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Re: Nuclear Policy

Sanjeev:  Yes, the power of the atom bomb was known but not its use in
real war situation.
No one will diagree with the fact that nuclear weapons are an anathema
and a constant danger to humanity. But I disagree that the recent
testing of nuclear devices is going to move the world closer to
nuclear disarmament. It is not.
That nuclear weapons are dangerous goes without saying.  But did India
face a real nuclear threat from China or any other declared nuclear
state?  NO.  
Should India pursuade the world to disarm?  It is a question of
priorities and resources.  Our priority should be economic
development, improving quality of life for ALL our citizens and
reaching a zero population growth.
In the meanwhile, India could continue to do what it was doing.  it
did the right thing in not signing the CTBT and keeping the option of
developing nuclear weapons open.  Thereby, it was putting pressure on
the world.  In any case reducing nuclear weapons danger is not just

>From that point of view India's nuclear testing is a failure.  By
proudly declaring itself as a nuclear power (what is there for anyone
to be proud of?) it has given away that high moral ground.  If
Pakistan develops nuclear bombs of her own, India has actually
endagered itself more that any current nuclear state. No two nuclear
states are that close geographically.  You think that the US will ever
let Mexico develop a nuclear arsenal -- I do not think so.  Remember
the Cuban missile crisis?
India should, therefore, keep its priorities straight. Instead of
developing these devices, India should have developed (it should do
that now) its space program.   Developing state of the art rockets and
space systems would be a powerful morale booster, gives India the
space edge, and gives India both military and economic advantages
which a nuclear bomb does not.  In addition, India should have
continued to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes--a program
that has been allowed to be stalled.  Those would have been positive
If Pakistan develops the bomb does it not become the moral
responsibility of the government to protect its citizen from a nuclear
attack?  Which means India will be forced to invest in thousands of
bomb shelters and missile defense systems. Will not that be a needless
distraction and waste of resources? 
If Japan and Germany the two largest economies of the world could live
with the reality of nuclear weapons then why couldn't India?  So far,
therefore, this nuclear drama makes no sense to me.  To the BJP
politicians it makes a whole lot of sense--it is populist, and will
help them win votes.  However, as I said before politics should not
have been introduced in this field.   Although it might be late,
nuclear weapons development should be opposed at this point of time.  
Kush Khatri

Sanjeev Sabhlok <sabhlok@rcf.usc.edu> wrote:
> On Sun, 17 May 1998, Kush Khatri wrote:
>   But I do not think
> > that anyone at that time saw the ferocity of this bomb until it was
> > finally unleashed.    What is important are the lessons Americans
> > learned from that experience. (your post almost implied that the
> > Americans did not learn anything from that Japanese experience)
> a) The first nuclear bomb was tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico on
the 16th
> of July, 1945. Its pictures are sufficient to display its enormous
> I do not have access to the complete set of documents which recorded
> incidents of that period (these are all publicly available, however,
> the best of my knowledge), but I have no reason to doubt that the
> President knew entirely of the power and magnitude of these bombs. Its
> radiation consequenses might not have been known fully, but many, many
> American scientists had warned against making the bomb, I believe. 
> As mentiond in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "the decision actually
to use
> the bomb against Japan reflected the more immediate urge to end the
war as
> soon as possible and certainly before it became necessary to mount an
> invasion of the mainland. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki in
> August 1945 was a means of shocking Japan into surrender." See: 
> 	http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=macro/5006/59/98.html
> if you subscribe to this encyclopaedia.
> Note the words, "means of shocking Japan." The word represents full
> awareness of the enormous destructive power of these weapons. The word
> also represents the desire to dominate, to over-power, to display
> in a short and quick manner. Truman was a great person; and he may be
> absolved of the crime of ordering the dropping of the two bombs, on
> various grounds, but he was not a little baby, "unaware of the
ferocity of
> this bomb." Nobody is a baby at that level of power, and nobody can
> ignorance of the consequences of taking this short-cut remedy.
> b) I am not at all pointing fingers toward American Presidents: these
> people were brought into the discussion because we implicitly feel
> these people are more 'reliable' than many others. I believe that
the bomb
> would be equally dangerous in the hands of virtually anybody, whether
> American, Russian, British, French, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, North
> Korean, etc., etc. Imagine for example, the nuclear weapon in the
hands of
> hawks in India or Pakistan! Danger everywhere! What I am saying is
> there is no fool-proof method to guarantee that the weapons will not
> actually used, until these weapons are completely destroyed.
> Whatever be the lessons learnt by America (or others) from Japan,
> unfortunately do not show up in the number of bombs created after
the WW
> II. Human beings do not seem to learn much; they play games.
Therefore the
> Americans and Russians, both escalated the arms race to such high
> that the world was in a position to be wiped out tens of times over,
> these weapons were ever used. No "lessons learnt" here, please note. 
> America and Russia (and others) continued to believe that the only
way to
> combat nuclearization was to further nuclearize, to the point when the
> exercise became completely ridiculous.
> India had been pleading right through to all nations to NOT have these
> weapons. Of course that fell on deaf ears. No lessons learnt here, by
> anyone. No "sense" shown toward the most sensible nation, India
which had
> the technology and resources to create the bomb in the early 70s,
but did
> not create the bombs. Only scorn for being weak and "non-nuclear." 
> The moment India declared itself nuclear, the expected happened. The
> is scurrying to bring down its arsenal from tens of thousands to a few
> thousands. The world is finally beginning to listen to India. That is
> exactly what must be expected in the real world. 
> I believe that India should help force the number of weapons down to
> by ** continuously threatennig ** to build more and more weapons
> the others bring down their numbers.  About the cost of these
weapons, we
> are talking of quite small numbers.  The much greater cost is in
> maintaining their security and reliability.
> I fully agree that nuclear weapons are a great pain. These should
not have
> been invented in the first place, and not used in the second.  But
you and
> I cannot turn back the clock. We can turn back the future. While nukes
> hover over our heads, the lives of all of us are insecure. So if you
> ( and I think it makes sense ) we can add to the "ideal" Manifesto:
> "The weapons that India has developed should be completely - and
> simultaneously - destroyed along with all other nuclear weapons in the
> entire world." 
> Nothing less than the complete elimination of all such weapons
should be
> acceptable to you or to me. Had the USA, USSR (now Russia)  and others
> (China, for example, with six hundred of them)  listened to each man,
> woman and child in the world through the other way (peaceful
pleadings), I
> would never be advocating the nuclear option at all. But this method
> actually very effective, and believe me, this action of India will
> boost the urge, globally, to eliminate all nukes in the world. 
> If you can offer an alternative - and effective - method to bring
> weapons down to zero, then we can discuss... 
> Anyway, does the additional line, above, to the "ideal" Manifesto,
> Sanjeev

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