News

May 14, 1998

INDIA CROSSES 'NUCLEAR RUBICON'--WILL ARMS RACE FOLLOW?

Editorialists around the world reacted with surprise, shock and no small amount of dismay to the news that India had, on Monday, carried out three underground nuclear tests in the desert of Rajasthan near the Pakistani border--followed by two additional detonations early Wednesday morning. The tests, the first that have been carried out by India since 1974, ushered India into the "exclusive club" of declared nuclear states--a status formerly reserved for the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China. In strongly worded editorials, observers in all quarters judged that India's actions would unleash a dangerous arms race on the Indian subcontinent, and beyond. Joining the many other commentators who decried the Indian tests as a "stupid and dangerous exercise," Toronto's leading Globe and Mail stressed: "An Indian bomb is destabilizing, unnecessary, misguided and dangerous.... A nuclear India spells a nuclear Pakistan, and Pakistan's eastern neighbor is Iran. You see where this is going." Writers from Asia, Europe, and Latin America urged the global community to voice its "strong disapproval" of India's weapons testing, with many endorsing the U.S. move to impose sanctions on India. Munich's centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung asserted: "President Clinton reacted to the Indian nuclear tests with the only right answer: He imposed sanctions." Turin's centrist La Stampa likewise headlined that the "correct response" to "New Delhi's double slap" was to impose sanctions. Others, however, pointed out that Russia and France might dampen the move toward sanctions by proffering only "verbal condemnation" of India. Following are highlights of the commentary:

INDIA: 'EXPLOSION OF SELF-ESTEEM'--Very few voices dissented from the dominant view in the Indian media that the country's leaders had done "the right thing" in carrying out the "surprise" nuclear tests. For the most part, pundits welcomed their government's "audacious move," asserted India's right to arm itself as it pleased, and pooh-poohed the threat of sanctions. Many Indian columnists maintained that India's burgeoning market would give it leverage with "the West." The centrist Hindu best summed up that view, saying: "With its large market, India may be in a position to pre-empt the possibilities of a major coordinated move among the great powers to collectively punish it." That paper and others also called for "confidence-building measures" with China and Pakistan.

'ALL EYES' ON PAKISTAN'S RESPONSE--Pakistan's response to the nuclear tests was hotly debated in many quarters, not least in Pakistan itself. Most outside observers were convinced that Pakistan would certainly respond "in kind." And, although many Pakistani opinion-makers also subscribed to that view, a substantial number contended that India's neighbor should refrain from "being provoked" into conducting its own nuclear explosion. To do so, argued leading, Urdu-language Jang and others, "would turn world opinion against us...and would harm us much more than India."

This survey is based on 95 reports from 34 countries, May 12 - 14.

EDITOR: Kathleen J. Brahney

To Go Directly To Quotes By Region, Click Below

|  EUROPE  |    |  MIDDLE EAST  |    |  EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC  |    |  SOUTH ASIA  |    |  AFRICA  |   

|  LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN  |

SOUTH ASIA

INDIA: "India Rubs It In With Two More Blasts"

The BJP Government's defiance of world opinion by conducting two more nuclear tests on Wednesday overshadowed President Bill Clinton's imposition of "tough economic sanctions" on India on the front pages of all national dailies (5/14). Although most banner headlines were fairly straightforward, there were a few strident exceptions, like the one above in the pro-Congress Party Observer of Business and Politics. Virtually all editorial commentary continued to support the Indian government's decision.

"In For A Penny"

An editorial (5/14) in the right-of-center Indian Express said: "The two further nuclear tests at Pokharan on Wednesday give a clear enough indication that the government's mind is working in the right direction. The signal is heartening, and the tests are to be welcomed. It seems almost certain that the government wants to go ahead and sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty--when it is good and ready."

"Damage Control"

According to the editorial (5/14) in the pro-economic reforms Economic Times: "By conducting another set of tests, the government has signalled that it refuses to be cowed down by threats of sanctions by foreign powers.... As far as external reactions are concerned, the first set of tests have already wrought most of the possible damage. The incremental damage from additional tests would not be much.... Having conducted the tests, the energies of the government must be directed towards minimizing the damage.... India's behavior must leave room for the nations imposing sanctions to wiggle out of this hostile posture.... This goes beyond stating a willingness to join the CTBT, and calls for maturity of language and conduct not only on the diplomatic front but also by politicians at home."

"Dissenting View"

The nationalist Hindustan Times ran this opinion (5/14) by academic Achin Vanaik: "India's bomb tests are morally shameful and politically foolish.... (The tests) unleash a political dynamic which is outside India's control and whose ultimate end cannot yet be forecast. More precisely, there will now be tremendous domestic pressure on Pakistan to carry out its own test in retaliation.... Once this happens...the regional nuclear arms race will begin."

