India can claim to have won her independence without violence and bloodshed under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. After independence, non-violence and peaceful co-existence have been the basic principles of our foreign policy. India tried to develop friendly relations with all, specially with her neighbours on the basis of the principles of Panchsheel.
In 1962 China launched an unprovoked attack on India. India was taken unawares, because India had never dreamt of an attack on her by China, a friendly country. The Indian Army was routed and China occupied a large territoy of ours. India s immediate neighbour Pakistan, though cut to size, is never reconciled with India and its attitute towards us has all along been hostile India’s long sea cost demands continuous vigilance for its protection from major world powers, who are engaged in ocean rivalry. Though Pakistan has not, but China has manufactured atom bombs and developed the delivery system as well. Hostile China still poses a great threat to us. Pakistan has acquired new weapons and is trying for huge accumulation of arms. Several other neighbouring countries and others are either developing their own nuclear arms or acquiring them from other sources. There is a mad race of arms pile-up among the major powers of the world. It is in this context that the question arises whether India should or should not make atom bombs. This question has been debated in this country for the last several years. Strong arguments have been advanced in favour of and against manufacturing nuclear weapons in India.
India is a developing nation. She is investing (as it should as a peace-loving country) all her resources in her development plans. Manufacture of atomic weapons requires huge sums of money The development plans of India would be badly neglected if she decided to invest huge amounts of money m the manufacture of atomic weapons. The stand of our government on this issue has all along been that India is a poor country and need not go nuclear because there would be a heavy strain on our economy m case we decide to manufacture atom bombs. Another consideration before the government is that India’s image in the international community as a strong advocate of Peace, would suffer a setback in case it decided to go nuclear.
There is no doubt that India would have to strain her resources if she goes nuclear. But is it prudent on our part to lag behind in the race for nuclear potentiality ? When India has the required know-how and the raw material, is it not advisable to possess some atom bombs to deter aggressors ? China is still continuing its hostile attitude towards India. It knows that we are a weak country. Is it not our duty to save our country from the avaricious designs and nuclear blackmail of China ? Pakistan is not reconciled on the Kashmir issue and is waiting for an opportunity to wage war against India. On several global issue nuclear powers of the world try to browbeat and blackmail India. These are the aspects of the question which need serious consideration.
So far as our image in the international community as an advocate of peace is concerned, we should remember that weak nations have never had a position of prestige in international affairs. We know it fully well that the defeat at the hands of China in 1962 had undermined our prestige and position to a great extent in the world. The instance of Indp-Pak war in December 1971 is also before us. Our victory in this war has raised our prestige and position in the eyes of the world. Lets give up this false notion of prestige abroad because weaker nations cannot command any respect in the world where relative striking power is the only criterion of determinating the order of respectability. So India must manufacture atomic weapons.
India should manufacture nuclear weapons not for waging wars against her neighbours. Bombs are made not only to wage a war ; but also to scare away warmongers. Even if we have no intention of attacking any country, there is no harm in keeping ourselves so well prepared and equipped with the latest weapons that our enemies fear our strength and dare not risk a war with us.
India has been offered the nuclear umbrella both by thr U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. The question is why they have made such an offer ? There motives are clear. We should not depend on them or any other country for that matter. It is good that India has refused to sign the Non-proliferation Treaty, because if India sings this Treaty she would be committing herself never to make nuclear weapons. This Treaty is aimed at reducing the non-nuclear nations to the status of satellites of powerful nuclear nations.
In view of these realities we have to ponder over this question and take a pragmatic decision. India has made it clear that it will not do anything to increase world tension. But we must not close our eyes to what is happening all over the world. What are other nations doing ? Even the strong protests made at the forum of the U.N.O. have proved ineffective and the nuclear nations are busy increasing their nuclear stock pile. It is not a question of mere idealism. It is a question of our survival as a nation. Are there any signs to convince anybody that our decision to remain a non-nuclear nation has made any tangible impact on the those who disagree with us on this issue. The answer is an emphatic No. It is therefore imperative to review our earlier decision objectively and take a practical view of the matter. There is no doubt that such a decision would result in reductions in our plan expenditure and there would be lesser economic growth in the country. But vacillation is not going to help us out of this situation. The circumstances and the power equations in Asia in the near future would compel India to manufacture atom bombs. Let not the sense of false prestige in the world and the folly of vacillation bring disaster on the people of India. Let it not be too late in the day, otherwise the coming generations will curse us.
The fact that India carried out her first successful nuclear explosion in 1974 is a proof of the positive response of the Government of India to the dangerous situation developing in and around the Indian ocean. This nuclear test gave rise to a widespread controversy in the world. Various countries of the world viewed it from different angles. In some quarters some uncalled for, baseless and unfounded fears and apprehensions were expressed. It was also suggested that India had gone back on her earlier declared policy regarding nuclear experiments. Surprisingly, there were hints to indicate the future role of India in this sub-continent. It is amusing that these sources did not take into account the statement made by our Prime Minister that India still stood committed to the policy of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and was strongly opposed to the nuclear stockpile. It can, therefore, be concluded that some of these comments appear to be based on ignorance, while others may be simply motivated and mischievious. There is not the least doubt that India believes in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. But let it be known to the world that if circumstances force her she must make atom bombs, because she possesses the know-how, and the responsibility for that will be squarely on those who create or help in the creation of such circumstances.