15 June, 2021

Vajpayee's Wasted Rhetoric

Vajpayee's Wasted Rhetoric

AFTER testing nuclear weapons, now comes the hard part: explaining India's reasoning, reducing nuclear dangers, articulating doctrine, defining requirements, adopting a suitable force posture, establishing effective command, control, and intelligence arrangements, and repairing ties to the international community. This work will take decades of effort and expense. Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's speech before the UN General Assembly did not make much headway on these matters before an admittedly tough audience.

The reserved response of the General Assembly to the prime minister's effort should hardly come as a surprise. It was here, two years ago, that the Government of India argued against the propriety of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and was rebuffed by a vote of 158 to three (with Bhutan and Libya joining India in opposition). None of the arguments so vehemently expressed by Indian officials then figure now in New Delhi's approach to the CTBT. Having been told previously that India's opposition was a matter of high principle, the...

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