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Dear PM Modi, Lead The Way Towards Nuclear Disarmament

By Akshit Mago:

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama talks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India a working dinner with heads of delegations at the Nuclear Security Summit March 31, 2016 in Washington, DC. World leaders are gathering for a two-day conference that will address a range of issues including ongoing efforts to prevent terrorist groups from accessing nuclear material. (Photo by Dennis Brack - Pool/Getty Images)
Image credit: Dennis Brack/Getty Images.

In the wake of an era where nothing is more cherished than peace and security, nuclear weapons are a severe threat to humanity worldwide. It is by giving birth to such weapons that man has finally acquired the means to wipe out an entire civilisation by a single act. If nothing is done now, then it’s only a matter of time before we witness the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of people by the pull of a trigger.

Having said that, as a young citizen living in the biggest democracy in the world, I do not feel safe. The vulnerability of the weapons – that they can be activated by human error, accident or can be stolen by an extremist group is terrifying. There are 15,000 nuclear weapons that are more powerful than the ones that were used to flatten Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the ground.

Imagine a nuclear weapon like that being used on New Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata. Millions of children, women and men, thousands of unarmed civilians will lose their lives in a matter of minutes. The devastation of a nuclear attack on India – the second most populated country in the world – is unfathomable.

Earlier this year in March, Prime Minister Modi said, “Nuclear security must remain an abiding national priority,” at a gathering of world leaders in Washington, D.C. With the recently concluded visit by President Obama to Hiroshima, which is the first of its kind by a sitting US president, the movement calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons is gaining ground all around the world.

Obama during his visit stated, “We are determined to realise a world free of nuclear weapons.” He also highlighted as to how technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom everyone and it was important that such technology undergoes a moral revolution as well.

Such statements by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi throw light on the importance of controlling nuclear weapons and the apprehension of the horror and destruction that such weapons cause to the masses. One cannot ignore the repercussions of using nuclear weapons and especially in current times when nukes are four to five times more destructive than the ones used in 1945.

As far as India’s position is concerned it can be aptly described as being precarious. Being surrounded by countries like Pakistan, China and with Russia in close proximity, there is definitely a constantly looming air of tension and stress arising out of the presence of nuclear weapons. What also has to be kept in mind is the strained relationship shared by India and Pakistan and that both of them have nuclear weapons makes the fear of any conflict that much graver.

Although Prime Minister Modi understands the importance of nuclear security, it is crucial that he also understands the implications of owning and using nuclear weapons. By talking disarmament with other nuclear states, India will take the first step to protecting the country against nuclear threats. The horrors of war and the impact it would have on humanity is reason enough to take a bold step towards global disarmament.

President Obama’s courageous move of visiting Hiroshima creates an opportunity for India to take a step towards talking disarmament with Pakistan. Expressing the apprehensions of the millions of citizens and young activists, I, along with the Global Zero members and volunteers across India, would like to call upon our Prime Minister and urge him to realise the possible threat associated with nuclear power. We are one wrong move away from another Hiroshima.

We should make a promise to ourselves that from this day we will only strive towards achieving a nuclear free world, a world where there is no space for nukes. If several other nations can opt for this path, why can’t we?

Also read: The Dangers That Come With So Many Countries Going Nuclear.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about the campaign here.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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