Melbourne: An ambitious aim to make world free of nuclear weapons apart from the danger of such weapons falling into terrorists hands formed the part of discussions between global leaders who met at the inaugural meet of new commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and disarmament.
Speaking at the meeting on Monday, Gareth Evans, the commission’s co-chair, said world was headed for another Hiroshima or worse because of the risk of miscalculation or accident.
Evans who is the head of Kevin Rudd’s new Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament said inadequate controls were applied to at least 16,000 atomic warheads actively deployed around the world.
And further dangers lay ahead because of the threat of lost or stolen nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists, he said. A particular risk was crude devices known as “dirty bombs” that could ravage cities and kill 1,00,000 people, Evans was qouted saying in The Australian.
“If we don’t get this right, we face a catastrophe on a massive scale,” he said.
The meet that was attended by 11 of its 15 members where India was unable to participate, discussed ambitious aim to get rid of nuclear weapons.
The commission is to make recommendations on a new anti-proliferation and disarmament treaty to be canvassed at a world conference in 2010.
Japan’s former foreign minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, who co-chairs the commission, kicked off the meeting with Evans.
Other political heavyweights present included former US defence secretary William Perry, Indonesia’s former foreign minister Ali Alatas, former Russian politician and nuclear arms expert Alexei Arbatov and former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo.
Evans said the dangers of nuclear arms were largely dominated by current climate change issue and the world financial crisis.
However, he said the main obstacle to disarmament remained complacency by the US and Russia, which had lost interest since the end of the Cold War.
Difficulties ahead included how to prevent nations developing nuclear weapons after India and Pakistan, claiming their own deterrent needs, had joined Israel outside the international treaty arrangements, he said adding that he supported the recent downgrading of North Korea’s status as a danger to nuclear proliferation.
But Evans rated Iran’s program for the development of nuclear weapons under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a high-risk category. “Iran is a hell of a lot different,” he said.