India asks world for deeper cuts in nuclear arsenals

April 13th, 2010 - 10:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Manish Chand
Washington, April 13 (IANS) Welcoming the recent pact between the US and Russia to cut nuclear arsenals, India Tuesday asked the world’s nuclear powers to make “deeper cuts” in their atomic weapons and pitched for universal nuclear disarmament.

“We welcome the agreement between the United States and Russia to cut their nuclear arsenals as a step in the right direction,” Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit.

“I call upon all states with substantial nuclear arsenals to further accelerate this process by making deeper cuts that will lead to meaningful disarmament,” said Manmohan Singh.

Last week, US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed to the deepest-ever cuts in their countries’ nuclear arsenals by about 30 percent of their warhead stockpiles. The 10-year accord would limit the sides, within seven years, to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads each.

Announcing the decision to set up a Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, Manmohan Singh called for universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.

“Global non-proliferation, to be successful, should be universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory and linked to the goal of complete nuclear disarmament,” he said.

“We welcome the fact that the world is veering around to our view that the best guarantor of nuclear security is a world free from nuclear weapons,” he said.

“Today, I once again reiterate India’s call to the world community to work towards the realisation of this vision,” the prime minister said while alluding to the vision of universal disarmament enunciated by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the 1988 action plan by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Manmohan Singh also welcomed the Nuclear Posture Review announced by the Obama administration early this month and backed the universalisation of no first use of nuclear weapons.

“We are encouraged by the Nuclear Posture Review announced by President Obama,” he said.

“India supports the universalisation of the policy of No First Use. The salience of nuclear weapons in national defence and security doctrines must be reduced as a matter of priority,” he said.

Highlighting the dangers of clandestine proliferation network, a veiled reference to Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan network, Manmohan Singh said: “The dangers of nuclear terrorism make the early elimination of nuclear weapons a matter of even greater urgency.”

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