"India's Compulsions"

An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan Times insisted (5/14): "The United States and its allies would do well to ponder over the compulsions which made India take the decisive step. One of these is the virtually unstinted help which Pakistan has received, mainly from the United States and also to a large extent from China, in pursuing an uninhibited policy of belligerence toward India.... The central point of both the American and Chinese attitude was to build up Pakistan as a counter to India, whose democracy was an embarrassment to Beijing and whose independent spirit was an irritation to Washington from the non-aligned days."

"Test Of Nerves"

The centrist Times of India's editorial stated (5/14): "Given the hypocrisy which governs U.S. policy on nuclear matters, the imposition of limited sanctions against India was only to be expected.... No country has the right to dictate to another what policies it can and cannot follow.... The U.S. move needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms."

"Coping With Sanctions"

Strategic affairs editor C. Raja Mohan recommended in the centrist Hindu (5/14): "Preventing the unity of the great powers should then be an important component of India's strategy. There may be some hope on this front, particularly in the wake of the French reaction to the Indian test.... With its large market, India may be in a position to pre-empt the possibilities of a major coordinated move among the great powers to collectively punish it.... India must (also) quickly communicate to...its two nuclear neighbors, China and Pakistan, that it is prepared for extensive engagement on arms control and military confidence-building in both conventional and nuclear fields."

"Test Of Aplomb"

The centrist Pioneer declared (5/14): "Atal Bihari Vajpayee's administration appears to have accomplished the impossible in keeping both tests a closely guarded secret. That the multi-million dollar U.S. spy in the sky too failed to detect preparations is an added source of comfort."

"After Pokharan-II"

Pundit K. Subrahmanyam's analysis in the pro-economic-reforms Economic Times held (5/14): "Our allies in this game are the multinationals looking for big business opportunities in India. Our strategy should aim at interesting as many of them as possible in investments and trade in this country.... Once there is clear realization in the United States and the West that their pressure tactics would not work, they will understand the futility of their stand."

"Worthy Of Congratulation"

The above headline led readers of the independent Urdu-language Milap to this editorial (5/13): "Recent nuclear tests were necessitated by several security-related developments in the region which have begun showing ominous signs and doubts about India's capability to defend itself effectively.... One can easily anticipate the strongest reaction from the self-styled world policeman, the United States. With its own history of 1,200 nuclear tests, the United States has no ground on which to lecture India on the subject of peace.... As for sanctions, the United States is free to do whatever it may like. However, it should also know that the projectiles aimed at others do also boomerang."

"Welcome India, Do No Isolate It"

In the editorial opinion (5/13) of the centrist Asian Age: "Washington will be tempted toward punishment in its initial reactions, if only to send a signal to other threshold states. But wisdom will lie in squeezing a solution out of what has happened. India is now ready to join the rest of the world on the nuclear issue. The rest of the world should welcome India, not isolate it."

"Time For Real Confidence Measures"

K. Subrahmanyam wrote (5/13) in the pro-economic reforms Economic Times, "Now that the Indian bomb is out of the closet and the Pakistani will follow suit, there are reasonable chances of India, China and Pakistan concluding a mutual no-first-use agreement and initiating real confidence-building measures."

"How To Limit Sanctions"

An editorial (5/13) in the pro-economic reforms Economic Times held: "In time, the furor will die down. Remember that Tiananmen Square did not mean the end of China's globalization.

"The main aim of India's policy now must be to reduce the strength and duration of these economic penalties.... The U.S. administration is not keen on really tough sanctions, as mandated by U.S. law. The administration sees India as a great potential investment and trade partner, and would like to find a way round mandated sanctions if possible. India must give it room for maneuver by proposing to sign the CTBT.... Enough of muscle flexing: It is now time for diplomacy."

"U.S. Threats Don't Mean Anything"

Nationalist Jansatta Hindi front-paged this analysis (5/13), "There is no need to get unduly worried about U.S. threats to India, for American memory is short-lived and for them India is a big market."

"Explosion Of Self-Esteem"

The centrist Pioneer had this comment (5/12) by editor Chandan Mitra: "(India's) first successful explosion at Pokhran in 1974 has acquired a new, symbolic meaning today. India has arrived on the threshold of superpower status, literally with a bang."

"A Moment Of Pride"

Under the above headline, the nationalist Hindustan Times' lead editorial declared (5/12): "Twenty-four years after India took the first step on the road to nuclear power and then inexplicably retreated into the policy of ambiguity, the decision to conduct a fresh series of tests on Monday denoted a bold and even audacious move, made all the more startling by its suddenness. The 'smiling Buddha' of 1974 has now blossomed into a new assertion of the country's right to arm itself in a manner which it believes is best suited to its security interests."

"Nuclear Shadow"

The pro-economic-reforms Business Standard had this view (5/12): "The decision of the [shaky] coalition led by the BJP to set off, not one but three, underground nuclear explosions...could turn out to be a rather ill considered one.... Only the hopelessly naive will believe that they will not have an impact on world opinion and that India may not be isolated in a number of important ways."

"A Surprise Test"

Academic G. Balachandran maintained in the pro-economic reforms Economic Times (5/12): "All in all the tests are a welcome development in strengthening India's national security."

