Mr. Inder Kr. Gujral
Mrs. Shiela Gujral
Excerpts from the book "A Foreign Policy for India"
Address at the International
Conference on "XXI Century : Nuclear Weapon Free " at Almaty
(Kazakhstan) on 29th August, 2001
Ladies and Gentlemen,
a pause of nearly three decades, I am delighted to be here again in this
beautiful city of Almaty. It
is really a privilege and a moment of joy for me to join you all on this
me begin by warmly congratulating you, Mr. President, your Government, and
People of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the 10th anniversary of
your independence. My
personal greetings carry the warmth of one billion people of India. Though India and Kazakhstan may be young nation states, but
our relations date back to ancient times, perhaps to a time before the
Silk Route was formalized.
us in India, the Central Asia as a concept has a deep civilizational
meaning, bound by multifaceted historical and cultural ties.
Central Asia has been a geographical pivot of history not only for
the role it played in the evolution of humanity but also for being the
cradle of world’s great civilizations.
Centuries of interactions between us have left a deep imprint on
our lives. The impact was not
confined to material culture alone. Lord
Buddha’s message of peace reached across the Himalayas, the Arals, and
to the Kazakh steppes on the wheels of both trade and invasion.
We in India have listened with respect to your great poet and
philosopher Abai. He had once
said; (and I quote)
“Look deep into your soul and ponder over my words;
To you I am a puzzle, both
my person and my verse;
My life has been a
struggle, a thousand foes I have braved;
But don’t judge me
harshly – for I paved the way for you.”
two centuries of relative isolation we are once again destined to play our
rightful role in the world affairs. Pondering
over Abai’s words I have often thought of our hardships when we in India
were engaged in struggle for freedom. It was hard, but our moral force ultimately prevailed.
Though towards the end we were somewhat fatigued by the strenuous
efforts but more by the bloodshed of the partition of our land.
could have restricted our vision to our own development but we did not
take the self-serving path, because that has never been India’s way.
The Mahatma Gandhi led non-violent freedom struggle
was not for India’s independence alone but for an equitable world
order, for social justice, pluralism, democracy and peace and security for
all. So, we took up the causes that would sometimes make us
unpopular with the masters of the world.
However, as your great poet Abai said “we took the hard road to
pave the way to greatest good.”
in India remain conscious of the perils of the principled path.
It requires major sacrifices.
But we are not prepared to compromise.
We are also aware that there are others who are taking similar
paths. Ten years ago,
Kazakhstan’s decision to give up an acquired nuclear status with the
world’s fourth-largest nuclear stockpile was indeed courageous against
all odds that a newly independent country was confronted with. We welcome and laud your achievements. In the same spirit I applaud the initiative of President
Nazarbayev in convening this conference on “21 Century: Towards Nuclear
Weapon Free World.” I am
fully in support of such a century, and such a world.
But I am averse to half measures, and I am against policies which
have selective applications.
live in an age of sovereign equality and sovereign responsibility.
If there is a genuine global equality, then there is also a duty
for equals to work together towards removing the dangers which face all of
us. Nuclear weapons are
definitely a danger anywhere with anyone and therefore for everyone.
There cannot be a selective denuclearisation.
We in India have for long lending voice and weight for complete
nuclear disarmament. Our
engagement, from the beginning, in all the larger causes of the world
affairs, has been to seek an equitable order and removal of asymmetries
between the developed and developing nations.
However, globalization is still far from an equitable process.
We firmly believe that the measures taken under the existing
regimes are arbitrary and lacking in balance of obligations.
We must dismantle iniquitous order and have regimes which are
universal and non-discriminatory. The
existence of all weapons of mass-destruction is incompatible with
civilized norms. I would
rejoice when these scourges are eliminated, when the nuclear genie does
not threaten the mankind any longer.
Therefore, we must seriously examine the prospects of de-nuclearisation
in the 21st century.
must not forget that the 20th century was the most violent
century in human history. While
we do notice a gradual improvement of security environment at the
international level, the conflicts having local and regional roots
continue to pose a direct threat to societies themselves.
In fact, the end of the Cold War has unleashed a number of new
forces, for which we do not have as yet adequate strategy and diplomacy to
deal with. For example, we now see the emergence of new threats based on
balance of terror. Unfortunately,
the menace of terrorism and violence is beginning to dictate the national
agendas of some countries, and may remain on the forefront of our security
concerns in the 21st Century.
