News



DATE=5/3/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-230651
TITLE=INDIA/DEFENSE (L-ONLY)
BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA
DATELINE=NEW DELHI
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  INDIA'S DEFENSE MINISTER HAS SAID CHINA IS THE GREATEST 
THREAT TO INDIA'S SECURITY.  ANJANA PASRICHA REPORTS FROM NEW 
DELHI, THE REMARK CAME IN AN INTERVIEW TO A PRIVATE INDIAN 
TELEVISION NETWORK.

TEXT:  DEFENSE MINISTER GEORGE FERNANDES TOLD AN INTERVIEWER FROM
"HOME T-V" TELEVISION CHINESE MILITARY AND NAVAL INSTALLATIONS 
HAD SURROUNDED INDIA.  HE SAID BEIJING HAD STOCKPILED NUCLEAR 
WEAPONS IN TIBET ALONG THE INDIAN BORDER.

THE DEFENSE MINISTER'S INTERVIEW WITH HOME TELEVISION IS TO BE 
BROADCAST MONDAY, BUT A TRANSCRIPT OF HIS REMARKS WAS RELEASED 
SUNDAY.

HOME T-V SAYS MR. FERNANDES HAS REFERRED TO CHINA AS, IN HIS 
WORDS -- POTENTIAL THREAT NUMBER ONE -- BIGGER THAN PAKISTAN.  HE
SAID INDIA NEEDS TO TAKE TOUGH DECISIONS TO COUNTER THE THREAT 
FROM CHINA, BUT FELT NEW DELHI IS RELUCTANT TO FACE THE REALITY 
THAT BEIJING'S INTENTIONS NEED TO BE QUESTIONED.

MR. FERNANDES REMARKS COME DAYS AFTER THE CHIEF OF CHINA'S ARMY 
VISITED INDIA.  THE VISIT WAS SEEN AS AN INDICATION OF IMPROVED 
TIES BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES.

MR. FERNANDES HAS A REPUTATION AS A TOUGH-TALKING MINISTER IN 
INDIA'S SIX-WEEK OLD GOVERNMENT.  TWO-WEEKS AGO, MR. FERNANDES 
ACCUSED CHINA OF MILITARY INCURSIONS INTO THE NORTHEASTERN STATE 
OF ARUNCHAL PRADESH -- BUT LATER SOFTENED HIS POSITION AFTER 
PRIME MINISTER VAJPAYEE EXPRESSED UNHAPPINESS, AND CHINA CALLED 
HIS REMARKS UNFOUNDED AND UNFRIENDLY. 

INDIA AND CHINA FOUGHT A BRIEF WAR IN 1962, BUT RELATIONS BETWEEN
THE TWO COUNTRIES HAVE IMPROVED STEADILY IN RECENT YEARS.  BOTH 
COUNTRIES SAY THEY ARE KEEN TO RESOLVE A BORDER DISPUTE THAT 
STILL PERSISTS, AND TENSIONS HAVE EASED ALONG THE DISPUTED 
BORDER.

INDIA HAS ALWAYS MAINTAINED ITS SECURITY CONCERNS EXTEND BEYOND 
NEIGHBORING PAKISTAN.  THE OBVIOUS REFERENCE IS TO CHINA. 

                        /// REST OPT ///

MEANWHILE THE PRESS TRUST OF INDIA REPORTED INDIAN SCIENTISTS 
PLAN TO REVIVE TESTING OF A BALLISTIC MISSILE THAT COULD HIT 
TARGETS DEEP INSIDE CHINA.  DEVELOPMENT WORK ON THE MISSILE WAS 
SUSPENDED AFTER IT WAS LAST TESTED TWO-YEARS AGO.   (SIGNED)

NEB/RAE

03-May-98 1:28 PM EDT (1728 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.