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Nepal assures South Asian doctors TPNW will be ratified soon

April 4, 2019

Doctors from IPPNW’s South Asian affiliates met with government leaders in Kathmandu on March 31. From left, Akmal Sultan, Talat Sultan, Surinder Singh Soodan, Tipu Sultan, Kamrul Hasan Khan, Arun Mitra, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, Sharad Onta, Bansidhar Mishra, Satyajit Kumar Singh, Mahesh Maskey, Ganesh Gurung, Arun Dixit.

IPPNW’s South Asia affiliates have urged government officials in Kathmandu, Nepal, to take additional steps towards nuclear disarmament, reduction of small arms, and resolution of issues through dialogue. The IPPNW delegation met on March 31 with Foreign Minister Shri Pradeep Gyawali, Speaker of Parliament Shri Krishna Bahadur Mahara, and Advisor to the Prime Minister Shri Rajan Bhattarai.

The delegation discussed with them the seriousness of the ongoing conflicts in the world in general and South Asia in particular. The most recent conflict between India and Pakistan, the doctors said, could have taken a very serious turn if the situation had not been defused on time by releasing the Indian pilot. Both countries not only possess huge arsenals, but are also nuclear-weapon states. Escalation of the conflict could have led to the use of nuclear weapons. The delegation apprised the minsters about the scientific evidence that in the event of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, more than two billion people globally would be at risk of famine from nuclear-war induced climate disruption.

Nepal signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which has declared the possession, development, testing, use, and threatened use of nuclear weapons illegal, on September 20, 2017. The ban treaty awaits ratification by parliament. IPPNW co-president Arun Mitra said “we pointed out the opportunity created by the treaty, and the ministers assured the group that action to ratify will be taken soon.

“We also called on Nepal to use its unique position in the South Asia region to foster understanding among countries, including China, since India bases its rationale for possessing nuclear weapon mainly on deterrence against China,” Dr. Mitra added. Nepal, the delegation pointed out, can effectively use diplomacy to promote peace and make the region safer. “In collaboration with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Nepal can help impress upon India, Pakistan, and China that they have an obligation to make Asia and the world nuclear-weapons free, and that joining the TPNW would be an important step toward that goal.”

The South Asian affiliates decided to continue such dialogues in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

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