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At the height of the Cold War, the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) founded the Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) in 1980 under the leadership of W.K.H. Panofsky. Many back channel dialogues were held under its aegis with Soviet (later Russian) scientists on issues of nuclear deterrence, arms control and related matters. Eight years later, the Vice-President of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Prof. Eduardo Amaldi initiated a European version of the Committee by founding the Working Group on International Security and Arms Control (SICA) in 1988. Meetings of SICA were renamed the Amaldi Conferences after Prof. Amaldi’s death.[1]


Prof. Roddam Narasimha, former member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) played a significant role in the formulations of NSAB’s Draft Report on our Nuclear Doctrine.[2] He gave an invited lecture on ‘Evolution of India’s Nuclear Policy’ at the XIII International Amaldi Conference on Problems of Global Security, held in Rome over November 30-December 2, 2000.


The text of Professor Narasimha’s Amaldi lecture – although sporadically cited – is regrettably not widely available or acknowledged enough, in India or abroad.  In redress, in attached is the full text of Prof. Narasimha’s lecture, reproduced with the permission of Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.


Professor Narasimha dilates on the lead-up to his Amaldi Lecture thus:


In 1997 or so, a team from the United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE) came to India to explore the possibility of having periodic dialogues with their counterparts here. They had discussions with the Indian National Science Aacademy (INSA) at Delhi, then came to Bangalore for a meeting that I arranged at the Indian Academy of Sciences (IASc). While at Bangalore the team had necessarily to parley with me several times, and we discussed what research-based studies were being pursued at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS). There were more studies and activities on strategic issues and other related policy matters at NIAS than in the science academies – the ‘natural’ counterparts to the US NAE. Raja Ramanna, ex-Chairman of our Atomic Energy Commission was still at NIAS, where Robert McNamara, former US Secretary of Defense had met him at a previous small gathering. The campus, the NAE team noted, reminded them of Stanford; and when it learnt NIAS was an independent institute, the team decided – on the spot – that NIAS was the right institution to partner with.


But Pokhran II changed matters abruptly. The US NAE was no longer supposed to engage in more discussions with the Indians. So that was that, I thought. But some 10 months or so later, a letter arrived, saying it was now even more important to carry on a dialogue with India than before Pokhran II. So, could I come to meet them at Washington, all expenses paid? I did not want to be indebted to them on such a delicate matter, so told them thanks, I would be coming on my own, and did so with some help from the Tatas.


My first meeting in Washington was with the Foreign Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), not of the NAE, be it noted – Sherwood Rowland, a Nobel Laureate in chemistry – who said as he opened the office door for me, ‘So you are going to blast the Pakistanis into dust!’ or something like it. I asked how he ever got that idea. I explained to him why India did Pokhran II, why it could have done it much earlier but had not, why it had declared ‘no first use’ and so on. After an hour’s chat we were much more friendly, and he said ‘How is it that we have never heard all this here before? Your embassy should have told us so’.


Had dinner together later that night with a US team composed of scientists as well as engineers. One name I knew at the gathering was Prof. Wolfgang Panofsky, distinguished physicist and head of the Stanford Linear Collider. I confided to him whatever electro-magnetic theory I knew had all come from his book (which was the truth), and we got along very well during the rest of the party.


The first two CISAC-NIAS meetings were held at Bangalore (by agreement, because NIAS could not afford to take a whole team to the US every other year). At the end of the third meet in the US, Panofsky said ‘Well, I now understand the Indian stand, Roddam, thank you’, and things were pretty smooth afterwards. And we got enough support from Delhi, and never publicised the meetings in India or the US, for which I think both countries were thankful, especially the Americans.


At the Amaldi Conference, Panofsky – who probably nominated me for participation at the meet – was the first to ask me a question. There were several more, which the editors of the proceedings must have (correctly, I believe) dropped. There was one German who told me ‘You know we could have made a bomb any time we wanted to, but didn’t...’, implying, I believe, ‘How dare you make it when we haven’t made any?’


