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Brown Man's Burden

M. K. Rasgotra served as India's foreign secretary from 1982 to 1985. He shares his views:

Brown Man's Burden
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On India’s diplomatic and military stance since Pokhran II: Militarily we have done well enough. I give Vajpayee personally full credit for conducting the tests and declaring that we are a now a nuclear weapons country. But diplomatically we have been a bad failure. Too many unauthorised statements, declarations and boasting. With the US, we gave in on too many issues even before the talks started. During the talks we gave the impression that we’re willing to compromise.

On the CTBT :

We opposed it vigorously on the basis of national consensus only two years ago. Yet after Pokhran, we’ve been saying that we want to sign it. What’s the rationale for this shift? Simply because we have conducted tests is no reason to sign. We opposed it vigorously on the basis of national consensus only two years ago. Yet after Pokhran, we’ve been saying that we want to sign it. What’s the rationale for this shift? Simply because we have conducted tests is no reason to sign.

On China:

We should have really initiated talks a year ago with China. We offended China by that unnecessary statement. Why go out of your way to name a country as your number one threat? I think that is total misjudgement. But it is also important to emphasise the unacceptability of what they have been doing with Pakistan on the nuclear and missile issues. We should have really initiated talks a year ago with China. We offended China by that unnecessary statement. Why go out of your way to name a country as your number one threat? I think that is total misjudgement. But it is also important to emphasise the unacceptability of what they have been doing with Pakistan on the nuclear and missile issues.

On Pakistan: I am glad that Vajpayee took the initiative by going to Lahore. We should have no reservations or resentment about Pakistan having a nuclear deterrent. It’s a positive step. This will bring the story of violence and terrorism to an end, because once you are a nuclear weapons power, you stop causing provocations which may lead to a conflict.

On western claims that India and Pakistan are not stable enough to be nuclear powers: The western view is that nuclear weapons enhance only their security. This is a racial viewpoint. The white man has it, it’s safe in his hands... the yellow man has also come along because he’s been cooperating with the white man, it’s safe in his hands. But the brown man is not good enough to guard and hold these weapons. This is the mentality of nuclear apartheid, which they’ve been promoting for some time. And it’s a viewpoint of frustration.

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