March 29, 2016
“The need for heightened nuclear security has now become urgent.” Picture shows the Kudankulam power plant in Tamil Nadu.
If India is more open about discussing its nuclear weapons programme with a view to ultimately denuclearising the neighbourhood, it would be one of its most courageous contributions
This week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will touch down in Washington, DC for the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit, a biennial conference series initiated in 2010 by the Barack Obama administration. Mr. Modi will no doubt seek to showcase India’s nuclear regime as one that adheres to the highest standards of transparency and safety through rigorous regulation of nuclear products and institutions. Although that would be welcome, what Mr. Modi’s interlocutors in the U.S. may be hoping for is that he will break with India’s tradition of maintaining a masterful silence on two questions surrounding its nuclear policy. First, how can India address disquieting signals that have emerged in recent times, which point to growing concerns over the security of its nuclear materials? Second, at a time when India’s macro strategy of rapid economic development is premised on a climate of neighbourly peace and stability in the region, is it not appropriate that Mr. Modi call for an end to the nuclear arms race in Asia, and address environmental risks of India’s covert weapons plants?
Let us consider each of these questions in turn.
India’s nuclear security