HUMANIST POSITION ON NUCLEAR TESTING IN INDIA
For Non-violent Camapign Against Nuclear Tests and Nuclear
Weaponisation, co-ordinated by hundreds of organisations.
1) The Indian government is run by a political party that does not
represent the whole of the Indian population. This is seen by the
percentage of registered voters who voted for such party, as compared to
the whole population. Nobody other than a few opportunist politicians see
gain in nuclearisation. Even those who voted for that party do not
necessarily agree with BJP's stand on nuclear weapons and their use. Also,
by opposing a particular policy of a particular party in power, one is not
anti-national. People of India cannot fall prey to the frenzy of
pseudo-nationalism that is being whipped up by the government and the
pro-nuclear lobby. There was no transparency in this government decision,
and much less will be in those other decisions that may follow, and that
may cost India a nuclear war.
2) India now faces a very high cost of loss of political credibility.
Increased international pressures and the withholding of investment and
technology could jeopardise India's role in the global economic
3) Many non-nuclear countries with a long commitment to disarmament such
as New Zealand, Japan and Sweden and members of the Non-Aligned movement
have also been active to express their strong condemnation of India's
nuclear tests. Besides, India has betrayed the trust and expectations of
people all over the world of playing a leading role in disturbing a
peaceful, nuclear weapons free international relations. India has also
forfeited the opportunity and historical responsibility to lead the march
towards a more humane, peaceful world.
4) The nuclear non-proliferation regime is certainly discriminatory and
has not been successful in halting either vertical or horizontal
proliferation, but this is not in itself a justification for proceeding
with the nuclear weapons option. Countries that have been sympathetic to
India's valid concerns about the nature of the non-proliferation regime
will not be prepared to brook this as an excuse for resuming testing.
5) Everywhere in the world the conscientious people must try to restrain
nuclear weapon nations. The powerholders in India also should be actively
opposed, who pursue hawkish policies while paying lip service to Peace
Disarmament and a Nuclear Weapons free world. It is the people's power
which can counter any attempts for destructive nuclear power and weapons.
6) By adopting the policy of the "big stick," Indian government falls in
line with the law of the jungle pursued so far by superpowers. Now
superpowers may be seen as justified in applying the same policy on India
if she threatens so-called "strategic interests."
7) The Pokhran Fallout! The tests have unnecessarily put the country into
an arms race with heavy future costs. Now in the new budget of 1998-99
defence allocation has gone up (by 14 per cent to Rs 41,200 crores). Can
anybody protest it? To bridge the consequent increase in deficit, taxes
have gone up. Should anybody complain? All this, will result in all round
increase in prices, the people of the country should sportingly swallow it
8) There are two Indias. One can make much of the world's software, build
computers, attend universities. The other can barely feed itself or send
it's children to school. Rich India is having a nuclear bomb party and the
poor will get the hangover.
9) Now our country is a proud nuclear power while, more than ever, its
babies will die of illnesses brought about by malnutrition, illiteracy
that will make people easier prey of fundamentalism, the quality of life
will keep on deteriorating making casualties due to pollution, lack of
drinkable water, public health services and work hazards. And all this
will not be brought about by karma or natural disasters, but will be the
outcome of greedy politicians in power.
10) The nuclear tests are being linked to national pride and glory??? The
real glory would have been the availability of clean drinking water,
housing, employment, minimum health services and education opportunities.
Has the government sought a convenient way out for diverting attention
from basic issues by projecting an issue which has nothing to do with the
basic problems of this country?
11) The risk of accident or accidental use of nuclear weapons,
particularly in times of tension, is ever present. The nuclear weapons
infrastructure also imposes large financial costs on society, along with
an environmental legacy for future generations. These costs detract from
spendings that are critically needed in other sectors.
12) The voice of the vast majority Indian people, peace-loving as they
are, is threatened, muzzled and unheard due to this kind of blatant show
of nuclear power. Political power is used as a poor substitute of brain
power, of the power of satya.
