New Delhi: Speaking at the book launch of Observer Research Foundation’s ‘Nuclear Order in the twenty First Century’ authored by Rakesh Sood, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh affirmed that India is a ‘reluctant’ nuclear weapon state. Also Read - Manmohan Singh Admitted to AIIMS For COVID-19 Treatment; PM Modi Wishes Speedy Recovery

Elucidating India’s stand on its nuclear arsenal, Singh said, “India is the only country that had an extensive and advanced peaceful nuclear programme before we were compelled to shift in response to security threats and the only one that exercised nearly a quarter century of restraint after having demonstrated its technical capability… This is why we decided to base our nuclear doctrine on a credible, minimum deterrent and successive governments have also reiterated India’s commitment to a no-first-use policy.” Also Read - Manmohan Singh Writes to PM Modi on COVID-19 Crisis; His 5 Suggestions to Battling The Pandemic

He then added, “(India) a reluctant nuclear weapon state, unlike others that began their nuclear quest with a military rationale.” Also Read - Manmohan Singh Releases Video Message A Day Before Assam Polls, Urges All To Vote Wisely

Noting that nuclear science and technology have matured over the last 70 years, the senior Congress leader said it is now easier to access and acquire them, generating new proliferation risks and challenges.

Developments in artificial intelligence, growing space, and cyber vulnerabilities, have given rise to more uncertainties, he said.

“Many countries are modernising their nuclear arsenals with tactical and low yield weapons, increasing the likelihood of their use. The goal of nuclear disarmament seems to be receding,” Singh said.

Singh also added that India’s doctrinal approach has accordingly reflected a degree of continuity and the special waiver given to India by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008 is a clear acknowledgement of “our impeccable non-proliferation credentials and our responsible posture”.

With PTI inputs