Preventing War in South Asia
Joint Symposium of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) and
Pakistan Doctors for Peace and Development (PDPD)
IPPNW doctors and medical students from India and Pakistan gathered in Karachi on December 12, 2004 to campaign for a nuclear free south Asia, for reductions in conventional arms, and for increased cooperation in development activities. Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) and Pakistan Doctors for Peace and Development (PDPD) called on India and Pakistan to sign a no war pact, to sort out all issues through bilateral negotiations, and to divert funds thus saved toward the welfare of people in both countries.
We, the representatives of Pakistan Doctors for Peace and Development and Indian Doctors for Peace Development at the joint meeting on 12 December, 2004 do hereby state and affirm our pledge to preserve life and promote health for all. As physicians, this is our oath and commitment. We cannot go on prescribing curative measures to a few, while the causes of death and disease proliferate.
We reaffirm our perception of nuclear war as the ultimate hazards to human life. We strongly oppose the race of nuclear and conventional weapons in our region. From the Gulf War we have learned that conventional war can be almost as horrifying as nuclear war, and from the state of environment in Somalia, Ethiopia, Middle East and Afghanistan we see the inevitable deadly consequences of arms race in the Third World countries. We reject the necessity of massive arms buildup, which impoverishes the wealthiest of nations and debases human values. While condemning import, production and use of conventional and weapons of mass destruction we insist that all steps be taken, to promote cooperation and amicable resolution of conflicts in the region through mutual understanding, cooperation and dialogue. All the confidence-building measures voiced by the civil society of India and Pakistan Should be implemented immediately.
We point to the immense hazards to life and health in our region: population explosion, deforestation and
desertification, uncontrolled urbanization, unemployment, extreme poverty, glaring illiteracy, malnutrition, preventable diseases, lack of safe water and infant mortality, homelessness, unbearable living and working conditions for the vast majority, rampant child labour, lack of social security, violence in urban and rural areas, violence against women and minorities, pollution, drug addiction, lack of fuel, schools, hospitals, commutation, inadequate sewage disposal and electricity and so on and so forth.
We simple cannot afford such a massive diversion of resources in non-developmental activities. We strongly urge our leaders to ensure peace und cooperation. We urge end of nuclear weapons era.
The choice is between suicide and prosperity. As physicians our preventive strategy is to educate people and generate public opinion against the sale, purchase, development and production of conventional and weapons of mass destruction in our region. As physicians let us prescribe peace and prosperity.
Physicians of South Asia believe that:
India and Pakistan have been in a permanent state of confrontation. This situation must be defused by peaceful means to resolve all bilateral issues
Peace and prosperity in the region cannot be achieved through massive arms buildup or war.
The balance of terror cannot ensure peace. The nuclear and conventional weapons race including tests of missiles by India and Pakistan should therefore be stopped forthwith.
The claims that by being nuclear power the cost of conventional weapons and eventual defence expenditure will be drastically reduced have failed.
The production and possession of nuclear weapons presents major environmental, health and safety hazards. In times of political crises, their use shall become a very real possibility (as seen in the past).
In case of nuclear arms race in region, the example of economic collapse of so-called supper power should be given serious consideration.
The heavy burden of debt servicing is outcome of wastage of our valuable resources in acquisition of arms from aid giving countries (the permanent members of security council of United Nations).
Involvement in the arms race by any developing country is always at the expenses of the much-needed development in the fields of health, education and environment.
In spite of heavy stockpile of nuclear arsenal by the only super power more recent attempt at circumventing the test ban treaties is deplorable.
The pre-emptive strike doctrine and regime change through armed attack as practiced by the United States of America will make smaller nations insecure and may lead to regional arms race.
It is in the best interest of the region to agree on nuclear free zone on land and sea. It is only then that they can jointly pressurize the nuclear states for complete abolition of weapons of mass destruction.
There should be 10% reduction in military expenditure every year for South Asian countries.
The budget allocation on health should be increased to provide health care to the poor people of both countries. GDP on Health should be 6%.
Both countries should sort out mutual differences and disputes through bilateral negotiations.
India and Pakistan should sign a no war pact. Doctors, professionals, medical student and all those above
sixty years age from both the countries should be exempted from the visa requirement/police verifications.
We are of the firm opinion that if South Asian countries take effective measures for peace and divert funds being spent on arms race towards Health, Education and Development, the fate of our people will undergo a sea change.