By the mid-1990s when the term, ‘Second Nuclear Age’ started appearing in the writings of analysts, there was a dim realisation that new players would emerge on the nuclear scene. After 9/11, the threat perceptions on account of global terrorism grew, and they have remained a persisting concern. Yet, the international strategic community’s efforts have been focused largely on preserving the existing nuclear order rather than figuring out how it may need to evolve in the so-called Second Nuclear Age. It is clear that today, new semantics is needed—one that reflects the current political dynamics if the nuclear taboo that has existed since 1945 is to be sustained. This monograph addresses this challenge of furthering a discussion on evolving a new vocabulary and grammar for a 21st-century nuclear order. Our contributors include both practitioners who have been engaged in nuclear negotiations and academics; in some cases, the author straddles both domains. Although the authors differ in terms of how much we can rely on old instruments and maps, there is broad agreement that we are navigating uncharted waters.
Ambassador Rakesh Sood is a Distinguished Fellow at ORF. He has over 38 years of experience in the field of foreign affairs, economic diplomacy and international security issues.
After joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1976, he initially served in the Indian missions in Brussels, Dakar, Geneva and Islamabad in different capacities and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington, later in his career. He set up the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division in the Foreign Ministry, which he led for eight years till the end of 2000.
During this period, Ambassador Sood was in charge of multilateral disarmament negotiations, bilateral dialogues with Pakistan, strategic dialogues with other countries, including the US, UK, France and Israel (especially after the nuclear tests in 1998), and dealt with India’s role in the ASEAN Regional Forum, as part of the 'Look East' policy.
He then served as India’s first Ambassador — Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva. He also chaired a number of international working groups, including those relating to negotiations on landmines and cluster munitions and was a member of UN Secretary General’s Disarmament Advisory Board from 2002 to 2003.
Subsequently, he served as Ambassador to Afghanistan, Nepal and France, and during 2013-14, as PM’s Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation Issues.
Since his retirement, he has been writing and commenting regularly in both print and audiovisual media on India’s foreign policy, its economic dimensions and regional and international security issues. He is a frequent speaker and contributor at various policy planning groups and reputed think tanks in India and overseas.
As seats are limited, we will be issuing numbered invitations to confirm your participation.
Dr Manmohan Singh, Former Prime Minister of India
C Raja Mohan, Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, NUS (Chair)
Amb Shyam Saran, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research
Manpreet Sethi, Senior Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies
Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The PrintSamir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation Sunjoy Joshi, Chairman, Observer Research Foundation
Amb Rakesh Sood, Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation (Author)
The event is from 17:45 to 19:45