Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Changing Perspectives of Nuclear Concept

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Changing Perspectives of Nuclear Concept

In the absence of global nuclear disarmament, India’s strategic interests required effective, credible nuclear deterrence and adequate retaliatory capability. In the situations, Dr. Homi Jahangir Bhabha, the founding chairman of its Atomic Energy Commission, and the architect of its three-stage(thorium) programme, his plan for national development in November 1954  at the Conference on  Development of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes. Four years later  in  1958,  the Indian government formally adopted the three-stage plan and recognised that  thorium was  main source that could  provide power  to the Indian people  for the long  term. It adhered for long on the  use  of atomic energy for peaceful purposes but  over the years the traditional concept of deterrence which  aims to retain balance between mutual vulnerabilities and  a capability to wreak unacceptable punishment  on  an  aggressor has  also undergone to symbolise a potential shift in focus  from  offence to defence.
Foundational period
.More than a year  before  Hiroshima and  Nagasaki in 1944  Bhabhba declared, ‘when  nuclear energy has  been  successfully applied for power production in, say, a couple of decades from now, India will  not  have to look abroad for its  experts, but  will find  them ready at home. He  was  conscious enough about the future development of nuclear energy for the common good of mankind, He,  in a letter to Sir  Dorabji Tata Trust on 12th March, 1944 prophetically proposed for the setting up  of an  institute for fundamental research and  a year later it was  firmly laid  as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research with Dr.  Bhabha as its Director. Indian nuclear programme, at least during its initial period clearly showed the ideas like tolerance and  non-violence which  were  the  features of Gandhi’s techniques of Satyagraha and the peaceful transition of power that characterised the birth of Indian Republic. Accordingly, despite two atomic bombs being dropped on  Japan, India’s  founding father  demonstrated immense faith in the peaceful use of atomic energy. Apart from Krishna Menon and  Dr. Bhabha who talked of sharing nuclear knowledge in  common interest,  Nehru  himself asserted:  “We will not make these bombs  even  if we have the  capacity to do so and  in no event we will use  atomic energy for those most destructive purposes’. Thus, Indian nuclear research and programmes were purposeful, confined only to civilian research.
After Independence
In 1947,  when India emerged as  a free  country to take its rightful place  in  the comity  of nations, the nuclear age  had already dawned. In  the circumstances, India stressed on  the creation of a broad-based science and  technology infrastructure because it believed that  technological  backwardness made a country politically and  economically vulnerable. It decided to produce all  the basic  materials  because of nuclear power’s strategic nature and hence made the nuclear programme a major area of scientific  research and  development. The  prevailing situation also  compelled Nehru to  announce before  assuming office. ‘‘As long as the world  was  constituted on nuclear might, every  country will have to develop and  use  the  latest scientific devices for its protection.’’ However the  formal annoucement of India’s nuclear policy  was  made by Nehru on 10th May  1954, when he said in Lok Sabha, ‘I should like the House to remember that the  use  of atomic energy for peaceful purposes is far  more important for a country like  India whose  power  resources are limited, than  for a  country like,  say,  France, an  industrially advanced country’’.   Nehru’s  statement identified the basic components of India’s nuclear policy.  They  are  : (i) Not to make nuclear weapons;(ii) To work  for and  support nuclear disarmament and nuclear arms control measures; (iii)      To  develop and  use  nuclear  energy for peaceful purposes, and (iv)  Not  to accept discriminatory international inspection and  safeguard in respect of national nuclear facilities.
India’s commitment to the  peaceful use  of nuclear energy during the stewardship of Jawaharlal Nehru remained firm. No doubts were  cast on his  bona  fides  in his  lifetime. Not  only that  but Nehru assured the world on  behalf of any  future Government of India that his country would not go in for nuclear weapons. Inaugurating  the  first reactor on Asian soil  on 20th January 1957,  he  said,  ‘‘……No man can  prophesy the future. But I should like to say on behalf of my Government-and I think I  c an  say  with so me  assurance o n  b e half   o f  an y  fut ure Government of India-that whatever might happen, whatever the circumstances, we  shall never use  this atomic energy for evil purposes. There is no condition attached to this assurance,
Modern nuclear motivations
In  context, many analysts including Lewis  A. Dunn and  Herman Kahan and Meyor have listed various reasons or pressures encouraging a country to go nuclear. Dunn and  Kahan have listed as many as  fourteen factors which  have  been  classified under several heads such  as  security, status or  influence, bureaucratic and domestic. They  have also  indentified eight types of events as “trigger”  activating consideration on  the pressure or reasons for a country going  nuclear. These are  :(i)   Involvement in foreign crisis;(ii)  Reduction in alliance credibility; (iii)   Nuclearisation of the other countries; (iv)   Weakening or breakdown of international constraints;(v)  Domestic crisis; and (vi)   Changed perception and  utility of nuclear weapons. Another analyst Meyor notes three basic types of  incentives. First, incentives of international  political prestige and  image-building. These can  affect  the country’s appearance and  posture, Second, incentives to advance national  military and  security objectives,  to minimise external threats  to the country and   to strengthen  its relative power position and strength. Third, incentives to  support and  promote domestic policies and to prevail in domestic political struggles. In general, four  sets of arguments are  frequently advanced by  threshold states aiming to  retain the nuclear options–military security; political prestige and  influence; economic  gains; and  domestic pressures and  compulsions.

Dr. Rajkumar Singh is Professor and Head of P.G.Department of Political Science, BNMU, West Campus, P.G. Centre, Saharsa-852201. Bihar, India. Email- rajkumarsinghpg@yahoo.com

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