Magazine article UN Chronicle

Delhi Declaration on Nuclear Arms Race

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Delhi Declaration on Nuclear Arms Race

Article excerpt

Forty years ago, when atomic bombs were blasted over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the human race became aware that it could destroy itself, and horror came to dwell among us. Forty years ago, also, the nations of the world gathered to organise the international community, and with the United Nations hope was born for all people.

Almost imperceptibly, over the last four decades, every nation and every human being has lost ultimate control over their own life and death. For all of us, it is a small group of men and machines in cities far away who can decide our fate. Every day we remain alive is a day of grace, as if mankind as a whole were a prisoner in the death cell awaiting the uncertain moment of execution. And like every innocent defendant, we refuse to believe that the execution will ever take place.

We find ourselves in this situation because the nuclear-weapon States have applied traditional doctrines of war in a world where new weapons have made them obsolete. What is the point of nuclear "superiority" or "balance" when each side already has enough weapons to devastate the earth dozens of times over? In the old doctrines are applied in the future, the holocaust will be inescapable sooner or later. But nuclear war can be prevented if our voices are joined in a universal demand in defence of our right to live.

As a result of recent atmospheric and biological studies, there have been new findings which indicate that in addition to blast, heat and radiation, nuclear war, even on a limited scale, would trigger an arctic nuclear winter which may transform the earth into a darkened, frozen planet, posing unprecedented peril to all nations, even those far removed from the nuclear explosions. We are convinced that this makes it still more pressing to take preventive action to exclude forever the use of nuclear weapons and the occurrence of a nuclear war.

In our Joint Statement of May 22, 1984 we called upon the nuclear-weapon States to bring their arms race to a halt. We are encouraged by the world-wide response to our appeal. The international support we received and the responses of the nuclear-weapon States themselves have been such that we deemed it our duty to meet here in New Delhi to consider ways to further our efforts.

The nuclear-weapon States have a particular responsibility for the dangerous state of the arms race. We urge them to join us in the search for a new direction. We welcome the agreement in Geneva on January 8, 1985, between the Soviet Union and the United States to start negotiations on "a complex of questions concerning space and nuclear arms--both strategic and intermediate range--with all the questions considered and resolved in their inter-relationship". We attach great importance to the proclaimed objective of these negotiations: to prevent an arms race in space and to terminate it on earth, ultimately to eliminate nuclear arms everywhere. We expect the two major nuclear-weapon Powers to implement, in good faith, their undertaking and their negotiations to produce, at an early date, significant results. We will follow their work closely and we expect that they will keep the international community informed of its progress. We stress that the agenda for and the outcome of these negotiations is a matter of concern for all nations and all people.

We reiterate our appeal for an all-embracing halt to the testing, production and deployment of nuclear-weapons and their delivery systems. …

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