The New Delhi summit's alternatives to war
At the New Delhi summit meeting of nonaligned countries beginning today India will press for detailed consideration of the proposals presented by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to the Second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament:
* To negotiate a binding convention on the non-use of nuclear weapons.
* As a first step toward the eventual cutting of existing stockpiles, there must be a freeze on nuclear weapons, providing for the total stoppage of any further production of nuclear weapons, combined with a cut-off in the production of fissionable material for weapons purposes.
* Immediate suspension of all nuclear weapons tests.
* Disarmament negotiations must once again revert to the task of achieving a Treaty on General and Complete Disarmament, within an agreed time frame as was discussed between the US and USSR in the agreed principles and draft treaties of the early '60s. Although the problems involved have become far more complex, the basic approach and the principles then formulated could still provide a basis for meaningful negotiations.
* The United Nations and its specialized agencies should take the lead in educating the public on the dangers of nuclear war, on the harmful effects of the arms race on the world economy, as well as the positive aspects of disarmament and its link with development.
Between the principles of the UN Charter and the principles of peaceful coexistence there is an immediate and obvious correspondence. If nevertheless there is a striking difference in the methods of conflict resolution adopted by the nonaligned movement, on the one hand, and the United Nations, on the other, it is because great power rivalry has imprinted its methodology of international relations management on the UN, rendering it impotent, if not irrelevant, in most international crises.
It is perhaps this that has evoked the cry of agony from the new Secretary General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, in his report to the last session of the General Assembly on the need for deep thought on the decisionmaking structures of the UN.
It is a cry that finds a ready echo in the nonaligned movement. It is, therefore, to be expected that the New Delhi summit will launch a fresh initiative in this direction.
When fainthearts and skeptics wonder how the weakest two-thirds of the nations of the world can pit an effective alternative to the management of world relations wrought by the great power blocs, and the practitioners of hard-nosed realities scoff at the sanctimonious sentimentality of the moral authority of nonalignment, the words of Jawaharalal Nehru echo over two decades of the nonaligned movement's pursuit of the alternative:
''Our capacity is limited, but we have a certain strength, call it what you like, moral strength, or other strength. Let us use it properly, rightly - without force but with courtesy and with a friendly approach so that we may influence those who have the power of war and peace in their hands and thus try, if not to prevent war for all time, at any rate, to push it away so that in the meantime the world may learn better the uses of cooperation. Then ultimately the world may put an end to war itself.''
Therefore, until that distant day dawns when the great powers adopt the alternative vision of the management of international relations, which is at the genesis of both the nonaligned movement and the United Nations Charter, the prime concern and foremost duty of the movement rests in exploring and articulating, in specifics and in particulars, alternative methods of preserving world peace in the face of the destabilization inherent in the great power confrontation and rivalry.