May 14, 1998
The Prime Minister says, the Government will finalise its stand as to what extent and in what manner India can adhere to certain provisions of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, CTBT. Replying to queries by newsmen after the janata darshan at his official residence in New Delhi Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee said, he will hold another meeting today to decide with regard to the CTBT. He parried questions as to how the Government intends to face the sanctions being imposed by the international community following the nuclear tests. AIR correspondent adds that the Government in an official statement had made it clear yesterday that India will consider adhering to some of the undertakings in the CTBT. It also said on Monday, that India will strive towards a truly comprehensive international arrangement prohibiting underground nuclear testing of all weapons and related experiments.
China which had so far restrained from commenting on the nuclear tests carried out by India has now come out with a strong reaction warning New Delhi of serious consequences. The Chinese foreign ministry in a terse statement said the Chinese government is shocked and strongly condemns the tests which will have serious repercussions on peace and stability in South Asia and the world at large. The statement said that allegations by India that Beijing posed a nuclear threat to New Delhi are utterly groundless and is a mere excuse to develop nuclear weapons.
The spiritual head of the Tibetan community the Dalai Lama has on the other hand urged India not to be pressurised by developed nations to halt its nuclear programme. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize said in Madison, USA that with the tests, India has proved that it is no longer an underdeveloped nation and it should have the same access to nuclear weapons as developed countries. Although the Dalai Lama stressed that he continues to work for peace and nuclear disarmament, he said that developed nations should not tell third world countries what do with their weapons.
In Russia, the chief of the communist party, Mr. Gennary Zyuganov, has lauded the series of nuclear tests by India. Praising India at a Duma press meet in Moscow yesterday, Mr. Zyuganov called it a great power with which the world has to reckon with. The official Russian view point has already opposed sanctions against India.
Australia is the latest to join the US, Japan and some other countries to impose sanctions against India. It has suspended all defence contracts and withdrawn non humanitarian aid to protest the nuclear test.
The export bank of the United States has decided to stop issuing new approvals of financing for American export to India. An Exim bank release says the sanctions will immediately affect approximately 500 million dollars of U.S. export to India. However, financing for export transactions to India authorised prior to yesterday will not be affected by the sanctions.
Israel has announced the cancellation of its armed forces chief of staff, General Amnon Shahak's visit to India next week.
The Prime Minister is to hold meeting with other major opposition party leaders also later today.
* * * * * * * * *
Several countries again reacted sharply to the two nuclear tests carried out by India at Pokhran yesterday. While the United States has imposed sanctions on India, Japan, Germany, Sweden and Denmark have either suspended frozen or reduced their aid. However, three major powers, Russia, Britain and France are not in favour of any punitive measures against New Delhi.
President Clinton has imposed a number of economic sanctions. Speaking in Germany, he said, the tests created a new instability in the region. The sanctions would affect US aid and trade with India which is at 7.7 billion dollars in American export and 7.3 billion dollars in Indian imports. Mr.Clinton told newsmen that he is sending a senior diplomat to Pakistan to persuade Islamabad not to conduct its own nuclear tests.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan has said that he is deeply disturbed by the two more nuclear tests carried out yesterday. In a statement, he called for unequivocal assurance from India and all other countries that the international community's norm on nuclear testing and non-proliferation would be adhered to. A UN spokesman said that the Security Council is finalising a statement on the tests.
Japan has suspended its twenty-six million dollar annual grant. It has also threatened to take further punitive measures in response to the second round of nuclear tests. Germany has frozen fresh development aid worth 300 million Deutschmark. Sweden has cut short a three-year aid agreement worth 118 million dollars. Denmark has frozen aid worth 28 million dollars per year.
Russia has said it would not join international sanctions against India. Britain has also ruled out imposition of any immediate sanctions. New Zealand is reportedly considering sanctions. Brazil has also voiced its concern over the test.
The European Union has expressed the view that the tests will threaten regional stability. The South African President, Mr. Nelson Mandela has ruled out punitive action against New Delhi.
China has refrained from making public its reaction to India's second round of nuclear tests. The official machinery appeared to be caught off guard after the Xinhua news agency reported the fresh explosions.
The United States has rejected justifications advanced by India for its nuclear tests. A senior State Department official said this in Washington last night. In his letter to President Clinton, the Prime Minister, Mr. Vajpayee said that India carried out its tests mainly because of the perceived security threats from China and Pakistan. The Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Mr. Karl Inderfurth told a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that India had pointed out to unresolved border problems with China and China's ties with Pakistan. New Delhi also stressed on the continuing hostility of Pakistan and Islamabad's support for terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. In his letter, Mr. Vajpayee assured Washington that India would continue to work with the United States to promote the cause of nuclear disarmament.
The Prime Minister has also written to France, Britain, Russia, Germany, Japan, Bhutan and Mauritius.
"We know that ........ we are prepared".
Mr. Mahajan said, though aid and investment are welcome, they cannot be the basis of the economy.
"Importance of aid in total balance of payment has decreased overtime. The decreasing importance of aid means that we can weather it. Most important question is how will trade flows and private capital will be affected. Now the trade flows should not be affected as I don't think we have violated any international trade law and hence trade sanctions would not be there. As long as our exports continue to do well, we should be able to pay for the imports. If the economy is reviewed and stock market does well, in spite of sanctions, private capital flow should continue.