War and Peace

            A month back Australia unveiled its new defense export strategy’ to become one of the world’s largest arms exporter.  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull showed no remorse or guilt when he announced this strategy under controversial Turnbull government plan.  His aim is to make Australia one of the world’s top 10 weapons exporters within the next decade.

Well, this strategy doesn’t end there.  Australia has identified a number of target markets or priority regions.  It includes the Middle East, the Indo-Pacific region, Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

When this plan was initial stage in mid-2017, Tim Costello, the World Vision Australia chief advocate went vociferous against the plan. He said “The government says this is an export and investment opportunity, but we would be exporting death and profiting from bloodshed.” He vehemently showed his dislike for the idea of cutting humanitarian aid which saved lives and at the same time discussing the merits of becoming major weapons manufacturer and exporter.

Costello also pointed out that the present Syrian war would not have lasted more than a year without armaments profiteering. Remember Syrian war is in the eighth year now.  According to  the  latest 

estimates more than 300,000 people were killed until now, that includes thousands of children.  It is estimated that 13.5 million people need humanitarian assistance, 6.3 million people internally displaced and 5 million people were displaced and in the run as refugees.

The top arms exporters between 2012 and 2016 in order are: the US, Russia, China, France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, Ukraine and Israel.

If we check the list, except Israel, the rest of the countries don’t have any sort of war or internal civil war in their soil. They really are not aware or really have suffered the pangs of being in war and the suffering out of it.  They turned to be the beneficiaries economically when nations go on in a buying spree of arms due to war mongering or internal wars. We are inclined to think whether they are creating wars to spurt their arms trade.

When millions of people across the world are running away from violence and bloodshed, when they really loath it and really want to get rid of the menace, the solution given by these nations is by producing more weapons. They want more profit and more money out  of this filthy business. They are there to create new war and thereby woo new markets.

Are we heading towards a nuclear war? We are forced to think so, especially after America’s aggressive nuclear policy that developed after Donald Trump became the president of U.S.  It is now more aggressive towards Russia and its stand against North Korea, is making matters worse.  Are we moving towards cold war times!  Remember none of the declared nuclear states including the US have signed the U.N. treaty outlawing nuclear weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently said that the alliance did not desire a return to cold war hostilities with Russia and new arms race in the wake of March 4  chemical attack in Salisbury on a former double agent and daughter.   It is a very matured and positive stand by not escalating the situation further. The world should take such mature decisions in order to deescalate standoffs and conflicts and to ensure that mankind is not wiped off from the globe by another world war.

The latest Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report stated that the U.S. was the world’s biggest arms exporter as per the figures based on the last 5 years export. India became the largest importer of weapons as per this report.  See who is benefitting when India is going through a strained relationship with China and border standoff with Pakistan. India knowingly falls prey to the greedy interests  of  such   capitalist   nations. 

According to SIPRI report,  U.S. exports were 58 percent higher than those of Russia who came second in the list. If we

check the list of top importers, after India came Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and China.   The biggest client of U.S. was Saudi Arabia. Asian states were the major importer of arms from U.S and it came up to 33 percent, European nations- 11%, Americas 4.8 % and African countries 2.2 percent.

Diplomacy and peace initiative have become bleak with the world arms trade heading high.  As a result there is increase in security threats and heavy traffic of migrants from the war and conflict torn areas to safer zones.

There are some rays of hope too.  United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres introduced a new initiative.  It is aimed to revitalize global disarmament by cautioning the skyrocketing arms sales and escalating nuclear tensions.  Some other initiatives that can be termed as the need of the hour are the United Nations initiative on Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and Paris Agreement on Climatic change to reduce global warming.

UN Security Council,  as part of its peace operations has come up with a WPS (Women, Peace and Security) agenda.  It aims to explore the capacity of women in Peace building and also to protect women and girls in conflict.

Moreover likeminded people, organizations & political parties must  be united irrespective of countries for a co-existing peaceful world based on mutual respect and camaraderie.                  Bonnie  Basil

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