By Ashesha Mehrotra:
On the account of International Day for Elimination of Nuclear Weapons Across the World on 26th September 2014, Global Zero has an open letter for the PMs of India and Pakistan
To Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef,
India and Pakistan, two nations, two identities but with one spirit, one culture and one desire to strive towards progress and peace. However it is not only our virtues but also our vices that make us one and the same. When it comes to our security, we are both nations with misplaced priorities. On this international day for the elimination of nuclear weapons, we ask you to revisit the inapt sense of security that the nuclear weapons have brought us as individual countries and as misunderstood neighbors.
Voicing the concerns of hundreds of young activists, volunteers, and leaders from India and Pakistan, we urge you to realize that amassing nuclear weapons will only lead to disaster, not military triumph. Some four decades ago, these weapons were acquired with the vision to enhance security and bring well being to the people of India and Pakistan. However, we have already faced each other multiple times since then, be it in 1987, 1990, 1998 (Kargil Crisis) or December 2001. All these instances have been periods of extreme tension between our countries, always shadowed by the impending doom of a nuclear war.
Each time, a catastrophic nuclear exchange between our two countries was narrowly averted. Four decades later, with a new generation, new ideas and new perspectives in place, we must question how safe these weapons really make us. We now have nuclear weapons that could cause 100 times the damage caused by the atom bombs used in Japan, which killed more than 200,000 in a blink of an eye. These shattering tragedies are not just historical events but portents of a possible future for any city, anywhere. Meanwhile, we spend less than 10-12% of our budgets on improving social welfare indicators like education, yet we spend billions developing weapons to trying to develop ways to prospectively destroy each other. We are a generation that does not need to cling to weapons that drain precious resources and assure our own annihilation. We ask you to lead the path to a nuclear-free world, which is a safe haven for our coming generations.
We are a group of volunteer leaders, advocates and concerned citizens who have all come together under the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, called Global Zero, fighting for a nuclear-free world by 2030.
We both are nations with misplaced priorities, but we are also nations with an upcoming generation of leaders that truly believes that they can shift mentalities, break barriers and most importantly build bridges-not more nukes.
Global Zero leaders from India and Pakistan
Global Zero is an organization fighting for the elimination of nuclear weapons around the world.