The current trends also indicate a spurt of new ideologies emerging
in the form of ethno-nationalism and religio-political extremism. They carry the seed of extremism, exclusion of minorities,
fragmentation of states and destabilization.
These tendencies become more dangerous especially when they are
sought to be imposed through violent means.
In your neighourhood Afghanistan is a glaring example where such
tendencies ruptured societies, resulting into perpetual state of
instability and conflict.
worry about such extremist tendencies.
Because, even after sovereign nations have eliminated their nuclear
stockpiles, can we be sure that some evil man of terror is not sitting on
a nuclear warhead. I feel
equally sad today when I hear about yet another victim of terror such as
in my country or in some other distant part of the world.
The forces of terror do not play by the rules. By their very nature they live beyond rules.
I feel that any appeal, and any movement towards denuclearisation
of the world, should address itself to the evil of terror and how to
eliminate it. A concerted
campaign, now, and by all, is the only way out.
If we do not act today, it may already be too late tomorrow because
the forces of terror are springing too constantly and in multiple forms.
We in India have suffered a great deal from terrorism.
It is this pain of suffering which we do not want others to suffer
from. Terror should no longer
be allowed to wipe out innocent lives.
The global action on terror would truly make us a global family of
we require to build is cooperation and interdependence as the foundation
of international security. That
is why we believed since the days of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that
the critical factor is peace and not security.
Peace can ensure security and not vice-verse.
It is in this context we in Asia must build an environment of peace
and equilibrium. The
challenge is how to achieve a sustainable development and prosperity
through mutual cooperation. That
is why we cannot avoid accepting the principles of cooperative peace and
do witness that the historical and geopolitical aspect of Central Asia is
already propelling, particularly in the case of Kazakhstan, to revive its
sense of geopolitical responsibilities towards cohesive regional
integration. Kazakhstan is
playing a key role in establishing the Eurasian Economic Community that
will foster regional integration. The
region has enormous prospects and in fact all the ingredients for bringing
economic, political and social transformation.
We already notice that within a short period of ten years, since
independence, Kazakhstan has achieved economic, political and social
leadership is implementing extraordinary measures that will have
far-reaching consequences for the growth, prosperity and security of
Central Asian civilization. I must also mention here a significant
initiative taken by President Nazarbayev for Confidence Building and
Interaction in Asia, what is known as CICA process.
and timely initiative endorsed by key Asian countries,
will also ensure durable peace beyond the Central Asian region.
in India consider Central Asia as our extended neighbourhood.
It is time now that we must evolve a proper framework for closer
cooperation and engagement for the interests of the people of both the
regions. We have successfully
established a mechanism for cooperation with the ASEAN region.
Lately, we have formed a sub-regional grouping called BIMSTEC and
the Indian Ocean Rim Association for closer cooperation with the countries
neighbouring India. The
prospects for building a similar and meaningful network of ties between
India and Central Asia are even brighter.
There is compatibility of interests between us.
Complementarity exists in terms of resources, manpower, capital and
markets. Central Asia is
endowed with large energy resources, whereas India belongs to energy
demand heartland. The two
regions should strive for a conceptual breakthrough and form an Eurasian
Energy Community, uniting countries in a web of energy interdependence.
It is in this spirit that we stretch our hand in friendship to a
dynamic Kazakhstan, and also give a call for greater cooperation.
“Who has not suffered deprivations? But to lose your hope
means displaying weakness of your will.
Since there is
nothing constant in the world why should troubles last so
long. After all, the soothing summer with its luxuriant green
and plentiful water in the lakes, comes after a frosty and
Abai I am a great optimist.
An optimist who believes that peace and prosperity await the
mankind. An optimist who has
faith in the universality of goodwill.
An optimist who is convinced that the forces of good will prevail
over those of terror. And an
optimist who feels that soon the world might collectively decide to give
up its nuclear arsenal. I am
also an optimist who hopes to return very soon, on a fine summer day, to
celebrate with you the beauty, the goodwill and the prosperity of
me conclude by complimenting
President Nazarbayev for convening this much needed conference to address
the issues that should attract the attention of the nations of the world.
Let us dream together of a world in which aspiration of all, for
prosperous and peaceful existence is fulfilled – a world which is free
of dangers of mass-destruction.
Mr. Inder Kr. Gujral
Mrs. Shiela Gujral
Excerpts from the book "A Foreign Policy for India"