Reaction of European community against the Indian Nuclear Test
The reaction in European community was rather a mixed one. On May 17 itself World's eight Industrial Powers the G-8 i.e. US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Russia and Italy asked India to sign the Comprehensive lest Ban Treaty (CTBT) and nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The communique issued by them said, "We call upon India to rejoin the mainstream of international opinion, to adhere unconditionally to the NPT and CTBT and to negotiations on a global treaty to stop production of fissile material for nuclear weapons".
While Canada called for international sanctions France expressed opposition to sanctions. On the same day Japanese banks withdrew lines of credit to Indian Banks. It was on their own discretion. US Banks had cut off their overdraft and line of credit facility to Indian banks. India had thus a reason to have a sigh of relief at the G-8 summit desisting from announcing combined sanctions.
Bill Clinton's view about India's nuclear test
The line taken up by banks of Japan and US was not adopted by the banks of other countries. Meanwhile it was reported that Bill Clinton too conceded that America was wrong in neglecting Indian concerns. He was rather forced to acknowledge the moral correctness of India's position. On his own turf Bill Clinton was ignored when on May 18 the Senate voted to expand a programme to let US businesses hire thousands of foreign computer programmers and health professionals a great part of whom migrate from India.
On May 19 Russian Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov announced in Moscow that Indo-Russian co-operation in atomic energy would continue despite the tests by New Delhi. Russia delivered a first cryogenic engine to India in September when the dust of Pokhran had barely settled. It proved that it was not a party to a technology blockade against India. In September—November an Indian power ministry team returned from Russia having explored possibilities of hider power projects and having talks in Power, coal, electronics, petroleum and steel sectors. It just shows that in the multipolar world the Russia-India combine can serve as a healthy counterbalance to a unipolar hegemony.
So far as Western Europe is concerned it has lived for so long in the safety of the NATO nuclear umbrella. Thus it is in no position to take the moral high ground as far as peace initiatives are concerned. Seven of the top 15 conventional arms exporters in 1996 were Western European States including Belgium. Thus they have no moral authority to hand down unconditional directives. It was rather safe for many of the smaller ones to have kept mum.
India's declaration of a unilateral moratorium on Nuclear Tests
By May 30 there was a dramatic change when led by the US; the international community (read G-8 and the 5 nuclear powers) rapidly started shifting focus to diplomacy and incentives in place of censure and sanctions. Gradually the move that the nuclear haves have no right to preserve their exclusive status in perpetuity started gaining ground. It would be interesting to note that although Canada has been critical of India (for the tests) it has been equally critical of the P-5's failure to talk about riding the world of nuclear weapons.
It was on no small consequence that eight nations—Ireland, New-Zealand, Sweden, South Africa, Brazil, Egypt, Mexico and Slovenia joined together in the first week of June, '98 to press the world's nuclear powers to take immediate steps to dispose of their arsenals in a few years. "We are jointly resolved to achieve... a world free of nuclear weapons", their declaration said. Swedish ambassador went further and said in a conference in Washington "unless the nuclear powers can convince the world that they are abolishing their nuclear weapons, others will follow India's suit. There you have it. The nuclear-weapon powers see their cozy little world of nuclear supremacy dissolving before their eyes. They react with the petulance of a spoilt child deprived of its toys."
India's declaration of unilateral moratorium on Nuclear Test
It was rather not dignified for the Security Council President to give a statement on May 29 or the P5 for its statement in Geneva ignoring India's declaration of a unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests and also its willingness to join the negotiations on fissile material cut-off. They forget that it was India, the first country to introduce a resolution in the UN as back as 1954 calling for the banning of nuclear tests. It has also been active in proposing, sponsoring and supporting UN resolutions towards nuclear disarmament and has been the only country to introduce a comprehensive, time-bound plan for the reduction of all nuclear weapons. K.P.S. Menon, a former foreign Secretary is of the opinion "If we can stand firm, we say see a genuine move towards nuclear disarmament from the Five, for the longer we stand firm the more likely that others will follow our suit.
The character of nuclear hegemony will begin to unravel still faster. It is this that the Five fear." Thus after a month of reacting sometimes defensively, on June 10 India went on the offensive, saying any critical action on the part of G-8 is "short sighted and will be counterproductive. This reaction came in the wake of reports that the UK had taken into confidence the three newly converted states South Africa, Ukraine and Brazil—the first voluntarily destroyed its nuclear weapons, the second gave up its weapons to Russia and the third signed the NPT. But India stuck to its stand rejecting categorically "any suggestions for curtailing our nuclear weapons or missile development programme."
It may be noted that Toronto based author Ian Steer who specializes in defense and Science issues said that India could produce 800 atomic bombs over the next 10 years. The hammering line adopted in June has continued. The Prime Minister, in October again said that "India will not subscribe to discriminatory regimes" while the Defense Minister asserted that "recognition of India as a nuclear weapons power and disarmament measures linked to the CTBT are essential conditions". The Prime Minister again repeated India's this stand in the Parliament on December 16, 1998.
The results of Indian offensive are apparent. The retributive process started in November when the American Congress, by a majority vote permitted the President to withdraw sanctions. Bill Clinton partly withdrew the sanctions. But he tried to send back Indian nuclear scientists to India. They would rather be an asset to India. Almost all the measures taken against India in the field of industry, development, commerce and latest technologies have failed. India is a bit affected. But it is the biggest democracy in the world and has the second largest population the biggest middle class market in the world. In no time it would come out of the web of sanctions and with the strength of her scientists, the assistance of NRIs and her scientists and technologists spread throughout the world would be the most powerful country by the end of the first decade of the next millennium.