The World Reaction against the Nuclear Test of India

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Criticism of Clinton and other neighboring Countries about the Pokhran nuclear test

Pokhran II nuclear tests on May 11, 1998 had mixed reaction in the world capitals. While some of the neighboring countries and some smaller NAM countries too justified the Indian action the five nuclear powers and their friends justified the sanctions imposed by USA and her allies in the modern scenario. The sharpest criticism of the Clinton administration came from Jimmy Carter, a former President of the USA. In a commencement address in Hartford on 17th of May 1998 he said "It's hard for us to tell India you cannot have a nuclear device when we keep ours—8,000 or so and are not ready to reduce them yet." Carter added 'The US policy on nuclear weapons and landmines "smacks of hypocrisy". The US advises India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) but it has not ratified it yet. The STARTII treaty was passed about eight years ago and has still not been ratified by the US or Russia.

The Nationalist of Sri Lanka reacts against nuclear test of India first

Among our neighbors the first to react were the nationalists of Sri Lanka. They understood why India wanted a nuclear device and denounced the US for slapping sanctions against India. The thinker's Forum of Sri Lanka that is formed by academics professionals and Buddhist monks thought that India is joining a 'mad race' but the forum Secretary Nalin De Silva added, "I can understand why India has been forced to carry out the tests." He said the US was responsible for introducing nuclear weapons in the world and now it wanted to be the only nuclear power. "The US has no moral right to even contemplate sanctions against India," he said. The SAARC officials in Sri Lanka 'appreciated India's security concerns, particularly in the context of the Ghauri missile test by Pakistan. Although Sri Lanka is a signatory to the CTBT which India opposes foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar conveyed to New Delhi that Colombo appreciated India's security concerns vis-a-vis Pakistan. Paul Leventhal, President of the nuclear Control Institute in Washington was of the opinion that Clinton administration was responsible for the Indian test because of its acquiescence in proliferation by Pakistan. "Pakistan's recent start-up of its first plutonium-production reactor at Khushab with Chinese assistance and US acquiescence must also have figured large in India's decision to test", he said.

Happiness of India for the successful nuclear test

Indians across the world expressed their happiness on the tests. Indian American organizations issued statements strongly backing India. Some of the areas where Indian businesses are concentrated distributed sweets too. They congratulated the scientists for their competence and the government for taking a 'politically sensitive' decision in the interest of country's security. They called for deployment of nuclear weapons so as to have 'credible deterrent to any future misadventure' across the border by China or Pakistan. Bhutan and Mauritius who supported New Delhi on the CTBT issue in 1996 have been India's loyal friends and did not back out even in May 1998. France was worried about the stability in the South Asian region. The opinion of Chirac, the French President was that no sanctions should be imposed on India. "We have to use negotiations and make countries realize that their action was running contrary to international opinion and trends", said Chirac.

Germany, Denmark, New Zealand act against India for the nuclear test

Among European countries Germany was the first to act against India. On May 13 it froze the development aid worth 300 million DMs to India. On the same date Denmark showed its inclination to freeze its $ 28 million aid to India. Zhu Bangzao, spokesman of China's foreign Ministry was seriously concerned about the tests. Australia strongly protested and recalled its high Commissioner in New Delhi. New Zealand Prime Minister did the same. Britain issued a statement on behalf of European Union presidency expressing concern that the explosions "ran counter to treaties against nuclear testing and proliferation, and affected the peace and stability of South Asia." UK minister Derek Fatchett said EU members were 'surprised and disgusted'. But he ruled out that the UK aid would be stopped "because it will punish the poorest people for a decision taken by the Government", he said. Although Fatchett's opinion was that the nuclear tests had "put (India) offside with international opinion" and that had been "damaging for India", a labor MP Piara Khabra spoke in favor of India saying "I am not prepared to condemn India at all." He added that nuclear weapons could not be a monopoly only of the established nuclear powers and that any moves to disarmament had to include all nuclear powers. Dan Plesch of the disarmament group Basic of the same country said, the condemnation of the established nuclear powers only exposes the basic hypocrisy of the Big Five—of US saying to other countries "Do as we say, not as we do". South East Asian governments too joined European countries in condemning India. Thailand viewed the explosions going against the treaties and South East Asia's regional goals. Malaysia issued a similar statement while Vietnam was of the view that 'it always supports all efforts to reach comprehensive disarmament, including nuclear weapons.'

