It  is  quite  heartening to find that in the recent Conference of the
non-aligned countries which took place in Cartagena, except for three or  four
countries,  the  overwhelming  majority did not condemn India. They did not at
all consider that India has done something which is against  the  spirit  that
has actuated the non-aligned countries all these years. That is a good thing.	
Therefore, I think we should have second thoughts on this whole matter and the
Prime Minister should think over it.

Lastly, I would say the Prime Minister must take steps to see that his Ministers, if I may say so, do not speak in different voices. How can people in this country have confidence on a Government whose Ministers go on speaking in different voices on the same thing? I broadly agree with what the Prime Minister says, the kind of line that he is trying to propagate and advance, because it is consistent with what we have been doing all these years. But we have got Ministers here who are making such bellicose and aggressive statements which are not calculated to strengthen peace or security, but which may provoke other people. We have got neighbours who are not very friendly with us and this subject is something on which even some Ministers, I think, do not have any direct dealings at all. They also come out with statements. I do not know who has authorised them to do it. (Interruptions) I think on such a delicate and sensitive matter, official statements in the name of the Government, should be confined to the Prime Minister who in the past, as we know, was considered to be quite a renowned foreign policy expert even when he was not in the Government. When he was the Leader of the Opposition, the Government at that time had sent him many times on foreign policy missions abroad because he was trusted as a competent and authoritative spokesman of the line which India had been following and he conducted himself with great distinction, I should say, even in such meetings where we have confrontations directly with the Pakistanis in Geneva and so on.

So, I stand more or less by what he has been saying. I find it very awkward and very jarring that some other Ministers every now and then -- I do not know whether they do it for publicity purposes or for what other purposes -- always chip in with something or the other which strikes a jarring note and which is not in keeping with what the Prime Minister has said. I do not know why the Prime Minister allows these things to go on. (Interruptions) It does some damage to the country's image and reputation abroad. This should be stopped as soon as possible.

This is broadly what I want to say. I do not wish to take up more time. Thank you very much for the chance you have given me.

SHRI K. NATWAR SINGH (BHARATPUR): Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are meeting here today under the stress of momentous events. I listened with the profoundest respect to the hon. Prime Minister whose vocabulary has not been impoverished although the sources of his moral inspiration seem to have dried up.

He said much and he conveyed very little.

Mr. Prime Minister, Sir, your statement begged of all questions and answered none. The central thesis of your statement was flawed on account of the absence of a moral dimension.

As far as the Congress Party is concerned, our views on the subject have been made clear in the Congress Working Committee which met on the 14th of May and endorsed the statement of the Congress President Shrimati Sonia Gandhi which reads as follows:

"I would like to place on record, in this formal meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the pride we feel in the achievement of our nuclear scientists and engineers who are putting India's nuclear capability in the front rank. We recall with equal pride the successive Congress Governments have ensured India's nuclear capability remains up to date so that our security is not compromised.

The nuclear question is a national matter, not a party-run one. On this, every Indian is united. The Congress Party remains committed to a nuclear-weapon-free world, non-violent world and that remains the sheet anchor of our policy.

The Congress Working Committee reiterates India's commitment to peace in the region so that India and our neighbours can move ahead in accelerating the economic growth, eradication of poverty, illiteracy and improving the living conditions of all citizens."

Mr. Prime Minister, your statement and the accompanying document are more or less the same. Except there is some expansion, the longer version. You said that the House is aware of the different reactions that have emanated from the people of India from...(Interruptions)

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... (Interruptions)

SHRI K. NATWAR SINGH : Now, Sir, what has happened is that the nuclear test are behind us. If the hon. Prime Minister and the BJP had simply said that in their manifesto they had said that they will review the defence policy, the strategic policy; there will be a National Security Council which will examine this and they will then re-evaluate their policy and then they will go for nuclear weapon programme and exercise the nuclear option, we could understand that. But it is not so. The reason given by the Government in the letter to President Clinton, as has been said by Shri Indrajit Gupta, is that there is a security threat from China. Now, we are entitled to know from the hon. Prime Minister when did this threat begin? Did it begin on the 19th of March when he took over? Or, did it begin on the 8th of April when he gave the green signal to his scientists? How serious was this threat? Have the Chinese forces moved round to our borders? Have the Pakistanis mounted an exercise which threatened the city of Amritsar? I think we are entitled to ask these questions because he has had no time to review the threat perception obviously between 19th of March and the 8th of April. Mr. Prime Minister, if you had done the review the House would like to be told what these findings are of the high-level review of India's security concerns.

