Race for WMDs: Biggest Threat to Mankind

The entire world still gets thrilled by remembering the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by America. People just get horrified just by knowing the intensity of the bombs used sixty four years ago. It is said that the intensity of the bomb targeting Nagasaki was equal to 20,000 tonnes explosive. According to witnesses, the bright and coloured smoke went up to twelve kilometres in the sky.

Hundreds of miles away, people experienced the light of “the sunrise.” As a result of the bombings, about 0.3 million people lost their lives. An 80 feet deep trench was formed at the blast spot, with a damage radius of one mile, or 1.6km. 4.7 square miles or 12 square kilometres of the city were destroyed. The brightness can be estimated from the fact that even a blind girl standing 15-kilometres away from the blast spot experienced its brightness. Every year people observe August 6 & 9 as Hiroshima Day and Nagasaki Day respectively.

But the fact is that there is much talk about the intensity and power of the bombings and not of the pain, people still feeling as a result of that. Strangely, the “most civilized” scientists and politicians also know well that, at present the nuclear weapons are most dangerous for mankind. Despite this, these so called civilized politicians and scientists have concluded that for maintaining the world peace, nuclear weapons are important.

This clearly means that due to the fear of these weapons, the nations would not try to go to war. In 1999, after the infiltration into the Kargil region of India from Pakistan, when the clouds of war between the two countries were looming large, many people then were of the view that if the two nuclear armed states go to a fully fledged war, then it can go to any extent. Some war analysts even talked about the nuclear attack from either side.

After the short run war was over as a result of successful diplomacy between the two countries and the interference of America, then too this was said that the war came to an end because both the countries were nuclear armed. But the peace loving people like me don’t agree with this logic. If this philosophy was true, then the US should not have felt any need of bombing Japan.

Even today, when in Pakistan the terrorist activities increase to such an extent that the security agencies find it difficult to control them, then the entire world including America and India get worried about the possible capture of nuclear weapons by these enemies of humanity.

Similarly when the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talks about erasing Israel from the world map, then to the attention of entire world is towards the Uranium enrichment programme of Iran. While this threat worries the Israeli people, the mighty America too gets concerned.

Nuclear blast at hiroshima

North Korea is repeatedly trying to show establish itself as a nuclear armed state. Despite of the sanctions of the UNSC, it keeps on testing the nuclear capable missiles. Now there is also news of Myanmar trying to get nuclear weapons.

The question is if the control of nuclear weapons is the symbol of peace, then why all nations can’t try to become nuclear armed? Why there is need to fear from Iran and North Korea? Paradoxically, the mighty America is worried most by Iran and North Korea, whereas the attack on Japan has proved that America is not tolerant enough.

The worries of peace loving people regarding the Weapons of Mass Destruction are itself a proof that the world doesn’t feel safe being nuclear armed. Indeed, disarmament is the only way through which we can achieve peace. Nations like America, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan may wary of this logic, but the former Soviet states of Belarus, Kazakhstan(which possesses the world’s second largest Uranium reserves), and Ukraine have destroyed their nukes by participating in the disarmament campaign. South Africa too freed itself from the WMDs.

Recently, when the great scientist of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was addressing students of Jamia Millia Islamic University, Delhi, a student asked him that being a peace loving citizen of India why he prepared the designed to create nuclear bomb? How he would justify the nuclear capability of a peaceful nation like India?

Kalam replied by saying “I favour complete disarmament.” Dr. Kalam has not expressed this feeling for the first time. He had said earlier that the scientists of the world should work equally hard to create such a bomb which can be used to neutralise the radiations of the nuclear bomb.

When the concerns of a great scientist like Kalam are similar to the common man, then the rationale behind disarmament can’t be denied. This said, today there is an urgent need of throwing away the thinking that nuclear capability is the symbol of peace.

Instead, by following the countries like South Africa and Kazakhstan, the entire world including America should participate in the disarmament campaign with full honesty and transparency. As a first step, the mining of Uranium should be gradually stopped. The attempts to establish new nuclear reactors should be stopped. Dumping of nuclear waste should end and the military bases in other countries should be shut down.

Tanveer Jafri is an award-winning journalist and peace activist, based in India, covering communal harmony and social activities.