I had to say our positions were different, we were non-aligned.


With such initiatives as CISAC and the Amaldi conferences, scientists in the United States and Europe who ushered the era of nuclear arms have played significant roles in matters of nuclear arms control and disarmament. Less openly, but no less significantly, in also the then Soviet Union. In India, scientists, even those who have contributed much to our nuclear programmes, are largely innocent of matters of nuclear arms control. Professor Roddam Narasimha, RN – as he is widely and affectionately known – is a standout exception. As President of the Indian Academy of Sciences, RN invited the late doyen of our thinkers of strategic and nuclear affairs, and first Chairman of the NSAB, K. Subrahmanyam to give a lecture at the Academy, which the latter did to a very attentive audience.


At an occasion when the future of the NSAB was being discussed at the highest level, it was suggested that perhaps a scientist, RN for example, could be the chairman of NSAB but he politely declined.  Indeed, K. Subrahmanyam wondered, why not as the National Security Adviser (NSA)?


Prof. Roddam Narasimha, now aged 85, Padma Vibhushan awardee, doyen of our aerospace community, one of the living legends of Indian science[3], is currently Honorary Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru.


The full text of Prof. Roddam Narasimha’s lecture is reproduced below.




India’s current views on nuclear weapons are basically expressed through two vehicles: (i) the Draft Nuclear Doctrine published on 17 August 1999, and (ii) the statements that India's representatives have continued to make on the ultimate objective of India’s nuclear policies in various international fora (most recently at the UN General Assembly on 18 October 2000).


The two approaches are basically in harmony with the Indian view of the future of nuclear weapons in the world, but to understand India’s current policies, it is essential to see how they have evolved over the last five decades or more, chiefly in response to events in the neighborhood and elsewhere. The frequent statements that one hears about ‘changes’ in India’s policies in recent years, and in particular with the 1998 tests, stem from a misunderstanding of Indian views; there is greater continuity in India’s aims over all these years than is commonly realized, as I shall argue in this presentation.


The Draft Nuclear Doctrine


The Indian Draft Nuclear Doctrine was prepared by the National Security Advisory Board on a directive from the Government of India. As of today, the country does not yet have an officially adopted doctrine although several official declarations do exist, such as e.g. that on no first use[4]. The publication of a draft doctrine, inviting open public debate, seems unprecedented even in the democratic world. As part of that debate the Draft Doctrine has in fact been subjected to some very vocal criticism, chiefly by the two extremes of the spectrum of national opinion on nuclear issues: on the one side by those who consider the 1998 tests a serious mistake if not a crime, and a withdrawal from all the positions that Mahatma Gandhi had advocated[5]; and on the other by those who think that the Draft Doctrine is too naïve about the rest of the world and about the real issues involved in the use as well as threat of use of nuclear weapons. In spite of these criticisms, however, there is every reason to believe that the Draft represents a broad national consensus, and that it enjoys the support not only of most of the political leadership (cutting across party lines) and the scientific and military establishments, but also the general public. It is therefore important to understand the implications of the Draft Doctrine and the historical basis for its current formulation, irrespective of the differences of opinion that will always remain in a democratic society.


The set of principles underlying the draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine can be summarised in a few short lines.


Section 1.3 says India will ‘strenuously guard [its] right of autonomy of decision making in the developmental process and in strategic matters in a world where nuclear weapons for a select few are sought to be legitimised for an indefinite future, and where there is growing complexity and frequency in the use of force for political purposes’. In other words, the central motivation for the proposed doctrine is preservation of strategic autonomy interpreted in a broad sense, at a time when it was seen as being gradually eroded through regional and global developments in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In this respect the Indian position, is rather like that of France (which incidentally went so far as to say that ‘abusive protectors’ were also a matter of serious concern).


