PRESS STATEMENT

On Behalf of the National Committee - Indian section of the Pakistan India People's Forum For Peace and Democracy
(New Delhi) May 1998

The five underground nuclear explosions conducted by the Indian
government in the recent past have dealt a severe blow to the
official and non-official efforts for peace on the Indian Subcontinent.
There is fear that the government level dialogue for normalization
of relations between India and Pakistan, which was resumed after
four years in 1997, may not be gainfully pursued. It threatens to
push back Pakistan-India relations to those dark days of
hostility and mistrust when the two countries fought three wars.

During the last five years, the common peoples of India and Pakistan
were encouraged by non-governmental initiatives like the Pakistan
India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy which has taken the
courageous step to go against official hostility and advocated
peaceful resolution of all conflicts through dialogue. For the
first time, since the partition of the subcontinent and the
creation of Pakistan and India, hundreds of Pakistani and Indian
citizens met on common platforms in an expression of solidarity
and the desire for peace. The people of India and Pakistan were
beginning to look forward to peaceful relation between the two
countries. The nuclear explosions have brutally shattered the hope of
the people of the Subcontinent for peace.

India's policy of developing nuclear arms is not only a betrayal of
the sacred trust reposed by the peace loving Indian people in its
government, it is also a betrayal of the cause of world peace and the
future of humankind. These explosions will increase tension between
India and Pakistan and further escalate the existing Indo- Pakistan
arms race into a nuclear arms race. As it is, India and Pakistan
spend unaffordable percentages of their GNP on arms and ammunition.
The ruling elite of these two countries justify these wasteful
expenditure on arms in the name of national security. Basic needs of
ordinary people of India and Pakistan like food, shelter, medicines,
drinking water facilities and education have been sacrificed on this
altar of all powerful and non- existent "national security." The
nuclear arms race will bring even greater miseries to the common
people of the subcontinent, who will be rendered even more insecure
than they already are. There is a growing consensus around the
world including among those concerned with issues of Security and
Peace, that security to be genuine must be conceived as "Peoples
Security," not Chimera of so called National Security. We call up
on Government of India to abandon this destructive policy of producing
nuclear arms. For short term political gains, no government should
sacrifice the long term interests of the people of the country. Real
strength lies in not a show of force but a show of restraint.
History has shown that possession of sophisticated and powerful
arms does not enhance security, rather it breeds insecurity and
destroys the chances of building trust and enduring peace. Bombs and
missiles will not bring security. India and Pakistan need to invest
not in arms and ammunition, but in the real security of its people.
The two countries urgently need to reduce their so called defence
expenditure and increase expenditure on education, health, housing
and protection of environment and food. We also call on the government
of Pakistan to exercise restraint and not join in this
self-destructive nuclear arms race. We express our solidarity
with the peace loving people of Pakistan and India and promise to
stand by them in their struggle for peace.

On Behalf of the National Committee - Indian section of the Pakistan India People's Forum For Peace and Democracy

Nirmal Mukerjee
R.M. Pal
Rajani Kothari
E. Deenadayalan
Sumanto Bannerjee
Teesta Setalavad
Rati Bartholomew
Amit Chakraborty
Rita Manchanda
M.T. Khan
Tapan K Bose
Mazher Hussain


Indian Secretariat of the Pakistan India People's Forum For Peace and Democracy
c/o The Other Media
K-14(F.F), Green Park Extn
New Delhi-110016
India

Ph : 91-11-6163830 / 91-11-6196640
Fx : 91-11-6198042
Email : admin@tom.unv.ernet.in



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