India-Pakistan Still On The Brink

May 29, 2002

India-Pakistan Still On The Brink

Friends Of The Earth Australia
People For Nuclear Disarmament
Australian Anti-Bases Campaign

As India and Pakistan continue to teeter on the brink of a conflict that could become a nuclear exchange, groups in Australia and India are expressing their concern over the situation.

In Sydney, a vigil is to be held noon wednesday 29th May in front of the Indian consulate at 25 Bligh Street, then proceeding to the Pakistani consulate at 49 York Street, urging the two countries not to engage in a conflict that could wipe out both as functioning societies.

A vigil is planned in Delhi at the India Gate monument at 7.30pm on Saturday June 1.

According to Sydney vigil organizer John Hallam of Friends of the Earth:

"The stakes in this conflict are as high as they could be. A conventional war between India and Pakistan would slide inevitably into a nuclear conflict. A nuclear exchange involving the two countries in which as few as ten warheads were used could kill 5-10 million people. A recent CIA assessment suggested immediate casualties of 12 million, while some estimates give as many as 150 million casualties. All major cities in both India and Pakistan would cease to exist as well as all electronic and electrical infrastructure."

While according to Natalie Stevens of People for Nuclear Disarmament:

"Nuclear weapons are not be relied on to keep the peace. Instead they offer the threat of nuclear destruction on top of the devastating effects of war. The ongoing militancy between India and Pakistan is extremely dangerous and detrimental to both countries. Nuclear weapons have added to this problem by allowing their political leaders to assume that their nuclear arsenals provide a cover that would prevent this conflict from escalating. Recent threats by both sides have proven this to be a myth."

Dennis Doherty of the Anti-Bases Campaign said:

"We have been trying to get rid of nuclear weapons for a number of decades, the dire situation between India and Pakistan shows as clearly as anything does the absolute necessity of doing that, and of disengaging from the nuclear umbrella of the US. Australia should make the elimination of nuclear weapons its highest diplomatic priority."

The groups all call on the Australian government to put the very highest priority on efforts to prevent either a conventional or a nuclear conflict between these two neighbors of Australia.

For more information contact:

John Hallam
Ph: (02) 9567 7533

Praful Bidwai (Delhi)
Ph: 91-11-469-7278