Very early in the document (Section 2.1), it is made clear that global nuclear disarmament (GND) is a primary issue. The rest of the doctrine is thus conditioned by the unfortunately continuing absence of any serious progress on such disarmament, especially among the P5[6]. India sees itself as being compelled to pursue a policy of credible minimum nuclear deterrence towards potential adversaries, and perhaps even more immediately towards the forces of compellance that have operated for several decades and continue to do so[7]. Section 2.3 says: ‘India’s peacetime posture aims at convincing any potential aggressor that (a) any threat of use of nuclear weapons against India shall invoke measures to counter the threat, and (b) any nuclear attack on India and its forces shall result in punitive retaliation with nuclear weapons to inflict damage unacceptable to the aggressor’ (italics mine).


The doctrine goes on to say, in categorical terms, that India will not be the first to use nuclear arms (Section 2.4). Both China and (at a certain stage) Russia have also made such no-first-use (NFU) statements, but, in the latter case, they have also been withdrawn at some point of time or been made conditional[8].


There is a large body of opinion in the world, especially in the West, that considers an NFU policy meaningless. There are difficult operational questions like how one would ever know who made the first attack, or how one can verify or ensure that a country, which has adopted NFU, is actually going to operate on that principle. It would indeed be worthwhile to discuss in detail the technical problems associated with a declaration of NFU. As far as India is concerned, its declaration of NFU is an announcement that it has no aggressive designs on any other country in the world, and a voluntary withdrawal from the possibility of using nuclear weapons as a tool of compellance.


Basically, therefore, the thrust of India’s doctrine is defensive, and derives from its frustrating experience over fifty long years trying to promote global nuclear disarmament.


The Draft Doctrine goes on to propose a policy of maintaining a credible minimum nuclear deterrent for the country. A great deal of discussion has taken place on what constitutes such a deterrent, and how its acceptance represents a movement of India away from its previous doctrine – a doctrine that (if it existed) had never been publicly stated, and was inferred by foreign analysts as characterized by non-weaponized, existential or recessed deterrence.


In the evolution of India’s nuclear policy one can identify events that triggered specific decisions. Among such events are the Chinese explosion of 1964 (following the conflict of 1962) which led to the first reconsideration of India’s nuclear objectives; the presence of USS Enterprise in the Bay of Bengal during the Bangladesh War of 1971; the increasing frequency of statements from political, military and scientific leaders in Pakistan, beginning around 1987[9], of the availability of nuclear weapons with them; and the pressures exerted, chiefly by the US, against the conduct of any further nuclear or missile tests during much of the 1990s. India has thus been particularly sensitive to what it sees as efforts to exert compellance, and its policy has generally evolved in reaction to such efforts.


The 1998 Tests


There is considerable evidence that after the 1974 (Pokhran-1) test, the Government of India had not planned weaponisation before the late 1980s. A plausible explanation is that the 1974 test was an advertisement of capability, which at that time was considered sufficient deterrence; no major nuclear threats seem to have been perceived during a decade or more following Pokhran I. Beginning around 1987, however the situation was seen to be changing. The statements issuing from Pakistani leaders about their possession of nuclear weapons culminated, in October 1990, in the expressed inability of President Bush to issue for Pakistan the certification that the Pressler Amendment calls for.


There were two other significant developments in the 1980s/90s. One of these was the end of the Cold War, which effectively removed the second pole in what had till then been a bi-polar world. The basis of a security understanding that had developed between the Soviet Union and India was therefore undermined. The second vas the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995. This was widely seen in India as positive evidence that one cannot expect any serious move towards global nuclear disarmament from the P5, and that in fact the NPT was becoming a device for perpetuating a discriminatory regime that decreed a new era that began on 1 January 1967 and would continue ‘for ever’.


These developments led to a serious deterioration in India’s security environment by the early 1990s.


