International Meeting
2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs

M. M. Varghese
All India BHEL Employees Union
Centre of Indian Trade Unions

Dear friends and comrades,

First of all, permit me to extend warm greetings to this august gathering on behalf of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), a premier trade union centre of my country with more than 3 million members.

As you may be aware, my trade union organisation has always been in the forefront of the world movement for peace, disarmament and total elimination of nuclear weapons and has opposed imperialism, hegemonism and nuclear blackmail. We strongly believe that the growing menace of nuclear proliferation has immensely adverse effects on the livelihood and economic well-being of the common people and causes poverty, unemployment, hunger and environmental destruction. The heavy burden of nuclear weaponisation could eat away the resources of a developing country in particular, which could otherwise use them for its fight against hunger, disease and malnutrition and for improving the living standards, health and education of its people.

Friends, our trade union centre highly appreciates the untiring efforts the Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen bombs and the Organising Committee of this conference have been making for a nuclear-weapon-free 21st century. They are doing laudable work to launch a powerful campaign in Japan and outside Japan to spread the message of nuclear disarmament and world peace in every country across the globe. The CITU extends all support to their endeavours.

Friends, after the collapse of the Soviet Union we are living in a unipolar world. The United States of America with its unrestricted military power is trying to establish its hegemony and domination in the whole world. It is capable of launching preventive military strikes against any country which it considers to be a threat to its global interests and security. The people of Cuba, Vietnam, Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Iran have suffered US aggression, intervention and economic blockade for long years. The US-Japan Security Treaty and Defence Cooperation Agreement, which were signed despite strong opposition from the Japanese people, provided fuel for the resurrection of Japanese imperialism. Last year, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation led by the US imperialists carried out barbaric aggression against Yugoslavia, killing hundreds and inflicting causalities on thousands of civilians.

The CITU urges all anti-imperialist forces to condemn in unequivocal terms the frequent violations, by G-7 countries and U.S.A. in particular, of the United Nations Charter, mounting militarist attacks and imposing economic blockades on other countries. In the name of economic blockage against Cuba, Libya and Iraq, the U.S. and its servile partners are waging a trade and financial war against these countries. In this attempt to arm-twist the Governments of these countries, the worst sufferers are the common people, particularly children. The CITU expresses full sympathy to these victims of imperialist design to achieve global hegemony and pledges to mobilise all forces in support of their courageous and patriotic crusade to defeat these offensives.

In the garb of globalisation, the imperialists and transnational monopoly houses are capturing markets and sources of raw materials and paying low wages to workers in order to multiply their profits in the underdeveloped countries and regions. Of course, globalisation does bring benefits to the big business houses and political elite of a developing country. However, as experience has proved, it spells disaster to the livelihood and working conditions of the common people, particularly the working class and the peasantry of an under-developed country.

Let me take the example of India, a developing country with a population of more than one billion, where the policies of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation were launched in the early 90s under the pressure of World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Despite tall promises of policy makers regarding all-round prosperity, the prices of essential commodities in my country have increased manifold while minimum wages of workers, which stand below the poverty line of US$ 445 per year in most of the Indian States, have remained unrevised for the past 5 years and more. The lot of workers in the informal sector, who account for almost 90% of the total work force, is still worse. A large majority of them do not get even the minimum statutory wages. Similar is the fate of rural agricultural workers whose wages have remained stagnant during the entire period of globalisation. Even the World Bank Report issued in January, 2000 has admitted in clear terms that "the growth of real daily wages in the rural areas - a key link between agricultural growth and poverty reduction -slowed down in the 1990s"

Globalisation and liberalisation have led to growing unemployment, which has reached menacing proportions during the past several years due to increasing closures, lockouts, retrenchment and industrial sickness. These policies have widened the economic disparity between a handful of rich people and millions upon millions of poor people in the country.

Friends, the peace forces in my country, which include workers, peasants, youth, students and women, are fully aware of the heavy economic burden and disastrous consequences of nuclear weaponisation. They strongly oppose the manufacture, stock-piling and use of all kinds of nuclear weapons. They are deeply distressed at the explosion of nuclear devices by India and Pakistan and together with other peace-loving forces of the world stand for a peaceful negotiated settlement of all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan and between India and China through bilateral dialogue without any outside interference.

As an activist of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions and a member of world trade union fraternity, I earnestly appeal to the toiling people of the whole world that irrespective of their nationality and political beliefs, they should extend full support to the rising campaign for the complete annihilation of nuclear weapons and work tirelessly to stop their production, stock-piling and use.

Let the entire progressive, democratic and peace-loving forces of the world, which wish to see lasting peace in the world and oppose all aggressive wars, unite and close their ranks and join a powerful movement to eliminate all kinds of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction, so that the humankind could be saved from total annihilation.

No more Hiroshimas!
No more Nagasakis!
Forward to a nuclear free 21st century!
Long live international working class unity!
Down with imperialism and hegemonism!
Long live socialism!
Long live world peace!

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