News



      DATE=05/12/98
      TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-10708
     TITLE=INDIA REENTERS THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS CLUB
    BYLINE=ANDREW N. GUTHRIE
 TELEPHONE=619-3335
  DATELINE=WASHINGTON
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS

CONTENT=

INTRO:  THE EXPLOSION OF THREE UNDERGROUND, NUCLEAR DEVICES BY 
INDIA IN THE RAJASTHAN DESERT, NOT FAR FROM THE PAKISTAN BORDER, 
HAS SET OFF A WAVE OF REACTION AROUND THE WORLD.  WE CALL IN 
__________________ NOW FOR A SPECIAL WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP WITH 
AN EARLY SAMPLING.

TEXT:  TO BORROW AN OFT-USED PHRASE FROM THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION,
IT WAS "THE SHOT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD."  WE ARE NOT TALKING 
ABOUT THE EMBATTLED COLONIAL FARMERS GATHERED AT THE CONCORD, 
MASSACHUSETTS, BRIDGE, FACING BRITISH TROOPS.  NO, THIS SHOT WAS 
MONDAY'S / YESTERDAY'S DETONATION OF THREE SEPARATE NUCLEAR 
DEVICES, INCLUDING A HYDROGEN BOMB, IN NORTHWEST INDIA, BARELY 
112 KILOMETERS FROM THE PAKISTANI BRODER.

IT WAS INDIA'S FIRST NUCLEAR TEST IN 23-YEARS AND SENT SHOCK 
WAVES AROUND THE WORLD AS FEW OTHER EVENTS ON THE SUB-CONTINENT 
HAVE SINCE THE DEATH OF RAJIV GANDHI SEVEN-YEARS AGO.

REACTION WAS FAST IN COMING EVERYWHERE. 

                          /// OPT /// 

"THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" BEGINS ITS FRONT PAGE STORY THIS WAY --
INDIA IS HEADING DOWN A DANGEROUS ROAD.  THE COUNTRY'S 
PROVOCATIVE UNDERGROUND TESTS ....SHOW THAT ITS NEW 
HINDU-NATIONALIST-LED GOVERNMENT MEANS BUSINESS WHEN IT SAYS IT 
WANTS TO MAKE INDIA A WORLD POWER.  BUT THE TESTS ALSO ENTAIL 
GRAVE RISKS: DIPLOMATIC WRATH, LIKELY TRADE SANCTIONS AT A TIME 
WHEN THE COUNTRY NEEDS FOREIGN INVESTMENT, POSSIBLE DAMAGE TO 
BUDDING TIES WITH THE U-S, AND A COSTLY AND DEADLY ARMS RACE WITH
CHINA AND PAKISTAN.

WRITING A FRONT PAGE NEWS ANALYSIS IN "THE WASHINGTON POST," R. 
JEFFREY SMITH SAID -- THE SEISMIC WAVES TOOK JUST 20-MINUTES TO 
DISSIPATE IN THE EARTH'S CRUST, BUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE 
EXPLOSIONS WILL PERSIST IN WASHINGTON AND OTHER CAPITALS FOR 
MONTHS IF NOT YEARS.  AND IN "THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR," 
THERE IS THIS QUOTE ON THE FRONT PAGE FROM A U-S CONGRESSIONAL 
ARMS-CONTROL EXPERT, JOHN MEDALIA -- ALL OF A SUDDEN, INDIA HAS 
TOSSED A MATCH ONTO A TANK OF GASOLINE (PETROL).

WITH THOSE REMARKS FROM THE U-S PRESS,  /// END OPT /// HOW IS 
THE WORLD PRESS REACTING?  FOR AN IDEA, WE TURN FIRST TO THE 
NATION AT ISSUE, WHERE THERE IS BOTH PRIDE AND APPREHENSION 
EVIDENT.  HERE IS A BIT OF WHAT NEW DELHI'S "THE PIONEER" HAD TO 
SAY.

VOICE:   INDIA HAS ARRIVED ON THE THRESHOLD OF SUPERPOWER STATUS,
         LITERALLY WITH A BANG.  THE REACTIONS TO THE 
         GOVERNMENT'S STUNNING ACT OF DARE-DEVILRY ARE CERTAIN TO
         FOLLOW PREDICTABLE LINES: THE UNITED STATES WILL 
         THREATEN SANCTIONS; PAKISTAN WILL VOCALLY PROCLAIM 'WE 
         TOLD YOU SO' AND MIGHT SIMULTANEOUSLY TEST-FIRE A FEW 
         MORE GHAURIS, GHAZNAVIS [MISSILES] OR WHATEVER ELSE THE 
         CHINESE HAVE EQUIPPED THEM WITH; CHINA WILL ABANDON ALL 
         PRETENSE TO PEACEFUL, FRIENDLY INTENTIONS TOWARDS US; 
         INDIA'S ALREADY ILLUSORY PROSPECTS OF PROCURING A 
         PERMANENT SEAT IN THE U-N SECURITY COUNCIL WILL RECEDE 
         DEEPER INTO IMPROBABILITY. 