What had therefore been basically an insurance policy till the late 1980s had to be converted to something more specific after that date. It is now well known[10] that Indian prime ministers in the 1980s and 90s (there were several, of different political hues) had all contemplated carrying out further nuclear tests. The Pokhran-II tests in 1998, therefore, did not represent a sudden change in political policy; at best they represented greater determination to go ahead with a policy with which previous governments, headed by leaders of other political parties, had generally been in agreement, but had been unable to implement, presumably because of international pressure. (The one exception was the government of Morarji Desai; which during its tenure of 1977-80 took a public stand against a nuclear weapon program for India.)


Indian Efforts to Promote Nuclear Disarmament


It is in retrospect astonishing how long India has tried to get nuclear disarmament accepted before concluding in the mid 1990s that success was unlikely. I count at least 14 separate efforts before the UN and its agencies[11].


As recently as 11 October 2000 Ambassador Rakesh Sood, India’s permanent representative at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, moved a resolution before the UN General Assembly saying, in part, “An international convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons would be an important step in a phased program towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework”. As Mr. Sood pointed out, “There is a requirement for a legally binding instrument prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. A vote in favor of this resolution (at the beginning of the new millennium) would also be a vote of confidence that the international community can take decisive steps towards the goal of freeing the world of nuclear weapons”.


There is no doubt that, outside the western strategic leadership, there is widespread desire all over the world to move in the direction of global nuclear disarmament. For example, the International Court of Justice ruled in 1996 that the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons was generally illegal (although it could not determine whether there would be an exception to this general finding in the extreme circumstance of self-defence when the very survival of a state was at stake). The Canberra Commission, the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the US National Academy of Sciences and many other reputed bodies have all argued the necessity for moving towards nuclear zero.


However, there is much evidence to indicate that there is no serious effort at such disarmament. Thus, the Conference of NATO countries on 24 April 1999 in Washington DC, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of NATO, has made it clear that nuclear disarmament does not figure anywhere on its agenda. Indeed the NATO statement argues that although large-scale conventional aggression against the alliance is highly unlikely, ‘nuclear weapons remain essential to preserve peace’. (Disturbingly, they went so far as to accept the necessity for ‘mounting and sustaining operations outside the Allies’ territory, where there may be little or no host-nation support’.)


These developments suggest that it is not chiefly deterrence against each other that is driving nuclear policies among the P5, but compellance on other states. It is this dimension of global nuclear policy that has been of particular concern in India.


One is sometimes forced to the conclusion that the NPT, as it stands now, cannot be expected to move towards global disarmament, unless there is either considerable further proliferation or a major accident – say a military Chernobyl. The only encouraging development in an otherwise bleak scenario is the emergence of the group of countries known as the New Agenda Coalition (to which I shall return).


The Nuclear Treaties


As I have been specifically asked by the Organizers to speak on Indian views on the various nuclear treaties, I would like to share some thoughts with you.


With respect to the CTBT, India declared a (voluntary) moratorium soon after the 1998 tests; the current official position is that the Government is attempting to build a national consensus on the issue through dialogue with the parties in Opposition. However, discussion of the CTBT is becoming increasingly irrelevant. The failure to obtain Congressional ratification in Washington shows that US leadership is deeply divided on the virtues of CTBT, and that a significant number of Senators (if not the majority) view the Treaty as not in the US national interest. Furthermore, the provisions in CTBT for withdrawal from the obligations it imposes on its signatories are so generous[12] that it is difficult to see the Treaty as having anything more than symbolic significance.


The CTBT is therefore a secondary issue, over-shadowed by the bigger one concerning the nature of the international nuclear order that one visualizes.


The NPT is a far more serious issue. At first sight, its success in collecting 187 signatures seems impressive. However, on what India would consider crucial issues, the Treaty must be seen to be a failure. As Dr. Muller has pointed out, there are now 11 countries in the world that have nuclear programs. Of these Asia accounts for seven (seven and a half, if you award half of Russia to Asia); and of the seven, five have benefited from proliferation activity of some kind[13]. To say the least, therefore, Articles I and II of the Treaty (which are concerned with undertakings on non-proliferation[14]) appear to be ineffective. Three of the four non-signatories are also in Asia. Whatever ‘bargain’ the NPT may have been able to strike (as Western policy-makers claim) in other parts of the world, it seems to be seriously flawed in its understanding of Asian concerns.


