Nuclear Free World - A Dream
President Obama’s Prague speech of 5 April 2009 wherein he asserted that, “the existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the cold war” touched hearts of millions across the globe.
The horrific nature of these weapons and devastations caused by their employment at Hiroshima and Nagasaki forms part of collective human conscience. The possibility that world one day may be free of these weapons naturally enlivened the people. Where the episode of August 1945 had exposed the lethality of the weapon it also underlined human malevolence. American desire to achieve victory was so strong that after having assessed the destruction caused at Hiroshima, which was captured by two escorting aircraft equipped with cameras and other measuring devices, they went in for second attack which annihilated Nagasaki. That clearly makes a case that humans are numb to the sufferings of their perceived foes and adds to the possibility of use of nuclear weapons in future. If we closely analyze post 1945 period it is not the presence of nuclear weapons that prevented wars rather ability of the rivals to retaliate in the same coin that would result into “mutually assured destruction” prohibited clash between nuclear powers.
The imprint of its destructiveness on human conscience has been so pronounced that saner segments always stood for containment of these weapons. In a highly fragmented global environment marred by mistrust and suspicion this objective could only be achieve through mutually binding treaties. 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty concluded between USA, USSR and UK prevented nuclear testing above ground, underwater and in outer space. Outer Space Treaty concluded between these powers in 1967 banned placing these weapons in outer space and on moon for military use. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed on 1 July 1968 and entered into force in 1970. About 133 nations are signatory of this treaty. It was put in place to make sure that non-nuclear countries don’t start their nuclear weapons program. From 1972 to 1993 six different treaties to limit strategic arms and forces were signed between USA and USSR. In 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was signed that banned all nuclear tests above and below the earth’s surface. These treaties indicate that humanity has come a long way in making earth a safe human abode but it is not really so.
The human struggle for dominance and control of global resources is continuing. To checkmate China, Bush administration had opened doors of nuclearisation on to India. The most incongruous clause of US-India nuclear deal places only fourteen out of her twenty two nuclear reactors under IAEA. That facilitates India to amass enriched uranium for military use. To pacify the voices of dissent India opened up her market for defense, nuclear and trade deals and made it known that she plan’s to spend around $ 90 billion to setup nuclear facilities in next 15 years. Recession stricken global economies leaped to grab the opportunity. All major leaders of the world visited India during 2010 to conclude trade, military hardware and nuclear deals. Extending India (a non-signatory of NPT and CTBT) complete access to global nuclear resources and lifting ban from certain US companies to export dual use technologies has really buried NPT. Tension in Asia will push the world towards greater uncertainty. Nations compelled out of their security needs might react against apartheid system created by NPT that discriminates between Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) and Non Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) and prevent NNWS from going nuclear. Unfortunately US-Indian nuclear deal has moved the humanity away from its cherished objective of achieving a nuclear weapon free world.
In this highly discriminatory environment where every country is pursuing her own objective, Pakistan rises her voice to bring in rationality in nuclear control regimes. Pakistan’s ambassador Zamir Akram in the opening session of the 2011 Conference on Disarmament has callously criticized the move to have India in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). He has made it clear that it would further destabilize South Asia. He also asserted that Pakistan will be forces take measures to maintain its credible deterrence. Despite pressure from the major powers, Pakistan maintained its opposition to negotiations on a ban on the production of fissile material. That blocked “Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT)” for the time being. He has also made it clear that Pakistan would like a treaty that deals with stocks and not just future production of such material. It has been a brave move where Pakistan has asserted itself as a nuclear power that needs to be applauded. Unless such rational and just stances are adopted world will neither be able to shrivel the existing stockpile of nuclear weapons nor will be able to contain spread of these weapons. In fact it will continue to drift away from its cherished objective of having nuclear free world.