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HVK Archives: India should not be apologetic for N-tests:Arundhati Ghose

India should not be apologetic for N-tests:Arundhati Ghose - The Times of India

The Times of India News Service ()
July 30, 1998

Title: India should not be apologetic for N-tests:Arundhati Ghose
Author: The Times of India News Service
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 30, 1998

Veteran diplomat Arundhati Ghose expressed surprise that during
the post-Pokhran period India had been holding talks with the
U.S. and some other countries on the sanctions as though this
country committed a mistake by carrying out the nuclear tests.

Ms Ghose was India's chief representative during the critical
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) ,negotiations in Geneva who
successfully challenged the might of the U.S. by refusing to sign
the treaty which, she maintained, was discriminatory.

Addressing a meeting on "New World Order and India's Place in
it," jointly organised by the Nehru Centre and the Association of
Youth for a Better India, she said, "Talks have been going on
with the U.S. and some other countries. But, it's the approach
which surprises me. We have gone about these talks as though we
have erred and are trying to find a way out of the sanctions and
the wrath of the rich countries we have offended with the nuclear

The challenge to the new world order by India's nuclear tests can
also explain the virulence of abuse from the U.S. and the strong
reaction from the West, when India had broken no law.

She said that there was much talk of India signing the CTBT,
joining in the negotiations for a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty
(FMCT), having a unilateral moratoria and also a no first-use
policy. "My view is very clear on this subject: signing the CTBT
and the proposed FMCT is tantamount to joining the control
regimes," she said.

She said the CTBT, the FMCT and the nuclear non-proliferation
treaty (NPT) were control mechanisms which tie countries into a
"pyramidal structure," with the U.S. as the superpower." But, the
effort is on to keep the status quo," she said. "Today most
countries flocked to the supremacy of the U.S. except China and
India. Our nuclear tests revealed that India was kept engaged by
China passing missile and nuclear technology to Pakistan," she
said. According to her, if China had not passed on such
technology to Pakistan, "we might have not gone for the tests."

She said though India was a good friend of the U.S., yet the
latter began to "abuse" the former after the Pokhran tests. "Why
this abuse? This is because India had challenged the strategy
which the U.S. was planning," she said.

Ms Ghose said, "If we join (the CTBT or FMCT) what happens to our
40-year commitment to nuclear disarmament? What happens to our
security? However, since we are in deal-making I can think of
several alternatives to offer in exchange for the lifting of

These is a parliamentary act or bill or resolution which makes
our unilateral moratorium "de jure," embeds a no-first-use policy
in our nuclear doctrine and perhaps even offer our laboratories
and seismic stations to the CTBT architecture. According to her,
this would be a genuine deal. She said if this could be coupled
with attractive incentives in the power sector, including nuclear
power, the issue of access to high technology could be resolved.

Quoting the father of India's missile programme, A.P.J. Abdul
Kalam, she stated "strength recognises strength."

She regretted that decision-making in the government appeared to
be "fragmented and unreconstructed." She said there was neither
any news of the strategic defence review, which was a part of the
national agenda of the BJP government nor the national security

Ms Ghose told the audience if she had the power to influence she
would make India "go it alone" even if it meant marginalisation.
According to her, a country of India's size and potential has no
other option. "But, is this a dream, an unusual fantasy?" she
said. She asked was it realistic to envisage such a situation
especially when the nation was faced with sanctions? "My answer
would still be in the affirmative," she said.

Pointing out that the "sanctions will hurt our pride", she said
the government had to be pushed by public opinion to initiate
bold steps to further open up the economy.

Ms Ghose's remark about India "going it alone" when faced with
other options was in reference to a yramid" scenario. Quoting a
foreign affairs expert Samuel P Huntington, she said the other
options were for India to join the U.S. and its allies, or join
China in the stand-off with the U.S. "Or, the third choice which
Mr Huntington dismissed as non-viable leading to India's
marginalisation would be to go it alone. My choice, had I the
power to influence these decisions, would be to opt for the third
course," she said.

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