Dalbir Singh: COVID-19 is an Opportunity to Rejuvenate the Spirit of the Elbe

27/04/2020 10:55

Dalbir Singh, co-Chairman of the General Council of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly, gave a brief welcome speech to the participants of the International teleconference  “Meeting on the Elbe 75”, held on April 24 live on the accounts of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly on Facebook and YouTube.

Dalbir Singh sent the full text of his speech to the organizers of the teleconference:

We are commemorating 75th Anniversary of Historic Meeting of the Russian and American Forces at Elba in April 1945. This landmark collaboration portended End of war in Europe and two weeks later the Red Army Stormed into Berlin leading to decimation of Nazis and their allies. Setting aside their differences General Eisenhower and Marshal Zhukov joined hands based on strategy adopted by the Big Three at Yalta to annihilate the Nefarious war machine of Hitler that claimed nearly 70 million lives across the globe during years of war from 1939 to 1945. The world witnessed unprecedented mayhem, genocide and brutal destruction of humanity. The Soviet Union bore the highest burden losing 25 million lives and 30% of its national wealth. Elbe is a tribute to the coalition between nations to forge alliance for common good of humanity and restoration of International peace and stability.

The Victory in World war-II was victory over Fascism and Forces that stood for barbaric destruction of mankind. The Mounting Global economic and political tensions today point to a danger of a renewed threat. There are numerous lessons to be learnt from this grave period of history on conflict resolution, peaceful coexistences and building an equitable World order. We have all witnessed Arab Spring and gruesome carnage in almost all parts of the world. A huge spectrum of conflict across the globe includes ethnic strife in Ethiopia and Sudan, violence in Libya, Venezuela, Burkina Faso, hostilities in Egypt, Yemen and North West Pakistan, unrest in Philippines, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Kurdish region, Nigeria and Mali, besides the unresolved disputes between India - Pakistan and Israel – Palestine, posturing of various powers on South China Sea, belligerence of North Korea and the current US-Iran crises.

The major lesson to learn is an imperative to refuse attempts to establish global hegemony, from striving to ensure one's security at the expense of others and for the benefit of unilateral selfish interests, be they narrow and national or for the bloc. It's no less important to refrain from making dividing lines from resorting to such cynical geopolitical methods as playing countries and people against each other.

The major nuclear States must sincerely arrive at consensus in restricting their deadly arsenals. Collective endeavour must be made by us to dilute the perception about the glory of winning any future war.

There can be disagreements and diverse approaches on issues of regional security, but constructive dialogue may be resumed by US, Russia, the European Union and NATO to discuss challenges and threats. It may be worthwhile exploring the possibility of creation in Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asia regions and architecture of equal and indivisible security and mutually beneficial cooperation of sovereign states.

Over the past 70 years since adoption of the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions, the nature of conflicts has changed considerably. Traditional wars have given way to insurgency, local and regional armed conflicts, proxy wars and internal violence, which affect entire societies leading to destruction of infrastructure and institutions, civilians are no longer simply victims – they have increasingly become the targets and instruments of these processes. Even in peaceful societies, politics of hate, fear, religious indoctrination & rising intolerance is leading to dangerous polarization and fundamentalism.

Today’s conflicts provoke massive movements of refugees and internally displaced persons who are forced to flee their homes, in search of safety from persecution, violence and threats to life. All human rights are being violated on a massive scale.

Future Wars will be short and intense with precision weapons & will cause enormous devastation. Biological and Chemical warfare would also lead to unimaginable disaster.

The Global Community can’t remain silent spectators. It must evolve unified strategy and build coalitions using preventive & public diplomacy to mitigate these threats. We must recognize that challenges of conflicts and discord can’t always be resolved by use of military force. We can obtain better outcomes through soft power rather than coercion.

Today we are again at a critical juncture of history, fighting the scourge of COVID-19, which has caused devastation in 211 countries killing hundreds of thousands and infecting more than three million people in a span of few months. It has generated unprecedented fear, uncertainty and helplessness in societies and nations, adding another dimension to global peace and stability. The Virus has rattled governments, created paranoia among populations and sunk national economies. The crises are also likely to reshuffle the International power structure that may be hard to imagine. The afflicted Nations facing the grave havoc have declared national emergencies, displayed greater nationalism and have become insular to conditions in other states. The architecture of Global Governance and global financial institutions will face enormous challenges. Covid Phenomenon has highlighted the inadequacies and vulnerability of Public Health Systems Worldwide. It has also highlighted the need to be more interconnected and interdependent.    

There is urgent and critical need for building international humanitarian cooperation to promote healing and peace in Countries shattered by Pandemics, national disasters, armed conflicts and ethnic violence.

The global economy continues to be devastated by the Covid-19 Pandemic, besides, a variety of challenges including volatility of commodity prices, weak trade, high private and public indebtedness, widening inequality and lack of inclusiveness and equity in growth.

Geopolitical conflicts, terrorism, refugee exodus, illicit financial flows have further aggravated the Global Economic scenario.

Accelerating Growth and sustainable development, along with food and energy security, are amongst the most important challenges facing the world today, and central to addressing development are issues like eradicating poverty, combating hunger, disease, illiteracy, malnutrition and environmental degradation. We also have to address challenges of Nuclear Proliferation, Pandemics, climate change & alarming scarcity of water.

We need to promote multilateralism and build new institutions of International collective security and global legal governance. Nations must form strategic alliances to avert future wars.

We must reaffirm the need for comprehensive reforms of the UN with a view to making it more effective and Representative so that it can deal with today’s global challenges more successfully. Covid-19 may provide the necessary impetus.

We must continue to make endeavour for reforms of Brettonwoods Institutions, including the World Bank and the IMF. The WHO also needs to be more responsive to needs of research and development for efficient Public Health Systems.

We must strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as there can be no justification based upon ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic or any other consideration.

Establishment of durable peace as well as the transition to a more just, equitable and democratic multi-polar international order requires a comprehensive, concerted and determined approach, based on spirit of solidarity, social justice, mutual trust and benefit, equity and cooperation and strong commitment to international law. We must abide by sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

Internet and new technologies have enhanced the role of cross-cultural communication in the modern world. The civil Society has become an important tool in shaping the public opinion in a fast changing world. Public diplomacy is, therefore, an important instrument for deepening engagement with the local communities, community-based organizations to bring about reconciliation and consensus building. Resolution of conflict would be easier through collaboration, concerted dialogue, mutual understanding, trust and harmonization. The nations must promote deeper understanding of diversity of ethnicity, religion & cultures. It will go long way in mitigating conflicts.

I would like to conclude with the words of wisdom enunciated in ancient Indian text ‘Maha Upanishad’ written about 3000 years ago. The Sanskrit phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ found in Hindu texts means that "the world is one family". Let us all make collective Endeavour to ensure that this family is not destroyed, and we all build a safer, more prosperous and equitable world.

Let Covid-19 be also an opportunity for rejuvenation of the spirit of Elbe by pushing aside differences, diluting geopolitical rivalries & animosities and enhancing cooperation towards this endeavour. A better planet for posterity would also be the best tribute to martyrs of the Second World War.


All news on the topic is on the project page: International teleconference to the 75th anniversary of the meeting on the Elbe