Consider our dogged pursuit of weapons technology & business, which is a glorious display of hypocrisy practiced not just by politicians & bureaucrats, but even ordinary citizens who are often quick to invoke Gandhi, Buddha & other quaint examples to showcase our peace-loving credentials.
We seem to be very determined to be a part of NSG, MTCR and other weapons technology & trading groups. India joining MTCR is being hailed as an important event. Our failure to gain entry to NSG is being debated as a major setback.
We desperately want more foreign weapons technology, more foreign weapons manufacturers to set up shop here, and also sell more weapons to other countries.
We didn’t sign the NPT as we wanted to retain our status as a ‘nuclear weapons state’. Citing regional threats, we have continued building our weapons capability, indigenously and with foreign partners. Citing our dire needs for civil nuclear technology, we got a waiver from the NSG in 2008 to acquire foreign nuclear technology. (Q: Is it possible to leverage the modern civil nuclear technology we acquire now to make more powerful nuclear weapons in the future? A: Possibly yes, given our nuclear experience over the decades). Having joined MTCR, we are now itching to sell BrahMos missiles to countries like Vietnam, enter into defence JVs with countries like Russia, buy high-end missile technology etc. We are not giving up on NSG yet, intent on tackling diplomatic blockades from China. Presumably, the 2008 waiver is not sufficient and we want a more open & direct access to nuclear technology and trade.
If we are a peace-loving country, should we acquire more weapons, or should we practice a strategy of deterrence, progressively reduce our weaponry & military expenditure, and take a global leadership role to urge other nations to do the same?
Consider what Japan did after WW II. It renounced war formally. The Japanese constitution outlawed war. It forbids use of force to settle disputes and also maintaining an army, navy or air force. Japan has a treaty with the US to provide defense support. While Japan’s pacifist credentials have taken minor hits now & then over the decades, it remains an inspiration for any country which wants to pursue peace, denounce wars & armed conflicts, reduce global CNBC (chemical, nuclear, biological & cyber) threats and set an example for other countries to follow.
By making, buying & selling more weapons & technology, and encouraging private business participation in defence, we have lost our peace-loving credentials. We have joined an escalating race among countries to acquire more & more weapons of mass destruction.
Are we fast hurtling towards a near-future of near-certain CNBC wars & destruction?
Should India take the lead to reverse the trend?