India in the 1990s: the Moratorium Ends
Although Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi reversed his mother's policy of
nuclear development, when a new prime minister Narasimha Rao assumed
power in 1991, India resumed its plans for nuclear development and in
December, 1995, Rao was ready to authorize a nuclear test--only to be
discovered by CIA spy satellite and discouraged by President Clinton
from going forward with the tests. With the election of the Hindu
Nationalist, Bharata Janata Party in 1998, Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee
ordered Indian scientists to proceed with plans for testing as soon as
possible. This lead to the series of detonations in May, and the
subsequent quick response by Pakistan.
Foreign Policy Relations
The United States has treaties which provide nuclear umbrella to Japan
and NATO nations. At present, the United States has cordial relations
with China. American policy is worked out in tension between those who
insist on expanded human rights in China, and those who favor opening
markets and investments in China and downplaying human rights issues.
The United States was closely allied with Pakistan until end of Cold
War. Pakistan provided bases for U-2 flights and conduit for arms to
Afghanistan rebels. The United States provided most of Pakistani
military aid from 1954 to the 1980s. China is now the major military
supplier to Pakistan. The United States has maintained cool relations
with India because of its refusal to join the west during the Cold War,
its pursuit of a non-alignment foreign policy and for its tight
controls on American investment and business enterprise in India.
China is the premier military power in Asia and considers Pakistan its
oldest and most powerful Asian ally. China continues to occupy areas
inside of India's borders as a result of the Indo-China war of 1962.
China has nuclear-armed missiles positioned against India along the
Himalayan border and in Tibet, in addition to being Pakistan’s main
military weapons provider.
Russia has had close relations with India since Indira Gandhi became
prime minister in 1966. Russia provides most of India's military sales.
After the demise of the Soviet Empire, Russia is unable to provide
economic or military aid to India.
India has pursued a policy of non-alignment with Soviet Union and
United States since its independence. India's planned economy was not
open to U.S. investment until change of policy toward free market in
1991. India would not accept American military aid or join alliances,
thus alienating U.S. leaders and majority of Americans. Under President
Kennedy, the United States supported India in its war with China. Under
Nixon, the United States supported Pakistan in 1971 in the war that led
to creation of Bangladesh (the former East Pakistan). America sent a
nuclear-armed aircraft carrier to Bay of Bengal, which helped motivate
India to go nuclear. Now that Russia is weak, India feels isolated and
alone in world community. India has felt that the United States has
also been hostile to India and that we now are promoting China as the
major power in all of Asia. Pakistani testing of Gauri missile on April
6th, 1998 was a major factor in India's decision to undertake nuclear
testing. India will suffer from the end of economic aid, but its
leaders have calculated that that the nation can survive the sanctions.
Pakistan relied on its close alliance with the United States from 1954
through the 1980s. During the 1990s, leaders looked more to China for
support and military technology and hardware; China is currently a
major supplier of these components to Pakistan. The Pakistani foreign
minister traveled to China for consultations ten days before Pakistan
conducted nuclear tests. Pakistan will suffer far more than India as a
result of economic sanctions by world community. Loss of aid will
result in undermining of currency, great increase in debt and increase