An Affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Recipient of Noble Peace Prize, 1985

IDPD Interactive Session at New Delhi on 8th March 2015

There is need to organize people’s movements even more vociferously now to achieve nuclear disarmament and denounce militarism. This was the message that emanated from the interactive session organized by the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) on 8th March, the International Women’s Day at Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi. Alyn Ware, Director of the Basel Peace Office, Switzerland while addressing the participants as the main speaker said that even though the media projects a very grim picture but the civil society actions have achieved several gains leading to reduction in the number of nuclear weapons on earth from 80000 in the 1980s to about 17000 at present. But it is also a fact that there are nine nuclear weapons state and 30 such nations which rely on these. Several governments have unilaterally abandoned their nuclear weapons programme. There are others who have denounced these through multilateral agreements. But the danger is still grave. The situation in Ukraine has led to worsening of relationship between USA and Russia. This is not a good sign. Similarly situation in Middle East and tension between India and Pakistan are also cause of concern. Good thing is that several new initiatives are coming up for nuclear disarmament. The Civil Society Forum followed by government level conference on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which was attended by over 150 countries is a bright ray of hope. Similarly support from the Red Cross & Red Crescent, resolution of World Medical Association, the Parliamentarians and Noble Laureates for nuclear disarmament are a positive signal strengthening the voice for peace. The NPT review conference can be a step forward. India can take lead in revising the Rajiv Gandhi action plan. We can also use the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to plead the case of noncompliance of the obligation to stop nuclear weaponisation. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Vinod Saighal said that the US administration has budgeted US$ 350 billion to update the nuclear weapons. India is also planning modernization of nuclear weapons. There is need to include the issue of climate change in the international dialogue. There is also need to remove the clause of supreme national interest in the ABM treaty. He also said that nuclear energy and nuclear weapons are interlinked. Achin Vanaik from Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and peace(CNDP) said that if US ratifies the CTBT it will prompt other countries to do so. Com Pallav Sen Gupta – General Secretary All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO) said that it is important to have more and more international dialogue on the issue nuclear disarmament and to denounce militarism. Prof. Arjun Dev cautioned that the present Indian government is glorifying the Indian militarism through falsification of history and preaching the ideology of hatred. Dr Usha Shrivastva gave an account of positive role played by the IDPD since its inception. Com Amarjeet Kaur – Secretary All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) said that the government is increasing the budget on defense while cutting down the expenditure on social welfare issues. This tendency of the Indian government of marginalising the poor masses and glorifying the military power has to be countered through people’s movements. Mr.Kanhiya, Miss Oshin, Mr.Sarvsureshth Dhammi and Dr Chenta Hans also participated in the discussion. Dr Arun Mitra – General Secretary IDPD informed that IDPD has decided to launch “Health Through Peace and Harmony” campaign in different parts of the country so as to spread the message of disarmament and communal harmony.

Dr Arun Mitra
General Secretary