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THIRD MILLENNIUM EQUIPOISE

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Third Millennium Equipoise is conceivably the most comprehensive blueprint on global governance and security to appear on the scene at the close of the twentieth century. It attempts to take up the thread where some of the most distinguished reports of our times – Our Common Future, Our Global Neighbourhood, the Report of the Canberra Commission – left the resolution of the problems to future generations after indicating several tantalizing pathways.

A grand synthesis along these lines for ushering in The Age of Humanism has probably never appeared before in print. It is a book which, after laying the groundwork for global harmony, spells out the discrete steps which can be taken towards this goal. It is an elegant model which, due to its very simplicity, can be put into effect almost immediately. The book being free of encumbrances, cross-references, footnotes and the like makes for smooth reading.

The book has been nearly twenty years in the making. It relies heavily on the author’s (unpublished) monographs circulated privately to prestigious bodies like the United Nations, SIPRI and world leaders on the forefront of nuclear disarmament in the 1980s. It represents one of the most cogent presentations to date for the resolution of the nuclear impasse.

IMPRESSIONS ABOUT THE BOOK:

“THIRD MILLENNIUM EQUIPOISE”

WHAT DISTINGUISHED PEOPLE IN THE WORLD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE BOOK:

“THE WRITER BRINGS OUT IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF GLOBAL PEACE AND TRANQUILITY” (ÄCHÄRYA SHRI MAHÄPRAJÑA).

“OUTSTANDING BOOK OF DISCERNMENT”
(SOKA GAKKAI INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN).

“TOUCHES ON ISSUES OF PRIORITY CONCERN TO UNITED NATIONS IN AN ENLIGHTENED AND SOPHISTICATED WAY”
(MR. KOFI A. ANNAN, SECRETARY GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS).

“TME PRESENTS A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE PROBLEMS OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY”. (DR. RONALD S. McCOY, PRESIDENT IPPNW AND MEMBER CANBERRA COMMISSION).

“IMMENSELY THOUGHT-PROVOKING BOOK”. (POLITICS INDIA, AUGUST 1998).
· “DRAWS A ROAD MAP TO A N-WEAPONS-FREE WORLD. MAKES PEACE SEEM ALMOST ACHIEVABLE”. (INDIA TODAY, OCTOBER 26, 1998).

“FASCINATINGLY DETAILED BLUEPRINT FOR A NUCLEAR-WEAPONS-FREE WORLD”
(REVIEWED BY HORST RUTSCH IN UNITED NATIONS CHRONICLE NO.3, 1998).

“…LAYS OUT AN AMBITIOUS AGENDA FOR GLOBAL GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY”. (KHALEEJ TIMES, DECEMBER 5, 1998).

“I LOVED, IN PARTICULAR, YOUR EPILOGUE FOR THE SHEER ART OF ITS PRESENTATION”.
(PADMASHREE PROFESSOR V. VENKATACHALAM, CHAIRMAN, INDIAN COUNCIL OF PHILOSOPHICAL RESEARCH).

“SAIGHAL’S OPUS STANDS OUT…OWING TO THE WAY IN WHICH HE HAS TIED UP VARIOUS FACETS”. (ECONOMIC TIMES, JUNE 13, 1999).

“VINOD SAIGHAL’S CAREFULLY THOROUGH AND METICULOUSLY ARTICULATED PROJECT DESERVES SERIOUS ATTENTION”.
(DR. KARAN SINGH, THE BOOK REVIEW, MAY 2000 / 9)

“THE HUMILITY OF SAIGHAL’S HUMANISM THAT IS EVIDENT THROUGHOUT HIS ARGUMENT MAKES HIS BOOK AN ADMIRABLE CONTRIBUTION TO THE CURRENT DEBATE ON GLOBAL STABILITY”.

(NETWORK, THE SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL NETWORK REVIEW, SCOTLAND - NO 70, AUGUST 1999)

REVIEWS:

The Chronicle Library Shelf
(UN Chronicle No. 3, 1998)
Third Millennium Equipoise
By Vinod Saighal, 1998
Lancer Publishers, New Delhi, London. Hartford
Reviewed by Horst Rutsch

With the end of the cold war and the resultant contradictory trends of increased globalization and growing fragmentation, United Nations efforts to coordinate and sustain the strengthening of international peace and security have gained considerably in significance. Several recent studies have advocated a culture of prevention and emphasized the centrality of the Untied Nations, while recognizing the need for reforming certain aspects of the Organization, so that the international community will be better prepared for the manifold challenges that lie ahead.

