News


DATE=5/27/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-232845
TITLE=INDIA / NUCLEAR (L)
BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE
DATELINE=NEW DELHI
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  INDIAN PRIME MINISTER ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE GAVE HIS 
OFFICIAL EXPLANATION TO PARLIAMENT WEDNESDAY AS TO WHY HIS 
GOVERNMENT DETONATED FIVE NUCLEAR DEVICES TWO WEEKS AGO.  
V-O-A'S JIM TEEPLE REPORTS FROM THE INDIAN CAPITAL.

TEXT:  ADDRESSING LAWMAKERS IN NEW DELHI, MR. VAJPAYEE SAID THE 
NUCLEAR TESTS WERE A NECESSARY RESPONSE TO A GROWING SECURITY 
THREAT IN THE INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT.

AT THE SAME TIME, MR. VAJPAYEE SAID INDIA IS COMMITTED TO A "NO 
FIRST USE" POLICY ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS, WITH PAKISTAN AS WELL AS 
OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE REGION.  THE PRIME MINISTER TOLD 
PARLIAMENT INDIA'S NUCLEAR CAPABILITY IS STRICTLY DEFENSIVE IN 
NATURE, AND THE TESTS DO  NOT  MEAN INDIA PLANS TO ENGAGE IN A 
FUTURE ARMS RACE WITH ANYONE.  

          ///  OPT VAJPAYEE ACT (QUALITY MARGINAL) ///

         THESE ARE WEAPONS OF SELF-DEFENSE TO ENSURE INDIA IS NOT
         SUBJECTED TO THREAT OR COERCION. 

                /// END ACT ///   /// END OPT ///

THE TESTS SPARKED AN INTERNATIONAL OUTCRY AND THE IMPOSITION OF 
SANCTIONS BY THE UNITED STATES, BUT MOST INDIANS STRONGLY 
SUPPORTED THE TESTS AND CONTINUE TO DO SO.   

SHOPPING AT NEW DELHI'S KHAN MARKET, JYODI DHANDA SAYS SHE STILL 
BELIEVES THE TESTS BROUGHT INDIANS TOGETHER. 

                       ///  DHANDA ACT ///

         I THINK IT DOES CAUSE PEOPLE TO RALLY AROUND PATRIOTISM.
         IT'S A FEELING THAT, WELL, WE'VE DONE IT ON OUR OWN, AND
         I THINK GENERALLY PEOPLE CONTINUE TO FEEL QUITE GOOD 
         ABOUT IT EVEN NOW. 

                         /// END ACT ///

OTHER INDIANS ARE  NOT  SO SURE.  EATING HIS LUNCH IN 46-DEGREE 
HEAT IN NEW DELHI, R-K BHATIA SAYS INDIA'S GOVERNMENT SHOULD 
CONCENTRATE LESS ON EXPLODING NUCLEAR DEVICES AND MORE ON 
PROVIDING BASIC SERVICES.

                       ///  BHATIA ACT ///

         I FEEL VERY HOT, VERY HOT.  I DON'T WANT A BOMB, I WANT 
         ELECTRICITY.  I WANT ELECTRICITY AND WATER, THOSE ARE 
         THE MAIN PROBLEMS IN INDIA NOW.  I DO  NOT  WANT A BOMB.

                         /// END ACT ///

INDIA IS SUFFERING THROUGH A RECORD HEAT WAVE WHICH HAS ALREADY 
CLAIMED NEARLY 200 LIVES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.  FREQUENT POWER 
OUTAGES AND A SHORTAGE OF WATER HAVE LED TO DISTURBANCES IN THE 
CAPITAL.  EARLIER THIS WEEK, INDIAN NEWSPAPERS REPORT, AN OFFICE 
OF THE RULING HINDU NATIONALIST (BHARATIYA JANATA) PARTY WAS 
ATTACKED BY PROTESTERS WHO SAID THE GOVERNMENT IS  NOT  DOING 
ENOUGH TO PROVIDE BASIC SERVICES SUCH AS POWER AND WATER. 

INTERNATIONAL DONORS ARE  NOT  LIKELY TO BE OF MUCH ASSISTANCE, 
AT LEAST IN THE SHORT TERM.  THIS WEEK THE WORLD BANK ANNOUNCED 
IT IS INDEFINITELY POSTPONING APPROVAL OF AN 800-MILLION-DOLLAR 
LOAN TO INDIA -- BECAUSE OF THE NUCLEAR TESTS.  NEARLY HALF OF 
THE MONEY WAS TO BE USED TO UPGRADE INDIA'S POWER GRID. 

                        /// REST OPT ///

THE WORLD BANK'S ACTION -- AND THE INTERNATIONAL RATINGS AGENCY 
STANDARD AND POOR'S MOVE TO DOWNGRADE INDIA'S SOVEREIGN BOND 
RATING, FROM STABLE TO NEGATIVE -- HAS CAUSED A SHARP DROP IN 
VALUE IN THE INDIAN CURRENCY.   (SIGNED) 

NEB/JLT/WTW

27-May-98 7:41 AM EDT (1141 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.