- NPT extension forced Indian decision
Date: Thu, 21 May 1998
Subject: Very good article on NPT and India for discussion
One of the best historical articles I have seen on India's long term position on arms control and disarmament.
India's position on the dangers and unacceptable position of allowing the Perm 5 to maintain nuclear weapons forever, has always been a key national policy no matter what government ruled India. It has also been so strongly held and supported by the Indian people, that it was clear to anyone who cared to look into the situation with the 1996 Test Ban Treaty debate, that India's position either had to be addressed, discussed, and some changes made to the Test Ban draft, or that India would sooner or later wreck the treaty.
Instead, the decision was made to ignore India's concerns, not to even talk about them, ram the text dictated by the Perm 5 nuclear weapons states through, sign the Test Ban at the U.N., "force India to come on board", and then go have big celebrations over winning a Test Ban. By doing that, the Perm 5 and all other Test Ban Treaty supporters sealed the fate of the treaty and insured India would see it as justification of their long held position on the subject, and would before long do just what India did -- test!
It is important to understand this 40-year-old position of India and to realize it doesn't matter what government rules India. It is Indian policy. Regardless of which group in Indian society is in power -- be it a government of the Gandhi family, or the BJP Hindu government -- their actions on this policy and their actions based on this policy will only be different in degree. Likewise any solution to the present crisis will have to be made with this position understood and taken into account. Not ignored as it was in 1995 with the NPT, or in 1996 with the Test Ban. Otherwise this position of India will sooner or later kill both.
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