India: SAARC: Campaign Against Nukes


Urgent Appeal Case: UA0708
ISSUES: Rule of law,

Dear friends,

Attached is a statement of concern on nuclear arms race in South Asia. The statement will be release in Colombo on the eve of the SAARC summit, July 29-31, 1998.

We invite all concern persons to: – sign through the e-mail this campaign – email copies of this statement to other organisations – email suggestions, modifications to the statement if necessary – email signatures and suggestion to: South Asia Forum for Human Rights

We invite Concerns individuals for other countries to: – publishing and distributing this statement for information – circulate the statement to your local press – fax or email to Diplomatic representatives of SAARC countries, especially India and Pakistan, accredited to your country

Statement of Concerned South Asians against Nukes

We, the peoples of South Asia are dismayed and alarmed at the Indian and Pakistan nuclear tests of May 1998. The decision of the two traditional rivals, India and Pakistan, to build and deploy nuclear weapons has put at risk the survival of not only the peoples of India and Pakistan, but the peoples of all the countries of South Asia.

We believe that nuclearisation of the subcontinent is a betrayal of the sacred trust of the peoples reposed in their governments. There can be no justification either for the initial nuclear test by India or the retaliatory tests by Pakistan. No amount of provocation or perceived threat legitimizes the development, testing, proliferation or use of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons are immoral weapons of mass destruction. It is a crime against humanity even to consider the use of nuclear weapons as an option.

Theories of deterrence based on the logic of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) have been shown to be highly unstable and accident prone. During the cold war years, the world was brought to the brink of an \”accidental\” nuclear holocaust on nearly 800 occasions. In the case of India and Pakistan, the nuclear balance will be fraught with even greater risk as the travel time for a nuclear tipped missile is less than three minutes as against about 40 minutes in the US- Soviet nuclear face off.

Moreover, the history of animosity between India and Pakistan give us little reason for comfort. The two countries have fought three wars during the last fifty years. Two of these wars were over the ossession of the territory of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Even today, they are engaged in a low intensity war over Kashmir.

Since the nuclear tests, there has been an alarming rise in jingoism and sabre rattling on both sides. It threatens to push back India Pakistan relations to the dark days of mistrust and mutual hostility.

During the last few years the common peoples of India and Pakistan had been encouraged by non governmental initiatives which had taken the courageous step to go against official hostility and advocate peaceful solution of all conflicts through dialogue. The people of India and Pakistan dared to look forward to peaceful relations.

But the nuclear tests have resulted in a major set back to the official dialogue which was resumed after a gap of four years in 1997. It has also meant a major set back to building of bridges through people to people contacts. The animosity between Pakistan-India has been the main cause of tension in South Asia. It is their rivalry which has created hurdles in the path of the growth of economic, cultural, scientific and technological cooperation in the South Asian region.

The internal tensions generated by their rivalry and its corollary- the militarisation of polities of Pakistan- India, has had a spill over effect on the region. The India Pakistan arms race has not only affected the economy of both the countries, it has held back the development and growth of the entire region. The nuclear arms race will bring even greater misery to the common peoples of the region.

The hungry, shelterless, illiterate, sick, jobless, poverty stricken and the disempowered teeming millions , who are the silent suffering majority in South Asia, can not and do not perceive the acquisition of nuclear power as the means towards security, self respect, status and power-economic and political.

We, the concerned peoples of South Asia, call upon the heads of governments meeting in Colombo, to demonstrate the necessary statesmanship to assure the future of a fifth of humanity, now threatened with nuclear annihilation.

We urge the SAARC summit in Colombo to put moral pressure on India and Pakistan to immediately sign a bilateral treaty of peace enshrining the principles of non aggression: no first use of nuclear weapons and abjuring the use of force in settling bilateral difference.

We ask the SAARC summit to persuade India and Pakistan to seriously set about resolving the Kashmir dispute in consultation with the entire population in Jammu and Kashmir.

We urge the SAARC summit to exhort India andPakistan to resume bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, technological and cultural exchanges and tourism. The growth of regional cooperation demands a conflict free South Asia. Normalisation of India and Pakistan relations is essential if the very first objective of the SAARC chapter is to be achieved- \”the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life\”.

Kindly note the new e-mail address for AHRC Urgent Appeals:

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA0708
Countries : India,
Issues : Rule of law,