"Nuclear Equality Best Way To Stop Nuclear Wars"

The centrist, Hindi-language Navbharat Times front-paged this editorial comment (5/12): "The whole nation should throw its weight behind the Bharatiya Janata Party government for taking this bold and much-needed step. Till such time as there is even one nuclear weapon in this world, no one has the right to stop India from making its own. By taking this step, India has shown great courage, not to mention its scientific and technological might."

"Who Cares About External Pressures?"

Under the above headline, pro-nationalist Hindustan front-paged this (5/12): "Our defense scientists and the BJP leadership need to be patted on their backs for taking this bold step."

PAKISTAN: "India Tests Again!"

Press reaction (5/14) reflected in the daily headlines was almost uniform in depicting India as "defiant" in conducting two additional tests in the face of international condemnation and the threat of U.S. sanctions. The front pages of all newspapers carried news of the imposition of sanctions by President Clinton as well as the responses from Pakistani officials that sanctions may well not be enough, and calls from various political figures--including former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto--for a Pakistani response in kind. In the wake of yesterday afternoon's additional tests, the call for a Pakistani response to the India tests was stronger than earlier in the week, with the Urdu-language press again slightly more vehement in the language of its comments. There were still, in both English- and Urdu-language dailies, voices urging a restrained response in Pakistan's own best interests."

"Fallout From India's Explosion"

The center-right Nation's editorial stated (5/14): "It is ironic that a large part of the United States' concern is still focused on Pakistan's reaction to India's explosions rather than concentrating on the implications for regional and global security of New Delhi's actions."

"Irresistible Pressure"

An op-ed by Hamid Alvi in Islamabad's rightist Pakistan Observer stressed (5/14): "The mood of the nation is to go for it whatever the cost. The people no longer favor restraint as practiced in the past under Western pressure."

"U.S. Credentials Tested"

The Peshawar-based independent Frontier Post held (5/14): "As expected, the United States is now pressuring Pakistan to show restraint in the face of nuclear tests by India.... Under the circumstances, it (is) tempting for Pakistan to do exactly what the Indians have done: Explode a nuclear device and then say it is ready to sign the CTBT. If the world accepts this hypocrisy, then why not go ahead with it and secure a tremendous advantage?"

"Trying Times"

An op-ed by Imtiaz Alam asked in the centrist News (5/14): "Should Pakistan follow suit and explode its matching nuclear device, as being encouraged by the cunning Indian hawks and demanded by a cross-section of people at home, and share with India wide-ranging sanctions it can least afford for violating non-proliferation regime? Or should it let nuclear India be damned all alone?"

"Proceed With Caution"

Leading, top-circulation, Urdu-language Jang remarked (5/14): "It is most satisfying for Pakistan that this time, the world community has not downplayed India's intransigence...and Pakistan has not been left alone to shed tears over India. However, against the background of the current world reaction, there are questions on which Pakistan must display a cautious and even positive approach.... As with Israel... in our case, too, no one doubts that Pakistan has the nuclear capability.... Even if we did prove our nuclear capability, it would not benefit us in any sunstantial way. This much, however, is certain: world opinion, which at present is opposed to India, would turn against us as well, and this would harm us much more than India."

"Best Response To Indian Explosions"

An editorial in leading, mass-circulation, Urdu-language Jang (5/13) concluded, "(The United States) is only interested in keeping nuclear technology out of the Muslim world because it cannot tolerate the notion of any Muslim country acquiring nuclear technology. That is why it is only Muslim countries like Pakistan, Libya, Iran, Iraq that eventually become the targets of the U.S. sanctions."

"U.S., West Encouraging India"

Popular, Urdu-language Ausaf held (5/13): "We think that the May 11 nuclear explosion in Rajasthan has caused the United States neither any anxieties nor has it truly surprised any other Western country. These countries themselves have been providing nuclear assistance to India for the last oh-so many years. China, the superpower of the future, is the mote in their eyes. They are encouraging the Indian bull to offer a permanent inter-regional challenge to China, and force China to keep busy dealing with regional threats."

"We Must Not Deflect Attention From India As Nuclear Rogue"

Dr. Rifaat Hussain commented in the centrist News (5/13): "While expressing our resolve to defend our national interests with means of our choosing, we must not do anything precipitate which would deflect world attention from India as a nuclear rouge state and erode our credibility as a responsible member of the international community. If all else fails, we as a sovereign nuclear capable state can always take those steps that are necessary to ensure our national security. Indian nuclear tests have revealed the bankruptcy of the American sanction-oriented approach to Pakistan and our stance on the nuclear question stands vindicated. While preparing for our defense we should not forgo the opportunity of benefiting ourselves diplomatically from this new reality."

"We Shall Resist Being Provoked Into Action"

Mujeebur Rahman Shami wrote in leading, mass-circulation, Urdu-language Jang (5/13): "The absolute need of the hour is for India to be completely isolated in its war-mongering and its nuclear obsessions and for the entire world to place full blame where it belongs. If Pakistan immediately conducts its own nuclear explosion, it would help India. We shall, therefore, resist being provoked into an action which would harm our national interests."

