Indian doctors “Health through Peace” campaign 2017
By Dr Arun Mitra, IDPD
The Central Council of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) met at Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi on 2 April 2017 and agreed to launch another nationwide campaign for “Health through Peace.” IDPD will conduct events around India including seminars, lectures, and demonstrations involving medical and other students. The Council also expressed satisfaction at the ongoing negotiations on nuclear weapons at the United Nations (UN). An appeal was made to the governments of India and Pakistan to support landmark resolution L-41 calling for the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.
On the prior day, a national seminar was held on the “Health through Peace” theme attended by health professionals, medical students and others from many states throughout India. Opening keynote speaker Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Vinod Saighal spread a word of caution on the changing political climate which is an imminent threat to peace and asked IDPD activists to take up this matter in their activities.
Other speakers addressed ongoing conflicts around the world and the importance of IPPNW, IDPD medical student involvement in working for peace, and how the arms race is causing cuts to health budgets in various countries worldwide.
IDPD president Dr. S.S. Soodan pointed out that when the government cuts funds to the social sector while increasing spending on arms it is difficult to believe the intentions of the government are peaceful. He underscored that IDPD calls for reducing the arms race by building confidence measures among countries through mutual dialogue and more people-to-people exchange programs between the countries of South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan.
I reported on IPPNW’s efforts on nuclear disarmament and peace and the ongoing negotiations at the UN declaring nuclear weapons illegal. I also briefed participants about the upcoming IPPNW World Congress and joint Medact event in York, UK and that the IDPD delegation may reach up to 60 delegates.
Dr. Mitra is an at-large member of the IPPNW board.