May 19, 1998
A large number of delegates attending the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers'
conference in Cartagena, Columbia, have appreciated reasons for India's
nuclear tests. Indian diplomats explained the deteriorating security situation
in the region and reiterated the country's firm commitment to nuclear disarmament.
A senior diplomat said that the reason given by India generally satisfied
the delegates of other countries.
Meanwhile the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers' meeting gets underway at
Cartagena this evening. Colombian President Dr. E. Samper Pizano is to
inaugurate it. The leader of the Indian delegation Minister of State for
External Affairs Vasundhara Raje Scindia will make her representation today
itself. Diplomats and officials have already started discussions to prepare
draft documents for the meeting which is expected to condemn terrorism
and highlight problems faced by developing nations including the debt burden
and failure of developed countries to open up their markets.
The 15 Development Ministers of the European Union say
that they do no want to isolate India over its nuclear tests. However New
Delhi may face economic consequences. This view was expressed at a meeting
in Brussels. British Development Minister Clare Short who chaired the meeting
said instead of isolating India, the EU wanted to encourage it to sign
treaties on nuclear non proliferation and banning nuclear tests. Meanwhile
Brazil has broken off a nuclear energy cooperation accord with India to
protest the nuclear tests by New Delhi. According to the Foreign Ministry
in Brasilia the Indian embassy has been informed about it.
Lawmakers and policy planners in the United State are
coming round to the view that sanctions against India could prove counter-productive.
The sharpest criticism has come from former President Jimmy Carter who
called Clinton's approach hypocritical. Congressional Speaker Newt Gingrich
sought to know why Mr. Clinton imposed sanctions against India while letting
off China. Democrat senator Daniel Moynihan has pointed out that India
has as much right as the US or China to have nuclear weapons. Mr. Yilmaz
Akyuz of Unctad said from the macro point of view India's economy did not
look vulnerable to a payment crisis. Analysis feel that the sanctions would
strip the US of leverage in New Delhi in any field. Economists are virtually
unanimous in their view that sanctions could hurt American business. Three
American experts on foreign policy have questioned the rationale behind
President Clinton's action in imposing economic sanctions on India. They
wanted him to negotiate with New Delhi on a mechanism to contain nuclear
and missile proliferation.
Some members of the British House of Lords have urged
their Government to recognise India as the sixth global nuclear power.
They said in London that the present outcry over New Delhi carrying out
nuclear tests is negative as the west had been constantly turning a blind
eye to the security concerns of world's largest democracy. Lord Kennet
during a debate said if Britain has any objection the only answer is to
strive for total elimination of weapons of mass destruction as has been
proposed by India. His suggestions evoked support from Mr. Tory Peer Lord
Archer of Sandwell and Lord Jenkins.
The UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan has said that
he has written to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asking him to refrain
from nuclear tests. He said he also wrote to the Indian Government asking
New Delhi to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
The Government has condemned ceasefire violations by the
National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM) group. The Centre has warned
that such violations may seriously jeopardise the existing ceasefire agrement.
The NSCN (I/M) leadership has been advised to direct their cadres to desist
from extortion, forcible collection of money on essential supplies and
intimidation of individuals. The security forces have been advised to take
stern action against those indulging in criminal activities.
Noted Malayalam writer and columnist M.P. Narayana Pillai
died in Mumbai this morning. He was 58. His works include a novel Parlamam
and several short stories like Murugan Enna Pampatty and Njangal Asuranmar.
* * * * * * *
Defence Minister, George Fernandes has declared India a Nuclear weapon
State and said the country is ready to discuss the Non-Proliferation Treaty
and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Mr. Fernandes said in Mumbai
yesterday that India is in favour of elimination of all nuclear weapons
in the world. But there should be a consensus approach towards this goal.
Reiterating that China is potential threat number one, he said, the nuclear
tests were in the interest of national security as every part of India
is a potential target for China and Pakistan is continuing its missile
and nuclear programme. The Defence Minister pointed out that China has
supplied M-Eleven Missiles to Pakistan, which are capable of carrying nuclear
American President Bill Clinton yesterday conceded for the first time
that there has been provocation for India to conduct the Nuclear tests
in view of the prevailing tension with Pakistan and China.
Meanwhile, Russia has said its cooperation with India in the field of
peaceful nuclear research would not be affected by New Delhi's nuclear
tests and it will go ahead with its plans to build a nuclear plant in India.
Japan has said, its economic sanctions against India are not indefinite.
Talking to newspersons in Islamabad, the Japanese Prime Minister's special
envoy Mr. SEICHIRO NOBURO expressed the hope that New Delhi will reconsider
its nuclear policy. The special envoy was sent by the Japanese Premier
to convince Pakistan not to go in for a nuclear test.
The Development Ministers of the European Union say, India
should not be isolated over its nuclear tests. At a meeting in Brussels
yesterday, the EU Ministers urged India to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty and the Test Ban Treaty.
The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan has asked
the world's nuclear powers to re-think their position over nuclear arms.
Speaking at a Campus News Conference at Cleveland State University last
night, he said, the nuclear powers cannot have an exclusive club and prevent
others from possessing nuclear weapons.
