NAGPUR: In an apparent move to curb an 'unwanted' congregation,
the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has struck down the application
by a city-based activist known for his left leaning to hold a global
seminar on nuclear disarmament in city.
The Centre for Cultural Educational, Economics and
Social Studies had planned to hold an international seminar on
'Achieving A Nuclear Weapons and Missile Defence Free Asia', from
October 9 to 12. The application for clearance was sent in February but
on July 27, the MEA wrote back saying the issue of getting a political permit for
the seminar had been carefully examined and the ministry did not
recommend holding this conference.
The centre's secretary
J Narayana Rao who corresponded with the various ministries said it
appeared after the interaction with various bureaucrats that he had
almost got the approval, until he received final letter of rejection
A senior official in the MEA said it would be difficult to respond about
any one case in particular. He added that it was rare to reject an
application. Such a decision is taken only when the case appeared
problematic. He said the approvals were given on the basis of inputs by
various divisions in MEA which handle different countries.
They were held back if the topic was too sensitive or persons
invited to speak were categorized as risky or there were problems with
countries they were coming from. The organiser could write to the MEA
asking for reasons for rejection but it was up to the ministry to
Rao wondered how could nuclear disarmament be a sensitive topic. "An
academic discussion would hardly have any political ramifications," he
said. Rao felt the rejection might be because the seminar was being held
to close to the date of US president Barack Obama's visit to
India during November. "May be the government did not want to annoy
Uncle Sam," he mused.
He added that US wanted to push India into an arms race as it wanted a
market for its defence industry.
Interestingly, he also stressed that India need not increase its nuclear
stockpile keeping China in mind. Rao said China's nuclear arms were not meant for
India but were a defence against the US. "Since China is not going to
attack India with nuclear weapons there is no reason for us to enter
into an atomic arms race with it," he added.