Why Article 51

ARTICLE 51. Promotion of international peace and security:

The State shall endeavour to —
(a) promote international peace and security;
(b) maintain just and honourable relations between nations;
(c) foster respect for international law and
(d) encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

Since the Second World War, 199 wars have been fought by 81 countries and 69 countries have been directly the theatres of war (Mr Janez Stanovnik, Paris, UNESCO, 1978). Mr Gil Elliot, who made a valiant attempt to count the man-made deaths in 20th century has arrived at a total of 110 millions from 1900 to 1970. This figure includes 38 million soldiers. It means that one out of every 30 inhabitants on the earth was killed through government criminality (pages 43-44, ’ Victims of Politics : The State and Human Rights ’ by K. Glaser and S. T. Possony, New York, Columbia University Press, 1979).

After 1970 there have been more deaths in wars in Middle East and African countries. India was no exception, which has been attacked several times and is subject to cross-border terrorism in which thousands have been killed. Terrorist attack on World Trade Centre, New York, on 11th September 2001 and, subsequently, bombing to contain terrorism in Afghanistan has also resulted in killings of a large number of people, including women and children. We are also witness of war on Iraq and also of subsequent killings by suicide squads. Thousands have been killed or maimed. Use of depleted uranium dust on missiles heads will have devastating affect not only on the victims but also on future generations. Stockpiling of a large number of nuclear armaments, chemical and biological weapons and degradation of ecology and environment have created a situation in which future of children is not safe. Children world over are living in appalling conditions. If huge resources spent on armaments are consecrated to their welfare, the world will become a place worth living.

In such world scenario, spirit of the provisions of Article 51 as enshrined in the Constitution of India, acts as a beacon and reflects an earnest desire for maintenance of world peace and security by avoiding conflicts and wars in the interest of entire human race. Although the said Article 51 is one of the ‘directive principles of the state policy’ and cannot be interpreted as implying a mandate to create a new world order, but the development of science, technology, transport and communication and developed information technology, expansion of international trade and commerce have brought the world together as a ‘global village’ and hence all these developments call for a new world order which is possible only by maintenance of world peace and security as envisaged in Article 51 of the Constitution of India.

The present problems of the world, like huge stock-pile of nuclear arms, capable of devastating the entire world several times, dangers of low and high intensity wars among nations, terrorism (including cross-border terrorism), boundary-disputes, ethnic disputes, economic and political problems, environmental degradation, pollution, problems of disputes based on religions, etc, which affect the entire humanity, can be solved only by a rationale view and awareness, taking into account enormity of the present situations and by creating an impartial world body, with enough powers to implement its directives, decisions or law. The said Article 51 gives a new vision and such provisions should not only be adopted by all nations in their respective constitutions but every nation must adhere to those provisions, in spirit and action, in dealings with other countries.

From ancient times Indian philosophy and vision seeks to bring humankind to the path of peace, cooperation, co-existence, non-violence, human dignity and human advancement and believes in universality of mankind as one human family (Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam). The provisions of Article 51 of the Constitution of India embodies an affirmation of that philosophy and ideals. The promotion of international peace and security as a constitutional directive is a declaration made by the people of India not only to the Indian society but indeed to all people of the world. For, every declaration affecting international life and International relations is a declaration made to all mankind.

The vision given by Article 51of the Constitution of India for international peace and security also enjoins us all in its clause(c) to strive for fostering ‘respect for international law’. But one can have respect for international law if it is based on justice and equality, is enacted by a duly constituted world body having universal sanction and is enforceable on all peoples and nation states. The present ‘so called’ international law has no universal sanction and is not enforceable and, therefore, it has proved to be inadequate in-as-much as it has not been able to solve problems. The result has been that big and powerful nations, by bombings and imposing sanctions, have only brought misery, hunger, disease and poverty to more people and problems remain unsolved and sometimes aggravated.

Thus, it is obvious that the provisions of Article 51 of the Constitution of India is a unique provision propounding a great Indian philosophy and which creates an awareness and acts as a beacon for international peace and security. It can serve as a guideline for framing international law based on justice, equality, co-existence and human dignity in this strife-torn world for the ultimate objective of human advancement. Therefore, Article 51 of the Constitution of India is the reference point of the conference and emphasis has been given to its clause(c) which enjoins the state ‘to foster respect for international law’. It also follows that international or world law has to have universal sanction, be applicable to all countries and peoples of the world and must be enforceable. In order to enforce obedience to such law there has to be an executive authority and world judiciary to decide disputes and for interpretation of such laws. “Laws not enforced cease to be laws and rights not defended wither away” (Thomas Moriarty).

