15 April 2013, INDIA- New Delhi

Cut Military Spending, Fund Human Need

New Delhi, 15 April 2013: Over 100 organisations from all over the world came together to observe the Global Day of Action on Military Spending. This coordinated global effort constitutes a civil society movement for change. Indian civil society led by Control Arms Foundation of India(CAFI) & Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network(MWGSN) successfully observed the day today.

A mass public action was successfully organised in India’s capital New Delhi to join the “Global Day of Action on Military Spending: Cut Military Spending, Fund Human Need”. The venue/s of the event are the three historic sites of Raj Ghat (The shrine of Mahatma Gandhi’s resting place), India Gate and Dilli Hatt.

CAFI and MWGSN joined thousands around the world demanding that our government/s reduce military spending and devote those precious resources to pressing human needs. We sent a message that $1.5 trillion spent on military budget is too much. Our action was significant especially as India continue to be the primary importers of arms as in 2013. India has now emerged as the largest arms importer in the world, overtaking China. India accounted for 9% of all international arms imports between 2006-2013, making it the world`s largest weapons importer.

The Awareness programme started from Raj Ghat and ended at Dilli Haat; during the event more than 200 fliers were distributed to the general public and members explained about the military expenditure. Later we submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister of India and Union Defence Minister. We called upon government of India and South Asia to: To cut military expenditure and the saved fund to be deployed towards combating and providing social security. We also call upon government to stop building up nuclear arsenals, and to support the Mine Ban Treaty,Convention on Cluster Munitions & the recently agreed Arms Trade Treaty. We also called upon India to take the lead in international humanitarian disarmament which was the pillar of India’s Foreign Policy in 1950s and 1960s

Campaigners in India asked the govt of India: “When people are dying of poverty, can security and arms provide them with a basic square meal? In a country where poverty is rampant and where there is great deal to be done in the fields of health and education, we cannot be spending so much on defence. Our battle is against starvation and deprivation, which cannot be fought with guns and missiles”

For photos of event, please log on to http://neiwip.blogspot.in/p/photos.html. For more information, please contact: Office of the Control Arms Foundation of India & Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network at www.cafi-online.org and www.womensurvivors.org

Read the press release: Cut Military Spending, Fund Human Need