Singh proposes no-first use of nuke weapons

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday proposed a global convention on ‘no-first use’ of nuclear weapons as it could lead to elimination of atomic arsenal.
“If all states possessing nuclear weapons recognise that if this is so (nuclear weapons are only for deterrence) and are prepared to declare it, we can quickly move to the establishment of global no-first use norm.
“In many ways this can open the ways to gradual reduction and finally elimination through a nuclear weapon convention. Such a convention would require necessary verification. It would also require political measures to ensure the stability is maintained at the level as nuclear arsenal approaches zero,” he said.
Singh was speaking at an IDSA seminar on “A Nuclear Free World: From Conception to Reality”.
“More and more voices are speaking out today that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons while they exist should be to deter a nuclear attack,” he said.
Singh said that it was important to reduce the importance of nuclear weapons. However, this cannot be done by a single nation, but requires a multilateral agreement.
“What is important today is an agreed multilateral framework that can involve all states possessing nuclear weapons. What is needed is focus on practical measures that reduce nuclear dangers,” he said.
Singh further said UPA performed better than the previous NDA and specifically cited the growth in agriculture sector, industrial sector and poverty reduction as examples.
While the previous NDA regime posted a growth rate of 6 per cent, the growth in UPA I was 8.4 per cent and in UPA II 7.3 per cent. “So we delivered more growth than our opponents.”
Similarly, he added industrial and agricultural growth too was higher during the UPA regime. He said poverty has declined by 2.18 per cent during the last years, as against 0.7 per cent between 1993-2004.
India needs more investment and more emphasis on job creation, he said. The Congress manifesto proposes to raise the economic growth to 8 per cent in the next three years and create 10 crore jobs.
Insisting that the country had witnessed the fastest economic growth during the last 10 years, he hit out at BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s model of development in Gujarat.
“Development has many models. One hears these days about Gujarat model of development. Congress model is one which recognises that the growing economy provides answers to all concerns,” he said.
“Growth by itself is not enough to achieve solid results of inclusive progress. It needs to be backed by education, healthcare and needs of women, SCs, STs and OBCs,” Singh said.
The Prime Minister said there was “no paradox” in a nuclear weapon state like India being an advocate of a nuclear weapon free world.
Singh said despite being a nuclear weapon state, India remains “convinced that a nuclear weapon-free world would enhance our security. Consequently, our nuclear doctrine lays emphasise on a credible minimum deterrent and a no-first use policy.
The doctrine reiterates India’s continued commitment to the goal of nuclear-weapon-free world.”
The Prime Minister said as a “responsible nuclear weapon state that remains committed to non-proliferation, India supports the idea of a nuclear-weapon-free world because we believe that it enhances not just India’s security, but also global security.”—PTI