[ Full text of an urgent appeal that appeared as an advertisment in the newspapers 'India Abroad' [19 June 1998] and 'India West', as part of a public campaign by South Asians abroad to mobilise opinion against nukes. ]



On May 11 and 13, 1998, the less-than-two-month old Vajpayee
government of India carried out five nuclear tests in Rajasthan, an
incident that jolted the subcontinent and shocked the world. In
retaliation, the Nawaz Sharif government of Pakistan on May 28 and 30
tested its own nuclear devices in Baluchistan. Since the blasts took place
in India, inflammatory statements and intemperate language have replaced
normal political dialogue in South Asia. The voice of those who oppose
nuclear weapons in India, politicians as well as common people, has been
disregarded in the heady rejoicing about the recently acquired capacity to
kill innocent people indiscriminately. In Pakistan, a symmetrical and
unreal fervor for nuclear weapons has taken hold of the people and
government, beginning with the testing of the intermediate range missile.

In USA and Europe, pro-BJP and pro-RSS groups have been campaigning
in support of their parties' action, and are now asking NRIs to flow money
into India to bail the coalition government out of its self-inflicted
fiscal troubles created due to economic sanctions placed on India by USA,
Japan, and quite a few other countries. Similarly, the Pakistani
government is soliciting massive contributions from its own citizens living
abroad. We say to you: help needy people, help people who are suffering,
but do not pay for war-mongering and arms build-up.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars and have remained hostile
to each other since 1947. The intolerance exhibited by the present
governments has severed the lines of communication that had recently opened
up between the two countries. The implications of the BJP government's
radical departure from India's traditional foreign policy for peace in
South Asia (a policy that has been based on Panchsheel and compassion) and
the ensuing threat of a nuclear arms race in the region are something that
should trouble all peace-loving people of the world. Other than the danger
of possible radioactive fallouts from such tests, we are deeply concerned
that the poor citizens of India and Pakistan will have to bear the brunt of
the massive expenses to build nuclear weapons, because such expenses that
India and Pakistan can hardly afford are now going to be heaped by these
governments on poor people, thereby putting their already difficult lives
in serious jeopardy.

We want global peace and disarmament, and not escalation of wars.
We strongly deplore the nuclear weapons and missiles programs in India and
Pakistan. The peace-loving people of South Asia must not be provoked by
these irresponsible acts. The two countries should enter into negotiations
to eliminate the immediate danger of a nuclear conflict, and then to
de-escalate gradually in mutually verifiable steps.


Appeal signed by: Partha Banerjee, NY; Anurag Acharya, CA; Sameer Akbar,
UK; V. Krishna Ananth, Chennai; Solomon Antony, MI; Farhat and Ezra Azhar;
Nikhil Aziz, CO; Sruti Bala, Germany; Priyadarshi Banerjee, MA; Pratyush
Bharati, NY; Rajani Bhatia, Committee on Women, Population and the
Environment, MD; Sadhu Binning, Canada; Anita Bohm-Hassani, TX; A.J.C.
Bose, the Netherlands; Heena Brahmbhatt; CERAS (Centre d'études et de
ressources sur l'Asie du Sud), Montreal, Canada; Archishman Chakraborty,
PA; Sharmila Chakravarty, MD; Laxmi Challa; Shankar Chatterjee, CA; Amrita
Chhachhi; Mona Chopra, NY; Geeta Citygirl, NY; K. Joseph Cleetus, WV;
Aniruddha Das, NY; Ashesh Das, PA; Moni Day, MD; Nikhil Desai, VA; Sunil
Deshmukh, CT; Prachi Deshpande, MA; Damini Dey, Canada; Joyoni Dey, MD;
Rukmini Dey, NY; Saroj Dhital, Nepal; Shelley Feldman, NY; Friendship
Action Culture & Empowerment of South Asian Americans, Houston,TX; Hassan
Gardezi, Canada; Shalini Gera, CA; Tapasi Ghosh, PR; Vinay Gidwani, Canada;
Mandeep S. Gill, CA; Sherna B. Gluck, CA; Rajesh Gopakumar, MA; Manisha
Gupte; Shubhra Gururani, Canada; Houston Endorser, F.A.C.E., TX; Shishir K.
Jha, NY; Partha Joarder, Bangalore; Harsh Kapoor, France; Kalpana Kaul,
Calcutta; Kaleem Kawaja, MD; Mary Keller, Scotland; Smitu Kothari, Delhi;
Karl-Heinz Krämer, Germany, Nidadavolu Krishnaji, India; Sunil Kumar,
Germany; Amar Mahboob, NY; Biju Mathew, NY; Sunil Mathrani, France; Rinita
Mazumdar, NM; Ernestine McHugh, MN; Shiraz Minwalla, NJ; Raza Mir, MA;
Mizuno Mitsuaki, Japan; Anuradha Mittal, GA; Sujata Moorti; Saikat
Mukherjee, CA; Somnath Mukherjee, CA; Meera Nanda, NY; Shalini Nataraj;
Murli Natrajan; Judith Norsigian, MA; Prema Oza, Canada; Mukund
Padmanabhan, Chennai; Ravi Palat, New Zealand; Tasneem Paliwala, TX; Krupa
Parikh, TX; Shaista Parveen, TX; Laurie L. Patton, GA; Ram Puniyani,
Bombay; Usman Qazi, TX; S. Ravi Rajan, CA; M.V. Ramana, MA; Sri
Renganathan; Anupama Rao, IN; Kunjan Raval, OR; Sugandhi Ravindranathan,
Bangalore; D.J.Ravindran & T.K.Sundari Ravindran, India; Indira P.
Ravindran, MD; Raka Ray, CA; C. Rammanohar Reddy, Chennai; Hannah Reich, Germany; Mousumi Roychowdhury, TX; Eugene Ruyle, CA; Nandan, Prema, Aleyamma, Nalini, Sandhya, & Prasannan, Sakhi, Trivandrum; Chris Salter, PR; S. Sankarapandi, MD; Ratnabali Sengupta, Forum for Secular India, MD; Srinivas Seshadri, Canada; Mehar Shah; Sunil Shah, TX; Saghir A. Shaikh;
Prithvi R. Sharma; Ratnesh K. Sharma, CO; Lhakpa Sherpani, Germany; Mathura P. Shrestha, Nepal; Sandhya Shukla, CA; Dina Mahnaz Siddiqi, PA; Mohan Sikka, PA; Harpreet Singh, NY; Jyoti Singh, OR, Vandana Singh, OR; Aparna Sivasankaran, MA; R. Sivasankaran, MA; S. Sivasegaram, Sri Lanka; Harald O. Skar, Norway; G. Srinivasan, Canada; Prasad Subramanian, VA; Abha Sur, MA; Raja Harish Swamy, MI; Ijaz Syed, CA; Parshu Ram Tamang, Nepal Federation of Nationalities (NEFEN), Nepal Tamang Ghedung (NTG) & Milijuli, Nepal; Narayani Tiwari, Australia; Rita Tsering, Germany; S.P.Udayakumar, MN; Phiroze Vasunia, CA; Senthilvel Vellaichamy, MI; Jyotika Virdi, MD; Prema
Viswanathan, Singapore; Saeeda Wali-Mohammed; Maya Yajnik, MA