Thursday, April 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Looking beyond CTBT

THE US insistence on India signing the CTBT even after its rejection by their Senate reminds of how after World War I the League of Nations, formed with untiring efforts of the then US President Woodrow Wilson, was rejected by the US Senate. Though other nations joined it, the USA couldn’t. And so the League just faded away. The CTBT can also meet the same fate.

However, even if the NPT and CTBT are signed and ratified by all, and nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction remain confined to the P-5 only, where is the guarantee that mutual fear and distrust among them (for instance between Russia and China on one side and western powers on other) may not push the world to a horribly devastating nuclear and space war?

A real, global, non-discriminatory and effective solution could be that instead of each nation building and updating its own deterrent at a huge cost and still fearing, suspecting and spying on others, a “collective deterrent” should be with the UN. All such weapons, including those with the P-5, should be placed under the UN’s exclusive control, with fool-proof verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Keeping a necessary number with the UN to meet any contingency, the rest may be dismantled in due course under its aegis. The initiative lies with the USA to join hands with the rest of the P-5.



Disturbing report

The Tribune report “Probe into attack on Sikhs in HP sought” (March 28), emanating from Amritsar, compels notice for its sensational/nasty tone and tenor. Apparently, however, the report seems too perfunctory to be appreciated. It does not, for example, spell out as to where, in Himachal Pradesh, the reported incident —”unprovoked attack on Sikhs” —took place and when?

Under the circumstances, it seems hard to verify whether the report in question is based on facts or is simply the brainwave of a sick mind.

To my mind, Himachal Pradesh can legitimately boast of an unbroken enviable record of communal peace and harmony ever since it was carved out. No incident of the type in question — people attacking Sikhs (as a religious community) —seems to have ever occurred in the state in the recent, or even the distant, past. Freak trivial incidents involving law and order cannot, of course, be ruled out.

The nasty part of the report is that it seems palpably inflammatory, seeking to give a communal twist to some ignorable trivial incident and thus disturb the happy communal equation obtaining in the state.

Ambota (Una)

Of Indo-US ties

I often like to read the online edition of The Tribune, especially the editorials. Today (March 18) I came across “Meaningful Indo-US relations” by M.S.N. Menon.

I thoroughly disagree with his views and would like to present a rebuttal.

The writer seems to have a biased dogmatic attitude towards America. I am also not a particularly great admirer of many aspects of life in that country, but the writer has gone a bit too far.

The “American way of life”, as the writer chooses to call it, has been around for some 200 years now and is still going strong. The Nazi way of life survived for some 13 years and communism survived for 70 years. The invention of the light bulb by Edison was a sensational development at that time, and so is cloning. This paranoia is about the impending disaster that is waiting to unleash itself due to “The American way of life”, and take of “sensational developments” is laughable. And what is more: no single nation or entity has been able to “plan” the destiny of the human race and I am sure neither can America.

As witnessed in 1984 and 1947, Indians can be as violent as any other race in the world.

Competition is the essence of survival, and we cannot wish away competition. I have come across various writings praising ourselves for discovering the zero and the unethical West stealing the knowledge from the Vedas and the Geeta. My question is: when will we Indians as a race accept the reality that we are backward country who missed the Industrial Revolution and other important developments.

India cannot afford to stay behind in the march of globalisation. If the author expects that nine years of reforms will correct the 40 years of misplaced initiative, then he is asking for the moon. Then the writer goes ahead and declares that whatever he has written is “evidence” that the world cannot support globalisation!!

His statement that “It is time India told America, et al, that our acceptance of globalisation was conditional, that India has ceased to have faith in the promises of globalisation” is certainly beyond my understanding.

student of IIT

Wasting time on non-issues

During the last session Parliament was not allowed to function for days together. Wasting public time and money on non-issues has become the order of the day.

Some organisations excel in creating non-issues. The day before it was the tour of Pakistan cricket team or the visit of the revered Pope to India; yesterday it was “Water” at Varanasi; and today it is the Gujarat circular. Tomorrow another one will be created to keep the pot boiling.

More than them, I blame the political parties who make much fuss over such unnecessary issues for their own vested interests. If agitation is in their blood, let them agitate on certain substantive issues like poverty, corruption, illiteracy and healthcare. But no, they look for explosive issues to sustain themselves in limelight. Public good is their last concern.

And now a word of caution to whom it may concern. You don’t need an enemy from outside if you have one within your own parivar who has all the potential to keep you bogged down on non-issues.

Wg Cdr C. L. SEHGAL (retd)


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