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Home > Citizens Action and Concerns for Peace in South Asia > Editorial, Peace Now - December 2010

Ten years of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP)

Editorial, Peace Now - December 2010

by Peace Now, 8 December 2010

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This November the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) has attained a significant milestone; it has completed a decade of its existence. A decade which had begun in response to the Indian state going openly nuclear with five nuclear test explosions in May 1998.

Deeply appalled and stirred by the disturbing development anti-nuclear peace activists from various corners of India sat together to give an effective voice to their protests. And through a national convention in Delhi in November 2000 that followed the organisation was brought into being.

Since then the CNDP is constantly engaged in raising the demands for a nuclear weapon free India, South Asia and the world and conscientising the wider public. The fight against the Indian nuclear establishment, its utterly non-transparent ways and regrettable disregard for public safety, in the sector of power production has in the process emerged as an important component of the overall struggle. Of late this has assumed even greater salience. This journal, Peace Now, had started its journey in the summer of 2003 as a part of that engagement. The inaugural national convention has since been followed by another two national conventions – one in Jaipur in November 2004 and the other in Nagpur in February 2008. This time, from this December 9-12 in Delhi, the Tenth Anniversary National Convention is being held to renew the commitment to a nuclear weapon free world and re-energise the campaign.

Ten years back, India remained largely stigmatised and isolated in the world as a consequence of the nuclear blasts, about two and a half year back in May 1998, and the tensions between India and Pakistan reached a peak during that period; today India stands substantively, even if not completely, integrated in the global nuclear order as a de facto nuclear power despite being a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) like Pakistan and Israel. The latest offer of the US President on his recent trip to India in early November to support India’s claim for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which ironically had come up in 1975 to tackle the consequences of India’s first nuclear explosion on May 18 1974 in flagrant violation of the global norms of the day, as a full member are just two most recent markers of this continuing reversal process. While the heat between India and Pakistan has somewhat abated, both remain feuding neighbours nevertheless and locked in a nuclear and non-nuclear arms race. And the relation between India and China has attained greater importance over this period.

On the world stage, the election of Barack Obama and his call for a “world without nuclear weapons” on April 5 2009 from Prague soon after assuming office as the President of the US brought in new hopes for global nuclear disarmament. This was in stark contrast with the preceding years of Bush regime. The modestly positive outcome of the NPT Review Conference in May 2010 also stands in sharp contrast with failure of the previous NPT RevCon in 2005 to come up with any resolution at all. But more recent developments have quite a bit dampened the optimism in the air. But the peace activists all the world over remain nonetheless determined in their bid to attain a world without nuclear weapons in a foreseeable future. The demand for a global Nuclear Weapons [Abolition] Convention has emerged as the focal demand in the process.

In this issue we carry a number of articles dealing with and explicating both the Indian and global scenarios.

And Peace Now conveys its best wishes to the forthcoming Tenth Anniversary National Convention.