The Chairman of Bharat Missiles Ltd (BML) was watching a program on TV wherein the Prime Minister was addressing the nation on the necessity of developing a self-reliant India. He subconsciously nodded in agreement and smiled to himself as he mentally reviewed BML’s journey in the past two decades. BML had admirably progressed from producing first generation anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMS) to designing and producing state of the art ATGM weapon systems that would be the envy of any army. He sighed in reconciliation with his assumptions that the government would probably not alter the status quo of a ban on export of military weaponry. To his surprise, the very next day he got a telephone call from the Director General, Ministry of Defence, asking him to discuss the modalities of increasing BML production of ATGMS as there is a possibility of exporting the same to a friendly foreign country. The Director General wanted the Chairman to discuss the details with his staff at Delhi next week. Two days later, at a press conference, the Defence Minister stated that he aims to double the current weapons export levels within five years. This would give an impetus to financing the development and manufacture of indigenous weapons in the country. He also stated that all indigenous arms manufacturing nations have a very good record of international arms trade. As Chairman of BML, what are your views on the following points?

(a) As an arms exporter of a responsible nation like India, what are the ethical issues involved arms trade?

(b) List five ethical factors that would influence the decision to sell arms to foreign governments.

(a) As an arms exporter of a responsible nation like India, what are the ethical issues involved in arms trade?

  • The potential for the weapons to be used in human rights violations or in conflicts that do not align with the values of the exporting country.
  • The potential for arms trade to fuel conflicts and perpetuate cycles of violence.
  • The potential for the arms trade to contribute to poverty and economic instability in the importing country, by diverting resources away from other development needs.
  • The possibility of arms trade to be used for illegal activities, including terrorist activities.
  • There is a risk of the arms trade to be used by the importing country for domestic repression and violation of human rights.

(b) Five ethical factors that would influence the decision to sell arms to foreign governments:

  • The human rights record of the importing country
  • The likelihood that the weapons will be used in violation of international law or in conflicts that do not align with the values of the exporting country
  • The risk that the weapons will be used for internal repression or human rights violations within the importing country
  • The impact of the arms trade on poverty and economic stability in the importing country
  • The risk that the weapons will be used for illegal activities, including terrorist activities.
Mind map notes for UPSC
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