Nuclear disarmament


Marking the International Human Rights day, over a hundred Global Zero activists in India and Pakistan came together in cities across both countries asking PM Modi and PM Sharif to commit to never pressing the nuclear red button. Activists took to the streets in New Delhi, Lahore, Bangalore, Karachi and Islamabad, releasing hundreds of red balloons symbolic to the red button of a nuclear weapon, in a strong move showcasing solidarity between the two nations.

The very existence of nuclear weapons threatens fundamental human rights- and Prime Minister Modi in India and Prime Minister Sharif in Pakistan control the fate of over 200 nuclear warheads. “A nuclear war between India and Pakistan would produce so much smoke that global temperatures would fall below those of the last Ice Age, shortening the growing season around the world and threatening the global food supply,” says Rashi Jauhri, South Asia Field Organiser for Global Zero India.

“One “average” nuke dropped on a major city would vaporise everything within a kilometre radius, and kill around 12 lakh people in the first 24 hours, with significantly more deaths from radiation exposure and injuries in the follow weeks. Any nuclear explosion would jeopardise the basic human rights of clean water, food and safety for generations to come,” she added. Nine world leaders across the world have the power to kill thousands of people at a moment’s notice with the push of a button – immediately launching a nuclear strike. The consolidation of power into the hands of so few raises the threat of a nuclear war- by intent, by miscalculation, or by accident.


Global Zero is the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons. It is led by more than 300 eminent world leaders and backed by half a million citizens worldwide. For more information, please visit www.globalzero.org

It was in August of 1945 that the U.S dropped ‘’little boy’’ and ‘’fat man’’ on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It remains till date the only known use of nuclear bombs in warfare. The privilege of being nuclear powers was in the hands of a few back then.

Nowadays, with rapid development, technology and the arms race, nation after nation is bent on becoming nuclear. Some powers have pledged disarmament but still have to deliver on their promises. And since nobody is willing to drop arms first, everybody wants to get enough for deterrence, or at least we hope it is for that. So with new powers and developing or existing (Indo-Pak anyone?)  tensions between States, the threat of nuclear warfare becomes more and more imminent.

12 cyclists from Global Zero, at Raisina Hill.

With this huge doubt looming over us, nations and international organizations have decided to start movements for disarmament. The U.S. based group Global Zero (GZ) is one such organization. Launched in 2008 and with a participation of over 300 world leaders, this group works towards the eradication of nuclear weapons from the world.

Cycling 2
Global Zero cycling team at India Gate.

On the 71st anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings thousands of Global Zero activists participated in a global day of action calling for an end to the nuclear threat. Activists took to the streets, riding cycles or walking in Kolkata, Bangalore, and New Delhi, tracing the blast of a “small” nuclear weapon and highlighting the zone of devastation in which most injuries would be fatal, overwhelming any possible humanitarian relief efforts. Including India, grassroots activists were joining hands in 24 cities around the world.

GZ March
The Global Zero team marching outside Akshara theater.

In New Delhi, on the 6th of August, the Global Zero team began their 3rd annual “Bike Around The Bomb’’.  12 cyclists started from Patiala House, crossing Raisina Hill, the House of Parliament, Akshara  theatre and coming back to Patiala House completing a full circle. This was an effort to create awareness by marking the circumference of the blast radius, should a bomb be dropped at India Gate. After the cyclist completed their route, the group went on to march from Akshara theatre till Bangla Sahib while shouting slogans of “ Eliminate Nukes” and “We demand Zero”. Back at the theatre afterwards, everyone put their hand prints on paper to show support for the cause. A short musical performance by  Dhruv Gautam and Kanchana Jaishankar from the Hindu music society lightened the mood after Rashi Jauhri and Akshit Mago from GZ wrapped up the session and spoke about the organization and the day’ event. Snacks and T-shirts were given to all participants.

Team GZ
The Global Zero team at Akshara theater.

It had been raining the entire day on the 6th but the ground team’s zeal to see the event through was admirable. With 15,000 nuclear warheads out there, organizations like Global Zero which can put pressure on governments are the need of the moment.

The threat may seem distant but it is there, hovering. And it is very real.


Image credits: Vibhana Kanwar and Arindam Goswami for DU Beat.

Arindam Goswami

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