I would like to begin by thanking the Chairman and Members of the Maharashtra Friendship Society for their very kind address and reception. My visit to Bombay is short and I am, therefore, all the more appreciative that this reception should be on my day of arrival.
It has given me the wonderful opportunity to meet once again the many friends whom I have not seen since my last visit here.
Mr. Chairman, in your address you have mentioned the possibility of a universal war and the horror of nuclear annihilation. Today in the United Nations 101 States are represented, and there is every possibility that within the next few years the number will rise to 120.
To me the idea of 120 States being at war is practically as horrifying as a nuclear war itself, whether we fight with conventional arms or atomic warheads, no land mass or sea will remain untouched.
Responsibility rests, therefore, on the shoulders of the statesmen of 120 nations to see that there is no outbreak in any part of the world. If it is not already the case, it will certainly be true in a few years' time that the majority of States at the United nations will be uncommitted. They will need immense wisdom and singleness of purpose to be able to influence the two power blocs without being committed to either one.
For many years India and her statesmen have held this difficult but exhilarating position. There must be no war in Asia. I wish your Society and your statesmen the fullest success in the achievement of this constant goal; I do not doubt that the State of Maharashtra will continue to play an important part in helping the Nation to reach this end, and so long as Maharashtra continues to have thinking and friendly people who can meet freely and learn to know each other under the auspices of the Friendship Society, we can be, I think, a little more confident in our future.
It goes without saying that my community and myself are dedicated to this ideal of peace and that in Maharashtra as everywhere else, we will do all in our power to succeed in our aim.
Click here for Speeches from 1981 - todate
Back to F.I.E.L.D