In Third Millennium Equipoise, Vinod Saighal sets forth a comprehensive blueprint for global governance and nuclear disarmament that attempts to facilitate a gradual transition from a culture of war, based on nuclear deterrence, to a culture of peace that focuses on restoring the deteriorating ecology of the planet.

In this fascinatingly detailed blueprint for a nuclear-weapons-free world, Saighal's identifies several elements as being central for the movement toward global harmony and commitment to ecological survival of the planet: voluntary nuclear restraint of States with actual or potential nuclear capabilities; the establishment of a "World Nuclear Council" as an independent monitoring body for nuclear disarmament; the necessity for an irreversible movement toward a "Zero Nuclear-Weapons State" (by 2050); and the expansion and transformation of the Security Council into a "Planetary Council" responsible for international peace and global ecology.

Perhaps Saighal's most radical proposal is the transformation of the Security Council. He calls for completely democratizing the composition of its membership in four successive stages, over a period of 40 years. At its final stage, from 2035 onwards, there would no longer be permanent membership status or veto rights for any State. There would be no preferential quotas for the 30 members of the restructured Security Council, except that five seats would be reserved for "mini States", with less that 10 million population. In addition, the members of the World Nuclear Council, as a block, would have observer status with veto rights on decisions endangering the global environment.

Although Saighal focuses on nuclear disarmament, his real concern is for what he calls the "supreme planetary interest", and in a final section, he expands his discussion and sketches a blueprint for the ecological revival of the planet. Saighal's model may seem utopian, for they depend on the unanimous political will of States to give up some of their sovereignty - something that seems highly unlikely at the present moment. But the humility of Saighal's humanism that is evident throughout his argument makes his book an admirable contribution to the current debate on global stability.

A SOLDIER CALLS FOR PEACE

Retired Major General Vinod Saighal’s book: THIRD MILLENNIUM EQUIPOISE (Lancer Publishers Spantech and Lancer, New Delhi, London, Hartford W ISBN 1 897829 48 5 and available at Amazon.com) is a surprise in many ways. Coming from a military man of India, it is filled with idealism, insightful analysis and positive solutions to the violence and dangers facing the world these days. He deals with issues from violence, war, nuclear proliferation, Islamic fundamentalism, and ecological responsibility.

Note a few gems:

-“The USA is the hub of the world whichever way the wheel of mankind’s destiny spins…tragically it is also at the forefront of the race that could write ‘finis’ to the tale of mankind.”

­ “If the USA doesn’t heed the warning signals it could lose its lead in world affairs in as little as twenty to thirty years.”

­ “America must not squander the goodwill generated over the past two hundred years.”
­ “The Indian Emperor Ashoka (272-232 BC) is the only case of a mighty emperor who after winning a great battle, renounced war because of the carnage that he witnessed (Battle of Kalinga circa 261 BC).”

­ “The military-industrial complex has ruled the roost long enough. It has brought enough misery to the world.”

­ “The USA may fritter away its global advantage if it continues to follow the path set out for it by the military-industrial complex; which may even succeed in triggering off another arms race.”

­ “Since deception and untruth have become deeply ingrained in the minds of most statesmen, politicians and diplomats…a gradual shift back to the Christian ethic will have to be the basis for every global treaty.”

­ “Sadly for the world, the remaining superpower is again setting the pace for another nuclear arms race by refining the miniaturization and target specificity of nuclear weapons.”

It is refreshing to see a military man with such insight and idealism. His book is a breath of fresh air and should serve as hope to all who seek a world safe for our grandchildren.

It is a good read, perhaps required reading in this era of global violence.
Ben Boothe

Economic Consultant

BOOK REVIEW

The Third Millennium Equipoise by Major General Vinod Saighal, published in 1998 by Lancer Publishers (New Delhi) and Spantech & Lancer (South Godstone, UK and Hartford, USA), deserves the attention of all people interested in peace problems, therefore also of all readers of VredesTerts Periodiek.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, wrote about the book: Touches on issues of priority to United Nations in an enlightened and sophisticated way.
The issue of nuclear arms is prominent. In Chapter 1 already it is stated that the complete elimination of nuclear arms is the most important global imperative.