"Pakistan Should Weigh All Options"

The center-right Nation advised (5/13): "To prevent Pakistan from catching up and keeping the Kashmir issue alive, India may also have decided to sign the CTBT, thereby diverting international pressure from itself to Pakistan. It is Pakistan which would then be forced to sign it or be ostracized and isolated. If that be the game, then Pakistan may have very little time to decide whether it too should lay on the table its nuclear cards and thereby achieve a nuclear parity with India...or wait and see what the international community does to India to blunt its nuclear edge. That should also enable Pakistan to evaluate the cost of going nuclear. The implication being that if India gets away with very little damage, the danger of Pakistan being crippled by sanctions (it is already is suffering from quite a few), would not be much. Pakistan should do what its security requirements dictate and weigh all its options."

"Nuclear Test, Now Or Never"

Zahid Malik, editor-in-chief of the rightist, English-language Pakistan Observer, contended (5/13): "In fact, it is most opportune and appropriate time to conduct a nuclear test.

"The policy of 'nuclear ambiguity' which served as an effective deterrent against any aggression has outlived its utility and it is time to demonstrate the nuclear capability to preserve effectiveness of this deterrent in future."

"Declare Pakistan A Nuclear State!"

In a front-page commentary, Ishtiaq Ahmad wrote in the center-right Nation (5/13): "The reaction that matters is American. Before the United States decided to impose sanctions against India, President Clinton had categorically stated that 'very soon' the United States will impose 'comprehensive' sanctions against India. But, simultaneously, he had urged India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and also stressed repeatedly that India's neighbors should not 'follow suit.'... This uncertain state of affairs about Pakistan's nuclear capability has to end. The sooner it happens, the better it will be for Pakistan. And the only way this uncertainty can end is if Pakistan declares itself a nuclear power, on which depends Islamabad's survival as an independent and sovereign state."

BANGLADESH: "India's Nuclear Test"

Pro-government Janakantha's editorial held (5/14): "It is almost certain that a situation of destabilization will emerge in the subcontinent if Pakistan also goes ahead to prove its capabilities. Pakistan will surely do that.... Much depends on the decisions of the United States and the seven industrial nations, which hold the global political, economic and military balance. It is to be assumed that the United States' decision will be followed by its allies."

"Fuel For An Arms Race"

Anti-West Inqilab maintained in its editorial (5/13): "India's explosion encourages Pakistan to engage in a nuclear race. It is feared that Pakistan will plunge into the race and the international community will have no moral basis to hold it guilty if it succeeds."

NEPAL: "Fears Of Nuclear Arms Race"

The independent Kathmandu Post emphasized (5/13): "Fears of a nuclear race between India and Pakistan have now become even more real. Pakistan's approval of the CTBT had always been conditional and linked to India's compliance. But the tests have now sent jitters among all of India's neighbors. The immediate fallout of the Indian action will obviously be that whatever little may have been achieved through dialogue between the previous United Front government of India and Pakistan will be thrown to the winds.... Prospects of the entire South Asian region falling under the shadow of the mushroom cloud have begun to loom large."

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

CHINA: "Stage Set For Indo-U.S. Rift"

According to official, English-language China Daily (5/14): "The swift imposition of sanctions underscores the seriousness with which the United States views the threat of nuclear proliferation posed by the tests, and sets the stage for a long-term rift between the United States and the world's second-most populous country."

"Pakistan Will Have No Choice But To Conduct Own Tests"

Chen Xiaofang wrote in intellectually-oriented Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao, 5/13): "Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. strategy has focused on India while neglecting Pakistan and fostering India to contain China. These nuclear tests pose a serious dilemma for the American so-called 'balanced' South Asia policy....

"Pakistan will have no choice but to conduct its own nuclear tests if India doesn't receive the sanctions it deserves from the international community."

HONG KONG: "More Than One Kind Of Chain Reaction"

The independent, English-language Hong Kong Standard had this analysis (5/14): "It is now clear that India has its own agenda.... India will probably be able to live with the U.S. sanctions and the freezing of aid from Japan, Sweden and a few other countries. But others, like France, may step into the breach to bail India out. It will be the same with Pakistan? Who next after Pakistan? There can be a chain reaction, with one neighbor after another looking to nuclear weapons as the way to respectability and protection against predators next door."

JAPAN: "We Protest India's Nuclear Tests"

An editorial in top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (5/13): "Underground nuclear tests, conducted by India, shook the foundation of a global nuclear nonproliferation framework. The tests showed utter disregard for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), adopted by the UN General Assembly in the fall of 1996.... We are gravely concerned that Monday's nuclear tests may ignite increased competition between (India and Pakistan) over the development of nuclear weapons. We urge the two countries to sign and ratify the CTBT promptly and pledge that they have abandoned their nuclear ambitions."

