It's the last day of India’s flagship geopolitical conference Raisina Dialogue 2018, which commenced with the session titled 'Nuclear Unpredictability: Managing the Global Nuclear Framework'

Moderated by Dhruva Jaishankar, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings India, the speakers discussed non-proliferation, cyber security, and Iran & North Korea in particular as rogue nuclear states.

Rory Medcalf, Head of National Security College at the Australian National University, stressed that dimensions of changing technology – from cyber threats to social media – need to be studied in the context of nuclear weapons to avoid calamity.

Feodor Voytolovsky, Director of the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, made a case for understanding North Korea's position: When Kim Jong Un looks at what the US did in Libya and Iraq, he feels that nuclear weapons are the only way to guarantee his and his country's safety.

Voytolovsky defended Russia's role against accusations that it hadn't been cooperative in disarmament efforts by saying that when Russia did try to help, it was stymied by the US.

But Wendy Sherman, Senior Counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group, hit back at Voytolovsky, saying that Russian claims to be helping are fatuous, and reminded him sharply that Russia had signed UN resolutions to put sanctions on Iran, and it must enforce them.

Shen Dingli, Professor at Fudan University, made similar arguments against the US. China had kept its arsenal small and refrained from technologically advancing, despite having the capability, because it hoped for eventual disarmament, he said. But in the face of America enlarging its own arsenal and failing to negotiate disarmament, China was forced to ramp up its own nuclear ambitions.

But Shen Dingli said that global no-first-use policies and disarmament talks are the need of the hour, and everybody needs to come to the negotiating table. He stressed that China is ready and is a “comrade” of America when it comes to the denuclearisation of North Korea.

Dingli added that if the US were to act like a global power and negotiate with North Korea without the precondition of denuclearisation, it could push Kim Jong Un to get more and more nuclear weapons.