New Delhi: India and the US are the only two countries in world that can think about voluntarily giving up nuclear weapons without compromising their security, former diplomat KC Singh has said.
"There are two countries in the world which can give up nuclear weapons and not have their security in anyway affected. That is the US and India," Singh said at a symposium organised by an NGO here last evening.
America does not need nuclear weapons because it has mental capabilities to take on anyone with its "strategic weapon". It is physically well-positioned as there is a huge gap between the US and other powerful nations like China and Russia, he said.
Stating that India is a reluctant power that projects nuclear weapons, Singh said, "I think we should be upfront in saying we will give up nuclear weapons. We have two problems -- China and Pakistan. We can handle them."
India has not joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and achieve the goal of nuclear disarmament. "It has cost us a lot... Not joining NPT, you are always cornered," he added.
Singh was talking about the peace proposals submitted by Japan-based Buddhist body Soka Gakkai International (SGI) president Daisaku Ikeda to United Nations.
Ikeda has proposed three key areas as critical to the effort to create a sustainable global society: nuclear weapons non-use agreement, establishment of regional cooperative mechanisms to reduce damage from climate change and education with a particular focus on young people.
Welcoming Ikeda's call for a treaty on the non-use of nuclear weapons, senior journalist Siddarth Varadarajan said, "Such agreements would be major milestones in the struggle to rid the world of these dangerous and ultimately illegal weapons."
He, however, suggested intermediate steps -- for instance, an agreement on no-first use -- as the way of getting to non-use of nuclear weapons.
He also said that with at least four de facto nuclear weapon states -- India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan -- outside the NPT, it made no sense to limit international discussions on these initiatives solely to the countries which were party to the treaty.