However, while the countries of Europe and America criticized India’s entry into the World Nuclear Club, countries like Russia, Yugoslavia, etc. applauded this development. Pakistan raised a great hue and cry against India in international conferences. It accused India of blackmailing their country.
India’s action was criticised by the big powers on three grounds. First, it would lead to proliferation of nuclear capability. It would encourage other countries to become nuclear powers which would be a dangerous development.
Secondly, nuclear tests pollute the earth’s atmosphere by radioactive fall-out. India’s reply to this objection was that the Pokhran test was carried out underground at a depth of 100 metres by employing the “Implosion Technique’ and that no radiation effects had been noticed. Thirdly, an underdeveloped country like India should spend its scarce resources on the development of the country and not on acquiring nuclear capability. India pointed out that its total expenditure on its nuclear programme up to 1974 was estimated be around Rs. 162 crore. As far as the Pokhran test itself was concerned, it cost. 30 lakh only.
It is, however, a fact that there is no difference between an experiment conducted for peaceful purposes and for military purposes. The technique for both is the same. The atomic explosion at Pokhran was of the magnitude of 10 to 16 kilotons. It had the same force as the two atom bombs dropped by U.S.A. during the Second World War in 1945 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the test was conducted, a crater with a radius of 200 metres was caused. The landscape of the site underwent a tremendous change. A new beautiful artificial hill appeared on the site from nowhere. The hill was about 34 metres high and 170 metres in diameter.
Late Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India had made it clear in 1974 itself that India had no intention to make an atom bomb or to use its nuclear capability for military purposes. India would, she declared, use the nuclear programme for peaceful purposes and for industrial development. Atomic energy can be used for peaceful purposes like the blasting and removal of mountains, creation of lakes in deserts, changing the course of rivers and generation of nuclear energy for electricity, etc.
India has stood by its assurance not to use its nuclear programme for military purposes. Not only that, India has over the years been impressing upon the big powers to put an end to the race for nuclear armament. In fact, the stockpile of nuclear weapons already gathered by these powers is enough to destroy the world many times over. There is no doubt that if a nuclear war breaks out, no one will survive. There will be neither victor nor vanquished.
The Buddha smiled once way back in 1974 and he smiled five times on May 11, 1998 on Buddha Poornima day and on May 13, 1998. India’s Prime Minister Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee proudly announced to the nation and the rest of the world about India venturing into the exclusive club of nuclear weapon states as part of the national security shield even as he congratulated the top scientists of India over their great achievement.
India is a country wedded to peace and non-violence and her great sons like Lord Buddha, Ashoka and Gandhiji had been living examples to prove this gospel. But India as a self-respecting nation would not propagate the peace of the graveyard or the non-violence of the weak; it is a pity that our non-violence has been mistaken by many as our weakness and many assume that India is a nation of weak-willed people.
Time and again our leaders have reminded the world community that India has an inalienable right to defend its freedom, sovereignty and its ancient heritage and that it would take appropriate measures at the appropriate time to make its defensive preparedness as strong as it could. No nation need be apologetic, if it tries its best to defend its freedom. And a nation like India that has suffered centuries of foreign subjugation has every right-more than any other nation-to strengthen its defence. Moreover, 216 School Essays
India cannot take any chances when it lives in a hostile nuclear environment with Pakistan receiving all sorts of smuggled nuclear and missile material for North Korea, China and other sources, and China itself having conducted several nuclear tests and armed itself to the teeth.
Be it the cold war or the post cold war era, we have learnt the hard way that only strength recognises strength; only the strong respect the strong. A militarily weak nation will not only be a butt of ridicule, but the victim of bullying nations The nuclear tests have earned India the self-esteem it richly deserves as a nation of more than 1000 million people.
Even as reaction abroad to India going nuclear had been hostile, as was to be expected, the entire nation rallied behind the Government in its glorious hour of national pride. A militarily strong nation alone can build its economic and social infrastructure with single-minded attention.
Over the years India has become wiser: the West more particularly, the U.S.A., inured to double standards and double dealings, has always been seen as a power rewarding the wrong-doers and penalising those who were on the righteous path. U.S.A. never took any punitive action against China for supply of all prohibited war material to Pakistan because of considerations of realpolitik.
It also took the unabashed step of revoking the Pressler Pact to resume arms aid to Pakistan. A former Director of the Indian Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis Mr. K. Subrahmanyam said: “India was finally compelled to join the nuclear club because the international community legitimised nuclear weapons when they individually extended the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”
Now that India has set up a National Security Council, the Government would soon hopefully come up with a well thought-out defence strategy that would cover the entire spectrum of defence preparedness, including nuclear deterrence, leaving behind the uncertain years when the defence of the country was based on fits and starts and reaction to events as they occurred. The Nuclear Deterrence Doctrine enunciated by the Government should be vigorously adhered to whatever the U.S. pressure for signing Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).