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(unpublished) monographs circulated privately to prestigious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
IMPRESSIONS ABOUT THE BOOK:
WHAT DISTINGUISHED PEOPLE IN THE WORLD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT
“THE WRITER BRINGS OUT IMPORTANT FACTORS
FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF GLOBAL PEACE AND TRANQUILITY” (ÄCHÄRYA
BOOK OF DISCERNMENT”
(SOKA GAKKAI INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN).
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
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)
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
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
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.”
not squander the goodwill generated over the past two
“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).”
complex has ruled the roost long enough. It has brought
enough misery to the
“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.”
for the world, the remaining superpower is again setting
the pace for another nuclear arms race
by refining the miniaturization and target specificity of
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.
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
Negotiations about reductions of (nuclear) armament have
always suffered from this situation and this is still the
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
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
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
recommendations in Parts 2 and 3 would be more vivid,
if as a elucidation a number of concrete situations and
functioning of the relevant (for a large part still
to be founded) bodies in these situations would have been
- 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
the plans of the author something like a UN army will
be necessary to enforce the (new) international laws
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.
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
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
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.
(Published: Khaleej Times, December 5, 1998)
Undoing chaos and confusion
Third Millennium Equipoise
By Maj. Gen. Vinod Saighal
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
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
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
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
Posted in Syria, Tunis, Venezuela, Singapore, Egypt, Morocco and India
Decorated by Germany, 1987, and Morocco, 2006.
28 September 2015