News



DATE=5/14/98
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
NUMBER=5-40381
TITLE=INDIA NUCLEAR-STUDENTS
BYLINE=DOUGLAS BAKSHIAN
DATELINE=NEW DELHI
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:

INTRO:  AS INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION OF INDIA'S NUCLEAR TESTS 
POURS IN, INDIANS ARE HAILING THE EVENT AS A SPECTACULAR 
ACHIEVEMENT.  THE WHOLE COUNTRY IS TALKING ABOUT THE NUCLEAR 
BLASTS, DOWN TO THE LEVEL OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS.  
CORRESPONDENT DOUGLAS BAKSHIAN VISITS A SCHOOL IN NEW DELHI TO 
HEAR FROM YOUNG INDIANS.   

                       /// BELL RINGS /// 

TEXT:  AS THE BELL SIGNALS THE END TO ANOTHER DAY OF CLASSES, AT 
THE SPRINGDALES SCHOOL, THE DEBATE ON INDIA'S NUCLEAR POLICY IS 
JUST BEGINNING.

STUDENTS ARE OUTSPOKEN ABOUT THEIR COUNTRY'S NEED FOR SECURITY 
AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  THEY SAY THE NUCLEAR TESTS ARE A BIG STEP 
FORWARD FOR INDIA, AND THE ACTION MADE THE STUDENTS FEEL PROUD 
ABOUT BEING INDIAN.  

SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD NATASHA KHULLAR SAYS INDIA DESERVES THE RIGHT TO
TEST NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

                       //  KHULLAR ACT // 

 I WAS PROUD ABOUT MY NATION.  I WAS PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN 
BECAUSE THE U-S-A HAS HAD SIX-THOUSAND NUCLEAR WARHEADS, RUSSIA 
SIX-THOUSAND, THEY HAVE ALREADY HAD 12-HUNDRED NUCLEAR TESTS.  WE
HAVE JUST HAD ONE SO FAR, AND HAVING ANOTHER FIVE, I DO NOT THINK
IT IS A BIG DEAL.  WE DESERVE IT.  OUR GOVERNMENT OWES IT TO US. 
THEY OWE US THE SECURITY.

                         //  END ACT //

AT THE SAME TIME NATASHA SAYS IF NUCLEAR WEAPONS ARE USED ON A 
WIDE SCALE, THE WORLD WILL COME TO AN END.  SHE ADMITS THAT WITH 
INDIA POSSESSING NUCLEAR WEAPONS, THE GLOBE IS LESS STABLE.

                       //  KHULLAR ACT // 

 DEFINITELY LESS STABLE BECAUSE WE ARE AN INDEPENDENT NATION AND 
NOW EVEN WE HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  SO IF THERE IS A NUCLEAR WAR, 
DEFINITELY IT IS NOT AS STABLE AS IT WAS BECAUSE COUNTRIES LIKE 
CHINA AND PAKISTAN, THEY ALL HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND IF THERE 
WAS A NUCLEAR WAR -- INITIALLY IT WOULD BE ONE-SIDED.  BUT NOW 
INDIA HAS PROVED TAHT IT WILL NOT BE.  SO OBVIOUSLY THE STABILITY
IS REDUCED.

                          // END ACT //

FOR 17-YEAR-OLD SAHIL SANGHA SECURITY IS A TOP PRIORITY.  HE SAYS
AN INDIA WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAN BETTER DEFEND ITSELF FROM 
OUTSIDE THREATS.  HE SAYS THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE INDIAN 
PEOPLE.

                       /// SANGHA ACT /// 

 IT IS JUST A QUESTION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT FOR THE INDIAN 
PEOPLE TO LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS TOO. WE ARE
NOT  FOR NUCLEAR WARFARE.  BUT AS FAR AS PROTECTION IS CONCERNED,
WHY NOT?  I THINK EVERY COUNTRY DESERVES A CHANCE TO FEEL 
PROTECTED, TO FEEL SECURE, YOU OWE IT TO THE CITIZENS OF INDIA.  
LET THEM FEEL SECURE, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?  

                         /// END ACT ///

INDIA IS KNOWN TO MANY AS THE LAND OF MAHATMA GANDHI, THE 
LEGENDARY FIGURE OF NON-VIOLENCE, WHO WON INDEPENDENCE FOR THE 
NATION THROUGH PEACEFUL RESISTANCE TO BRITISH RULE.  BUT THE 
STUDENTS SAY MR. GANDHI'S PHILOSOPHY DOES  NOT  APPLY IN MODERN 
TIMES. 

SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD ABHISHEK KAICKER SAYS INDIA'S BORDER WAR WITH 
CHINA IN THE 1960'S WAS A BITTER LESSON.

                      /// KAICKER ACT /// 

 AFTER 1962 (BORDER WAR WITH CHINA) A NEW ERA BEGAN, A NEW ERA OF
NATIONAL SECURITY,  NOT  WORLD PEACE.  WE HAVE LEARNED OUR LESSON
VERY HARSHLY, AND I DO NOT THINK WE CAN FORGET IT.  GANDHI IS ALL
VERY WELL BUT WE HAVE TO SEE DOES HE APPLY TO TODAY, DOES HE 
APPLY WHEN THE CHINESE HAVE PLACED LISTENING DEVICES IN COCO, IN 
THE COCO ISLANDS (OFF BURMA)?  DOES HE APPLY WHEN THE PAKISTANIS 
HAVE GAUHRI MISSILES NAMED AFTER THE 12TH CENTURY INVADER?

                         /// END ACT ///

ABHISHEK SAYS THE EXISTENCE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IS REGRETTABLE, 
BUT IT IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE MUST LEARN TO LIVE WITH.  HE SAYS
WHEN HE FIRST HEARD ABOUT INDIA'S NUCLEAR TESTS, HE WAS HAPPY 
THAT HIS COUNTRY HAD TAKEN SUCH A BOLD STEP.  BUT HE SAYS HE ALSO
FELT A LITTLE SADNESS WHEN HE THOUGHT ABOUT THE DEPLOYMENT OF 
NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

                       /// BELL RINGS ///

ALTHOUGH THERE IS EXCITEMENT IN THE AIR, MANY STUDENTS HOPE THE 
DAY WILL NEVER COME WHEN THE SCHOOL BELL IS TURNED INTO AN ALARM 
ANNOUNCING A NUCLEAR ATTACK.   (SIGNED)

NEB/RAE

14-May-98 9:23 AM EDT (1323 UTC)
NNNN

Source: Voice of America
.