We  should not echo what is stated in Islamabad. We should not reflect
what is stated  in  Pakistan.  We  have  not  started  it.  Already  they  are
possessing the weapons. We are safeguarding ourselves against any eventuality.
Now  our  position  is very clear. Therefore, we have clearly stated it in the
paper given by the Government. The NAM Ministerial meeting held  at  Cartagena
has reiterated their call on the Conference of Disarmament...

SHRI P.C. THOMAS (MUVATTUPUZHA): I am on a point of order, Sir. The smaller parties do not get time at the end of the discussion.

THE MINISTER OF LAW, JUSTICE AND COMPANY AFFAIRS AND MINISTER OF SURFACE TRANSPORT (SHRI M. THAMBI DURAI): Shri Vaiko is from one of the smaller parties.

SHRI P.C. THOMAS (MUVATTUPUZHA): Shri Vaiko's party is much bigger than mine.

MR. CHAIRMAN (SHRI BENI PRASAD VERMA): What is your point of order?

SHRI P.C. THOMAS (MUVATTUPUZHA): The smaller parties do not get time at the end of the discussion to ventilate their feelings. Shri Vaiko's party has been given about half-an-hour. I am very grateful for that. My point is that when he is given half-an-hour, my party, which is one-third of his party's size, may be given one-third of that time. Because, otherwise I do not get time at the fag end. I spoke last time for two minutes in a very hectic manner.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please sit down. This is no point of order. It is left to the decision of the Chair.

SHRI P.M. SAYEED (LAKSHADWEEP): He has made a suggestion. His suggestion may be taken note of.

MR. CHAIRMAN: His suggestion has been noted down. It is in the records.

SHRI VAIKO (SIVAKASI): India was one of the countries that appealed to the International Court of Justice on the issue that there existed an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please conclude now.

SHRI VAIKO (SIVAKASI): I will take only two more minutes. The so called five nuclear powers are not prepared to destroy their stockpile of nuclear arms. That is the point. All the stockpiles are to be destroyed under the international supervision. For that, let us take the initiative in the United Nations. We have got all the moral right. From a position of strength let us say that all the nuclear arms be destroyed, all the arsenal be destroyed. For that let us take the initiative.

At the same time, taking the threat scenario or the challenge scenario for our security from our neighbours, we have to equip ourselves with the strength and might. At this hour let us all stand together. I would like to appeal to our hon. Members, to the leaders of political parties to come out of the political barriers, to come out of the parochial considerations to support the Government. I did go through all the debates held in the year 1984 in both the Houses of Parliament. There was no dissenting voice. There was not even a sarcastic word against Madam Gandhi. All the parties gave support to Madam Gandhi. In the year 1971, when there was a controversy about Bangladesh war, when the foreign countries were accusing us of meddling in the internal affairs of Pakistan, it was Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee who greeted Madam Gandhi as the Durga of India. Of course, he was fighting a political battle at that time. This is the approach we have been having.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please conclude. You have taken more than thirty minutes.

SHRI VAIKO (SIVAKASI): I would like to ask whether you tried it in 1983. Shri Venkataraman, former Defence Minister who later became the President of India, has written in a letter - it is public knowledge - that they were for a test and they were pressurised not to undertake it. Is it a fact that when Shri Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister of the country, Government of India tried to conduct a test? Again due to the interference of America, because their spy satellite detected that something was going on in Pokhran and expressed their dissent, they developed a cold feet and back out.

Is it a fact? So far, there is no denial from their side. Why did you try it in 1983 and again in 1995? For what reasons have you kept the nuclear options open? The scientists, they say, have collected the data. The knowledge of the first generation scientists should go to the next generation. For that purpose, Shri Vajpayee has given the clearance. That was the point. They have collected the data. With the indigenous technology, we have conducted our tests. (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN (SHRI BENI PRASAD VERMA): Please conclude.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI VAIKO (SIVAKASI): At this juncture, I would appeal to all the hon. Members here and all the political parties to support the Government. We stand as one with one voice to express solidarity and support. I commend the decision taken by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Thank you. (ends)

1506 hours

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA (TURA): Mr. Chairman, Sir, the 11th, the 13th and the 28th May, 1998 will go down in the history of the sub-continent as sad days. By thoughtless and competitive nuclear testings India and Pakistan, in their Golden Jubilee Year of Independence, have landed themselves in a tragic arms race.

The reasons and the timings of the Pokhran tests have been questioned by previous speakers from this side. So far, no convincing answer has come. For the last fifty years, India has followed a well-established nuclear policy which was based on national consensus and the policy was to keep the nuclear option open. Therefore, the choice before us was restraint or exercising that option. Till the 11th of this month since Independence, all the successive Governments and successive Prime Ministers have exercised restraint. If it is a choice between restraint and exercising the option, to exercise restraint is much more difficult. According to me, credit goes to those Governments, credit goes to those Prime Ministers who have opted for the much more difficult choice of restraint. To indulge in adventurism is a very easy job. I do not know what is great about this. I do not know where is the credit for that and why that restraint was exercised by the previous Prime Ministers. After all, we have the capability!

