Twenty-three years after Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi presented to the world an Action Plan to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, India is once again poised to take a leadership role on global nuclear disarmament efforts.
An informal advisory group established by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2010 issued a report asserting that “India can and must play an effective and credible role as the leader of a campaign for the goal of universal nuclear disarmament.”
The report was presented to the Government on the 67th birth anniversary of Prime Minister Gandhi, whose Action Plan sought to “ensure the survival of humankind and our Planet Earth by eliminating the scourge of nuclear weapons and anchoring the world order in the sacred principles of Nonviolence,” the report states.
Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, former adviser to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and current Member of Parliament, served as Chairman to the advisory group. As a Council Member of GSI’s network of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Mr. Aiyar will present the report to the United Nations community on October 24, at an extraordinary event titled “Nuclear Disarmament: A Compass Point for Progress and Accountability,” co-sponsored by the EastWest Institute, the Global Security Institute and the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies.
As a longtime supporter of Indian leadership on disarmament efforts, GSI welcomes the report of the advisory group, which echoes the letter sent to Prime Minister Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi by the World Academy of Art and Science earlier this year.
The report also adopted many of the themes and recommendations put forward by GSI leaders in their testimonies to the group in February and in their presentations to the 2008 conference in Delhi commemorating the anniversary of the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan, co-sponsored by the Government of India and the Centre for Air Power Studies. These presentations by GSI President Jonathan Granoff, then-MPI Chairman Hon. Douglas Roche and Ambassador Richard Butler are contained in the book “Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World,” edited by Dr. Manpreet Sethi, a member of the advisory group.