AUSTRALIA: "Perilous, Naive And Wrong"

The conservative Australian outlined this view (5/14): "While acknowledging that India is situated in a delicate and potentially dangerous position, the response of a nuclear weaponry development program is perilous, naive and wrong.... The United States is likely to automatically impose limited sanctions, as required by legislation.... A longer-term solution must be based on engaging and embracing India--and...especially Pakistan and China--within the international community. Such an approach must have the eventual goal of convincing India and others to sign both non-proliferation treaties, remote as it seems at the moment."

"Macho India Struts N-Arms Road"

The national, conservative Australian's foreign editor, Greg Sheridan judged (5/13): "India's detonation of three nuclear devices on Monday as irresponsible, foolish and counterproductive.... Achieving respect only through weapons acquisition is traditionally the route of the...failed or failing state."

SINGAPORE: "Testing, Testing"

The pro-government Straits Times concluded (5/13): "India has raised the security stakes considerably in the subcontinent and the region. In fact, it could start an arms race that could lead it and neighboring Pakistan down the nuclear-signposted road to greater insecurity.... The United States, Japan and Russia are among the countries that have voiced their disapproval, in differing degrees of severity. Their indignation is understandable. The point is what (can) the powers do?... Countries eyeing a nuclear option will be emboldened if they see that the world can only watch and not act over the resumption of tests. Pakistan, certainly, will seek justification for moves of its own.... What is required is a calibrated diplomatic response which clarifies international disquiet over the move and, simultaneously, prevents an escalation of tension. The world is being put to the test."

SOUTH KOREA: "India's Destabilizing Tests"

Conservative Chosun Ilbo remarked (5/12): "India's nuclear testing has sent shock waves throughout the international community. What worries us most is Pakistan's response.... It seems that the security of all of South Asia has been threatened. China's response to this latest development could also destabilize the region."

THAILAND: "An Ill Wind In The Rajasthan Desert"

According to the moderately conservativeBangkok Post (5/14): "For a country that shares troubled borders with China and Pakistan, the nuclear tests were little more than saber-rattling that is likely to be counterproductive.... In the event of the imposition of sanctions, it will be the ordinary Indians that the BJP claims to represent who will pay the price for a foolish and cynical show of brawn, if not brain."

"Nuclear Tests Uproar: A Global Hypocrisy"

The independent Nation told its readers (5/14): "This week's nuclear blasts have severely undermined India's holier-than-thou attitude....but India's argument that the nuclear powers want to keep their military advantage and deny it to others does hold water."

EUROPE

BRITAIN: "Listen Here, India! Do As Nuclear Nations Say, Not As They Do"

Under the above headline, the centrist Independent had this comment by assistant editor Rupert Cornwell (5/14): "Once again we come to the flaw at the heart of the non-proliferation argument. By what absolute right do Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China insist that they alone should possess nuclear weapons? If they really want to persuade others not to develop them, they should travel faster and further down that road themselves. In fact, arms reduction talks between the United States and Russia, who together possess more than 90 percent of the word's nuclear arsenal, are at a standstill.... With that sort of example, India is understandably not inclined to take lessons."

"India's Crass Show Of Force"

The conservative Express opined (5/13), "Dismayed, seriously concerned, deeply disappointed--strong language from the international diplomatic community condemning India's decision to resume testing.... Nobody wants to hurt India's poor by withdrawing aid but Monday's nuclear tests were, by all accounts, a crass display of force designed to boost the popularity of the new government, led by Hindu nationalists--a stupid and dangerous exercise which Pakistan and China claim has plunged them into a new arms race."

"Nuclear Fallout"

According to an editorial in the independent Financial Times (5/12): "India's nuclear test yesterday is dangerous and foolish in equal proportion. It heightens security tensions with its neighbor Pakistan and in the broader Asian region.... The genie is now out of the bottle. India should repair the damage by quickly signing the nuclear test ban treaty. Failing that, it should be left in no doubt of the world's disapproval."

FRANCE: "Nuclear Proliferation Returns"

Georges Suffert opined in regional Nice Matin (5/13): "Asia's geopolitical map is changing right under our eyes....

"India knows that in the long term, the danger will come from China...not Pakistan.... Slowly but surely India will join the world's club of nuclear powers...bringing in its wake other nations, including Pakistan...Israel, South Africa and others. It is once again the age-old question of nuclear proliferation that is coming back."

RUSSIA: "Ambition Costs Dearly"

Vladimir Dunayev judged in reformist Russkiy Telegraf (5/14): "The Vajpayee government's ambition may cost India dearly. The arms race is a costly business. The Soviet Union got ruined taking part in that non-sporting event. Whatever the Indians say about not being afraid of an embargo, they cannot do without foreign aid.... A country that goes ahead with nuclear testing in defiance of world-wide protests may well use an A-bomb against its neighbors. Calling Pakistan and China its main enemies today, India may use this name for Russia tomorrow."

