Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
HVK Archives: Nuclear appartheid receives a surprise blow - India's

Nuclear appartheid receives a surprise blow - India's - Ceylon Daily News

Yogendra Duraiswamy (Formerly of the Sri Lanka Foreign ()
May 28, 1998

Title: Nuclear appartheid receives a surprise blow - India's
nuclear tests should be a blessing in disguise (a letter)
Author: Yogendra Duraiswamy (Formerly of the Sri Lanka Foreign
Publication: Ceylon Daily News
Date: May 28, 1998

India stuns the world with her nuclear tests, ran a bold
headline in a popular daily. The five nuclear tests which
India successfully carried out on May 11 and 13 1998, not only
showed India's scientific and technological capability, but
also re-opened the question of global nuclear disarmament
leading to total elimination of nuclear weapons. The Nuclear
Non-proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test
Ban Treaty have not succeeded in preventing the spread of
nuclear weapons or in reducing nuclear arsenals of the
privileged Big Five - United States of America, Russia,
France, United Kingdom and China.

This is mainly due to the lack of political will to get rid of
the nuclear stockpiles on the part of the five permanent
members of the Security Council. National Security
considerations play a major role in this regard and in
determining the nature and scope of defence preparedness of a

It is precisely the national security consideration which made
India to resume nuclear testing for military purposes after a
lapse of 24 years. If India had continued with nuclear
development for military purposes after her first test in 1974
like what the great powers did, she would now, be a major
nuclear power with an array of sophisticated nuclear weapons.

She did not follow this path and instead tried in her own way
to work towards complete nuclear disarmament. But this
laudable objective was not appreciated. The nuclear haves were
only concerned with preventing the spreading of nuclear
weapons to the have-nots.

Today, India has her own fears. She feels the security
environment in her neighbourhood is unsatisfactory and
potentially dangerous and has resumed testing of nuclear

Who is to decide on the question of national security? It has
to be the state concerned which will be the best judge. When
the Soviet Union had introduced missiles into Cuba, the United
States of America under President Kennedy was prepared in
October 1962 to go to war with the Soviet Union if the
missiles were not removed from Cuba.

If this war had started it would have led to the Third World
War, which would have destroyed a greater part of the world.
This shows to what extent the United States of America was
prepared to go to protect her national security.

Why cannot the United States of America which believes in
equality and fair play appreciate India's concerns at this
present juncture? India feels threatened by China and
Pakistan, two countries on her borders, who had fought wars
with India. According to western intelligence sources China is
reported to have conducted 45 nuclear tests and is, said to be
helping Pakistan, a strategic ally, to become a nuclear power.

Pakistan is not equal in strength to India. On her own she is
not of much concern to India but with China it is a formidable
combination. One should therefore understand India desire to
possess nuclear weapons, which would act as a deterrent to any
aggressor. In the event of a war what is the guarantee that a
nuclear state will not use nuclear weapons against a non
nuclear state.

According to former President Carter, the United States of
America has 8000 nuclear weapons in her stockpile, enough to
destroy the world many times over. All this in the name of
national security. Similarly, other permanent members of the
Security Council have large stockpiles. The Permanent members
of the security Council have double standards, while
maintaining nuclear stockpiles for their defence they are
denying this deterrent to the other members of the United
Nations, whose Charter is based on the sovereign equality of
all its members. It is this lop-sided approach that has
prevented the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Sri Lankan government of Chandrika Bandaranaike
Kumaratunga has to be congratulated on its stand on India's
nuclear tests. While expressing deep concern at the missile
and nuclear tests, Sri Lanka wants the entire international
community with no exception to continue its efforts to achieve
global nuclear disarmament leading to the total elimination of
nuclear weapons without which peace and international security
will continue to be in constant jeopardy.

The reference to missile tests is meant for China, and
Pakistan both of whom conducted such tests recently. Our
Foreign Minister Kadirgamar rightly stated that Sri Lanka is
not opposed to India or Pakistan becoming a nuclear power and
added that countries which conduct nuclear tests should not be
punished with sanctions.

Besides China and Pakistan, the opposition to India's nuclear
tests has come mainly from the United States of America,
Canada and some members of the European Union - states which
are well-protected by nuclear armed North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation. 'Similarly Japan, Australia and New Zealand have
guarantee of protection by the United States of America. There
is no such protection for India which has to look after her
own defence. The non-aligned world stood by India and refused
to be drawn in condemning India.

The international Atomic Energy Agency stated that India was
entitled to carry out nuclear tests as it had not signed
international agreements aimed at curbing the spread of
nuclear weapons. According to the international Atomic Energy
Agency, "India has done something that it reserved the right
to do."

After the nuclear tests, India has announced that it remains
committed to a speedy process of nuclear disarmament leading
to total and global elimination of nuclear weapons. India's
statement refers to its adherence to the Chemical Weapons
Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention as evidence
of her commitment to any global disarmament regime which is
non-discriminatory and verifiable. India has also announced
her readiness to consider being an adherent to some of the
undertakings in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan had said that
India's defiant steps must be a catalyst for world powers to
deal more aggressively with the problems of nuclear
disarmament. The United Nations, in particular its Permanent
members of the Security Council, has an opportunity to review
the whole question of nuclear disarmament and bring about a
just settlement wherein there would be a gradual and
verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons within an agreed
time frame.

The discriminatory nature of the earlier agreements should go
to enable the new agreement to be acceptable to all. If this
is done the Indian tests are a welcome development. It would
indeed become a blessing in disguise.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements