Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lessons From 'Yes Prime Minister' For Indian Politicians

Memories of nuclear holocaust
Why would any country want to conduct nuclear tests if not to build nuclear weapons? And why does India want the keep its options open? Because China is a nuclear power and Pakistan has nuclear weapons? Besides jingoism, I mean? Alright pride!

The most effective argument against nuclear weapons as deterrent can be found in Yes Prime Minister by Jonathan Lynn & Antony Jay.

Surprised? Read on ...

The scene is in Prime Minister's flat. A Professor Issac Rosenblum is talking to the PM, Jim Hacker. The following is an extract from the book (from Hacker's Diary) - it is an eye opener.

He [meaning the Professor] began by asking me if I believed in the nuclear deterrent.
'Yes,' I said.
'Why?' he asked.
I didn't know what to say. I mean, everyone believes in the nuclear deterrent. I asked him to repeat his question.
'Why?' he asked again.
'Because ... it deters,' I replied, weakly.
I'd never before met anyone who spoke in such short sentences.
Rosenblum stood up. He paced enthusiastically up and down my living room, a glass of orange juice in hand, expounding an assortment of defence scenarios. First, he postulated riots in West Berlin, with buildings in flames, and the Eat German fire brigarde crossing over the border to help. He stopped pacing and asked me if I'd press the button in such circumstances.
Obviously the answer was no.
'Scenario Two. Russian army manoeuvres take them "accidently" on purpose across the West German frontier ... is that the last resort?'
'No,' I replied,. It didn't seem to be.
'All right,' he continued with great enthusiasm. 'Scenario Three. Suppose the Russians have invaded and occupied West Germany, Belgium, Holland and France. Suppose their tanks and troops have reached the English Channel. Suppose they are poised for an invasion, is that the last resort?'
I stonewalled. 'No.'
'Why not?' he demanded, 'Why not?'
My mind was a fog. I was trying to see sense in all this. 'Because, ' I fumbled,'because ... we would only fight a war to defend ourselves. And how can we defend ourselves by committing suicide?'

The above passage is from the past - the era of cold war. But it is chilling true for India, Pakistan and China. These countries are neighbours. Nuclear arms cannot be a deterrent. Use of such a weapon can only be called suicide.

Here's what India should do.

Now that India is a recognised nuclear power and it has become the first country to defy the NPT regime and get away with it - so that point is proven - it should unilaterally declare it intention to sign the NPT. Let India stand tall as an example of a responsible state. Of course, all major political party need to be taken into confidence. But this can be done. The right to test will not gain us anything. Except false pride. We would rather be an economic power than a nuclear power.

Nuclear bombs have only useful purpose. And that is to pulverise or deflect any extra-terrestrial object on collision course with Earth. Otherwise it is a drain on any country's wealth.

Note: The photograph used belongs to Kathy de la Cruz. Please go here to see more such photographs.

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