You preside over a Government of eighteen parties. While you have experience of being the Foreign Minister of India, but the parallel political and diplomatic management of your action on the 11th and 13th has been highly unsatisfactory.

And what have we succeeded in doing?

Today there was a Question about the visit of the Chinese Chief of Staff to India and his discussions with you. And the answer of the Minister of State was, I am afraid, I have to read it and you have to listen to it -- as follows:

"The Prime Minister welcomed the positive trends in India-China relations and spoke of his desire to continue the momentum of our relations. He requested General Fu to convey his good wishes to President Jiang Zemin, Prime Minister Zhu Rongji and Chairman NPC Li Peng. The Prime Minister expressed the view that improvement in relations between two countries should be based on the recognition of and respect for each other's concerns. An understanding based on mutual respect between the two most populous countries in the world will contribute to peace and security in Asia and in the world. The Prime Minister drew particular attention to the Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement of 1993 and the Agreement on Confidence Building Measures of 1996 and said that India needed a stable environment in order to concentrate on raising the living standards of the people. There were some problems along the Line of Actual Control because it was not delineated etc. etc." How do you reconcile this with your letter to President Clinton? How do you reconcile this with the pronouncement made by the distinguished Defence Minister who, if I may respectfully say, is a human El Nino, who from time to time comes out with the most outrageous statements. On the 5th of May, Shri George Fernandes said, "we will undertake a review and then come to a decision about whether we will exercise our nuclear options or not." It is a matter of fact. But you had already given a green signal a month earlier. Obviously, the Defence Minister had not been taken into confidence by you.

I do know what the distinguished colleague sitting on your right probably was saying. I will just come to what he has done - the damage Shri Advani has done to our relations with Pakistan with his unbridled statement. I will just come to that because he has mentioned about the `pro-active policy'. Do you know what it means in fact? It means that you will pot for hot pursuit into territory of India occupied by Pakistan. Do you know what the consequences are going to be? The Security Council will be summoned within a few minutes of your hot pursuit and a condemnatory resolutions will be passed with mandatory sanctions, sanctions under Chapter-VII of the UN Charter. There are 54 Muslim countries in the world. We have good relations with those countries. We have massive trade with them. About 1.2 million Indians live there. They remit large amounts of money. What is going to happen to those people? Have you thought through as to what your `pro-active policy' means? You say, you are running a Government on consensus. You have not asked us. You have not asked anybody here that you are fundamentally changing the nature of India's foreign policy and defence policy, without a review and without a reference to this House. If you represent 25 per cent of votes of India, so do we. If you represent one-third of the strength of this House, so do we, rather more than that. We were not consulted and you have taken a profound step.

You were asked in the interview in the Outlook a question, "The Government in its National Agenda had promised a strategic defence review before inducting nuclear weapons. Why was this not done?" Your answer is, "There was no such promise in the National Agenda." But there is. The Outlook has quoted exactly what you have said. I am not saying that you forgot what you said. But I think, you better look at your facts.

I would like to draw your attention to different reactions of the Government. It not only tells us that the decision was right and that the country wants a focussed leadership which attends to national security needs.

Now, who was unfocussed? For 25 years, since 1971, there has been no security threat to India. The Simla Agreement has ensured that there is no conflict with Pakistan and your own visit began the process although you did not succeed in 1979. There was Rajiv Gandhi's visit, Mr. Li Peng's visit to India, Shri Venkataraman's visit to China. Mr. Jianh Zemin whom you have quoted from the answer of Minister of State that there is peace and tranquillity on the border. Forces have been withdrawn. Not a single incident has taken place which has raised the temperature except by the pronouncement of your Ministerial colleagues. I will respectfully submit that a period of silence on their part will be most welcome because these are extremely sensitive issues. You know the reaction of the Chinese?

