KYODO Kyodo / Reuters
The Physicians for Social Responsibility, a public health group and recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, estimates in a recent landmark study that 1.3 million people, overwhelmingly Muslim, have perished as a direct consequence of the US-led global war on terror. This figure, by the way, is a conservative guess and the real total could be 2 million or more. How many of these did nukes account for? Zero. Does Kerry's heart not sink when he reads stats like these?
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Like millions of Indians, I believed in the myth that nuclear weapons are necessary for national security when our government, headed by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, made India a nuclear-weapons nation in May 1998. Indeed, I was working closely with him in the prime minister's office those days. I have since become a convert to the cause of a nuclear weapons-free world. I now believe that India's moral strength and stature as a campaigner for world peace, and especially for global nuclear disarmament, was diminished after it started to build its own nuclear arsenal.
Jaitapur, located on the unspoilt Ratnagiri coast of Maharashtra, is at the confluence of seismic zones 3 and 4, the latter the penultimate category in the national system for assessing earthquake-sensitive areas and identified as a "High Damage Risk Zone". It is also the site prospectively for the largest nuclear power complex in the world, expected to pump 9,900 MW of electricity into the national grid.