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|May 11, 1998||
'It's the BJP way of showing the world that India is great'
There has been no change in the threat perception, but a change in self perception. What the government wants to gain is two things:
At a time of considerable instability and flabbiness, they hope to make them self popular on the domestic front. Especially with the middle class and the upper middle class. For the insecure and those suffering from frustrated nationalism, this will be a happy moment. This does not concern the ordinary Indian people in any way
This is also a part of the aggressive nationalism of the BJP. It was the only party which said it would induct the nuclear programme, while other parties kept the option open. It's the BJP way of showing the world that India is great -- a statement to the world.
Now we can figure out what George Fernandes's stance on China was all about. The purpose was to create a build up, without using Pakistan as an excuse. That was the purpose behind the position taken on China. Pakistan would have not retaliated. It did not retaliate in 1974 either.
This is going to evoke different reactions from different quarters of the world. The Third World Non Aligned countries will view it negatively. The developed nations will be both critical and mild. Because by the end of the Cold War, the effort has been towards nuclear disarmament.
I am personally very unhappy about about the test. It is shameful.
Achin Vanaik, a critic of India's nuclear establishment, spoke to Archana Masih.
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