You have read it Mr. Prime Minister. You are level headed, you are wise and you are balanced but what a crew you are carrying with you! Take your political advisor. What is his vision? He is a nice young man with an engaging personality. Why have you asked him to brief the Press on Foreign Affairs? It is a great pity. You know that I have been for 45 years dealing with foreign affairs and I am still learning. And, you have a young man who sits in judgement and pronounces on the policy matters. I do not want to use the phrase he used about China. China is a great country. We have in 2,000 years have had one conflict with them and no in-depth analysis has been done as to why that happened. But you agreed and this House passed a Resolution and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said that `eventually the border dispute with China will be settled through negotiations'. But the antenna has been upped. Day in and day out statements are made by people who ought to know better. Your Minister for Parliamentary Affairs wanted the Pakistanis to name the date and the place and time for a war... (Interruptions)...

Sir, all I can say is that I would hate to be in your shoes because of this kind of irresponsibility witnessed in the Cabinet Ministers who are being exposed. There are 125 foreign missions in Delhi. They report everyday as to what is happening here. Have you read Shri Muchkund Dubey's article today? You say that you are a nuclear weapon State. Well, good luck to you. But read Muchkund Dubey's article and you will find that it is going to be very very tough. The heat is already being put on you. The US-sponsored access to contain India. What is your access? With your actions you have helped to produce a Pakistan, Washington, China axis. And how are they going about it? You please read The Times of India of today carefully and ask your colleagues to do so.

You are very pleased with your telephonic conversation with Mr. Tony Blair. Mr. Tony Blair is the author of the document that is being produced by the European Union. It says that you were to get ready because we are going to put the heat on you left, right and centre and you have not got a prayer going for you in the international community. The G-8 did not do anything because Mr. Yeltsin was there. But in the European Union, he is not there. This is the true language of Mr. Tony Blair who drafts these things very well. I do not want to repeat all these things. Please read them.

Shri Muchkund Dubey says that `it is going to be extremely difficult for India to muscle its way into this world nuclear order. After the latest Pokhran Test, India has declared itself a nuclear weapon State and made a number of moves to be recognised as such, etc. The recent five tests themselves have not given India its nuclear deterrent. By these tests, we have only displayed our clear weapon capability in a much higher technological level in 1974. We still have a long way to go before acquiring a credible deterrent.'

I have the profoundest respects for our scientists. But you know that in science, this is not the latest technology. I do not want to say more about it because these are very sensitive matters.

Then, Shri Sharada Prasad has said: `In other words, whatever the detonations might have done for the world perception of India, the post-Pokhran India will not be very different from the pre-Pokhran one. We still remain a poor country with a few troublesome toys.' They are all very sober, level-headed, highly experienced and knowledgeable people writing about these matters.

We are not for a moment saying that where the security of India is concerned, we will be in the second row. We will be with you, in front of you when the security of India is concerned. Please tell us where your threat is coming from and why you have unilaterally overturned a national consensus which persisted for 25 years without any debate. You have not yet carried out your statutory review.

It is now said everywhere that in 1996 you had decided to detonate bombs. You resigned in 13 days. But everybody is saying this and I would like you to deny it that you had any such intentions. What had happened then? Where was the security environment deteriorating? It now transpires that you had planned this in 1996 when there was no Ghauri, no Ghaznavi and no George!

If you had honestly told the House, `From the 11th of May, I am not going to be Atal Bihari Vajpayee, I am going to be Atom Bomb Vajpayee', we would have accepted it. It would have been perfectly understandable. Nobody is minimising the action that you have taken but only the justification that you have provided.

Shri George Fernandes has thrown into the dustbin ten years of hard diplomatic work. The Working Group appointed by Shri Rajiv Gandhi had said: `All these matters were discussed including the missile.' The Chinese said, `If you object to our giving it to Pakistan, we will give it to you.' Ask Shri J.N. Dixit. Send for him and ask him if anything new has happened in these days.

