At the moment, the world is walking a perilous tightrope amid growing piles of nuclear weapons and the alarmingly increased fear of the deadliest weapons falling into dangerous hands. North Korea's nuclear impudence and Iran's refusal to stop its uranium enrichment programme spotlights the fact that the world is now on the precipice of a new and doom-laden nuclear era. There are about 24,000 nuclear weapons across the world, mostly in the arsenals of the US and Russia. These two countries have also maintained over 2,000 nukes each on hair-trigger alert, thereby increasing the grim possibility of any accidental nuclear launch. Other nuclear weapons states are UK, France, China, Israel, India and Pakistan. Iran and North Korea have gone more than halfway on this road. And the disconcerting feature is that many other nations are also nurturing this ambition. There is a lot of substance in the point that the threat from nuclear weapons will remain for as long as there are nuclear weapons. The US and the then Soviet Union had given the proof of responsibility and prudence as they were diligent to ensure that no nuclear weapon was used during the Cold War by design or by accident. So will the new nuclear states and the world be as fortunate in the next 50 years as we were during the Cold War? If we delve into the situation and have a candid and dispassionate analysis, what comes out loud and clear is that these are the policies based on irrationality, gunboat diplomacy, duplicity and double speak of various members of the international community that have compelled some nations to pursue the policy of acquiring nuclear weapons. The US attacked Iraq using the pretext that it had Weapons of Mass Destruction. It has also threatened of pre-emptive action against North Korea and Iran because of their nuclear-oriented attitude. However, the US has always turned a blind eye to Israel's nuclear. This speaks volumes for the double standards and so the US is doomed to fail. The other nations of the world cannot be wheedled into going for a nuclear-free world, in the presence of the aggressive designs and high-handed policies of the US and its allies. Keeping in view the consistent threat to the security of humanity posed by the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by nations, the titans of the international community should get out of the slumber and wake up to the enormity of the situation. They should earnestly rise above the petty national interests and do something worthwhile, or else the humankind is hurtling along the road to self-destruction. The highest ideal at this time is to prevent a nuclear disaster and that is possible by drastically reducing the nuclear weapons in the world. But in order to do so, a global effort needs to be embarked upon. US/Russia should take the initiative as they possess close to 95 percent of the world's nuclear warheads. As a first step, they should, at least, take nuclear weapons off high-alert status. Secondly; they should reduce their nuclear stockpiles. However, quite the contrary. Both US/Russia are actively seeking to improve their nuclear arsenals. There is a dangerous absence of debate at the highest levels on disarmament and a collective inability thus far to come up with a coherent plan. Obama in his speech in Prague had promised that the US will do all it takes to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. But keeping in view the track record, this is nothing short of an eyewash. The writer is of the viewpoint that the media and civil societies of as many as possible nations will have to wade into the arena, whip up the public opinion and galvanise the masses into bulldozing the impertinent arbiters of the international community for lifting major steps towards disarmament and securing the future of the mankind. Efforts should be redoubled to resolve the regional disputes and confrontations that give rise to new nuclear powers. People must change their thinking and the erroneous and ill-founded notion that nuclear weapons enhance prestige, should be undercut promptly. The writer is a foreign affairs analyst E-mail: