May 20, 1998
The Indian ambassador to China, Mr. Vijay Nambiar, is in the capital
for urgent consultations. Mr. Nambiar arrived in New Delhi from Beijing
after the external affairs ministry called him in the wake of China's mounting
criticism on India's nuclear tests.
The political advisor to the Prime Minister Mr. Pramod Mahajan also
strongly refuted the Chinese allegation that India attacked China in 1962.
About India occupying Chinese territory Mr. Mahajan alleged that in fact
it is China which is illegally occupying India's territory.
The Prime Minister today inspected the Buddha Sthal in
Pokhran range in Rajasthan where India conducted a series of five nuclear
tests last week.
Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee was accompanied by his political advisor Mr.
Pramod Mahajan, the Defence Minister Mr. George Fernandes, planning commission
Deputy Chairman Mr. Jaswant Singh, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr.
Farooq Abdullah, Rajasthan Governor Mr. Darbara Singh and Chief Minister
Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Mr. Vajpayee is scheduled to address a sainik
sammelan in the field firing range and a public meeting in Pokhran town.
The former Finance Minister and the opposition leader
in Rajya Sabha Dr. Manmohan Singh has expressed hope that the Indian economy
will be able to withstand the pressure of economic sanctions by the US
and Japan following nuclear tests. Talking to reporters in New Delhi Dr.
Manmohan Singh said the BJP led Government has to mobilise resources
to face the economic sanctions.
The Clinton administration appear to be working with Congressmen
to repeal the Pressler amendment. Under it the US had banned economic and
military aid to Pakistan in 1990 in protest against Islamabad's nuclear
programme. State department spokesman James Rubin said in Washington that
Pressler amendment and all that goes with it is a very complex set of legislation.
He said Pakistan will certainly benefit and all efforts will be made to
assist it militarily and otherwise if it does not go ahead with the nuclear
test. On the other hand democratic Congressman Frank Pallone urged fellow
lawmakers to oppose any attempt to repeal the Pressler amendment.
Still in the US democratic Congressman Frank Pallone has
opposed the amendment which sought to withdraw most favoured nation trade
status for India's textiles. He said it would punish the poor and working
class in India. Mr. Pallone was speaking in the rules committee of the
House of Representatives.
The Taj Mahal is now set to get a face lift under a 93
lakh rupees international collaborative programme. The masterpiece in marble
which was included in the list of world heritage monuments in 1983 is now
being restored under the thre year programme jointly launched by the Archaeological
Survey of India, the UNESCO and the Rhone-Poulenc foundation of France.
* * * * * * * * *
India has summoned its Ambassador in Beijing, Mr. Vijay K. Nambiar to
New Delhi for urgent consultations in the wake of the Chinese tirade unleashed
yesterday. As Sino-Indian exchanges following the Pokharan Nuclear Test
continued unabated, the Political Advisor to the Prime Minister, Mr. Pramod
Mahajan rejected Chinese allegations that India had started the 1962 war
and was occupying 90,000 square kilometres of its territory. The allegations
were first carried by the official Xinhua News Agency and later repeated
by the Chinese External Affairs Ministry. Countering the allegations, Mr.
Mahajan said that in fact it is China that has illegally occupied Indian
territory. Expressing the hope the China will maintain restraint, he said,
New Delhi would like to continue its economic and trade ties with all countries.
In the United States, an amendment has been moved in the
Congress to strip India of its most favoured nation states in textiles
and apparel trade. Democrat Edward Markey moved the amendment in retaliation
against India's nuclear test. The amendment has been proposed in the Defence
Authorisation Bill. If adopted, it will affect Indian textiles and apparel
exports to Washington which currently stand at 1.8 billion dollars annually.
The move has been rejected by the U.S. Association of Importers of Textile.
They have termed this step as a knee jerk protectionist measure, waving
the non-proliferation flag.
The RBI Governor, Mr. Bimal Jalan has said that India
would not face liquidity crunch or a currency crisis because of the U.S.
sanctions following India's nuclear tests. Talking to newsmen in New Delhi,
he however, declined to comment on whether U.S. Banks operating in India
would be affected by the sanctions. Mr. Jalan was responding to American
claims that an estimated 20 Billion Dollars in loans, aid and credit guarantees,
would be withdrawn because of the tests.
The Commerce Minister Ramakrishna Hegde has assured Australia
and New Zealand that India is committed to peace and has no aggressive
designs against any country. Mr. Hegde said this during separate meetings
with the Australian and New Zealand Ministers of Trade in Geneva last night.
Australia and New Zealand were the first two countries to recall their
Ambassadors following India's nuclear tests.
The Boeing Aircraft company has decided to go ahead with
selling planes to India despite the U.S. sanctions. The company based in
Seattle in the United States has expressed its desire to continue to do
business with India. It was also reassured its commitment to supply civilian
aircraft to various Airlines in India. The President of the Company in
India, Dr. Dinesh Keskar said in New Delhi that the company's four decade
old business relationship with India should not suffer because of issues
between India and United States.
The Prime Minister will visit Pokharan today to inspect
the site of India's nuclear tests. He will address a Sainik Sammelan in
the field firing range and a public meeting at Pokharan.
The Prime Minister reached Jaiselmer enroute to Pokharan
last night. Mr. Vajpayee is accompanied by his political advisor Mr. Pramod
Mahajan, the Planning Commission, Deputy Chairman, Mr. Jaswant Singh, National
Security Council Chairman, Mr. K. C. Pant and former Union Minister, Mr.
Pakistan says it has taken serious note of the remark
by Home Minister Mr. L.K. Advani over the Kashmir issue. Prime Minister,
Nawaz Sharief described Mr. Advani's statement as a serious threat to his
country's security. On Monday, Mr. Advani had warned Pakistan not to interfere
in Kashmir or it could have serious consequences for Islamabad.
Meanwhile, BJP leader and Tourism and Parliamentary Affairs Minister,
Madan Lal Khurana has asked Pakistan to stop its proxy war so that peace
could be maintained in the Kashmir valley. He was addressing a news conference
in Srinagar yesterday.
Reports say, Pakistani troops continued firing at Bagayal Dara area
along the Line of Control in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir for
the 5th day yesterday. One woman was seriously wounded in the firing.
The World Trade Organisation meet remained unresolved
on the issue of keeping Electronic Commerce duty free as the developing
countries expressed their reservations on the proposal. Developing countries,
including India, Pakistan and Venezula said, the proposal needed to be
carefully examined before taking any decision. Developed countries led
by the United States wanted a quick agreement for a standstill on Cyberspace
The political adviser to the Prime Minister, Mr. Promod
Mahajan strongly refuted the Chinese allegation that India attacked China
in 1962. He said in fact the boot is on the other leg. Mr. Mahajan talking
to newsmen in New Delhi this evening said on the contraty, it was China
which attacked India and Beijing illegally occupied India's territory since
Russia has warned Pakistan of stern action, if it carries
out nuclear test. Speaking on "Ekho Moskvy" radio. Chief Kremlin
spokesman Sergie Vastrzhembasky said Islamabad would have to face severe
condemnation of the world community in case of nuclear tests by it. The
Kremlin warning came as Pakistan ambassador in Moscow Mansoor Alam called
on Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin yesterday to express
his country's concern at the Indian tests.
U.S. President Bill Clinton has urged Pakistan to be reconciled
with the Indian nuclear tests. In an interview with a well known British
television host, Mr. Clinton promised to guarantee security for Pakistan
without nuclear weapons. He said India and Pakistan should continue efforts
to resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally.