New Delhi, India — In a statement that could have far-reaching consequences in the struggle to rid the world of nuclear weapons in a time-bound framework, the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, told an international conference June 9-10 in New Delhi:
“India is ready to add its own weight and voice to the global debate on nuclear disarmament with a view to crafting…a consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation. We need a collective approach anchored in a universal partnership that is supported by non- governmental communities and public opinion.”
Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute; Hon. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India: Hon Douglas Roche, O.C., Chairman, Middle Powers Initiative; Air Cmde Jasjit Singh, Director, Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
The Prime Minister spoke at a conference, “Towards a World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” called to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan to eliminate nuclear weapons, presented to the United Nations in 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi was India’s Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Singh presented a series of steps which “retain the spirit and substance” of the Gandhi plan. “We hope that other states will agree to a dialogue on these proposals, and will join us in committing to nuclear disarmament,” Singh stated. “That is the critical first step — a commitment, preferably a binding legal commitment through an international instrument, to eliminate nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework.”
The conference was sponsored by two of India’s most prestigious bodies, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies and the Indian Council of World Affairs. Among the invited presenters were Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., Chairman of the Middle Powers Initiative, and Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute.
Senator Roche told the conference: “Clearly there is renewed desire in India to once more strike a stance to rid the world of nuclear Armageddon. It is not too much to say that India today is at a crossroads and holds the global future of nuclear weapons in its hands. By a powerful outreach to other nations in every part of the world, India can be a catalyst to influence the U.S. and Russia to come down from the nuclear mountain. India must become active in new efforts for global nuclear disarmament. The world will welcome India actively working with like-minded states for the advancement of human civilization by the abolition of nuclear weapons.”
Mr. Granoff said: “I suggest that India convene at the earliest possible time a Nuclear Weapons Convention Preparatory Conference to examine the conditions to obtain a nuclear weapons convention and forge a path to its achievement. India is uniquely positioned to advance this route. It has the political arguments, the national interest, the cultural and moral calling, and historical moment. The world needs the compass point of leadership. Where can this be found? Is it presumptuous for an American to call upon India to seize such a flag for us all? If nuclear weapons teach us anything good, it is a truth known for millennium by the wise everywhere, humanity is one family. A catastrophe for any nation with these devices is a catastrophe for all. And of course, the leadership of one will be of service and benefit to us all. The ancient culture and wisdom of India identifies it as that leader today.”
Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations, also called for rejuvenation of the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan. In the conference discussions, both Senator Roche and Mr. Granoff, hailing the stand of Prime Minister Singh, committed their organizations to wholehearted efforts to encourage other nations to work with India in a renewed campaign for the global elimination of nuclear weapons.
» VIDEO: Prime Minister Singh’s presentation
» VIDEO: High Rep. Duarte’s presentation
» VIDEO: Vice President Ansari’s presentation
» VIDEO: Mr. Granoff’s presentation
» VIDEO: Senator Roche’s presentation
» Read the full transcript of High Representative Duarte’s remarks
» Read the full transcript of Mr. Granoff’s remarks, Beyond Deterrence
» Read the full transcript of Hon. Douglas Roche’s remarks
» Read the full transcript of Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, PNND Member
» View the conference agenda and speakers
» Browse media articles relating to GSI and MPI’s participation in the conference