"India Is Risking A Lot"

Reformist Izvestia front-paged this commentary (5/13) by Vladimir Mikheyev: "India is risking a lot. The international community, including non-aligned nations, rejects Delhi's 'build-up-arms-first-and-get-rid-of-them-later' logic. The emergence of a sixth nuclear power, apart from devaluing accomplishments in the disarmament area, may trigger a regional arms race."

GERMANY: "Sanssouci And The Desert Of Rajasthan"

Kurt Kister argued in an editorial in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (5/14): "President Clinton reacted to the Indian nuclear tests with the only right answer: He imposed sanctions. Those who, such as Russia and France, only verbally condemn the nuclear detonations will also become guilty. In India, pigheaded nationalists are at the helm, and the rulers in Pakistan are not much better. On the Indian subcontinent, two nations are confronting each other who are ready for a war. And the Indian--and probably soon the Pakistani--nuclear bombs are considered instruments to wage a war. Because of this danger, the world, including Bonn, must find clear words and endorse painful sanctions."

"India Has Not Made Friends In Its Neighborhood"

Werner Adam noted in an editorial on the front page of right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (5/13), "Good Sino-American relations are one of the reasons for the latest Indian tests: This improvement has created growing unease about the development of a strategic partnership between Washington and Beijing, and about New Delhi not getting sufficient attention in a future 'Asian security architecture.' If India had thought that it can make itself heard as a regional power with this nuclear spectacle, it has not made friends in its neighborhood. On the contrary, as the reaction from Western Europe to the Far East shows...India has ignored all reason...and it can bury its hopes of becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council."

"Setting Off An Arms Spiral"

Right-of-center Saechsische Zeitung of Dresden made these points (5/12): "Other threshold countries will use this test in the Indian desert as a reason to push their own nuclear programs. This is true not only for the arch enemy in Pakistan. An arms spiral, which brought the United States and Russia to the brink of disaster, could...be set in motion again at a different level and under different portents."

ITALY: "And The Response...Sanctions Of Course"

Andrea di Robilant reported from Berlin in centrist, influential La Stampa (5/14), "Shocked by New Delhi's double slap, Bill Clinton responds with a package of very tough sanctions.... Clinton insisted that India's defiance needs a 'firm' response by the international community. But reactions in other capitals, beginning with Paris and Moscow, already suggest that the front is anything but united. Clinton has no choice, however. The 1994 anti-proliferation law approved by Congress forces him to adopt a series of undoubtedly very serious sanctions.... Beyond his announcement on sanctions, Clinton gave the impression of taking the news of Indian nuclear tests as a sort of personal offense."

"'Sleepy' CIA--Will Heads Roll?"

A report from Washington in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (5/14) read as follows: "Indian nuclear tests, even though not bloody, are about to make victims in America. The heads of the CIA experts who were caught by surprise by the Indian tests and failed to inform the White House in a timely fashion are about to roll."

"U.S. Takes Lead In Protesting Indian Tests"

Franco Pantarelli filed from New York for centrist, influential La Stampa (5/13): "(By imposing sanctions) the United States has taken the lead in the wave of protests which the Indian initiative has prompted all over the world, forcing others to reinforce their indignation. Thus the 'disappointment' expressed Monday by the European Union turned into 'surprise and disgust' yesterday."

SPAIN: "A Worrying Mix"

Centrist La Vanguardia observed (5/14): "India, challenged in recent years by internal centrifugal forces (Sikhs, Muslims, regional Communist governments), has finally reacted in a nationalist way. The nuclear tests are proof of India's will to reassert itself domestically as well as internationally. This threatens to provoke an arms race with Pakistan.... That isn't the only danger since India also has issues with China.... The situation in Asia has become worrying when the economic crisis and ethnic and religious tensions mix with the nuclear issue."

BELGIUM: "India Is Going Too Far"

Under the headline above, foreign editor Carl Pansaerts's editorial in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (5/14) read, "The world must now take sanctions soon and unanimously against India until New Delhi vows to no longer test nuclear weapons. A few possibilities: Reduce foreign investments in India; reduce official development aid to a minimum; submit Indian tourists and businessmen to strict visa requirements; a sports boycott; and, perhaps, a temporary freeze on World Bank loans to India. These sanctions will not hit only India and, let's hope, make it change its mind in a positive manner, but also make Pakistan and other potential nuclear cowboys think twice before they start testing nuclear weapons. The danger of a new arms race--especially in the very unstable Southeast Asia--is too important not to do everything to avoid it."

"A Very Dangerous Cocktail"

Foreign editor Axel Buyse noted in independent Catholic De Standaard (5/13): "The chance that Pakistan will pay its arch enemy India in kind is very large. In combination with the continuous modernization to which nuclear power China is submitting its armed force, it may become a very dangerous cocktail."

BULGARIA: "World Is Really Becoming Multipolar"

Bulgarian Socialist Party Duma held (5/13): "However, nothing can be done - that's life. Probably at the beginning of the new millennium the world is really becoming multipolar and we have to learn to live with it."

