Manipur branch of the Indian Doctors For Peace And Development (IDPD) reiterated its demand to divert the “wasteful expenditure” on nuclear arms towards health, education and development.
Addressing a press conference held here after the special general body meeting of IDPD Manipur state branch, Co-President of the IPPNW Dr Arun Mitra on Sunday urged all the nuclear armed states to join the Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons and initiate steps to abolish the weapons of mass destruction immediately.
Expressing concern at the continuous low level conflicts in the Middle East particularly in South Asia- besides intermittent tensions at India’s border, Dr Arun Mitra who is also the Senior Vice President of IDPD, said these low level conflicts could any time escalate into larger wars. Once war started, use of nuclear weapons in war could mean extinction of human life from earth. So it is imperative that these weapons must be completely eliminated from the earth, he said.
India which ranks 130 among 188 countries nations with very poor human development index is presently the biggest buyer of arms in international market.
But our health indicators are one among the lowest in the world. Our public health expenditure is around 1.04 % of the Global Development index which is too low, says Dr Mitra. Therefore, people incur out of pocket expenditure on health which is pushing 6.3 crore people below poverty line every year. The money saved from arms race should be used to improve health and other needs of the people.
“So let peace be the public agenda in the upcoming elections. Nuclear weapons destruction should be the public agenda,” he said.
Supporting the sentiment, Dr M Nara who also heads IDPD Manipur state branch expressed the need to take up people’s movement in this regard.
“Without people’s movement nothing can be achieved,” he said. “Because of people’s pressure there is no 3rd world war. We want qualitative change of our life.” Dr Soodan also echoed a similar feeling. Presently IDPD, which has units, active contacts in many countries, has just two branches in Manipur and Tripura.