National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM, India) condemns nuclear tests

Press Note - 14.5.98

We are appalled by the five nuclear tests conducted by the newly appointed
Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government. The testing of these
destructive weapons on the day of birth and Nirvana of Buddha has but added
a sad irony to the entire process. The act has caught everyone by surprise
and we consider that this has harmed the short and long term interests of
our country, of peace, development and harmonious international relations.
The kind of ìnationalisticî 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 arising
out of the adventurist step by the new government. According to the
protagonists, the nuclear tests by India on May 11 and 13, have changed the
international discourse and Indiaís position in it. However, the change is
more to the detriment of the people, national interests and global peace.
We, the peopleís movements and the people working for a sustainable,
equitable and humane social-economic order unequivocally condemn the ill-
advised step by the Government of India and call for an immediate halt to
any such military adventurism in the guise of nationalism.

Contrary to the perception the Government of India wants to create, India
has been isolated in the world community because of these nuclear tests.
No doubt, the strident reaction by the rich and nuclear weapon nations is
mostly an example of double standards these powers have been using about
atomic weapons. However, that does not justify India to follow their suit.
In fact, the powerholders in India have provided legitimacy to such powers.
Besides, a large number of non-nuclear countries from all parts of the
world have made their disagreement known. India has betrayed the trust and
expectations of the peoples all over the World, including those in India,
of playing a leading role in a peaceful, nuclear weapons free international
relations. After Independence, India has taken a principled stand against
nuclear weapons and general militarization of the globe. Indiaís moral and
political power in international politics was largely dependent upon such
principled stand and pursuit of a new international economic and political
order. This stand has been paying short term and immediate dividends to our
country in the international community. All along these years,
international community has been taking the Indian view seriously and has
mostly adopted a tough posture towards the tantrums by Pakistan. That
apart, India has forfeited the opportunity and historical responsibility to
lead the march towards a more humane, peaceful world. We too have become
the part of the Global Market of Military-Industrial complex.

Curiously enough, the nuclear test business was never seriously discussed
and neither a case was prepared for such an action. The tests were preceded
by an attack on China and the Prime Minister is reported to have justified
the tests to the U.S. President on account of the purported threat from
China. Immediately after the test, the US President expressed the wish that
the Indian government should sign the CTBT, and the next day the Government
has shown its willingness to agree to some of the provisions of CTBT. The
apparent contradiction needs to be explained. Moreover, while the
government had put up a brave face against the threatened sanctions by the
U.S. and other countries, till the other day, all the powerholders have
been emphasizing the importance of International aid. Wherefrom, the
government of India got the resources and capabilities to face the grave
economic situation which could not have been solved without international
capital and aid ? Has this government worked out any alternatives for that

The nuclear tests are being justified on account of the national pride and
glory. The real glory would have been - the availability of clean drinking
water, housing, employment, minimum health services and opportunities for
education. The Government, rattled by the political squabbles and unwieldy
economic situation sought a convenient way out for diverting attention from
the basic issues by projecting an issue which has nothing to do with the
basic problems of this country or of international politics. The
adventurist step will definitely provide alibi and legitimacy for forces
like Pakistan and China to unabashedly pursue their gregarious designs.
This will further destabilise the security environment in the South Asian
region and it has further blotted the image and moral-political authority
of India in World Politics.

We appeal to people in India not to fall prey to the frenzy of
pseudo-nationalism that is being sought to be whipped up by the Government
and all the protagonists of the Bomb. We appeal to all political parties
not to be a party to rationalising the act. The people in India alongwith
the conscientious people from all parts of the world must try to restrain
the nuclear weapon nations in the world and the powerholders in India who
pursue hawkish policies while paying lip service to ìPeace, Disarmament,
Nuclear weapons free worldî. It is the peopleís power which can counter any
attempts for destructive nuclear power and weapons.

Avinash B.J. Ramesh Billore
Koyna Jeevan Haq Samrakshan Samiti, Narmada Bachao Andolan,Satara, Maharashtra

Anand Kapoor H.M.Desarda Kisan Patnaik
Bargi Bandh Visthapit Sangh, Economist (Samajwadi Jan Parishad)
Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

(Vijay Lapalikar) Jyothibhai Desai Thomas Kocchery
Bharat Jan Andolan Sarva Seva Sangh Convenor NAPM

Lata P.M. Medha Patkar Sanjay M.G
National Convenors, NAPM

Contact: Lata P.M. Ph:6184461