The book consists of three parts: The Quest, Blueprint for the Age of Humanism and Looking Beyond.

In the first part present-day issues are described. The author considers the military-industrial complex to be the greatest obstacle, because governments are still subdued to it.

Negotiations about reductions of (nuclear) armament have always suffered from this situation and this is still the case.

Therefore a global counterpoise is necessary and Vinod Saighal perceives possibilities for this. We live in an era of globalization and increasing influence of NGO’s. A global movement of NGO’s, universities, schools, churches, authors, artists, elected politicians and ordinary citizens can be organized to liberate governments from the sphere of influence of the military-industrial complex and to induce them to a policy leading to disarmament and a just peace.

Part 2 is really a blueprint of desirable and possible changes in the ordering of the world in a period of 50 years, from 2000 till 2050. It is amazing how the author has thought this through in details. It concerns a total, but gradual, transformation of the management of all affairs of humanity. New structures are necessary. It is in the interest of all peoples, as the author expounds, to change course in the direction of a “modus vivendi”, which will enable them to settle accounts for now and ever with all aberrations which have developed in the management of the affairs of humanity.

It is unfeasible in this brief account to do justice to the well-thought out argumentation, but some elements of it are the following:

-The democratization of the United Nations, in particular of the Security Council. In three steps the Security Council should be transformed from an elitist club in which the nuclear weapon states with their veto-power have an enormous preponderance, to a democratic reflection of the peoples of the world. This process can be concluded in 2035.

-The foundation of the “World Nuclear Council” (WNC) directly connected with the Security Council, the composition of which is regulated in such a way that the requirements both of democracy and expertise are satisfied. This council controls and leads the time consuming process of total nuclear disarmament in all its stages which are described by the author in great detail. This process should be finished in 2050. Some other organizations, related to the WNC, are the “Global Reconstruction Fund” (GRF) that coaches transformations financially and that obtains its funds from contributions from states, engaged individuals and fines, which are imposed on states when they violate the rules agreed upon. Of course, the author also foresees the foundation of the “International Nuclear Monitoring Facility” (INMF), which should control the execution of the disarmament agreements and carry out inspections.

Part 3 offers perspectives for the development of the future world after 2050. This concerns a comprehensive view in which total disarmament (including non-nuclear disarmament), ecology, economic disparity, peace missions and measures countering nuclear terrorism, are discussed.

It is interesting that the author wants to keep a small nuclear force under the management of the WNC, among other things in order to restrain nuclear terrorism.
In conclusion this is a brilliant book with a long list of recommendations on governmental and organizational level to curb the immense dangers threatening humanity. The United Nations and in particular the security council will have to play a much greater role than nowadays and therefore their power will have to increase strongly. It will not surprise anybody, that in this connection also the jurisdiction of the “International Court of Justice” will have to be greatly extended.

Finally some critical remarks:

- I discern a certain lack of concreteness. Both the description of the problems of the present world in Part 1 and the extensive recommendations in Parts 2 and 3 would be more vivid, if as a elucidation a number of concrete situations and the functioning of the relevant (for a large part still to be founded) bodies in these situations would have been analyzed.

- As has been mentioned, according to the author’s plans much power will be delegated to the (democratized) Security Council And The WNC. This implies for instance that on states which violate rules, enormous fines are imposed. How will these states, if necessary, be forced to pay? Also in the future the UN will admittedly perform peace missions, but just as nowadays the co-operation of the member states will be required. It seems to me that in order to realize the plans of the author something like a UN army will be necessary to enforce the (new) international laws in frequent circumstances. The small nuclear power of the WNC is not suitable to this end, of course.

- The discussion of the field of ecological problems in Part 3 is of great interest. It is very strange, however, that the greenhouse effect remains untouched. Immediately after the failure of the Conference in The Hague this is certainly striking!

This criticism does not detract from my great appreciation of this book. It is not only interesting, but it deserves to be taken seriously as a guide, or at least a starting point, for world reformers. I am using this term here without the irony which is often connected to it.

Piet Schram.

(The book review was written by Prof.Dr. Pieter P.J.M. Schram for VredesTerts Periodiek, the journal of the Executive Peace Committee of the Eindhoven University of Technology. Both versions - in Dutch and English - were sent to the Author by the Reviewer on May 25, 2001).