Article VI presents the most serious problems. The pursuit of “negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to... nuclear disarmament”, enjoined by this article, has not been evident at all. In all of the 30 years since the Treaty entered into force (it did so on 5 March 1970), there hen been no real progress towards nuclear disarmament. The START negotiations are stalled most of the time; they look all set to continue in the same stalled state as the US starts making serious plans for national as well as theatre missile defence. Whatever arms reductions have taken place seem more in the nature of technological spring-cleaning – where unnecessary weapons are retired – than a genuine move towards disarmament; such reductions, while welcome, have no serious political or military benefits for the rest of the world.


At the NPT Review Conference held on 24 April 2000, Ambassador Green of Mexico, speaking formally on behalf also of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden (but informally for a very large part of the rest of the world as well), said:


“In short, we are witnessing a re-rationalization of nuclear weapons in an age when the context which gave rise to the original proliferation of nuclear weapons among the five nuclear weapon states has long disappeared”.


The NPT therefore does not provide a credible instrument for GND (it was perhaps never intended to).


The NPT has other problems as well from an Indian viewpoint (and possibly from that of some other countries also). There is first of all its proclamation of the new era that begins on 1 January 1967 (only those that made tests before that date being considered ‘nuclear weapon states’ in the Treaty). The indefinite extension of NPT in 1995, without any binding obligations on the P5, is another indicator of the effort to perpetuate a world order in a world that is rapidly changing. Article VIII, which describes how amendments to the Treaty may be made, gives such widespread veto powers that its objective appears to be to ensure that amendments will almost never be possible.


For all these reasons, the NPT is seriously flawed, and it is difficult to see how any democratically elected government in India will ever be able to accept it.


I shall not spend too much time on FMCT, as India has said it would be willing to enter into discussions on the subject, but without an over-arching and more acceptable view of the global nuclear order, discussions on FMCT may go the way of CTBT. One possible set of measures that has been advocated in India[15] has the following features:


  • Time-bound nuclear disarmament
  • Cut-off only prospective
  • Limited scope
  • Discharged spent fuel to be treated as stock pile
  • Tritium to be included
  • Use for military purposes to be banned
  • Non-discriminatory verification and safe-guards regime to be instituted


These measures provide a basis for discussion, as the issue of time-bound nuclear disarmament will be contentious, as we have discussed above with respect to the NPT.




The slow pace of nuclear programs in India (over the last five decades) has in part been due to a strong desire for self-reliance, but suggests also that India has been a reluctant military nucleariser; whatever steps it has taken during these years, including the recent program of weaponisation, have constituted no more than what has been perceived as the minimum required to ensure that its autonomy is protected. The various names that have been coined by Western analysts at various times to describe India’s policies of the time are, in this view, no more than temporary labels for a central policy that has always been the same – namely one of seeking, preserving and protecting the country’s autonomy at the least possible cost.


Seen in this light, it is unlikely that India will ever be able to accept the NPT as it is now written, dividing the world forever into those countries which tested before 1967 and the rest. A version of the Treaty that is not discriminatory, eliminating the veto power that the P5 have now and introducing an amendment procedure that would be far more democratic, preserving however the regional bargains that the Treaty does appear to represent to certain neighbor-groups among the signatories, might be more acceptable – not only to India but (I suspect) to the vast majority of its current signatories. However, the political, military and diplomatic investment that has gone into the NPT in its present form has been so heavy that to expect such drastic changes seems at present to be unrealistic.


So what then is to be done? Let us look at the options.