"Delhi Should Keep The Peace"

Mass-circulation Trud observed (5/13): "It's only vanity that made India play the great power, which is very disturbing. In such state of mind, it is not clear where such groundless ambitions may lead. That's why any attempts of that kind should be suppressed in time."

CANADA: "Make India Pay For Going Nuclear"

The liberal Toronto Star judged (5/13): "The shocking decision by India's Hindu nationalist government to conduct underground nuclear tests...is a grave development, with serious implications for Asia and the world.... (India) is counting on the West's growing appetite for trade to outweigh the moral outrage. It may have calculated wrong. President Bill Clinton has already said he intends to fully use U.S. laws that dictate sanctions as a penalty for nuclear testing.... The world needs to let India know that there is a heavy price to pay for risking a potential nuclear nightmare."

"All India Has Done Is End The Hypocrisy"

The conservative Ottawa Citizen (5/13): "So far, all that India has done is end the governing hypocrisy that allowed countries to acquire nuclear weapons but not admit to it. Hypocrisy is not without its social uses. But unless a newly uninhibited India decides it will not merely reveal its nuclear assets but acquire many more of them, it is not clear the world has become a more dangerous place."

"India's Explosion Heard Around The World"

According to the leading Globe and Mail (5/12): "An Indian bomb is destabilizing, unnecessary, misguided and dangerous.... The Indian government's action is destabilizing because it goes against that moderate tide, and threatens to unleash a far less pleasant one. Proliferation breeds proliferation and, predictably, arch-rival Pakistan is now mulling over a response.... India's actions yesterday are dangerous because the most terrifying possibility of all--a rogue state or terrorist group in possession of an atomic bomb--increases with the number of nuclear-armed states.... A nuclear India spells a nuclear Pakistan, and Pakistan's eastern neighbour is Iran. You see where this is going."

DENMARK: "We Must Stop India From Becoming New Nuclear Power"

Center-right Berlingske Tidende had this editorial view (5/12): "Denmark must reconsider its policies towards India following the announcement that the country has carried out three nuclear tests. The U.S. reaction has been to seriously consider implementing sanctions, and Denmark ought to do the same, in cooperation with the United States where possible. 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 from becoming a new nuclear power."

FINLAND: "A Major Political Defeat For West"

A commentary in leading, independent Helsingin Sanomat (5/14) by senior international affairs commentator Olli Kivinen stressed, "India's nuclear testing shocked the world because nuclear proliferation is one of the most serious global post-Cold War threats. The testing also says that not all big countries of the world are willing to accept unipolar hegemony, i.e. that of the United States and other industrial countries--especially because the United States and other industrial countries don't show enough sensitivity and impartiality.... The United States has spearheaded efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It has advocated strong measures to stop the development of 'the Islamic bomb.' Its influence, however, is undermined by its special relationship with Israel.... India's nuclear testing was a major political defeat for the West and for the traditional nuclear countries."

HUNGARY: "India Treads Dangerous Path"

Foreign affairs columnist Laszlo Daroczi underlined (5/14) in right-wing Napi Magyarorszag, "It is each individual state's right and responsibility to properly care for its own security, but we fear that in the case of India the motivation is more than just security. India has stepped on a dangerous path, already to be expected when the country did not sign the nuclear arms control treaty. The way out of this crisis situation would be if India revised its position and joined the treaty. The traditional nuclear powers, on the other hand, could partly compensate India for its wounds by treating all states that pose a nuclear threat to peace, from Asia to the Middle East, equally."

POLAND: "India Unmasked"

Centrist Rzeczpospolita carried this analysis by Maria Wagrowska (5/12): "By deciding to conduct the (nuclear) tests, India has issued a challenge to the five powers that legally have nuclear weapons and want this status maintained.... The Indian tests could lead to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction--in developing countries first of all, especially because India calls itself their advocate. As a result, a new conflict between the impoverished South and the wealthy North could follow."

SLOVENIA: "India Has Not Violated Its International Obligations"

Left of center Delo commented (5/13): "It is very likely that the tests...will start a new arms race in the region.... The United States' ambition to prevent spreading of nuclear armament is perfectly legitimate; nevertheless, the only superpower could have revealed a more refined feeling for the geo-political situation in this region. Above all, it would be extremely beneficial if New Delhi and Washington as soon as possible got rid of their mutual distrust--which has its roots in the Cold War...and began to communicate. Perhaps even to cooperate."

SWEDEN: "A Gigantic Setback"

Independent, liberal daily Dagens Nyheter maintained (5/13): "India's nuclear tests....constitute a gigantic setback to the disarmament process."

"India Has Joined Club, But As Illegitimate Member"

Conservative Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet (5/13): "India's tests of three nuclear warheads...for the first time showed the international community a country openly ignoring the consensus giving the five established nuclear powers exclusive rights to such instruments of destruction. India now has joined the club, but as an illegitimate member.... The international community must show that the cost for giving in to such destructive national instincts will be very high. The United States has warned of sanctions.... That should be followed by others."

