Stand Against Nuke Proliferation


The principal goal of foreign policy of any state is to protect, enhance and enlarge national interest. All countries have their defined and sometimes obscure national interests.  States also determine and adopt foreign policy strategies, priorities and tools depending upon the nature of power in the immediate neighbourhood, in the region and also in the world. Foreign policy of any country, in general or at least in principle, tends to be pacific. However, big powers and hawkish states often use coercive and hard power like military intervention and economic sanction as a part of foreign policy strategy and tools. 

In the modern world, war is not the first choice in settling disputes in the international politics. Diplomacy and peaceful settlement through negotiation are better priorities. War is said to be the last resort in resolving disputes. However, this is not always the case. Big powers tend to be hegemonic and apply arm-twisting tactics and declare direct or proxy wars against certain country or power to maintain their hegemony. As a result, the world is always at some kind of war. There has never been absolute peace in the world and wars break out in one or other parts of the world in one form or the other.

Global ramifications 

In the present globalised and technologically interconnected world, war is not limited to just two warring sides. If the war breaks out, its ramifications are global and it impacts the countries all over the world one way or the other.  All modern wars are, therefore, world wars. The two on-going wars — in Ukraine and Gaza — are also global wars. In Ukraine war, Kiev and Moscow are physically fighting but its ramifications are global in the form of energy crisis, inflation, food shortage and disruption in the supply system, among others. Similarly, the Gaza war appears to be between Israel and Hamas but its consequences, too, are global. The Arab world is already feeling more heat but the entire world is fearful of possible disruption of energy supply chain especially in the Red Sea and Persian Sea areas which are the lifeline of trade and energy supply in Asia, Europe and Africa in case the conflict further escalates. 

In the war, none wins as both sides suffer human casualties and collateral damage. Modern wars are not like conventional warfare in which only soldiers are killed. Countries, now, have developed weapons of mass destruction or nuclear arms, which have the capability of annihilating the entire humanity.  Nine countries have over 1200 nuclear warheads in the world which, if used, are enough to completely destroy the world. Nuclear weapon was first used by the United States in Hiroshima city of Japan in 1945 and three days after in Nagasaki during the World War II. 

 In view of serious humanitarian consequences to be caused by the possible use of Nuclear weapons, the UN General Assembly adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 7 July 2017 outlawing the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons under any pretext. The treaty was adopted by 122 countries but countries possessing nuclear weapons, NATO countries and their allies have not accepted it. Despite UN Treaty to outlaw the nuclear weapons, some countries continue to possess nuclear arms and some are seeking to proliferate, which is unfortunate for the entire humanity. 

As threat of nuclear wars looms large, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has launched a global campaign seeking to strictly implement the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in its letter and spirit. Since its inception in 2007, the ICAN has been actively campaigning worldwide to ban the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons, for which this humanitarian body won Nobel Peace prize in 2017. War in itself is a crime and use of nuclear arms is a greater crime against humanity.

 In the case of Nepal, the situation is further vulnerable. Nepal is surrounded by India and China, which both are nuclear powers. In a little further in South Asia, Pakistan also possesses nuclear arsenal. Similarly, the United States and other nuclear powers have deployed nuclear weapons in different countries of the Indo-Pacific region. Moreover, Nepal’s all three nuclear power neighbours have bitter rivalry. India and China have already fought border war and minor border skirmishes often take place. India and Pakistan also fought two wars and there has always been high tension along their border. In the eventuality of full scale war either between India and China or between India and Pakistan, the possibility of use of nuclear weapons is very high. 

Given such scenario, Nepal may be caught in the crossfire. Thus, it is high time that we all Nepalis raise strong voice to completely ban the use and proliferation of nuclear arms in the neighbourhood, in the region and in the world for our own safety and also for the entire humanity. While some countries are spending over 80 billion dollars a year for proliferation of nuclear arms, over 800 million people in Asia, Africa and Latin America are suffering from acute hunger and over 700 million people are under absolute poverty surviving with less than two dollars income a day. If the money spent for the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons is used for human development, the world can completely get rid of absolute poverty and hunger.  

Human sense

Let us, therefore, stand collectively with one voice ‘no nuclear weapons and no money for nuclear arms’. Wars and weapons do not settle conflicts instead wars breed more conflicts. Diplomacy is the application of human sense and wisdom to resolve the problems and settle disputes and conflicts. Power should not be misused to wage war but needs to address the needs and problems of the people. 

People do not want war. Thus, let this wisdom dawn on the mind of leaders of big powers.  All must stand against the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons to save the humanity. Otherwise, the destruction and annihilation of human civilization is imminent. This is high time we must act in unison against the insanity of nuclear weapon proliferation and exert pressure on the respective governments to destroy the existing nuclear weapons and not proliferate any new nuclear arms. 

(The author is former ambassador and former chief editor of this daily. 

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