Buddha ‘Smiles Again’
02 Jun, 1998 · 107
Maj. Gen. Dipankar Banerjee (Retd.) details the political, economic and security costs that India will have to pay for have tested its nuclear devices
The reality has indeed proved to be different. There had evolved in recent years a strong international norm against nuclear weapons and
But, were the nuclear tests necessary? Do nuclear weapons have a role in war? The one reality that most have come to accept today is that nuclear weapons are of no utility whatever. You can neither eat it, nor throw it. But, once produced, can only hold it, and that is enormously expensive. Gorbachev and Reagan agreed in November 1985 that you could not fight wars with it. Some have felt that if you had nuclear weapons, you could deter another state that did not have any and make it do your bidding. The thesis is flawed. The reality is that every nuclear weapon power has fought a war with another non-nuclear power and has either lost the war or its nuclear weapons had no effect on the conflict.
Some have argued that if two adversaries had nuclear weapons there will be no war between them and peace and tranquillity would be the result. The thesis cannot be proven empirically. The East-West conflict in
A nuclear weapon environment is essentially destabilizing. Notwithstanding all that is often said about it, humans, who sometime make mistakes, handle these. They are controlled by instruments that sometime fail. Their possible use is often subject to the decision of a single individual and he may not always be wise. There is no race or colour attribute to this.
Do nuclear weapons enhance our defence potential against
There are many other costs for
There are security costs as well. We will continue to have access to Russian military hardware and perhaps even French. But, they will now drive a harder bargain. The light combat aircraft, the main battle tank and other advanced military projects depending on western technology will be seriously hit. Their cost overruns will probably lead to the projects being shelved. It calls for serious introspection.
(Extracts from the article published in the Economic and Political Weekly, May 16-22)
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