Reaction of Pakistan against Pokhran test

The reaction of Pakistan was rather on the expected lines. Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister did not listen to the advice of Bill Clinton and went on with its test programme with the help of China. It had already made preparations and detonated the bombs in the desert area of Chagai Hills on 30th of May. The Muslim world was all praise for Pakistan's tests. The first to visit Pakistan was Iran's foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on first of June, 1998. His view was that Muslims in the Middle East had worried long about Israel's nuclear capability. He said, "Now, they feel confident because a fellow Islamic nation possesses the know-how to build nuclear weapons." In a Press Conference of first of June Kharrazi defended Pakistan saying that India left no choice. "As a matter of its national security and to create a balance in the region, Pakistan had to respond with its own nuclear tests. Over the world Muslims are happy that Pakistan has this capability." But Kharrazi dismissed suggestions that Iran was preparing atom bombs. Akram Zaki, leader of the Pakistani parliamentary delegation said in a news conference in Washington on June 1, 1998 that his country had to conduct the nuclear tests in response to India's detonation of five nuclear devices to restore the strategic balance. It was "an act of self defense against India permitted under the UN charter". Sheik Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Hamas Group in Palestine said, "Pakistan's nuclear capability is an asset to the Arab and Muslim nations". But on the same day the Organization of the Islamic Conference expressed deep concern in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. The statement said, "The international community must seriously encourage both India and Pakistan to expediently conclude a non-aggression agreement with the aim of ensuring the promotion of peace and security in the region."

Japan reacts against the nuclear bomb test in India by an unsoiled way

The sensitivity of Japan, of course, is a bit different. Being the only country in the world to have undergone the horrors of nuclear bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki it may be natural for it to be allergic to nuclear detonations. But the things seem a little different. It didn't make such hue and cry when France or China had tests not much remote in the past. When Japan's Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto told Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif that Tokyo would help put Kashmir on the Security Council agenda he forgot that an independent India had refused to sign the post-World War II document, the San Francisco Treaty that sought to bring Japan to its knees. He forgot that it was Radha Binode Paul, an Indian Judge who gave the only dissenting judgment when in 1945 Japan was forced to face a humiliating War Crimes Tribunal, that it was India's Nehru the first foreign statesman who visited Hiroshima in 1957 when the Western World was allergic to all that was Japanese, In the post Pokhran period Japanese foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi offered mediation on Kashmir twice.

Forgetting that Subhash Chandra Bose's ashes were still kept in the Renkoji temple in Japan and that the country had befriended the Indian leader in setting up Azad Hind Fauj against the European might. Having an eye on a permanent seat in the Security Council the Japanese permanent representative to the UN in New York tabled a draft with Sweden and Costa Rica reprimanding the audacity of India. On the basis of this draft the Security Council unanimously passed a resolution asking India not to conduct any more tests, refrain from weaponisation and end programmes for developing ballistic missiles and the means to deliver them. In a way Japan made a strategy of isolating India on behalf of USA. It rather worked as the cat's paw of Washington in Asia. Japan being the first to slap sanctions on India broke the congenial relations that had developed between the two countries during the cold war period.

Conference conducted in Geneva a couple of days after Pokhran test

In the conference on Disarmament held at Geneva a couple of days after Pokhran II Test about two dozen nations expressed concern over the Indian tests. The tirade was led by Pakistan and China. India's chief delegate in formed the 61 country body that "In undertaking these tests, India has not violated any international obligations or undertakings." The consideration was only India's national security requirements. While members of the non-aligned movement were largely silent many favored India indirectly calling "for immediate talks on total and complete nuclear dis-armament." Pakistan took a dramatic move when its ambassador Munir Akram entered the conference clad in traditional clothing saying "A new nuclear weapon state has been born." He warned that Pakistan would respond to the Indian nuclear blasts that ultimately it did. He said the India's call for global nuclear disarmament just a ploy. He also accused USA and Switzerland of assisting India in advancing its nuclear weapons programme. After the Indian Defense Minister's statement identifying China as the major threat to India it was natural for China's ambassador Li Changhe to tell the press "China thinks this act by India runs against the international consensus for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons."

