One can be legitimately proud to be here in this World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, because this is the venue from where the demand for a Nuclear Weapon Free World can be pronounced with utmost vehemence and deep sense of remorse due to obvious reasons. For the first time in history the people of this land were subjected to the most horrendous experience of mass deaths by atom bombs. The United States of America perpetrated that atrocity even though there was no justification for experimenting those deadly weapons on the people of Japan as the Second World War was over by that time for all practical purposes. This doesnft mean that in the midst of a war the use of atom bombs is justifiable.
Today when we are assembled here to pay our homage to the victims of that inhuman atrocity and also to pledge that we will carry on our war for peace, the world is being polluted by the obscenity of the resurrection of the star wars project in the garb of National Missile Defense by the USA. In spite of the worldwide condemnation of this sinister project the USA is going ahead for global military domination by weaponising the space.
Therefore the demand that nuclear weapon states must make good on their promise to abolish nuclear weapons is most timely and appropriate. There is no doubt that only through international co-operation and solidarity, the future of the world can be ensured.
Being a participant from India I am compelled to recall the glorious contribution of Gauthama Buddha for the cause of peace. He declared gI donft know anything about the mystery of God, but I know something about the misery of Man.h In the midst of the ugliness of affluence millions starve due to poverty and the world is pushed into a mad arms race draining the resources that could have been used for supporting the marginalized poor. The above words of Buddha should reverberate in the cozy office rooms of warmongers. The memory of Buddha runs through the consciousness of the people of our two countries and also through all those who cherish the lofty ideals of peace and progress. However we should be ashamed of those who would not hesitate to invoke the name of Buddha to announce the gsuccessh of their nuclear weaponisation project.
The unfortunate developments in my country come to mind in this background. The ruling classes of the land of Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi went ahead with the nuclear weaponisation project. The powers across the border retaliated with similar response. This itself underlines the futility of the exercises from the angle of military superiority. Our subcontinent is also being pushed into a costly, unnecessary and debilitating arms race causing further deterioration of developmental and welfare activities in each country. It is estimated that the minimum nuclear programme would cost India to the tune of 30,000 crore rupees over the next decade. We should also note that mutual deterrence is actually mutually assured destruction (MAD).
It is high time that people belonging to all walks of life such as workers, peasants, intellectuals, students, youth, women, war victims, artists, writers, sports people and so on and their organizations should come forward to demand in unequivocal terms that military solutions are inhuman and unethical steps which should not be pursued by humanity. All the resources -- natural, scientific, technological and intellectual -- should be harnessed for dealing with and solving various problems of humanity such as poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, inequality of and discrimination against women, ill health, child mortality, malnutrition, cultural degeneration, ecological degradation and so on. I am sure, that when we are ushering ourselves into a new millennium we should be able to engage in a dispassionate introspection in order to identify our shortcomings and mistakes in various areas so that with bold corrective steps we would be able to liberate humanity from wars, misery, exploitation and oppression. Let us work towards the creation of a brave new world without anybody dominating it or dictating terms to others.