Election Rhetoric, Nuclear Weapons and Pakistan — the Need to Expand Debate
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Election Rhetoric, Nuclear Weapons and Pakistan — the Need to Expand Debate


APLN member C. Raja Mohan argues that the next government in Delhi must order a comprehensive review of the changing global nuclear dynamic and regional atomic challenges, and find ways to modernise India’s atomic arsenal and doctrine. The review must also explore ways to accelerate India’s civilian nuclear energy programme.

The debate on Pakistan and nuclear weapons in the Indian elections might have generated much heat but it has shed little light on Delhi’s emerging nuclear challenges. Nuclear factors have returned to the top of the agenda in the competitive calculus among major powers as well as in key regional theatres like Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Nuclear energy is also back on the civilian radar as the challenges of managing climate change become acute each year. Meanwhile, tech companies are showing unprecedented interest in nuclear power to feed their electricity-guzzling data centres.

There was intense debate in Delhi during the 1990s on the formal acquisition of a nuclear arsenal. It was followed by an all-consuming focus on the terms of reconciliation with the global nonproliferation order under the historic civil nuclear initiative with the US during the 2000s. Since then, there has been little public and political interest in matters nuclear. At the global level, the UN warned a few weeks ago that the world is drifting back to potential nuclear war amid the mounting tensions between the US and Europe on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

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