On the other hand some disarmament diplomats secretly admired India's courage and thought that India would ultimately blast the body to the negotiating table to talk about total nuclear disarmament. A Western diplomat from one of the small countries of Europe remarked in Geneva that "International diplomacy is a mug's game—if you don't hit hard, no one will take you seriously." On the 11th of May a large number of groups of experts and intellectuals throughout the West started theorizing about Mahatma Gandhi's India while backing their own governments against India. There is no limit to hypocrisy. While a number of Geneva-based journalists walked smiling and clapping in the office of an Indian national daily on 11th May, Europe's major daily's carried stories on front pages condemning and criticizing Indian detonations. The conservative Swiss daily Neue Zurcher Zeitung printed a photograph of the Indian Prime Minister on the front page considering the Indian tests an important event. The International Herald Tribune was shocked the most writing "India's Atomic Tests Raise Old Fears" on the front page. The German Frankfurter Rundschau welcomed India into the nuclear club. But Spain's El Pais called the Indian tests an 'alarma mundial' i.e. an international alert. The French, most respected daily Demieres Nouvelles D' Alsac asked Clinton administration editorially if "it has the means to halt the arms race in Asia while it is unable to do anything to the Government of Israel or Belgrada". The Guardian of London was very sensible when it saw the "seeds of hope in the show of strength".

India is now a nuclear weapon Country

The biggest show of firearms the light emanated from which set ablaze the whole western horizon was displayed in Washington. It was rather crazy and childish for Mr. James Rubin a state department spokesman when he reacted on the claim of the Indian Prime Minister that "India is now a nuclear weapon state"—that a nuclear weapon state (NWS) by definition, must have detonated a nuclear device before 1968. He added that India could not be classified as a nuclear state under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which India had declined to sign. The status is granted only to the US, Russia, Great Britain, France and China. Only these five can keep nuclear arsenals and they are not subjected to international inspection. In the third week of May, 1998 a few US officials visited India. Karl Inderfurth, the point person in the US state department, Bill Richardson, the special envoy of US President and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger accused India of deliberately deceiving Washington.

The Charge was refuted by Jaswant Singh, the Planning Commission Chairman (later foreign minister) and a key aide of the Prime Minister of India. Bill Clinton ordered sanctions worth $ 140 million, apart from the World Bank loan of $ 3 billion even when Clinton called India a 'vibrant democracy'. According to Nirmala George, a journalist US aid amounts to only 30 to 40 million dollars a year most of which goes back to the US in servicing old loans. According to G. Balachandran, a strategic analyst US may deny military co-operation that costs mere 10 million dollars, $ 8, 00,000 for Scientist exchanges may also be withheld and the US EXIM bank might not give guarantee to American companies that export to India. US would also -try to influence World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the IBRD. But the States has only 17 to 18 percent of the votes and it might not be successful as it was not after the '74 test. Dixit a well known diplomat was of the view that US would find it impossible to slap sanctions against one-sixth of humanity. K.K. Nayyar, Chairman, Forum for security and Strategic Studies, New Delhi was of the view that the Sanctions "will only strengthen the country's capability to develop its indigenous capacity for technology that" might be denied.

Clinton's invitation for joining in nuclear test banning treaty

According to a May 13 White House release "the potential scope of the sanctions totals close to $ 21 billion besides, $ 10.2 billion assistance from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and $ 3.8 billion by International financial institutions like IBRD. But the US mace fell to the ground on May 13 itself when the high drama on sanctions took strange turns. UK didn't fall in line with the US. Lord Renwick, director of Robert Flemming Holdings Ltd. said "the UK is not going to impose sanctions". On May 12 Clinton invited India to join the international treaty banning nuclear tests (CTBT). One may call it diplomacy that while going to attend G-8 summit on the one hand he commended India's size, split and potential saying it was not necessary for a nation to commit the 'terrible mistake' (of having nuclear tests) 'that is the world's most populous, that's the world's largest middle class, 50 years of vibrant democracy...a perfectly wonderful is not necessary to manifest national greatness by doing this. Referring to the wonderful trip' of First Lady and their daughter Chelesa Clinton to India in 1995 he said "I have looked forward to a very bright future for India... it can be a very great country in the 21st century without doing something like this. However he, in the same breath called Indian tests unjustified while imposing sanctions urging other countries too to do the same. He signed the sanctions order on board Air Force One as he flew into Germany. The sanctions besides 140 million direct aid and freeze on loan guarantees by Exim bank included stopping high end technology which is rather insignificant.


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