  1. As far as the parties to the Treaty are concerned, they may well go on as usual, with 5-year reviews which are basically non-events, ignoring India’s reservations. This would rely on India continuing to show the restraint that has been characteristic of its nuclear policies[16], and concluding that India outside NPT does not present a serious problem to the global order now frozen into the Treaty.
  2. The forces behind the New Agenda Coalition may multiply and, if one or more nuclear weapon states like India support it, a vigorous movement could be built up towards: de-mating and de-targeting of all nuclear weapons; a declaration of no-first-use by all nuclear weapon states; and the constitution of a representative and respected international ‘jury’ that investigates all reported instances of nuclear compellance. If these moves gain strength, the contemplation of global nuclear disarmament may begin to look less unrealistic, and a nuclear weapons convention may become practical.
  3. The richer non-nuclear countries make common cause with some of the restless signatories of the NPT, and force revisions in the Treaty.


Option 3 is most unlikely, because the Treaty as now cast is heavily veto-prone and so virtually proof against amendment. Option 2 is what I would personally wish to see happen. Option 1 is what I suspect the world will most likely settle down to, unless (or until) it experiences unanticipated jolts.




PANOFSKY — I have to ask you a somehow provocative question. Before India made the test, you had several conflicts with Pakistan, but in general, India has had superior military power relative to Pakistan. It is a larger country, it has more resources, and so forth. But in some respect nuclear weapons are a great equalizer. So, by virtue of having tested and Pakistan having tested, do you believe that India’s security has increased or decreased?


LI — My question is very simple. I am glad to see, as everybody else, that we have a partner in the same policy for “no first use” of nuclear forces. Is it a whole, unconditional “no first use” policy or within the India nuclear doctrine are there some requirements for this policy?


NARASIMHA — To answer the second question first, India’s offer of “no first use” is unconditional, it is universal. Although this policy is also part of the draft doctrine, it is one part that is already official policy because the Prime Minister made a statement to that effect in Parliament nearly two years ago. In particular, the policy does not depend on whether countries have nuclear weapons or not. As far as Professor Panofsky’s question is concerned, I must point out that India made the first nuclear explosion in 1974 and for a long time did nothing further about it. The 1974 test could be seen as a demonstration of the potential capability of the country. So, why was the second series of tests made in 1998? I think there were three reasons. First, it became clear from statements made by Pakistani leaders at various times beginning in 1987 that our neighbourhood was acquiring or developing operational nuclear weapons. This changed the security environment. The second reason was that, with the end of the Cold War and the decline of the Soviet Union, the bipolar world disappeared, and India’s security position further deteriorated. A third reason was the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995. This event was widely seen in India as a demonstration of the failure of its own policy in chasing an unrealistic goal. These three developments made India feel that its security situation had altered dramatically. The tests were seen as the minimum necessary for India to regain that threshold of autonomy which (in my view) has always been its policy. It is true that, after those tests, conflict of some kind has continued with Pakistan, which is terrible of course, but if those tests had not been made the situation could have been worse for India.


[The lecture was originally published in the proceedings of the XIII International Amaldi Conference on Problems of Global Security, Rome, 30 November-2 December 2000 (Atti dei Convegni Lincei 167, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, 2001), and has been reproduced with permission from Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. The author is grateful to his colleague, Prof. S. Rajagopal for his comments on a draft of this paper.]


Disclaimer: This paper represents the author’s personal views, and does not necessarily reflect in any sense the views of the Government of India or that of Manipal Advanced Research Group.



[3] G. S. Bhat and K. R. Sreenivasan, “Living Legends in Indian Science”, Current Science, v. 107, n. 2, 25 July 2014, see


[4] The no-first-use decision was announced in Parliament by the Prime Minister soon after the May 1998 tests. Various other less formal policy statements abound. For example, Prime Minister Vajpayee said in an interview to the New York Herald Tribune on 21 September 2000, “A unilateral moratorium on explosive tests, a policy of no-first-use, a tight export control regime and a willingness to engage with other countries on all aspects of international security are the principles of India’s nuclear policy”.


