HIROSHIMA – The head of an international scientific body believes terrorist attacks involving nuclear weapons pose a tangible threat to global security.
Describing the threat of nuclear terrorism as “real” and “possible,” M.S. Swaminathan, president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, said the world was “in a very dangerous station,” citing the recent London bombings and the fragile security situation in Iraq.
The interview came ahead of the 55th Pugwash Conference, which will open in Hiroshima over a five-day period from Saturday and will be dedicated to eliminating war and nuclear arms.
Swaminathan, 79, who has been president of the conference since 2002, said terrorists should be “put down firmly,” though he stressed the need to forge a “more equitable world based on ethical and moral principles.”
“We should not adapt that might is right,” the Indian-born geneticist said. “That should not be a policy.”
On the specter of nuclear disarmament, Swaminathan figured that if the United States and Russia were to initiate the move, Britain, France and China would follow suit.
He called for a ban on pre-emptive nuclear attacks, ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, maintenance of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime and establishment of concrete goals to abolish nuclear weapons.
With the Pugwash Conference being held this year on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, Swaminathan called for creation of a “global consciousness” to abolish all nuclear weapons.
It will be the second time the annual conference has been held in Japan. The last time was also in Hiroshima, in 1995, the year the Pugwash group won the Nobel Peace Prize.
About 170 scientists from 40 countries are expected to attend the conference, discussing a wide range of issues focusing on nuclear disarmament, antiterrorism measures and security issues in the Middle East and East Asia.
The Pugwash Conference takes its name from the location of the first meeting, held in 1957 in the village of Pugwash in Nova Scotia.
The stimulus for that gathering was the manifesto issued in July 1955 by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, calling upon scientists of all political persuasions to assemble to discuss the threat posed by the advent of thermonuclear weapons.
The manifesto was signed by nine other scientists, including the late Hideki Yukawa.
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