Citizens’ Statement Condemning the Indian Government’s Abstention from the UN Vote on Nuclear Ban

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We, as citizens of India strongly condemn the abstention by the Indian government from the UN vote to ban all nuclear weapons. This irresponsible diplomatic gesture goes against much of our own history when we were in the forefront of the diplomatic effort to promote comprehensive nuclear disarmament with an emphasis to go beyond the limitations of the Non-proliferation Treaty(NPT). India today stands on the wrong side of the history when the overwhelming majority of nations in the UN voted for negotiating ban, except a handful of countries having nuclear weapons and those under their influence.

This vote in the United Nations was a result of years of efforts by the non-nuclear weapons exhausted by the non-cooperation of the states having nuclear weapons in discussing nuclear disarmament within the NPT system, the non-aligned movement, the victim-survivors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and numerous nuclear test sites around the world, the scientists and medical professionals who persisted with decades of research highlighting the unacceptable human and climatic consequences of a nuclear weapons exchange in today’s world, the global bodies like the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear Weapons(IPPNW), the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Committee(ICRC) and others who demonstrated that no civil response could be possible in the event of a nuclear explosion.

Even as the Indian govt, under the BJP in 1998, conducted nuclear weapons tests in Pokharan, it maintained that India will consistently support all disarmament initiatives and continue to strive for ultimate and real security which can be realised only in a nuclear weapons free world.

However, the diplomatic stance of the Modi government this week belies that minimum gesture and reflects its ambitions to not only retain but further expand the country’s arsenal of destructive nuclear weapons. As Indian citizens, we consider it our duty to oppose such abject surrender of our once-held values by the government, evidently to placate the nuclear weapons states and to be part of their grouping.

After coming out of the yoke of colonialism, the citizens of India have strongly supported democracy, peace and the efforts to bring about an end to the deeply immoral global nuclear order otherwise justified by the hypocritical posturings of nuclear powers who insist on having such weapons even as they (selectively) decry others adopting them; all the while preventing serious efforts at bringing about total nuclear abolition. We again strongly condemn the Modi government’s move to dilute the country’s founding principles and commitments.

Achin Vanaik
Lalita Ramdas
Medha Patkar
Anand Patwardhan
Ilina Sen
Vivek Sundara
S P Udayakumar
G. Sundarrajan
Kumar Sundaram

News Reporter