India needs to strengthen its nuclear weaponisation programme as a strategic nuclear capability is extremely vital to the countrys security,said former National Security Advisor to the PM M K Narayanan. He was speaking on the role of nuclear science in Indias future during the annual graduation ceremony of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Training School at BARC on Monday.
At the centre of our strategic nuclear programme stands the nuclear establishment. You must,hence,understand its significance and recognise your key role in this. A strategic nuclear capability is most vital for our nations security it has to be suitably calibrated so that it approximates to a credible minimum deterrent. Consequently,it may not be enough to maintain the present speed and scale of production of our nuclear assemblies. We will be required to accelerate the pace,as also devise new methodologies, the West Bengal Governor said.
Focusing on the strategic realm,he told the graduating batch that while constant experimentation,operating under very restrictive circumstances will be called for,India will have to refine its laboratory techniques and underwater capabilities,in addition to designing capabilities for MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) and other requirements.
In all,121 candidates graduated this year. Narayanan said Indias future was tied to the future progress and development of nuclear science and energy and the role of the graduates would be crucial in this. He said it would be in their hands to further enhance Indias capabilities in several new directions.
Narayanan said Indian citizens live in the most dangerous neighbourhood in the world,a region where many countries have highly dysfunctional governments,causing a lot of turbulence.
We have two nuclear armed neighbours,Pakistan and China,both of whom are engaged in increasing and enhancing their missile and nuclear strength and capabilities. Contending with a hostile Pakistan on one hand and an assertive China which is disinclined to endorse Indias place at the high table on the other,has not made matters easy for us. Given the salience of nuclear weapons in the Asian context,India thus has hardly any choice but to go in for a credible nuclear deterrent. We have tempered this with a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, he said. This implies,said Narayanan,that India needs to have a credible second strike capability.
Deterrence is predicted on the creation of a nuclear triad,consisting of land-based missiles,aircraft and underwater capability.
In the non-strategic area,Narayanan said energy is the key driver for a nations development and the country is confident that nuclear energy will help India meet the yawning gap between demand and supply of electric power.
Undoubtedly,there will be issues of nuclear safety and nuclear security that will arise and would have to be addressed. Concerns regarding nuclear security are also escalating as civil-nuclear capabilities expand. Indian nuclear scientists will be called upon to meet this challenge,that of balancing the imperatives of growth with mitigating concerns regarding proliferation, he said.