News



      DATE=05/12/98
      TYPE=U-S U-S OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-10709
     TITLE=THE (INDIAN NUCLEAR) SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD       
 
    BYLINE=ANDREW N. GUTHRIE
 TELEPHONE=619-3335
  DATELINE=WASHINGTON
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS

CONTENT=

INTRO:  THE UNITED STATES PRESS HAS BEEN QUICK TO RESPOND TO 
MONDAY'S STARTLING ANNOUNCEMENT THAT INDIA HAD EXPLODED A TRIO OF
UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR BOMBS, INCLUDING A HYDROGEN BOMB, NOT FAR 
FROM THE PAKISTANI BORDER.

ALTHOUGH THE NEWS WAS SO SIGNIFICANT THAT MANY PAPERS DECIDED TO 
TAKE A DAY TO TOTALLY DIGEST AND WEIGH ITS  SIGNIFICANCE, THERE  
ARE   SEVERAL EARLY REACTIONS, AND ________________ JOINS US NOW 
WITH A SAMPLING IN TODAY'S U-S OPINION ROUNDUP.    

TEXT:  NOT OFTEN, SINCE A SMALL BAND OF COLONIAL FARMERS STOOD ON
THE BRIDGE AT CONCORD, MASSACHUSETTS, AND FACED THE BRITISH RED 
COATED ARMY, PRIOR TO THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR, HAS THIS 
PHRASE BEEN SO APPROPRIATE.

IT WAS - -  "THE SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD" ALL RIGHT.  BUT THIS
"SHOT" WAS ACTUALLY A SERIES OF THREE, SIMULTANEOUS, NUCLEAR, 
UNDERGROUND EXPLOSIONS THAT RUMBLED THROUGH THE DESERT IN FAR-OFF
RAJASTHAN STATE MONDAY, THE FIRST NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS IN INDIA 
SINCE 1974.  

IT SET OFF AN UNPRECEDENTED ROUND OF ANALYSIS AND COMMENT IN THE 
UNITED STATES PRESS..  "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," ONE FINDS 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)."  

TURNING NOW TO THE    E D I T O R I A L    PAGES OF SOME OF THE 
NATION'S DAILIES, WE BEGIN FAR OUT IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN.   ON THE
ISLAND STATE OF HAWAII, THE "HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN" WORRIES:

VOICE:   THE WORLD HAS SUDDENLY BECOME A MORE DANGEROUS PLACE 
         WITH INDIA'S ..... TEST EXPLOSIONS.  CHINA AND FRANCE 
         CONDUCTED NUCLEAR TESTS IN RECENT YEARS, BUT NEITHER IS 
         LIKELY TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN ANY CURRENT DISPUTE.  
         INDIA AND PAKISTAN HAVE FOUGHT THREE WARS, AND THE 
         THREAT OF WAR BETWEEN THEM IS NEVER VERY REMOTE.  THE 
         NEXT ONE COULD BE NUCLEAR.  THE BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY 
         TOOK OFFICE IN MARCH DECLARING THAT INDIA WOULD TAKE ALL
         STEPS TO PROTECT ITS TERRITORY, INCLUDING BUILDING 
         NUCLEAR WEAPONS, TO COUNTER ADVENTURISM BY PAKISTAN.  
         THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE TEST EXPLOSIONS  - -  THE FIRST 
         BY INDIA SINCE 1974 - -  CONTAINED THE FIRST 
         CONFIRMATION THAT THE GOVERNMENT NOW HAS THE ABILITY TO 
         BUILD SUCH WEAPONS.   ..... THE VICTORY OF THE HINDU 
         NATIONALIST BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY IN INDIA HAS ADDED A 
         DESTABILIZING ELEMENT TO THE FRAGILE PEACE BETWEEN INDIA
         AND PAKISTAN.  WASHINGTON MUST USE ITS INFLUENCE WITH 
         BOTH COUNTRIES TO PREVENT THE POTENTIAL FOR NUCLEAR WAR 
         FROM BECOMING REALITY.

TEXT:   MORE THAN FOUR-THOUSAND KILOMETERS AWAY, THE LEAD 
HEADLINE IN LONG ISLAND'S "NEWSDAY" ON TUESDAY [5/12] 
READS:"INDIA'S BIG BANG," AND THE SUB HEADLINE CONTINUES: "THE 
NEW GOVERNMENT WAS MOST UNWISE TO TEST NUKES; NOW SANCTIONS MUST 
BE APPLIED."

