India can strengthen nuclear policing

Colin Powell’s India visit churned out more headlines on outsourcing and economic reforms than on the traditional foreign affairs issues. This is a welcome change.

One of the issues discussed – which did’nt make it to the headlines – was India’s participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a newly formed international nuclear policing programme. It was largely due to this initiative that the consignment of nuclear components and materials (concerning Libya) was seized recently which precipitated the exposure of Pakistan’s nuclear marketing & sales. It appears Yashwant Sinha was only lukewarm to Colin Powell’s suggestion for greater Indian involvement.

India must join the PSI. I do not think the traditional agenda of lobbying for ‘official nuclear status’ makes sense any more, as the legitimacy of nuclear weapon ownership comes from conduct. If India can conduct itself as a responsible nuclear power then legitimacy & acknowlegement will follow.

Joining the PSI would not only be a responsible move, but also contribute towards global security. India can bolster the small group of nations which has come together to tackle the problem of nuclear proliferation – it has the resources, capabilities and need to do so.