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by Saima Alvi
17 November 2002 09:55 UTC
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India threatens to use N-weapons
By Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI, Nov 14: India marked its national Children's Day on Thursday with President A.P.J Abdul Kalam explaining to the young ones the relevance of nuclear weapons and how they may have to be used when peace is threatened.

It was not easy even for the veteran scientist credited with building the country's nuclear missiles to parry some of the questions, a typical one being why not spend the money allocated to war machines to alleviate the country's grinding poverty.

In what could be his first remarks as the head of state on India's nuclear policy, an unusual subject for any Indian president to delve on, Kalam told the school children - who met him at public function - that the country could use the weapons to defend itself.

"We have taken a decision that India will not use nuclear weapons first," Kalam was quoted by the Press Trust of India as telling his young audience. "But when peace is threatened and somebody else uses it, India will use it for defending the country", he said.

Saying that "all around nations have nuclear weapons," Kalam explained: "When two of our neighbours have got nuclear weapons, naturally for India, to protect peace, we have to have it".

The Zee news channel said Kalam mingled with the children, answering questions which ranged from his vision to make India a developed nation to the issue of brain drain.

A youngster wanted to know if the government should really use the funds spent on testing missiles in Chandipur for the poor. Kalam said that the spending was not much and it was for the defence and security of the country which were important.



Israel resorts to 'human shield' method

TEL AVIV, Nov 14: The Israeli army used Palestinians as human shields during an operation targeting an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank town of Jenin last week, an Israeli human rights group charged in a report on Thursday.

B'Tselem lists a number of cases of the use of "human shields" and the so-called "neighbour procedure" of forcing civilians to act as go-betweens with militants, condemning them as violations of international law and of an Aug 18 supreme court interim ban on both practices.

The report quotes witnesses describing how the army used a Palestinian civilian as a human shield on Nov 9 in Jenin, during an operation aimed at eliminating local Islamic Jihad chief Iyad Sawalha.

The report says Khaled Kamil, whose house was near Sawalha's, was questioned about his neighbour by soldiers and ordered to go to the Hamas leader's house.

The troops threatened to destroy Kamil's house if he refused and after blowing up a wall which revealed a gaping hole leading into the wanted man's house, the soldiers forced Kamil - at gunpoint - to go inside and call Sawalha. The suspected militant was killed in the operation.

B'Tselem, the Israeli information centre for human rights in the occupied territories, recommends in its report that the army give an unambiguous order to its soldiers "not to demand civilians to perform military assignments".-AFP


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