North Korea tested a nuclear bomb – the third one — on Monday, the tremors from detonation registering an earthquake of 4.9 magnitude at the site. The state officials stated it was a, “lighter, miniaturised atomic bomb” that gives substance to the reports, unconfirmed as yet that this could be a sophisticated device that could be carried by an intercontinental missile.

The test was followed up with a verbal assault on the primary target, the US, from the local state media. The reaction from the world community, including Pakistan was prompt. President Obama denounced it as a ‘highly provocative act’ and urged for action from the world community. It is notable that among the countries expressing their concern is also China though it seems inclined towards a calm response. Truly, the event is a bombshell for everyone, a move that further makes the possibility of a post-apocalyptic scenario a real one. One more country has acquired the ultimate weapon of terror that poses danger to many millions of lives. While this is a time for soul searching, events of the past relating to the deadlock would prove the point that threats and sanctions besides diplomatic manoeuvres to isolate Pyongyang have all had just the opposite effect. In fact, with every single warning, the recent history tells us North Korea took a step towards the appalling threshold. The more it was pressurised, the more defiant it became, a lesson that also holds true in case of Iran, whose Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani proclaimed on Monday that the country had developed nuclear capability. There have been many instances of sanctions and sabre-rattling that likewise reaffirmed Iran’s belief that since the Western world was going to stay hostile anyway, it should make a bomb of their own.

It is essential to note that having or not having a bomb assumes greater meaning for a country as it is thought to provide – albeit erroneously – guarantee of survival in a world where nuclear muscle is taken as the symbol of power and prestige. It was for the North Koreans or Iranians for that matter to decide, what it was that could give them security, and it is only disconcerting if they thought it was in something that kills on a large scale. For the world, it is a time to reflect whether it was its handling of the stalemate that forced North Korea into believing that it was insecure. Why over the years it could not put its bias aside to make North Koreans — almost similar in every way like the rest of us and particularly their peaceful compatriots down south, the South Koreans – a responsible mass of people. North Korea has taken the step, an extreme one of course but the world too has a role in the events leading up to that juncture. After all it takes two to tango!