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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: World Divided Over Sanctions Against India




U.S. President Bill Clinton announced the introduction of harsh economic sanctions against New Delhi almost simultaneously with India's two nuclear detonations Wednesday evening [following three Monday]. The Indian government has made a horrible mistake, he said.


U.S. officials report that the measures taken by the administration will cause India billions of dollars in damage. A harrowing figure of $20 billion even appeared in reports from some of the world's news agencies. How those figures were derived is still unclear.


In the meantime, other permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Russia, France and Great Britain -- have been in no hurry to follow the United States' example. Reuters has reported from New York that Russian diplomats are making every effort to soften the text that the Security Council is expected to adopt in condemnation of India. Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov has made it absolutely clear that Moscow has no intention of introducing sanctions against Delhi. Britain -- the host of the meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations in Birmingham -- has also expressed its opposition to economic measures against the Indians. Prime Minister Tony Blair's press secretary stated that London does not support sanctions against its former colony. Paris has adopted a similar position. An offical French government representative, Daniel Vaian, says that he believes that sanctions will serve only to interfere with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that India has also signed. Canada announced that it is suspending military cooperation with Delhi and recalled its ambassador for "consultations." The Australian government cancelled a planned visit by its own warships to India and requested all Indian military personnel training in Australia to leave "the Green Continent." Japan has refused to host the World Bank's annual conference on economic aid to India.


Except for that of the United States, the pronouncements of all these nations draw attention to themselves in that they have so far been limited to only symbolic measures or vocal condemnations, with none of them rushing to introduce serious sanctions.


Izvestia, May 15


No Banking On U-Turn


India's foray into the construction of full-scale nuclear weapons deals a good hand to other states standing on the nuclear threshold. The logic here is simple: If India can have a nuclear arsenal, then why can't we? In essence, it threatens the implementation of the nuclear nonproliferation system, created amid so much difficulty. Political loose cannons that place their ambitions above all else may end up in possession of nuclear weapons.


The world is reacting negatively to the detonations in the Rajastan desert. The word "sanctions" was first pronounced in Washington. Japan was next to follow. There could be serious consequences for India, now trying to liberalize its economy. However, knowing the political aspirations of the leadership of the Bharatiya Janata party currently ruling India, there is little doubt that they will see their chosen course to the end. The international community has a new political reality to deal with. Never in history has a state relinquished nuclear weapons after building them.


Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 13


Sanctions vs. Contracts


The Indian precedent may prove contagious for other countries under the pretext of forming a "parity of restraint." This is why the nuclear detonations in India have evoked such sharp world reaction. The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have all recalled their ambassadors from New Delhi for "consultation." This diplomatic form of displeasure has been accompanied by warnings of possible economic sanctions, including a freeze on credits already promised to India. Moscow has found itself in a rather ambiguous position in the current situation. On one hand, India -- a major trading partner and a country with which relations have traditionally been friendly -- is one of the largest buyers of Russian arms. And there are promising plans tied up with India for cooperation in the area of nuclear energy. In particular, Russia is supposed to build a nuclear power station in India, and provide the delivery of two reactors. The Nuclear Power Ministry leadership does not believe the detonations will affect these plans. On the other hand, Moscow was compelled to react to India's challenge in order to avoid becoming a black sheep in the world community.


Boris Yeltsin's forthcoming visit to New Delhi has made the situation an especially delicate one. Speaking the day before yesterday at the Foreign Ministry, the president addressed attitudes toward the Indian detonations in a very curious form: "India has let us down with its detonation." The foreign minister himself naturally avoided sharp words, expressing "regret" and "concern." Simultaneously, he made it clear that Russia is against any type of sanctions, as India has not signed any of the existing protocols regarding nuclear weapons and thus has not violated any obligations.


Moskovskaya Pravda, May 14


Main Move to Russia?


Addressing the leadership of the Russian Foreign Ministry, President Boris Yeltsin made the following remarks: "India has let us down with its detonation. We will have to achieve a change in its policies through diplomatic means and visits." Russia has many means for applying pressure on its southern neighbor, which has started an extremely risky escalation of strategic power. Germany's foreign minister was very clear on this point when he called India's detonations a slap in the face for the 149 nations that have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.


Obshchaya Gazeta, May 14-20


Pakistan Not Flinching


The Russian Nuclear Power Ministry also expressed its regret, pointing out that the nuclear tests will nevertheless have no affect on Russian cooperation in the area of peaceful application of nuclear power. Concern was expressed in many of the world's capitals that these tests may lead to a new round of the arms race in Asia and stimulate the development of new nuclear weapons systems.


The chief of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Kadir Khan, gave weight to these concerns by announcing that his country is capable of providing a worthy response to any Indian threat. Citing government circles, the Islamabad newspaper Nation reported that Pakistan will need no more than one week before it can conduct its own nuclear test. Prime Minister Navaz Sharif is under powerful pressure from the Benazir Bhutto-led opposition to detonate a nuclear device urgently.


Attempting to soften the negative world reactions and prevent the introduction of trade and economic sanctions by the United States, Japan and a number of other nations, India's leadership has announced the possibility that it may sign the comprehensive ban on nuclear testing. India's nationalistic press is jubilant: the country has for all intents joined the nuclear club.


Trud, May 14


Infant Bomb is Potent


India has demonstrated to the world its scientific and technical potential and military might.


However, the military aspect of recent events can hardly be considered the dominating aspect. Even a hydrogen-bomb test does not serve in and of itself as a criterion for judging the effectiveness of nuclear capability. India still has a long road to travel before it can stand shoulder to shoulder with the world's nuclear powers (if, of course, it continues down that road). However, on the other hand, India is actively working on delivery systems, its missile program focused on equipping its military with weaponry with a strike radius of 1,500 to 2,500 kilometers. That fact requires a very serious look at New Delhi's nuclear progress.


Be that as it may, "the May demonstration" is more significant from a political perspective. India announced, with obvious pleasure, its membership in the nuclear club. At a special news conference, the country's Prime Minister Vajpayee informed journalists of the huge victory won by India's scientists and engineers. The entire country was set in motion by the news, with demonstrations taking place on the streets. The nation seemed to take satisfaction in a morbid kind of self love, showing the rest of mankind that its greatness lies not only in its population of nearly 1 billion.


Krasnaya Zvezda, May 14