We strongly condemn India’s recent acquisition of a nuclear-propelled submarine quickly followed by flight-test of another nuclear-capable missile. Brandishing these tools of mass destruction as guarantees of national security while ignoring the issues of real safety, security and well-being of the Indian people demonstrates a perverse pathology.
Naming the submarine “Arihant” after a holy figure from Jainism which stands for peace is yet another cruel irony similar to “the Buddha smiled” code for the 1974 nuclear test. It also obfuscates the reality that the “indigenous” submarine is critically based on borrowed military technology and the fact that huge imports of such technology and weapons systems are bleeding our economy.
Far from providing us security, nuclear weaponisation has led to a sharp rise in the defence budget, more instability in South Asia and an escalating regional arms race. In the 15th year after the Pokharan-II tests, important lessons need to be learnt. To get the sanctions imposed after the nuclear tests removed and to get an elusive legitimate nuclear weapons-state status, India promised to buy reactors from the US, France and Russia. These are now being imposed on Indian farmers and fishermen by brutal force. The rise of national chauvinism and sectarianism in all OF South Asia is yet another deplorable fallout of this nuclear nationalism.
We urge the government to desist from further escalation of the arms race, strengthen confidence-building measures with our neighbours, resume a dialogue with Pakistan, and negotiate a South Asian nuclear weapons-free zone treaty at the earliest.