VOICE:   WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE THEY THINKING?  INDIAN LEADERS' 
         DECISION TO EXPLODE THREE NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN UNDERGROUND
         TESTS YESTERDAY WAS PROVOCATIVE, RECKLESS, AND 
         INCREDIBLY STUPID.  ...THE UNITED STATES WILL HAVE NO 
         CHOICE BUT TO RETALIATE WITH THE STIFF SANCTIONS 
         DEMANDED BY LAW: AN IMMEDIATE CUTOFF OF ECONOMIC AND 
         MILITARY AID AND A FREEZE ON LOANS BY INTERNATIONAL 
         LENDING INSTITUTIONS. ... WORTH MONITORING WILL BE THE 
         REACTIONS OF THE RUSSIAN AND CHINESE GOVERNMENTS. 
         ...NONE OF THIS BODES WELL.  THE TESTS ARE PARTICULARLY 
         DISTRESSING BECAUSE THEY WERE GRATUITOUS -- AN ABSURD 
         MOVE MOTIVATED IN ALL LIKELIHOOD, BY INDIA'S CHAOTIC 
         DOMESTIC POLITICS. 

TEXT:  "THE SUN" IN BALTIMORE IS ALSO CONCERNED, AS IT TRIES TO 
ANALYZE THE MOTIVE BEHIND THE BLASTS.

VOICE:   STRATEGICALLY, INDIA'S EXPLOSION OF THREE NUCLEAR 
         DEVICES BENEATH THE DESERT NEAR PAKISTAN... IS AIMED AT 
         A STRONGER CHINA.  THE TWO FOUGHT IN 1962 NEAR THEIR 
         HIMALAYAN BORDERS WHEN NEITHER WAS NUCLEAR.  NOW CHINA 
         IS DEVELOPING ITS MILITARY CAPABILITIES RAPIDLY, AND ITS
         GROWING NAVAL CAPABILITIES DISTURB INDIA.  
         DIPLOMATICALLY, INDIA'S MUSCLE-FLEXING IS AIMED MORE AT 
         PAKISTAN, THE WEAKER NEIGHBOR THAT UNDERMINES INDIA'S 
         RULE IN DISPUTED KASHMIR AND JAMMU.  ...FOR MUCH OF 
         INDIA'S TECHNOLOGY SECTOR, THE TESTS ARE A WELCOME 
         DISPLAY OF NATIONAL PROWESS.  BUT INDIA'S FIRST TESTING 
         SINCE 1974 OF MORE SOPHISTICATED DEVICES IS 
         DESTABILIZING.  IT COULD PANIC PAKISTAN INTO OPEN 
         COMPETITION. 

TEXT:  IN CALIFORNIA, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES" CALLS THE MOVE 
PLAYING "WITH NUCLEAR FIRE." 

VOICE:   INDIA'S NEW GOVERNMENT TOOK POWER TWO MONTHS AGO WITH A 
         HARD FOREIGN POLICY LINE, INCLUDING THE APPALLING THREAT
         TO DEVELOP NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  EVEN MORE SHOCKING WAS 
         MONDAY'S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THREE UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR 
         DEVICES HAD BEEN DETONATED ... MONDAY'S EXPLOSIONS 
         ...RAISE THE STAKES AGAIN IN SOUTH ASIA, A RESTIVE 
         REGION LONG CONSIDERED VULNERABLE TO NUCLEAR WAR.  
         PAKISTAN, PREDICTABLY, PLEDGED TO TAKE 'ALL APPROPRIATE 
         MEASURES FOR ITS SECURITY.'  NUCLEAR EXPERTS BELIEVE 
         ...THE ISLAMABAD REGIME IS CAPABLE OF ASSEMBLING A 
         NUCLEAR WEAPON ON SHORT NOTICE.  CHINA, WHICH FOUGHT A 
         WAR WITH INDIA IN 1962, OBVIOUSLY MUST BE CONCERNED BY 
         MONDAY'S NEWS. 

TEXT:  WITH THOSE THOUGHTS FROM "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES," WE 
CONCLUDE THIS SAMPLING OF    EARLY    EDITORIAL REACTION TO 
INDIA'S NUCLEAR TESTS ANNOUNCED MONDAY. (SIGNED)



NEB/ANG/PT 

12-May-98 5:40 PM EDT (2140 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
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