Blueprint for a Just International Order

Major General Vinod Saighal is a familiar name for readers of Indian newspapers. He writes with depth, authority and clarity on subjects that run the gamut from history and diplomacy to defence and disarmament. In Third Millennium Equipoise, Saighal lays out an ambitious agenda for global governance and security, taking up the thread from where some of the most distinguished reports of the post-70s period left the resolution of the problems to future generations.

According to the dust jacket, the book has been nearly twenty years in the writing and relies on the author's monographs circulated privately to such bodies as the United Nations, SIPRI and world leaders at the forefront of nuclear disarmament in the 1980s. After laying out a framework for global harmony, Saighal lists clear steps which could usher in what he calls "the age of humanism". Above all, Equipoise is a impassioned presentation of the resolution of the nuclear impasse.

In the chapter titled "The Great Nuclear Debate: Missing the Woods for the Trees", Saighal laments that humanity has ignored the teachings of the world's great religions. But he adds that harmony and discord are, alas, two sides of the same coin which describe the human condition. In these troubled times, the need of the hour is for apostles of peace - a Mahatma Gandhi, a Martin Luther King, a Mother Teresa or Sri Aurobindo who tantalizingly alluded to the elevation of Man to the next stratum of consciousness.

About the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Saighal says that while they might be an improvement on the Cold War years, the conditionalities they impose are unstable foundations on which to construct the edifice of lasting global security. "A solid foundation for the global equipoise can result only from the participation, directly and not peripherally, of the majority of human beings on the planet," the author says. In making his case for reforms in the Security Council, Saighal notes with regret the contempt shown towards the Untied Nations by the United States, especially by a handful of legislators known for right-wing views. As he remarks, the UN is naturally suited for an expanded global role but has been artificially restrained from carrying out its mandate by the US and its allies. (Russia and China have also contributed to this loss of authority, according to Saighal).

But the US is the biggest contributor to the UN budget; so what then is the world body to do? "The begging bowl method of functioning must therefore cease. There is no need for the UN Secretary General to make special presentations to US legislators in Washington.

Saighal's approach to the world's problems can be described at the very least as positive criticism. He says the composition of the Security Council does not reflect the changing world order; it is top heavy because weighting is exclusively in favour of the nuclear weapon states. In transforming the Security into what he calls "a just, benign and globally respected body", Saighal says several intermediate stages have to be traversed.

In the first transitional stage, lasting seven years, the Security Council would expand to include ten new members, UK and France would lose their veto right except in cases where their national interests are involved, and the veto of any one of the three remaining veto powers could be over-ruled by a rejection by eighteen members of the expanded Security Council.

In the next two transitional stages, each lasting 15 years, the US, Russia and China would continue to remain permanent members but without veto rights while France and UK would cease to be permanent members but retain observer status.

In the final stage, starting from 2035, full democratisation of the UN would have taken place. There would be no permanent membership status for anyone and no veto rights. Elections to the Security Council would take place every 10 years on a basis of full equality. No preferential quotas would remain for any state except that five seats would continue to be reserved for mini states with less than 10 million population - in other worlds, an exact reversal of the reservation pattern of the 20th century Security Council.

In the chapter titled "Moving Towards Zero Nuclear Weapons State", Saighal suggests a path similar to the restructuring of the Security Council to effect universal nuclear disarmament. The key elements of such a process would include freeze on existing nuclear stockpiles, declaration by each nuclear weapon state as to what, in its opinion, constitutes sufficient deterrence, the setting up of an Independent Interim International Nuclear panel to carry out an independent assessment, and the establishment of a World Nuclear Council to act as the watchdog body to monitor accords. The body would also be the world's custodian for residual nuclear weapons stocks in the transition towards the zero nuclear-weapons state.

Saighal's views stem from a deep understanding of the problems facing modern civilisation as it stands on the threshold of a new millennium. With his experience of military logistics, command of armed divisions and UN peace-keeping operations, there couldn't have been a more qualified defence authority to lecture world leaders on serious geopolitical issues as he has. Unfortunately, nations rarely act with the same noble intentions that obviously underlie Saighal's literary effort, and it will not be surprising if, his blueprint for global governance and security ends up as just that - a blueprint.

