Addressing a conference on nuclear disarmament to mark 20 years of Rajiv Gandhi’s action plan offered in the UN, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was forthright in highlighting the new dangers that countries like India faced when he sounded a chilling warning about the dangers of nuclear technology falling into the dangerous hands of terrorists and called for greater vigil to ensure non-proliferation of sensitive equipment and material.
In doing so, the PM gave greater credence to the views of top security officials like National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, who in February had warned a conference in Munich of the threat posed by terror groups acquiring nuclear assets of volatile states. Narayanan has also previously warned of terrorists targeting India’s atomic energy establishments like the one at Trombay.
Though neither the PM nor the NSA named countries, concerns over Pakistan’s arsenal have been aired. In January, IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei had said that he was concerned over nuclear weapons falling into the hands of a terror group in Pakistan or Afghanistan.
A dirty bomb remains a nightmare scenario for most nations and even though the known nuclear mart of Pakistan’s rogue scientist, A Q Khan, has been shut down, efforts of jihadi groups to acquire nuclear weapons continue to cause sleepless nights to security agencies around the world.
Manmohan Singh raised the energy argument, saying India did not have the luxury of limiting its energy sources. He said India wished to create an international environment in which nuclear technology is used not for destructive purposes but for India’s national development goals and energy security.