UN Under Secretary General for Disarmament, Jayantha Dhanapala also
called upon the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China to respond
to India's tests by honouring their own pledge to ban production of weapons
grade material. He also urged them to renounce using nuclear weapons on
China has charged India with expansionist designs for
the South Asia region. In a signed commentary, the official XINHUA News
Agency criticised Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for alleging a threat
from China as a basis for conducting nuclear tests. IN a bid to reverse
history, Beijing claimed that New Delhi had occupied 90,000 square kilometres
of Chinese territory.
Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Secretary, Mr.Shamshad Ahmed held wide ranging
discussions with Chinese officials in the wake of nuclear tests by India.
In Pakistan, local communities of Baluchistan Province
say, they will not permit any nuclear tests to be performed in the region.
Communications Minister of Baluchistan, Haribar Matri also said that no
tests will be allowed there.
The Baluch Students Union rally in Quetta opposed such a policy warning
government officials of attacks if such tests are conducted. Most People
in the Province are armed with automatic rifles and rocket launchers making
their warning quite serious.
Reports had said, Pakistan is preparing to conduct a nuclear test in
the Chagai region of Baluchistan, barely fifty kilometres away from the
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson has
said that India's nuclear tests are in response to the Ghauri missile test-fired
by Pakistan. Appearing in a television interview, Mr. Richardson appealed
to Pakistan to exercise restraint, He also asked India to sign a Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty, CTBT, without any pre-conditions.
Former US ambassador to India, Patrick Moynihan has urged the Clinton
administration to recognise India as a nuclear power with the same right
as China. Media reports quoting Mr. Moynihan said that the former diplomat
also urged the Unites States to seek India's signature on the CTBT on New
Pressure is mounting on Pakistan to refrain from conducting
a nuclear test, even as the Nawaz Sharief Government is weighing various
options about its response to India's nuclear tests. Washington has warned
Islamabad of dire consequences, if it goes nuclear. Japan has also stepped
up its diplomatic offensive to dissuade Pakistan from conducting tests.
In the meantime, the UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan has suggested
security guarantee for Pakistan, as an incentive to stay away from nuclear
weapons. Adopting a similar approach, leading U.S. Law makers have said,
they would favour deliver of stalled F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. Islamabad
has not responded positively to these offers. The Pakistan Prime Minister
Mr. Nawaz Sharief says, he is under immense domestic pressure to carry
forward his nuclear programme. Former Prime Minister, Banazir Bhutto today
said that Pakistan should make a pre-emptive military strike to neutralise
India's nuclear advantage.
Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed now in Beijing held talks
with Chinese foreign Ministry officials. Mr. Ahmed made a sudden visit
to Beijing soon after Pakistan Foreign Minister announced yesterday that
they will conduct a nuclear test.
The Government says that India is ready to discuss the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and if the status and draft are acceptable
to New Delhi we will have no objection in signing it. The political advisor
to the Prime Minister, told that to newsmen in New Delhi yesterday. On
Pakistan conducting any nuclear tests Mr. Mahajan said that though New
Delhi does not have direct information, it seems Islamabad has not conducted
any test. He added that if Pakistan conducts the test it cannot remain
The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr. Jaswant
Singh has ruled out sale of gold reserves to counter the sanctions. Speaking
to Foreign Correspondents in New Delhi he said there is no need for panic
because of sanctions and there will not be any decline in India's growth
rate. He also said that New Delhi is ready to have meaningful discussion
on the CTBT.
India has rejected Washington's charge of New Delhi seriously
misleading on the Nuclear option issue. An External Affairs Ministry spokesman
today made it clear that India always maintained that its Nuclear option
is open and New Delhi never gave any assurance in the meeting with U.S.
Indian diplomats are having extensive discussions with
their counterparts to put New Delhi's Nuclear tests in proper perspective
at the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers conference beginning in Colombia.
The minister of State for External
Affairs, Mr. Vasundhara Raje Scindia is leading the Indian delegation.
The Prime Minister has ruled out snap polls. Addressing
a BJP workers convention at Kozhikode in Kerala, he said there is no question
of the BJP taking political advantage of the nuclear tests. Mr. Vajpayee
said there is no need to repeat the tests as all the necessary data has
New Delhi has asked Paksitan not to interfere in Kashmir
otherwise it will prove costly. The Home Minister Mr. L.K.Advani said there
has been qualitative change following India becoming a nuclear weapn State.
He was addressing newspersons after a high level meeting on strategy for
tackling militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Congress has criticised the Sangh parivar for intending
to erect a Shakit Peeth Temple at Pokhran where India conducted its nuclear
tests. Reacting to the statement of Mr. Ashok Singhal on the issue, the
Congress spokesman, Mr Salman Khurshid said that it is an attempt to undermine
the achievement of scientists and engineers.
The BJP has asked the Congress to make its stand clear on nuclear tests.
The party spokesman Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said such issues should not be of
any partisan consideration.
Star Pakistan bowler Wasim Akram has predicted that Indian
batting phenomenon Sachin Tendulkar could easily break all International
records in the coming years. The former Pakistan Captain in his autobiography
"Wasim" says that Tendulkar has everything a top batsman needs.