Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons prevented India from attacking that country after the terror strikes in Mumbai and the attack on Parliament,former army chief Gen Shankar Roychowdhury has said.
“Do nuclear weapons deter? Of course,they do. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons deterred India from attacking that country after the Mumbai strikes,” he told a seminar in Kolkata on ‘Nuclear Risk Reduction and Conflict Resolve.’
It was due to Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons that India stopped short of a military retaliation following the attack on Parliament in 2001,Roychowdhury said.
Stressing the need for nuclear disarmament,he said in 1988 the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had proposed a 20-year plan for it.
Commissioner in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) Lt Gen V R Raghavan said Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were in safe hands.
“By all indications,Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,are in safe hands and under tight control. But nobody can say what will happen if the system breaks down. There is concern in the West about whether the system in Pakistan can be sustained only through aid,” Raghavan said on Saturday. Describing disarmament and deterrent as “two sides of the same coin called the nuclear weapon,” Raghavan said the demand for disarmament had come down over the last 10 years with the US and Russia not targeting each other.
“But the demand,however,has been revived of late amid fears that the nuclear weapons may fall in wrong hands with non-state actors gaining territory in a number of countries,” he said.
Pointing out that India was the strongest in its demand for nuclear disarmament,he said it had proposed a seven-point plan,including no-first-use commitment and a commitment for total elimination of stockpile,for disarmament.
Professor of International Politics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University Rajesh Rajagopalan said during the Kargil conflict,Pakistan had presumed that its possession of the nuclear bomb would prevent India from taking any action. “But the Pakistanis were wrong.”
ajagopal said the most capable terrorist organisations were not looking for the nuclear bomb,as its possession would antagonise powerful groups against them.
“So,you will notice that groups like the LTTE,Hamas or Hezbullah are not looking for nuclear weapons.”
GOC-in-C of the Army’s Eastern Command,Lt Gen V K Singh,said efforts must be made to reduce risk in a manner so that conflict became manageable.