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May 20, 1998


IMC writes to counterparts against sanctions

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Alarmed by the fallout of the United States and Japan's economic sanctions against India, Y P Trivedi, president of the Indian Merchant's Chamber, has sent separate letters to over 50 chambers of commerce in various countries requesting them not to let the business confidence between members in both the countries suffer as a result of the sanctions.

IMC pointed out that its memorandum of understandings with these chambers have helped boost bilateral trade relations and industrial cooperation, but also helped individual businessmen in establishing industry-specific relations with their counterparts abroad. The letter said that any panic in respect of renewed N-tests by India was unwarranted in the light of India's firm commitment to world peace and neighbourly relations.

Placing the factors related to the N-tests in perspective, it referred to India's long tradition of scientific research, and to its vast pool of scientific and technical manpower, particularly those engaged in nuclear research since India's independence in 1947. It also highlighted India's tradition of non-violence, non-interference, and commitment to peace, democracy, and human right.

"In 5000 years of its history, India has not committed aggression against any country. Despite being repeatedly invaded, it nursed no ill will towards the invaders, but absorbed their nationals into its own cultural fold and continued to live amicably to achieve lasting international peace," the letter said.

The letter urged that the current nuclear testing should be seen in the context of India's geopolitical realities, surrounded as it was by heavily armed countries openly professing aggression and supporting terrorism. By conducting N-tests, India only sought to impress upon such countries that not weakness but good sense and discretion had tempered India's actions towards them.

The chamber stressed that India had not violated any international treaty to which it is a signatory. Since India had not signed the missile technology control regime, it was within its rights to carry out peaceful tests for reinforcing its defence.

IMC has also reminded them that India has persistently opposed establishment of nuclear monopoly by a few select countries, but struggled for a firm commitment by nuclear countries of a date for total denuclearisation.

The letter expressed the IMC's optimism that both the US and Japan would, before long, see things in a proper perspective, and withdraw the economic sanctions. Apart from the correctness of India's stand, they would also not fail to appreciate India's growing market potential and eco-political strength, the letter said.

Drawing attention to the inexhaustible business opportunities between India and their countries, IMC has said "these must not be affected by some hiccups." The imposition of misconceived sanctions cannot have any significant impact on the Indian economy, which is fundamentally strong, diverse and self-reliant.

The economic fallout


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