In India, the threat of a nuclear arms race on the Asian subcontinent was brought nearer on Wednesday (15 August) by a statement made by Prime Minister Charan Singh during celebration to mark the country's 32nd independence anniversary.
In India, the threat of a nuclear arms race on the Asian subcontinent was brought nearer on Wednesday (15 August) by a statement made by Prime Minister Charan Singh during celebration to mark the country's 32nd independence anniversary. Mr. Singh raised a storm of controversy when he declared that if Pakistan persisted in its declared intentions to build a nuclear bomb, India might reverse its decision not to manufacture atomic weapons.
SYNOPSIS: The Independence Day celebrations began quietly under a pall of gloom as Indians mourned the hundreds of people who died in the Morvi dam disaster. India's new Prime Minister Mr. Charan Singh arrived and inspect the guard of honour. Mr. Singh has spent most of the month since he came to power busy trying to consolidate his unstable coalition government.
After unfurling the National Flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Mr. Singh addressed the thousands of people who had turned out for the ceremony. Mr. Singh faces a parliamentary vote of confidence soon, and he told the crowd that although he did not want a mid-term poll he is prepared for one if necessary.
But most of Mr. Singh's speech was devoted to foreign issues. His statement on nuclear policy was a departure from India's previous caution. He claimed that as Pakistan is friendly with China and has no quarrel with the Soviet Union or Iran, the bomb could be a threat to only India. Mr. Singh's declaration was later attacked by Former Foreign Minister Atal Vajpayee who said that Mr. Singh is head of a 'caretaker government', and should not have made a pronouncement on such a major issue.