Rajiv's ideas on nuke-free world will show the way: Aiyar



New Delhi: The Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for a nuclear-weapons-free and non-violent world order remains the only available option on the subject of nuclear disarmament ever presented to the UN, MP Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Monday.

"While his physical body was tragically blown to smithereens by a terrorist, the suicide bomber could not blow away his legacy," he said in a statement on the occasion of the 21st death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

"Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free and Nonviolent World Order presented by him to the United Nations General Assembly on June 9, 1988 remains the only available plan of action on the subject of nuclear disarmament ever presented by a Head of Government to the UN," Aiyar said on Anti-Terrorism Day which is observed on Rajiv's death anniversary.

Aiyar said that there were three key elements of Rajiv's legacy -- Panchayati Raj, Cultural Centres established by him for the emotional integration of our diverse peoples by celebrating their respective cultures and the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free and Nonviolent World Order.

On Panchayati Raj, Aiyar said, "Far more than guns, bullets and khaki uniforms, it is genuine Panchayat Raj based on the provisions of Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) that will free our tribal people from terrorism and restore to them the dignity, honour and way of life of which they have been deprived by unbridled, unthinking economic development pushed by outsiders to the forests of Dandakaranya".

Aiyar urged the government to attach high priority to the revival and rejuvenation of Rajiv's single most important innovation in the field of leveraging culture in promoting, what Jawaharlal Nehru called, the "emotional integration" of the people.

"For it is the emotional integration of our people that constitutes the most effective national bulwark against the spread of terrorism," Aiyar said.

On the third element of Rajiv's legacy, namely, his Action Plan for Disarmament, Aiyar said that the Prime Minister had asked him to chair a group to review the continuing relevance of the 1988 Action Plan and to make recommendations regarding the best way to carry forward these "exceptionally relevant ideas" into the 21st century.

He said the groups's report was submitted to the Prime Minister and the Minister of External Affairs just under a year go and has received broad approval from the government. Aiyar reverberated Rajiv Gandhi's words to the UN in 1988, "Nuclear deterrence is the ultimate expression of the philosophy of terrorism."

"The balance of nuclear terror rests on the retention and augmentation of nuclear armouries. There can be no iron-clad guarantee against the use of weapons of mass destruction. They have been used in the past. They could be used in the future," Rajiv had said.

"I pay my humble tribute to this great soul of India, snatched from our midst when he was so young and so full of promise, and pledge to dedicate what remains of my life to carrying forward that noble legacy and, on Anti-Terrorism Day, to fighting relentlessly but intelligently and with compassion to ending the menace of terrorism," Aiyar said recalling the contributions of the former Prime Minister. Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a suicide bomb attack on May 21, 1991 in Tamil Nadu during a poll campaign.

PTI