THE NETHERLANDS: "One Should Be Indignant"

Influential liberal De Volkskrant (5/13): "Even though the actual radioactive fallout seems to be marginal, the opposite is true for the political radiation.... India is a large Asian power and it wants to be a key player and it thinks, therefore, that it should join the club of nuclear states. This is true, and it is somewhat hypocritical when members of that exclusive and powerful club now express their rage over India.... Nevertheless...The world should use sanctions or good words, or a combination of the two, to convince India to put the nuclear genie back into the bottle quickly."

"This Does Not Make Us Happy"

Calvinist left Trouw said this (5/13): "China is extremely worried and there is reason to expect a Pakistani bomb.... The nuclear tests (give) a new impulse to the arms race in that region."

MIDDLE EAST

ISRAEL: "A Place In The Nuclear Sun"

Analyst Meir Shteiglitz observed in top-circulation, pluralist Yediot (5/14): "This isn't what the world has bargained for. The Indian government this week delivered five defiant and high-visibility nuclear blows which rocked the foundations of post-Cold War international order.... No wonder, then, that President Clinton is angry. But some of this anger should be directed at himself and his Congress. To this very day, the U.S. Congress has not ratified the global nuclear test ban treaty. Consequently, other powers can hardly be expected to continue to agree to refrain from doing what the Americans are permitted to do."

SAUDI ARABIA: "Israel Is Also A Nuclear State"

London-based, internationally circulated Al-Sharq Al-Awsat declared (5/14), "Israel is a nuclear state. Even its close allies cannot deny this fact.... India's nuclear tests have induced strong reactions. Perhaps this will alert the international community that the principles of the new world order must be reconsidered."

JORDAN: "India's Nuclear Weapons And Asia's Security"

Influential columnist Tareq Masarwah contended in influential, pro-government Al-Rai (5/14): "If anyone has the right to punish India for its nuclear tests, that party is definitely not the United States.... In the Middle East, while Israel possesses nuclear weapons, what is required to check its power madness is a similar Arab weapon, which is why we are pained because Iraq's procurement of such weapons has now been delayed.... We also do not believe that India's step merits sanctions, quite the contrary. We believe that the nuclear capability of India and Pakistan will be guarantees of the stability of Southeast Asia."

QATAR: "Same Standards Should Apply To All"

Semi-independent Al-Rayah's editorial declared (5/13): "We agree with the United States on the necessity of removing weapons of mass destruction...and believe that all countries in the region should sign a treaty banning nuclear testing.... But whenever such crises occur we remember the crooked U.S. standards, we remember that the Iraqi people have been suffering for the last eight years.... Israel has tens of nuclear bombs...and refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that Washington now demands that India sign. The United States cannot achieve peace and security in this region unless it applies one standard in dealing with the region's countries.... We invite Pakistan and neighboring countries to exercise self-restraint in dealing with this event."

AFRICA

SOUTH AFRICA: "India's Claims? Pure Humbug!"

Independent Business Day had this to say (5/14): "Claims by the Indian government that it supports international nuclear nonproliferation must be seen as pure humbug in the light of not just one, but a provocative second, round of nuclear tests this week. The tests...raise serious questions about the maturity of India's newly installed Hindu nationalist government. Besides the geopolitical implications, massive investment in nuclear weapons development by a country as poor as India can hardly be defended.... India is cynically gambling on the pull of its huge markets to defuse any sanctions threat, knowing that for sanctions to bite, they must be universally applied. In fact, the bomb is a nationalist virility symbol and a warning signal to Pakistan and its major supplier of nuclear technology, China. The implicit view--that the third world is the victim of 'nuclear apartheid' at the hands of the great powers--must be rejected. Every newcomer to the nuclear club takes the world a step closer to the possibility of an atomic conflagration."

LATIN AMERICA

ARGENTINA: "Indian Decision Confirms Huntington's Thesis"

Oscar Raul Cardoso observed in leading Clarin (5/14): "The most astounding aspect of the daring decision by India's nationalist government is, for those who have closely read Samuel Huntington's provocative ideas...that it confirms his key arguments.... It also contradicts those who strongly believe, as opposed to Huntington, that modern political democratic systems...only have prosperity through trade as their goal."

CHILE: "India: The Dispute Over Nuclear Tests"

In the words of Santiago's influential, centrist La Epoca (5/13), "New Delhi has not signed international anti-nuclear agreements due to its long standing claim of autonomy. At the same time (India) believes, for obvious reasons, that the nuclear moratorium favors countries already within the nucear club.... Just within the past few hours, Japan and the United States have announced their determination to establish economic sanctions against India. Russia, which exports the technology to India that has been crucial to India's atomic program, has declared that it will take similar action only if there is international agreement on this subject, such as that adopted in the case of Iraq. Moscow is an important trade partner of New Delhi which is reason enough for the caution being shown by Kremlin leaders."

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5/14/98

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