|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
'A Q Khan has made a mockery of proliferation control'
November 14, 2007 21:02 IST
Highlighting the mockery of proliferation controls made by the network of Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan, India on Wednesday warned that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) could fall into the hands of terrorists and sought a "new approach" to address the critical challenge.
Without naming any country, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said New Delhi was "acutely aware of the ferment in our neighbourhood as he talked about peace and security being a major challenge before the international community in the future.
He said while the world is expanding in economic and technological aspects, there are "dangers and pitfalls" such as "constriction of political freedom and choice, growth of extremism and intolerance, international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the risk of their falling into the hands of irresponsible actors".
Speaking on the theme 'The World Today - An Indian Perspective', he said old sources of conflict are now being joined by the new threats related to proliferation and terrorism.
Turning to the threat of proliferation of WMD, Mukherjee said there was a "possibility of their falling into the hands of terrorists".
The minister referred to the "so-called A Q Khan network" and said it made a "mockery" of the proliferation controls.
Stressing that the possibility of WMDs falling into the hands of terrorists must rank among the "most critical challenges", Mukherjee said "a new approach is required, which also prioritises disarmament".
Talking in India's context, Mukherjee said "for a large, diverse, developing democracy located in a region going through many painful transitions, these are not academic concerns, but real, daily issues".
Mukherjee emphasised that these challenges needed to be responded "energetically, creatively and in partnership with other actors in the international stage".
"We believe that a good beginning would be to formalise a no-first use agreement internationally as a step towards delegitimising nuclear weapons," the External Affairs Minister said after inaugurating the new quarters of the Foreign Services Institute.
He noted that India had always pursued the objective of global disarmament, based on the principles of universality, non-discrimination and effective compliance.