondicherry University N.K. Jha at the valedictory function of an international seminar in Puducherry on Thursday.
Joint Secretary (Policy Planning and Research), Union Ministry of External Affairs Subhakanta Behera (second from left), with Director of Centre for South Asian Studies of Pondicherry University N.K. Jha at the valedictory function of an international seminar in Puducherry on Thursday.

Staff Reporter

PUDUCHERRY: India is aware of the emergence of new threats and challenges to global security.

The country is keen on taking everybody on board for confidence-building measures to avoid nuclear terrorism and bring about nuclear disarmament, Joint Secretary (Policy Planning and Research), Union Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, Subhakanta Behera, said on Thursday.

He was speaking at the valedictory function of a three-day international seminar on “Rajiv Gandhi's Disarmament Initiatives – Global and South Asian Contexts,” organised by the Centre for South Asian Studies of Pondicherry University.

“India continues to reaffirm that there should be global disarmament. Rajiv Gandhi advocated for action plan for nuclear disarmament and called for a three-stage elimination of nuclear weapons by 2010,” he said.

Noting that Rajiv Gandhi's action plan does not restrict to nuclear disarmament but also chemical weapons, Mr. Behera said the former Prime Minister linked the entire nuclear disarmament with comprehensive global security system with changes in existing doctrine for a world free of weapons.

“However, we are yet to make any progress in this direction,” he said.

Asking what should be done beyond Rajiv Gandhi's initiatives, Mr. Behera pointed out to the emerging threats and challenges to global security including nuclear terrorism.

Aware of the responsibility

“India is fully aware of the responsibility of a nuclear weapon State. It believes in no first use,” he said.

Pointing out to the country's dialogue with Pakistan, he said, “India wants to take everybody on board for confidence-building measures to avoid nuclear terrorism.”

The Ministry was having outreach programmes to get the views of the civil society, think tanks and universities on various policies in respect to the country's foreign policy.

P.M. Kamath from Bombay University put forth the need for a roving ambassador for disarmament issues. He called for increased interaction between policy makers in the government and policy thinkers in the universities.

Director of Centre for South Asian Studies, Pondicherry University N.K. Jha said some of the recommendations of the seminar included revamping Rajiv Gandhi's initiatives according to the present scenario, gradual reduction in nuclear weapons and need for more dialogue and debate on disarmament.

Lecturer at the centre D. Purushotaman spoke.


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