The nuclear test is a tribute to the country, a tremendous tribute to our scientists and a tremendous tribute to Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Shrimati Indira Gandhi, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Shri Narasimha Rao, Shri Inder Kumar Gujral and all the other Prime Ministers who said, `Go ahead with this programme.' But Shri Gujral has written a letter to you and very kindly in a spirit of great fraternal relations with the Congress Party sent us a copy. Shri Gujral has said on 22nd May: `It is indeed unfortunate that in the past several days a number of statements have emanated from various quarters on how we intend to deal with the CTBT issue, the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir, counter-measures to deal with the sanctions etc. All in all, taken together, these varying postures create the impression of growing aggressivity and virtually mean that we are on the brink of military confrontation and I hope such courses of action had not been mediated by you.' He is a former Prime Minister and he has been a Prime Minister longer than you have been. I hope, we have a change of Prime Ministership soon. You have been in office for only two months.

Shri H.D. Deve Gowda has also written a letter to you. Shri Narasimha Rao who has himself said that the nuclear option was open repeatedly said so for the last thirty years. Implicit in it was that it could be exercised. There was a national consensus on keeping the nuclear option open.

There was no consensus on your exercising that option. ... (Interruptions) What I am trying to say is that you should have thought over this instead of inventing that the security environment has deteriorated, though in your statement you have not referred to it. It is because what you have said does not indicate that you are yourself convinced that a security threat exists. If it does exist, I think, this House is entitled to know where that threat comes from. I am glad in your statement you have said that you are for nuclear disarmament. Although you did not mention Rajiv Gandhi's name, but it is implied. I also know that the response to it was not enthusiastic for a variety of reasons because the Russians have also made a proposal for disarmament. Rajiv Gandhi said that all nuclear weapons should be abolished by 2010 and Gorbachev came out with a proposal, if I remember correctly, that the nuclear weapons should be abolished by 2005. Then, the Soviet Union disintegrated. The Soviet Union had 10,000 nuclear warheads whereas you have five or six. The Soviet Union has disintegrated. Why? It is because the economic cost for weaponisation was too excessive. The Americans made sure that Russia's Budget after the Second World War never came below 25 per cent of GDP. Now, we know what Pakistan has been saying. We also know that Chinese have asked you to give concrete evidence of your good will. I am glad that when you went to Pokhran you said that you would like to have good relations with China and so did your Principal Secretary who was the first Indian on whom Mao-tze-Dung smiled after 1962 when he was our charge d'affaires in Beijing. So, he knows the facts of what diplomatic life are. I am very glad that you have, Sir, in your wisdom pulled back the country from the brink. Your assertions or pronouncements give a ray of hope to the damage that has been inflicted on India's foreign policy, India's relations with China, India's relations with Pakistan, India's relations with EU, and India's relations with USA. I am not for a moment saying that we should succumb to any pressure, certainly not. The hands of five nuclear weapon States are not clean. They have no business to pass judgement on us and they have no business to impose sanctions on us. If they do so we will be with you to tighten our belts and march along with you to oppose those sanctions. Instead of increasing the number of your enemies, please increase the number of your friends. That is the first fundamental law of diplomacy. There is a difference between foreign policy and diplomacy and it is very subtle and profound. You know it, Shri Advani knows it but the hotheads in your party do not know it. Foreign policy is what you do and diplomacy is how you do it. For the first time, questions are being asked as to what do you expect our diplomats to do. On the one hand you are writing to Clinton and on the other hand you say you want good relations with China. ... (Interruptions) What I am trying to say is that we will give you full support as far as the nation's security is concerned. We will give you full support if sanctions are put on us. But when you make a pronouncement as Prime Minister of India that these tests have been undertaken on account of a threat, then you must in all fairness tell us where the threat comes from, how serious it is and how imminent it is. The Minister of State, while answering a question, says that there is no threat from China and that it is hunky-dory and our relations are good. Please reconcile these contradictions.


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