TEXT:  TURNING TO TUESDAY'S [5/12] "HINDU" WE READ:

VOICE:   AS IT GATE-CRASHES INTO THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS CLUB, NEW 
         DELHI IS SIGNALING THAT IT IS READY FOR A NUCLEAR 
         BARGAIN WITH THE UNITED STATES.  THE INDIAN OBJECTIVE IS
         TO LIMIT THE DAMAGE AND ENSURE A MODUS VIVENDI BETWEEN 
         INDIA AND THE INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR ORDER THAT NEW DELHI
         HAS NOW SHAKEN TO THE CORE ... INSTEAD OF SANCTIONS, THE
         UNITED STATES MUST NOW TAKE UP NEW DELHI'S OFFER ON 
         NUCLEAR RESTRAINT AND SEEK TO ACCEPT INDIA AS A FULL 
         PARTNER IN THE GLOBAL NUCLEAR ORDER.  

TEXT:  ALSO IN NEW DELHI. "THE HINDUSTAN TIMES" CALLS THE 
DECISION AN -- AUDACIOUS MOVE, MADE ALL THE MORE STARTLING BY ITS
SUDDENNESS.  AND LASTLY, "THE TIMES OF INDIA"' RAN THIS ANALYSIS 
BY K. SUBRAHMANYAM.D

VOICE:   THIS SHOULD REMIND BOTH THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA THAT
         THE CHINESE PROLIFERATION ACTIVITY IS OF UTMOST CONCERN 
         FOR INDIA ... GOOD SENSE SHOULD NOW PREVAIL.  WITH THESE
         THREE TESTS, INDIA HAS BECOME AN IRREVERSIBLE NUCLEAR 
         WEAPON STATE AND THE OTHER NUCLEAR POWERS HAVE TO 
         RECONCILE THEMSELVES TO IT ... WHATEVER BE THE IMMEDIATE
         SHORT-TERM RESPONSES, IN THE LONG RUN INDIA WILL BE 
         TREATED WITH RESPECT.

TEXT:  ACROSS THE BORDER, IN ARCH RIVAL, AND PREDOMINANTLY-MUSLIM
PAKISTAN, NEWS OF THE THREE NUCLEAR TESTS WAS VIRTUALLY THE ONLY 
STORY ON THE FRONT PAGES OF PAKISTAN'S DAILY PAPERS TUESDAY.  
ASIDE FROM THE HARD NEWS STORY OF THE BLASTS, COMMENTS INCLUDED 
THOSE FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT, THE WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN, AND 
U-S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SANDY BERGER.  SO FAR, THERE HAVE  
NOT  BEEN EDITORIAL OR COLUMNIST REACTIONS TO THE EVENTS.  /// 
OPT ///  HOWEVER PESHAWAR'S "FRONTIER POST" RAN THIS EDITORIAL 
TUESDAY (5/12):

VOICE:   CLEARLY A HEAVY AGENDA AWAITS THE U-S PRESIDENT [ON HIS 
         FORTHCOMING VISIT TO SOUTH ASIA.]  THE PRIMARY FOCUS OF 
         HIS CONCERN DURING THE TEN-DAY TOUR WILL BE KASHMIR, 
         AFGHANISTAN, NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION AND THE MISSILE RACE 
         ... THREATENING TO OVERTAKE SOUTH ASIA.  A STRONG 
         PERCEPTION HAS GROWN LATELY ... (THAT) THIS SPURT IN U-S
         DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITY BEING PRIMARILY AIMED AT BOTTLING 
         BACK THE NUCLEAR GENIE THAT IS THREATENING TO CAST ITS 
         SPELL OVER THE REGION AND BEYOND ... IN SHORT, IT IS 
         ONLY THE DAWN OF NUCLEAR-CUM-MISSILE AGE IN SOUTH ASIA 
         THAT SEEMS TO HAVE ... SHAKEN (WASHINGTON) OUT OF ITS 
         EQUANIMITY. 

                         /// END OPT ///

TEXT:  TO THE EAST, IN TOKYO, JAPAN'S BUSINESS-ORIENTED "NIHON 
KEIZAI" HAD THIS TO SAY:

VOICE:   THE TESTS NOT ONLY WILL DRAW STRONG REACTIONS FROM CHINA
         AND OTHER NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES, BUT WILL ACCELERATE AN 
         ARMS BUILDUP RACE IN THE WHOLE OF ASIA.  THE U-S 
         GOVERNMENT, TAKING A SERIOUS VIEW OF INDIA'S NUCLEAR 
         TESTING, BEGAN STUDYING WHETHER IT SHOULD IMPOSE 
         ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST THE COUNTRY ... INDIA'S 
         NUCLEAR TESTS BROUGHT A GROWING SENSE OF UNCERTAINTY TO 
         THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION.

TEXT:  IN NEARBY SOUTH KOREA, SEOUL'S "CHOSUN ILBO" NOTED:

VOICE:   INDIA'S NUCLEAR TESTING HAS SENT SHOCK WAVES THROUGH THE
         INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.  WHAT WORRIES US MOST IS 
         PAKISTAN'S RESPONSE ... IT SEEMS THAT THE SECURITY OF 
         ALL ... SOUTH ASIA HAS BEEN THREATENED. 

