May 13, 1998
U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to India has run into rough weather. State department secretary, James Rubin said that Mr. Clinton's trip is being reviewed. Other state department official said the trip scheduled later this year could be cancelled in protest over India's nuclear test. President Clinton yesterday declared that he intended to implement fully tough sanctions against India. He also called on New Delhi to announce a freeze on further tests and to sign the comprehensive test ban treaty.
The US Defence Department has become the first
American agency to announce sanctions against India for carrying out nuclear
tests. The 4.75 lakh dollar programme of international monetary education
and training programme and other military exchange and training exercises
is being called off. A defence spokesman said the programme with India
would cease. He said, the US has a small number of exchanges or training
exercises with India.
The U.S. democratic congressman, Mr. Frank Pallone has urged President Mr. Clinton to wait before imposing economic sanctions, particularly if India announces that it will not conduct any further nuclear test. Speaking in the U.S. house of representatives, he also urged the Vajpayee government to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) after having demonstrated its nuclear capability. Mr. Pallone said, the implications of the sanctions are so broad that many of United States's interests could be damaged, particularly in the areas of trade and investment. Defending India's testing of nuclear devices, he sought to put New Delhi's decision in the context of the huge threat posed by China. Mr. Pallone said India shared about one thousand mile long border with China, which he said has maintained a large force on India's borders. He said, China maintains nuclear weapons in Tibet and also a military presence in Myanmar.
Russia has conveyed its warning to Washington that slapping sanctions on New Delhi in retaliation of the nuclear tests could prove counter productive. President Boris Yeltsin said, the issue should be solved diplomatically rather than by imposition of sanctions.
The Bangladesh Government has refrained from making
any official comment. The leader of the opposition Ms. Khalida Zia has
however said that her party favours a nuclear free zone for South Asia.
The Prime Minister meanwhile has written letters to leaders of all major powers explaining the reasons for conducting the tests. Official sources said that government will take up the issue with respective governments. India has also affirmed its commitment to global eliminationof nuclear weapons in a definite time frame. The Union Cabinet adopted a resolution which says that the country's national security interests will remain paramount in the prevailing environment in the region.
The United States plans to cut military cooperation with India in protest against New Delhi's underground nuclear tests. This was stated by Pentagon sources in Washington yesterday. But defence department spokesman Ken Bacon told reporters that the impact of any US action would be primarily economic because military cooperation between Washington and New Delhi is not extensive. President Clinton had earlier declared that he intends to impose sanctions against India for carrying out nuclear tests. He also urged New Delhi to announce a freeze on further tests and to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) without conditions. The United States is reconsidering President Clinton's planned visit to New Delhi this year. The US ambassador to India Richard Celeste has been called by the Clinton administration for consultations. US embassy sources said in the capital that Mr. Celeste who had gone to Washington was returning to New Delhi when he was called back.
The CIA has ordered an investigation in to the alleged failure of US intelligence agencies to anticipate India's nuclear tests. According to a Pentagon spokesman a retired Navy admiral has been appointed to conduct the probe.
The political committee of the European Union held an emergency meeting in Brussels yesterday at the insistence of Britain in the wake of India's nuclear tests. Russia says sanctions against India could be counter-productive. The Foreign minister, Mr Primakov, said that Moscow is unlikely to back sanctions against New Delhi.
Sourth Korea, Thailand and Malaysia have criticised the tests at Pokharan. Indonesia has also expresssed its concern. Malaysia described the tests as a setback to efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons. Officials in Tokyo say that Japan may impose sanctions and freeze loans and aid grants under the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA).
The UN Security Council has decided to issue an appropriate response to the nuclear tests conducted by India. The council president Mr. NJungunal Moses Mahugu of Kenya did not say what form the response would take. India has reaffirmed its commitment to a total and global elimination of nuclear weapons in a time-bound manner. A resolution adopted by the union cabinet, however, pointed out that the country's national security interests will remain paramount in the prevailing nuclear environment in the region. The Prime Minister has written letters to leaders of all major powers explaining the reason for conducting the tests. New Delhi is taking note of world reaction to the tests. Official sources said the Government will take up the issue with respective Governments
The Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes, says with India having demostrated its capability for a weaponised nuclear programme, the country should campaign to rid the world of nuclear weapons with greater credibility and conviction. In a statement in New Delhi he said five nuclear powers went on to expand their nuclear arsenals and in 1996-97 came up with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to block other countries from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. Mr. Fernandes congratulated scientists and engineers for the successful underground nuclear tests in Pokhran
Later, talking to newspersons, political advisor to Prime Minister Pramod Mahajan felt that New Delhi now has a role to play in Global Nuclear disarmament and the comprehensive test ban treaty.
Defending the nuclear tests, he said, those were necessary in view of the threat perception of the country and the entire nation stands by it. He said, the Prime Minister has written letters to leaders of all major powers explaining the reason for conducting the tests. The letters were sent to US President, Bill Clinton, Russian President, Boris Yeltsin and leaders of Japan and other countries.
New Delhi is taking note of world reaction to the tests. Official sources said that the Government will take up the issue with respective Governments.
Prof. Mattoo also felt India should now sign the CTBT, but only as a nuclear power.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin said India let down Moscow by conducting the tests. The Itar Tass news agency said the Chief presidential spokesman expressed that India will soon sign the comprehensive test Ban treaty.
Expressing concern South Africa hoped that the test would not lead to an arms race in South Asia.
Bangladesh declined to comment on the tests but, the Bangladesh Minister of state for foreign affairs, Mr. Abdul Chowdhury, said that his country is against any Nuclear arms race in the SAARC region.
Nepal has expressed concern over the tests. A foreign ministry statement in Kathmandu, urged all to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from Nuclear tests so that an atmosphere of trust and confidence for Global nuclear disarmament may be created.
The Congress expressed surprise at the timing of the tests asking the BJP led Government to explain its immediate cause. The party spokesman Mr. K. Natwar Singh congratulated the scientists and engineers for the successful tests.
The CPI and CPI(M) have questioned the tests at this juncture in a joint statement in New Delhi. While appreciating the contribution of Indian scientists in the development of nuclear research, both the parties asked the Government to stick to the policy on nuclear disarmament followed so far.
The Defence Minister Mr. George Fernandes congratulated Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Dr. R. Chidambaram and their team of scientists and engineers from the DRDO and the atomic energy commission for the splendid job they did in Pokhran.