As far back as 1964, Dr. Homi Bhaba declared that India could make a nuclear bomb in just eighteen months. In any case, I am happy that in spite of all the euphoria among a section of the ruling party, the Prime Minister Shri Vajpayee was gracious enough to admit that whatever they have achieved `was not the result of the fifty days of BJP-led Government; it was, in fact, the achievement as a result of the policy followed by the successive Governments'.

The Prime Minister, in his statement, has said:

"In 1974 we demonstrated our nuclear capability. Successive Governments thereafter have taken all necessary steps in keeping with that resolve and national will to safeguard India's nuclear option."

I must compliment the Prime Minister. In spite of the fact that some people have claimed this as `Hindu bomb', in spite of the fact that some people have celebrated this as `gaurav diwas', in spite of the fact that some people have described the previous Prime Ministers as ... (Expunged as ordered by the Chair), though I do not want to use this word, I am constrained to use this word, Shri Vajpayee was good enough to admit that this was not the result of the efforts of the fifty-day Government but because of the fifty years of hard work.

In this respect, I would like to join the whole House in offering my salutations to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, our scientists, computer specialists, engineers and their cohorts in the defence services for their dedication and splendid achievements.

Sir, I was talking about restraint. Why successive Governments and successive Prime Ministers had to resort to restraint? Is it because those Governments were not at all concerned about the national security? Is it because those Governments were never concerned about the integrity of India? Is it because those Governments never cared to build up our defence forces? No.

As far as my party is concerned, we are second to none in defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of this country. It was the Congress party which was responsible for freeing this nation from the foreign rule. We were very much concerned about the national security, but then our Governments believed that the security and integrity of the nation does not lie in possessing a bomb alone. The integrity and sovereignty of the country can be well protected by making the economy self-sufficient; by eradicating poverty and unemployment; and by giving people the drinking water. These were the priorities of our Government.

Why have we been talking about secularism? As far as we are concerned, we know that the principle of secularism is much more stronger than any atom bomb in safeguarding the territorial integrity of this country. I do not want to go into the details. I think, Shri I.K. Gujral, the former Prime Minister, has very nicely described the reasons why the previous Governments, including himself, did not opt for exercising that option.

He said in an interview and I quote:

"Ammunition alone do not make a country strong. Otherwise, North Korea would have been a power today and the Soviet Union would not have collapsed. In my balance sheet, economic development was more important."

That sums up the reason why the previous Government did not choose to exercise the nuclear option and exercised restraint.

When we see in newspapers and when we hear different Ministers talk in different ways, we are unable to understand what was the justification for going in for the nuclear tests. What was the basis? Was there any policy framework? Was there any doctrine in it? There was nothing.

Many nuclear tests have been conducted earlier. Whenever Governments had gone for nuclear tests earlier, they had gone with certain principles and with certain doctrines. For example in 1974 when Mrs. Indira Gandhi decided to go in for the first test, her doctrine was very simple. The doctrine was that a test was meant for peaceful purposes. That is the difference. It was meant for peaceful purposes. That was the doctrine of the Congress party and of Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1974.

When France went in for the first nuclear test, it had a doctrine. That doctrine was `proportionate deterrence'. When China went in for the first test, its doctrine was `overall security environment in the world', and the principle was `no-first-use'. That was the doctrine.

But when we went for the Pokhran test on the 11th and 13th of this month, the Government is not able to tell us what was the doctrine and what was the basis. From the utterances of different Ministers - particularly from the letter the Prime Minister addressed to President Clinton, to other Heads of Governments and to other Heads of States - we came to know that the doctrine was `security environment from neighbouring countries, particularly the two countries, the threat from China and the threat from Pakistan'. That was the doctrine. Is it a doctrine? I am happy that the Government has realised today that that doctrine - the doctrine of naming the country - was not good because the Defence Minister spoke about the Pakistan test before lunch and objected that the Pakistan test was India-specific. He condemned that doctrine also. He disowned Pakistan's doctrine, when his own test was Pakistan-specific and China-specific.

Today the Defence Minister of this country comes and tells what Pakistan has done was wrong because their doctrine was wrong. What was the doctrine? The doctrine was India-specific.

Do you think that the world is not listening to us, the world is not watching us, the world is not observing us? Is it the way that a great country like India should behave? Is it the way that the Government should run? On the day of Confidence Motion, from this very seat, I had specifically expressed my doubt and concern. I had said that I was not worried about the stability of the Vajpayee Government; I was more worried about how this Government will govern this country. Governance was the main issue. And today, we see how this Government is ruling this nation. However, I do not want to go into all points. So many points have been made earlier.