A.N. Sengupta
(Published: Khaleej Times, December 5, 1998)

Undoing chaos and confusion
Third Millennium Equipoise
By Maj. Gen. Vinod Saighal
Lancer Publishers

As humanity moves inexorably into a new millennium, there is widespread awakening and concern about its fate and its destiny in the light of the happenings of the past centuries. There are mixed feeling about our immediate future and also gloomy prognostications. Many outstanding thinkers and authors have expressed their anxieties, hopes and aspirations. Pierre Tielhard d'Chardin, Mahatma Gandhi, Shoghi Effendi, Jonathan Schell, Paul Kennedy, Samuel Huntington, Alvin Toffler, Vaclav Havel and now we may add to this list, Vinod Saighal.

The work of Gen. Saighal stands out for its methodical and objective assessment of humanity's immediate past and for its vision of a new politico-socio order. Through incisive analysis of present-day international military and political structures, he proposes the creation of certain new international institutions that will carry forward the unfulfilled goals of the UNO, namely, a Global Reconstruction Fund, a World Nuclear Council or an Independent Interim International Panel.

The author has divided his book into three parts . The first is titled 'The Quest' since it is important to understand the issues at stake and the many changes now taking place especially from the point of view of the thermo-nuclear age. The second is titled 'Blue Print' for the age of Humanism. In this section the author spells out new structures for the management of global affairs and providing for a step by step approach of demilitarisation of the civilised world. He notes, 'It is the interest of all nations of the world to change course towards a 'modus vivendi' that allows them to remove once and for all the astounding aberrations that have developed in the management of human affairs on the planet…….'

All these changes, the author believes, are to take place over a span of the next 50 years from 2000 to 2050. The final section is titled 'Looking Beyond' and it goes full circle in the articulation of the author's vision of a new world. The problems of the earth's ecology, economic imbalances, failed developmental strategies, nuclear terrorism and the state of the world's military in the 21st century are dealt with in this part.

While the prologue and introduction are preparatory reading for what is to follow, the epilogue consists of gleanings from an unpublished monograph written in October 1980 titled, 'The Imperative of Survival'. Here the author gives vent to his feelings of nostalgia and ardent plea that someone may yet save our civilisation from utter perdition.

The book is a brilliant catalogue of recommendations for reversing the present-day dangerous trends through re-thinking of some of the institutions at the world level. Among them, the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice should be extended to all matters relating to global environment, environmental policing of eco-fragile areas by the UN Environmental Protection Forces, restoration along waterways etc.

While the book is full of such practical suggestions, translating them into action requires profound soul searching and acceptance on the part of the majority of humanity that it is in our power to change, just as it has been humanity's own doing that has brought about the present situation of chaos and confusion.

THE PIONEER
New Delhi, 23 OCTOBER 1999. A K Merchant

(The reviewer is the Secretary General of the Bahá'í in India as also a member of their World Council)

About 'Third Millenium Equipoise' by General Vinod Saighal

First, I wish to point out how important it is on matters affecting Humanity as a whole and the World we all inhabit as well, to be able to count on apports coming from India. The contribution of India and its culture to the spiritual and scientific development of human thought is quite plainly evident as for me to need to elaborate on it; not being, besides, the specific subject of these considerations and comment.

Besides, the fact of his -i.e., Gen Saighal- being a military man promoting peace, consensus and harmony, gives to his thinking and the proposals emerging therefrom, the weight and ponderation of someone who knows by himself what war and armed conflict mean.

Of all the points he makes, I would like substantially to stress two of them:

The common responsibility shared by all governments and institutions concerning the future of climate and environment, which is to say the future of the Earth, our common original and only home.
Deriving naturally from this, the need for this urge to supersede any other particular interest or motivation, be it national, cultural or religious. And, of course, common greed and ambition.
This also implies that everything must and should be negotiated and agreed upon as to the modalities the actions necessary to preserve this common human inheritance, avoid the risks already apparent and mending past damages and errors in view to face a better future than the one present conditions and circumstances allow us to forecast.

Juan Josť Santander
Argentine Diplomat
Posted in Syria, Tunis, Venezuela, Singapore, Egypt, Morocco and India
Decorated by Germany, 1987, and Morocco, 2006.
28 September 2015

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