‘Use the huge money spent on weapons for poverty eradication’

Trade union leaders of India and Pakistan have urged the two countries to sign the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and use the trillions of rupees they spend on bomb-making and arms trade for poverty eradication and the welfare of their people.

At a conference organised by the International Trade Union Confederation of the Asia Pacific Region in Singapore on April 7 and 8, union leaders from the two nations joined their counterparts from Japan, the Philippines, Mongolia, Indonesia and other nations of the region in demanding that the nuclear stockpiles of the two nations be scrapped.

The Indian unions were represented by Hind Mazdoor Sangh (HMS) president Thampan Thomas, and those in Pakistan by Muhammed Zahoor Awan of the Pakistan Workers Federation.

Mr. Thomas told The Hindu on Sunday that the conference resolved to submit a mass memorandum, bearing the signatures of millions of workers from the region, to the United Nations Secretary-General when the NPT Review Committee would meet in New York in the first week of May. The conference to be held in New York in this connection would be attended by representatives of the HMS and the INTUC. A conference of the chairpersons of 1,445 city administrations from across the world would also be organised to mobilise public opinion for the demand.

The Singapore conference, Mr. Thomas said, adopted a resolution, pointing out that war was not something the people of either Pakistan or India wanted. Millions of people in this region were poor, unemployed and starving and needed food, education and jobs instead of the false security offered by nuclear weapons. Peace and disarmament were essential to realise the trade union goals of social development, poverty eradication and employment creation, the resolution said.

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