SHRI JAG MOHAN (NEW DELHI): The point is, you are now saying that 1974 explosion was a peaceful explosion and for peaceful purposes. How would you reconcile it with the statement made by Shri Shiv Shanker that was in response to the situation like the one that was created when President Nixon sent the US warship. You read his statement and you read your statement and then you kindly reconcile as to what is the stand of the Congress Party. This is the basic confusion in my view which I would like you to clarify.

The other point which I would like you to clarify is this. After the CTBT, after the indefinite extension of the NPT, has not the world situation changed in which a nuclear club was sought to be created, a power cartel was sought to be created from which India would have been permanently excluded and we would not even have the right to that so-called option? The option would have also lapsed after some time when the Treaty was confirmed. Would you kindly clarify that point?

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA (TURA): If you remember, in 1974, the Government of India under Shrimati Indira Gandhi, not only had a doctrine but she had also done enough of diplomatic work. Before it was decided, Shrimati Gandhi took not only the country and the concerned people into confidence, but also took so many other friendly countries into confidence. That is the difference. And 1974 doctrine was for peaceful purposes and today, you are going in for weaponisation. I am coming to the question of weaponisation vis-a-vis CTBT and NPT. You have completely gone against the principles for which India stood for so many years. You have broken those principles and reasons on why we refused to sign the CTBT.

SHRI JAG MOHAN (NEW DELHI): India also stood for non-monopolisation of powers.

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA (TURA): Every reason has been broken by you. I am coming to you. Just listen to me. For your own information, I am coming to your weaponisation programme. Now that this has been done and it cannot be undone ....

MR. CHAIRMAN (SHRI BENI PRASAD VERMA): Now, Shri Sangma may continue.

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA (TURA): Now, the country having resorted to that policy of exercising its option, I would only like to know how this Government is going to handle the consequences. How are you now going to deal with its effects? Have you applied your mind? I am asking whether you are applying your mind. It is a very uncharitable question to ask because of yesterday's experience. What happened yesterday? On the one hand, you said you knew everything that was happening in Pakistan. You knew everything that was going on in Pakistan except that they had already tested their nuclear bombs. You did not know that. Even the Prime Minister of this country came to know about it after two hours. I think, the friends from this side came to know first. That is the reason why I am asking this particular question. Has the Government started exercising how you are going to deal with those situations? What will be the consequences? We know that number one consequence is the retaliation that came from Pakistan. How they have reacted is the first consequence.

Yesterday, I was talking to some children. It struck me very much. They said: "Sir, the people are talking about national pride that India has become a nuclear power, where is the pride in it?" I said: "Why?" If India has become as powerful as the United States of America, yes, we would feel very proud. But we have become as powerful as Pakistan is. Till yesterday, we were a superior country. The whole world knew that India has superiority. We had a leading role in the international community. But today, we have become same. We have a nuclear device. They also have a nuclear device. Where is the difference between Pakistan and India? A small country like Pakistan and the biggest democracy in the world - India - have now been equated. Where is the national pride in it? ... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN (SHRI BENI PRASAD VERMA): Please do not interrupt.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI CHETAN CHAUHAN (AMROHA): It is a message of weakness.

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA (TURA): For your information, it is the weak people who show their strength.The strong people never show their strength. Our power need not be our muscles which need not be demonstrated.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (SHRI YASHWANT SINHA): Sir, the difference between the two countries is that, today, there is a state of national emergency in Pakistan and we in the best traditions of democracy are discussing it. This is the difference.

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA (TURA): Shri Sinha, I never said that it was my information. ... (Interruptions)I am only talking about what children told me. I am only telling you the children's perception. I am not saying that. ... (Interruptions) Yours is a great Government! ... (Interruptions)

This is a serious debate. Please allow me. I am expressing my opinion.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

SHRI MADHUKAR SIRPOTDAR (MUMBAI NORTH-WEST): Sir, here is my only simple question. Shri Sangma, you are expressing on behalf of some children. We would like to know your opinion. That is very important. ... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

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... (ɴvx)

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MR. CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA (TURA): Mr. Chairman, Sir, the consequences are, as I have said, firstly, as is evident from the reaction of Pakistan, how it would lead to a nuclear arms race and how it would disturb the peace and stability of the region; secondly, how it would affect the regional cooperation, that is India, today as it stands completely isolated from the international community, play its diplomatic role? How are we going to deal with that situation? Important countries like the United States of America have charged India with playing a role of duplicity. I am coming to that. It is very important point that I would like to make and that is, how America is charging India of playing a role of duplicity!

SHRI VAIKO (SIVAKASI): Do you endorse the opinion?

SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA (TURA): It is based on your behaviour...(Interruptions)


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