Revising India’s nuclear diplomacy

C Raja Mohan argues that it is time for India to stop gloating over the corner Pakistan has got itself into, and focus on actively ‘de-hypenating’ itself by playing a more mature and responsible role in international nuclear diplomacy

Shaking off the Pakistan factor in India’s nuclear diplomacy has been difficult. India can differentiate itself from Pakistan, only if it acts and is seen as acting with responsibility in dealing with the new threat. That would require substantive policy measures on many fronts.

First, New Delhi needs to go beyond rhetorical commitment to non-proliferation towards the creation of more effective controls over exports of sensitive materials and technologies and scientific personnel. This would involve the drafting of new laws as well as modernisation of its enforcement mechanisms in relation to non-proliferation.

Secondly, India must find ways to separate its civilian and military programmes in the nuclear field. So long as there are no clear firewalls between these dimensions of its sensitive programmes, India’s ability to access advanced technologies will be constrained.

Thirdly, instead of passively watching the nuclear developments in Pakistan India must actively intervene in the global debate on strengthening the non-proliferation regime. It must be in the forefront of providing answers to the new challenge of dealing with the threat from the grey and black markets in relation to materials and technologies relating to weapons of mass destruction. As the nation immerses itself in the general elections, it might be sensible for the Government to appoint a task force to look into specific actions that would be required on these three fronts. When the dust settles after the elections, India should be ready to take some urgent decisions on issues relating to non-proliferation and safeguarding the national interest.[The Hindu]