Today, people all over the world, particularly the children are deeply perturbed and fear for their future. Most people are mortally afraid that the enormous nuclear stockpile of nearly 19,000 warheads, assembled by the seven nuclear countries, will one day end all life on our planet either in a deliberate war or by accident. The United Nations has proved utterly incapable of stopping this suicidal arms race. Before the UN came into existence, there was only one country i.e. USA which had the Atom Bomb (a toy bomb in comparison to the Nuclear Bomb). Today, we have nine countries with about 19,000 nuclear warheads (see details below):

  1. United States has 10,000 nuclear bombs
  2. Russia has 8,000 nuclear bombs
  3. France has 300 nuclear bombs
  4. China has 450 nuclear bombs
  5. Great Britain has 225 nuclear bombs
  6. India has 100 nuclear bombs
  7. Pakistan has 100 nuclear bombs
  8. Israel has about 80 nuclear bombs
  9. North Korea has about 10 nuclear bombs

Total -19,000 Nuclear Bombs In addition, about 25 countries have developed and stockpiled deadly chemical and biological weapons. No country has the technical know-how nor enough money to destroy these weapons of mass destruction. According to experts twenty times more money and technology will be required to destroy a bomb than was used in its manufacture and just eight nuclear bombs if detonated at the same time are sufficient to obliterate all life on earth.

Also, Gil Eliot has calculated that about 110 million people have perished in man-made deaths during the first 70 years of the 20th century which includes 38 million soldiers. It means that one out of every 30 inhabitants on earth was killed through government criminality.

It is thus clear that there is an urgent need to redeem humanity from its present condition. It is also equally clear that only 'a new international political and economic order' can eliminate this huge nuclear stockpiles. It is in this context that Article 51 of the Constitution of India, specially clause (c), assumes paramount importance.

A RAY OF HOPE FOR SAVING THE WORLD: The provisions enshrined in Article 51 of the Indian Constitution is a beacon and provide a ray of hope for saving the world from the impending nuclear and environmental catastrophe. Only a legally constituted 'World Parliament' with the power to enact international laws that apply to all countries of the world as well as to all individuals, can provide the much-desired peace and security to the people of the world.

SAFEGUARDING THE CHILDREN'S FUTURE: In 1999, CMS students collected nearly 100,000 signatures of the citizens of Lucknow on an appeal on behalf of children of the world, requesting the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr Kofi A. Annan, to safeguard the future of world's children by initiating steps to form a World Government capable of ensuring world peace, eliminating all weapons of mass destruction, protecting the people from international terrorism and conserving the ecology and environment. The appeal also drew the attention of the Secretary General to Article 51 of the Indian Constitution and urged him to request all governments to add a similar provision in their respective constitutions. This appeal was personally presented on behalf of the children of the world, by the undersigned at the Millennium Forum meeting held at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 22nd to 26th May, 2000.

LETTER TO CMS FROM DR. KOFI A. ANNAN SECRETARY GENERAL, UNO: In his reply to CMS, the Secretary General Dr Kofi A. Annan expressed helplessness of the United Nations. He said that "People all over the world look to the United Nations to protect them - from hunger, disease, violence, and natural disasters - whenever the task seems too big for nations, or regions, to handle alone. But we at the United Nations can do nothing alone, either. Our strength is the strength of our member states, when they agree to act together for the common good. Next year, leaders from all over the world will come to New York for the Millennium Summit. They will consider the challenges ahead, and what the United Nations can do to face them. Those leaders will be representing you, the peoples of the United Nations. It is up to you to make sure that they come here firmly resolved to take decisions which can lead to a better life for all of us, and for our children ... and I am counting on you all."

LETTERS TO WORLD LEADERS AND U.N. AGENDA ITEM 30: Accordingly, we wrote to the Heads of State and Heads of Government of all the countries of the world, requesting them to support formation of a 'new international political and economic order' at the Millennium Summit held at the UN headquarters from 6th to 8th September 2000. In reply CMS received letters of support from several world leaders including the Prime Ministers of India, Australia, New Zealand, the President of Slovakia and leaders of many other countries. However, at the Millennium Summit itself, no Head of State or Head of Government spoke a word about the formation of a new international political and economic order, even though this was an important item on their agenda (see highlighted portions of the enclosed Agenda item 30 of the General Assembly's Resolution for the 53rd Session, dated 10th May 1999 section 8) which calls for the "establishment of a new international political and economic order".

U.N. RESOLUTION AND MILLENNIUM FORUM DECLARATION: Earlier the General Assembly through its resolution number A/RES/53/202 dated 12th February 1999, asked the Secretary General Dr. Kofi Annan to consult with the Civil Societies and Non Governmental Organisations before preparing the agenda for the Millennium Summit. (Copy of the U.N. Resolution is enclosed) Accordingly a conference of the civil societies and NGO's was called in New York from 22nd to 26th May 2000 (called the Millennium Forum) which in its declaration also called for strengthening and democratizing the United Nations "leading towards the formation of a new international political and economic order".

FAILURE OF MILLENNIUM SUMMIT IN ITS PURPOSE: Unfortunately, in the final analysis the Millennium Summit failed to come to any concrete conclusion and the participating leaders did not discuss the most vital and crucial item on the Summit's agenda, namely the formation of a new international political and economic order. Most of the leaders only spoke on the issues that concerned their own individual countries and were silent on the most important issue of them all namely the formation of a "new international political and economic order".

SURRENDERING A PART OF SOVEREIGNTY TO SAVE EXISTENCE OF MANKIND: Admittedly, for this to happen countries will have to surrender a part of their sovereignty, but then the choice before us is State sovereignty versus the existence of mankind. It pointed out that the time has come, for all the right-minded individuals of the world to make a sincere endeavour for propagating the spirit of Article 51 of Indian Constitution.