12 May, 2021

Virility Unstuck

Not only have India's superpower dreams remained unfulfilled, most experts find South Asia unstable now

Jitender Gupta
Virility Unstuck
When India conducted the nuclear tests in Pokhran five years ago (May 11 and May 13, 1998), it was construed as a veritable explosion of national pride and esteem. Those who supported the tests hailed it as the big bang announcing the country's entry into the exclusive club of nuclear powers. Those opposed to Pokhran II, however, thought the nuclear tests were aimed at merely generating an inexorable electoral wave on which the bjp—already wobbly, thanks to the demands of its NDA allies—could return to power on its own in a snap mid-term poll.

Obviously, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his colleagues brushed aside these arguments. Pokhran II, they argued, was undertaken to provide muscle to India's security and warn 'enemy nations' against harbouring insidious designs on the country. It was a measure, they said, aimed at enabling Indians to live in peace, without the spectre of external attacks.

The Sangh hotheads were jubilant. vhp leader Ashok Singhal convened a press conference to say Pokhran II had established India's credentials as a superpower and...

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