13) There were instances in Mumbai and Bangalore where volunteers of
non-violent groups were attacked while making a non-violent protest
against India's nuclear test. Have we become so intolerant? Those who
protested against nuclear test were condemned as anti-national. Who is
anti-national, in reality? Anti-national are those who use jingoistic and
chauvinistic rhetoric for short-lived political gains. Anti-national are
those who threaten the country with nuclear destruction. Anti-national are
those who provide opportunity so that others "justify" their nuclear
capability. Anti-national are those who divert huge economic resources
-which ought to be used for improving health, education and quality of
life- into the armament race. Anti-national are those who, in the name of
patriotism, muffle the voices of democratic dissent throwing around
14) India may have legitimate security concerns. However, the real
question is whether these nuclear tests, and an open acknowledgment of
nuclear capability, enhance any country's security. It is important that
we be clear: the tests are about operationalising India's nuclear option,
about removing the ambiguity of India's nuclear capability. The issue at
stake is not simply about the tests done now, but about whether ultimately
deploying nuclear weapons will contribute to India's security. There are
compelling reasons to believe that the tests will in fact undermine her
security. Firstly, if the tests are designed to deter India's neighbours
from aggression, history shows that deterrence itself is a flawed concept.
During the Cold War, rather than "keeping the peace", nuclear deterrence
between the US and Soviet Union, resulted in spiraling nuclear arsenals,
proxy conventional wars, crippling financial burdens, and a legacy of
environmental contamination. The possession of nuclear weapons by one
party did not stop the Argentinean invasion of the Falklands or the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait. Nuclear deterrence is logically absurd, as well as
morally bankrupt. It is absurd, because on the one hand, it does not work
if a state does not believe that a country would ever dare use its nuclear
capability. On the other hand, there is no "safe" way to "use" nuclear
weapons without causing enormous damage to your own country and its
citizens. It is morally bankrupt because it is based on the threat of
annihilation of hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions, of innocent
15) The nuclear tests have "justified" Pakistan's nuclear capability, so
far suspected but not proven or justified. This further justifies whatever
military support they may get in terms of conventional weapons and other
tactical things like satellite surveillance, intelligence reports, etc.
16) The military concern and priority is to make the country safer. Well
then, after the nuclear tests India is no safer than before, rather the
17) Those who control international finance capital, those whose aim is to
keep developing countries under their thumb, are happy with a renewed
conflict between India and Pakistan. After all, it is the time-tested
policy of divide and rule. Nothing had so far worked better for their
interests than governments overexpending in weaponry, having to borrow
capital on harsh terms to support their military adventures. Nothing works
better for them than countries weakened by endless wars. Now the
superpowers have justification to flaunt their "moral superiority" in
diplomatic circles, chastising India for her reluctance in signing the
Non-Proliferation Treaty while swinging the nuclear sword. They all laugh
at the so-called "national pride" and secretly wish for more foolishness.
And BJP's policy had served them all this on a silver tray. This is
18) The kind of nationalistic jingoism that is being fomented by the
powerholders, the nuclear protagonists and the media is also dangerous as
it precludes any balanced and rational analysis of the situation.
19) India is at a crossroads. She has a brief opportunity to choose the
moral high ground and show the kind of international leadership that South
Africa did, by openly acknowledging her nuclear capability and renouncing
it. A country that has the strength to take this stance is confident of
its own power and clear about the genuine security needs it has. These
needs can better be addressed by confidence building measures with its
neighbours, transparency agreements, and commitments from all the nuclear
weapon states to "no first use" policies and timetables for the
elimination of their nuclear weapons. This is by no means an easy route,
but it is an honourable one for a country with a proud history of
disarmament initiatives and India could only win friends by choosing it.
Indeed, such a step could re-invigorate attempts to achieve a universal
and equitable non-proliferation system and heighten the concept of a
collective universal norm against nuclear weapons. The alternative is
that India contributes, directly or indirectly, to the arms race and a
global stockpile of thousands of nuclear weapons that could already
destroy our planet many times over. India can choose to be part of the
problem, or part of the solution to the nuclear threat. We can only hope
that the BJP Government quickly decides to act for its own and the
planet's best interests.
20) The country of Gandhi, has lost the potential to spearhead the
non-violence movement all across the globe!!
A call to individuals and groups: Please get in touch with us for
organising joint campaigns, mobilisations, debates, public meetings, group
meetings, common publications etc against nuclear tests and nuclear
weaponisation by all countries. We propose the campaign within India and
The Humanist Movement
11 Yogniti, 18 S V Road, Santacruz West, Mumbai 400054 INDIA
Tel: 6106197, Email: [email protected]