TEXT:  IN EUROPE, "THE TIMES" OF LONDON WORRIED:

VOICE:   A NUCLEAR AND MISSILE ARMS RACE IS NOW FIRMLY UNDERWAY 
         BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN -- POLITICALLY UNSTABLE 
         COUNTRIES THAT HAVE FOUGHT THREE WARS AND COULD EASILY 
         SLIDE INTO A FOURTH. 

TEXT:  LONDON'S WELL-KNOWN PINK PAPER, "THE FINANCIAL TIMES" 
CALLED THE TEST -- DANGEROUS AND FOOLISH IN EQUAL PROPORTION -- 
WHILE "THE GUARDIAN" SAID:

VOICE:   INDIA HAS EXPLODED THREE NUCLEAR DEVICES FOR MUDDLED 
         REASONS TO DO WITH NATIONALISM, THE EXIGENCIES OF 
         INTERNAL POLITICS, AND INTERNATIONAL PRESTIGE.  THE MOST
         BENIGN EXPLANATION IS THAT NEW DELHI IS SIGNALING THAT 
         IT CAN FROM NOW ON MAINTAIN AN ADVANCED NUCLEAR 
         CAPABILITY BY MEANS OTHER THAN TESTING, AND THAT IT WILL
         SOON SIGN THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY.  /// OPT 
         /// ... IN DEALING WITH NEW DELHI, ONE PROBLEM WILL BE 
         THAT THE UNITED STATES IS COMMITTED TO SANCTIONS AGAINST
         STATES WHICH TEST, A COURSE WHICH MIGHT BE 
         COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE IN THE INDIAN CASE. /// END OPT ///

TEXT:  ACROSS THE CHANNEL, IN PARIS, "LE FIGARO" ASSESSED THINGS 
THIS WAY:

VOICE:   .... INDIA IS OPENLY DISPLAYING ITS STATUS AS A NUCLEAR 
         POWER ... INDIA'S FEAR OF PAKISTAN IS NOT IMAGINARY: 
         PAKISTAN HAS THE NUCLEAR CAPABILITY OF HITTING THE 
         INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ... BUT THE REAL THREAT, AS FAR AS 
         INDIA IS CONCERNED, IS NOT PAKISTAN BUT CHINA ... TAKEN 
         OFF GUARD, U-S DIPLOMACY SEEMS TO BE ONCE AGAIN 
         IMPOTENT.  

TEXT:  IN GERMANY'S FINANCIAL CENTER, "THE FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE
ZEITUNG" RAN THIS FRONT PAGE EDITORIAL:

VOICE:   INDIA IS NOW RISKING ITS RELATIONS WITH ITS ASIAN 
         NEIGHBORS AND IS ALSO RUNNING THE RISK OF BEING FOOTED 
         WITH A NUCLEAR COUNTER BILL ... IT WOULD BE A MIRACLE IF
         PAKISTAN DID NOT CONSIDER THIS STEP A MILITARY THREAT TO
         WHICH IT MUST FIND AN ANSWER ...  /// OPT ///  PRIME 
         MINISTER VAJPAYEE ... WAS MAINLY PRESSURED BY DEFENSE 
         MINISTER FERNANDES, A POLITICAL HOTHEAD WITH A SOCIALIST
         BACKGROUND WHO FOCUSED LESS OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS ON 
         PAKISTAN THAN ON CHINA'S ALLEGED NUCLEAR THREAT TO 
         INDIA'S SECURITY.  /// END OPT /// ... IT IS DEVASTATING
         FOR THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WHAT HAS NOW HAPPENED IN
         THE DESERT OF RAJASTAN. 

TEXT:  IN SPAIN, BARCELONA'S "LA VANGUARDIA" CALLS THE TESTS -- 
BAD AND WORRYING NEWS THAT THREATENS TO UNLEASH AN ARMS RACE WITH
... PAKISTAN -- WHILE FAR TO THE NORTH, IN DENMARK, COPENHAGEN'S 
"BERLINGSKE TIDENDE" RAN THIS EDITORIAL.

VOICE:   DENMARK MUST RE-CONSIDER ITS POLICIES TOWARDS INDIA 
         FOLLOWING THE ... TESTS. ... DENMARK OUGHT TO CONSIDER 
         FREEZING ITS FOREIGN AID TO INDIA, EVEN THOUGH IT IS 
         ALWAYS A HARD DECISION TO CUT AID TO A COUNTRY IN NEED 
         ... INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE TO STOP NUCLEAR TESTING HAS 
         BEEN PUT ON BOTH CHINA AND FRANCE.  NOW WE MUST WORK 
         HARD TO STOP INDIA BECOMING A NEW NUCLEAR POWER.

TEXT:  WITH THAT THOUGHT FROM ONE OF DENMARK'S LARGEST DAILIES, 
WE CONCLUDE THIS EXTRA EDITION OF WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP ABOUT THE
NEWS OF THREE NEW INDIAN NUCLEAR TESTS.

NEB/ANG/RAE

12-May-98 2:09 PM EDT (1809 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.