[5] While Gandhi held that “non-violence is infinitely superior to violence”, it is not so widely known that he placed fearlessness above non-violence: “If anyone afraid at heart cannot, while remaining unarmed, rid himself of that fear, he should arm himself with a stick [!] or an even more deadly weapon” (R. Mukherjee 1993 The Penguin Gandhi Reader).


[6] As Prime Minister Vajpayee stated, “The refusal of the nuclear weapon states to consider the elimination of nuclear weapons… continues to be the single biggest threat to international peace and security. It is because of the continuing threat posed to India by the deployment of these weapons... that India has been forced to carry out these tests”.


[7] A list of 42 occasions when threats of nuclear weapon use were held forth has been provided in J. SINGH & T. BERNAUER (Security of Third World Countries, Aldershot, Dartmouth (UK) 1993, pp. 64-66). Here is a statement from a 1995 Pugwash meeting: “In the last 50 years the use of nuclear weapons was explicitly threatened occasionally, implicitly threatened continuously, seriously contemplated more often than will ever be admitted and narrowly averted more than once”. A former US Secretary of State (Alexander Haig) was quoted as having said, “Fission and fusion explosives are tools used daily all over the word in US diplomacy”. (See B.N. UDGAONKAR, Current Science, 76 (1999): 154-166).


[8] Soon alter its first nuclear test in 1964, the Chinese government declared that “China will never be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstance”. On 4 September 1994, the Presidents or China and Russia undertook not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other or target their nuclear weapons at each other.


[9] In January 1987 the Pakistani nuclear scientist, Dr. A. Q. Khan told the Indian journalist Kuldip Nayyar that Pakistan possessed nuclear weapons. In 1992, Foreign Secretary Shahryar Khan, in an interview to the Washington Post, acknowledged that Islamabad had the components and know-how to assemble at least one nuclear explosive ‘device’. On 6 April 1998, Pakistan carried out a test of the Ghauri missile; the Pokhran II tests followed 35 days later.


[10] K. SUBRAHMANYAM has written extensively about this and related issues in the Indian press. See in particular the Kargil Review Committee’s report 1999 From Surprise to Reckoning, Sage, New Delhi, and Raj Chengappa, Weapons of Peace, Harper Collins, New Delhi 2000.


[11] According to the author’s reckoning, moves on nuclear disarmament/elimination of nuclear weapons began in 1948, and continued through 1950, 1954-59, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1978, 1982, 1984-88, 1986, 1988, 1996, 1997, 1998, apart from various other moves around 1990.


[12] Article IX of the CTBT says:

2. Each State Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests.

3. Withdrawal shall be effected by giving notice six months in advance to all other States Parties, the Executive Council, the Depositary and the United Nations Security Council. Notice of withdrawal shall include a statement of the extraordinary event or events which a State Party regards as jeopardizing its supreme interests.


[13] As the recent book Saddam’s Bomb-maker by Khidhir Hamza shows, the source of proliferation can often be traced to one or more of the P5.


[14] Here are relevant extracts from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Article I: Each nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons of explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist encourage or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.

Article II: Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transfer or whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Article VI: Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

Article VIII: 2. Any amendment to this Treaty must be approved by a majority of the votes of all the Parties to the Treaty, including the votes of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and all other Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The amendment shall enter into force for each Party that deposits its instrument of ratification of the amendment upon the deposit of such instruments of ratification by a majority of all the Parties, including the instruments of ratification of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and all other Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Thereafter, it shall enter into force for any other Party upon the deposit of its instrument of ratification of the amendment.


[15] India’s options On FMCT are discussed by S. RAJAGOPAL, Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and Options for India, NIAS Report WP1-99, 2000.


[16] A paper laid out on the table of the Lok Sabha on 27 May 1998 quoted from the Bhagavad-Gītā (as Openheimer had done more than 50 years earlier), but the verse selected (6.3) was different, and may be translated (my words) as follows:

Action, it is said, is the means

To reach the heights or yogic strength;

Once reached, though – it is said, again –

Restraint is the proper course.