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World or global peace is not a matter of policy but a matter of bare existence.  If we choose peace we choose life, and if we project peace we will scrip the end of mankind with our own hands.

The concept of peace has the distinction of always having been contemporary or relevant, whatever the age.  It is inseparably entwined with the issue of human existence, since to exist, in the case  of living being, must always extend to imply co-existence as well.  A definition of peace, shorn of all its technical and doctrinal pretensions, basically means harmony, not only among nature’s creations but between nature and man as well.  As civilization has progressed, the concept of existence has widened to embrace global existence.   As is the problem, so must be the solution.  Therefore, the problem of global existence can only be solved by global peace.

In the onward march of civilization, the biggest threat to peace has been an inclination towards aggressive nationalism.  Man was pitted against man since progress was linked to a particular regional-cum-cultural identity, narrowly defined by physical borders.  It was only after the two World Wars and the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that it began to dawn on us what lack of peace meant.  The so-called “hot wars” were replaced by a Cold War in a world divided into rival superpower camps (USA & erstwhile USSR).  This Cold War was, however, equally inimical to world peace, since rather that fighting a conventional war to settle matters, nations hovered on the brink of  nuclear war, restrained only by their fear of mutually assured destruction.  It is only now that we have begun to grasp the fact that peace isn’t merely lack of war, but a positive concept in itself.  It is multifaceted and includes in itself political, social, economic components and all other issues involving man.  It is a holistic concept that cannot be compartmentalized and viewed.

The League of Nations set up after WW-I was a spectacular failure in keeping peace and was followed by another war.  It must be noted here that both the wars were fought in the name of peace, whether it be for “making the world safe for democracy” or “for implementing President Wilson’s 14 points”.  It was after the Second World War that we achieved limited success in managing peace by the setting up of the UNO.  Although it has been plagued by big-power dominance, it as done some commendable work in giving every nation an equal voice (one country-one vote principle in the General Assembly) and resolving certain conflicts, for instance the Korean War.  However, it is bilateral agreements between nations, which are indispensable.  The SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) and START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaties managed a level of disarmament, which the UN could not manage in years.  Policy Planning at a micro level is the only thing, which can lead to the success of more general agreements.

If global peace is to be achieved as an objective, we must discard piecemeal measures and go to the root of the problem.  It is the world divided into the `haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Until a balance is achieved between the two there will always be disequilibrium and the hence a threat to word peace. The distribution of wealth and power is skewed in favour of the industrially developed nations and until we redress this anomaly, there will continue to be disruptions in peace. The industrial north must realize its responsibility towards its poorer counterparts and the backward South must inculcate a culture or self-help rather than expecting doles from international organisations. A precursor to equitable development is peace, since it will release the much needed resources for development. With defence - spending eating into the investment
set aside for development, it is no wonder there are such rampant indicator of under – development e.g. poverty, illiteracy, hunger and malnutrition. Culture invasion must be restrained since it breeds a sense of insecurity among minority communities and religious. Fundamentalism of the Jehadi type, to give a relevant examble, breeds on such insecurity to become a potent force. Super power must also give up the temptation of mistaking  their interests for the interests of the world in general.  Blatant unilateralism, like that of the USA, in pursuing its National Missile Shield Programme, must not be allowed to reverse the progress achieved in world peace.

Regional groupings can play an instrumental role in standing up to big power dominance and promoting their own agenda of peace, the Non-Align Movement being the best example.  Failed states must not be allowed to substitute fundamentalism as an antidote to lack of development.  A culture of peace is the only thing that can lead them towards development.  The September 11 strike on the symbol of USA's economic might, the World Trade Centre, shows how no nation is safe until there is peaceful coexistence.  Hence, peace is not a matter of choice, it is matter of necessity.
World Peace and ecological stability are related, since only peace can bring the focus back to preserving the earth, rather than destroying it.  Both concepts appeal to the natural and stable instincts in man and are the two  sides of sustainable development.  Only if nations  stop viewing each other with suspicion, can they divert resources towards creating a healthier environment, rather than simply defending a system and a way of like, which is no longer sustainable.

India with its 5000 years of composite culture can play a vital role in world peace.  It was Jawaharlal Nehru who first envisioned India being a leader in this sphere and led the Non-Align Movement in the 1960s.  Indians have, since the beginning  of their civilization, been brought up on the concept of peace and co-existence and it is here that great world religions like Buddhism and Jainism were born, which were basically infused with the concept.  Mahatma Gandhi gave a new turn to the fight for peace with his doctrines of Satyagaha and Ahimsa.  We simply need to turn back to our glorious history and learn from it.

World or global peace is not a matter of policy but a matter of bare existence.  If we choose peace we choose life, and if we reject peace we will script the end of mankind with our own hands.  This painful realization has come to us only after innumerable lives were lost in the process.  However, it is not too late even now.  Therefore let us stop and think of the direction we have taken and change our course before many more innocent lives are sacrificed.


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