Indian communists condemn nuclear tests

June 17, 1998


Indian communists condemn nuclear tests

In a statement issued in New Delhi on May 16, Vinod Mishra, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (ML), said: “We oppose the nuclear tests conducted by the Indian government because it will trigger an arms race in South Asia and will destabilise peace in the region”.


Mishra added that the arms race will cause prices and unemployment to shoot up as the right-wing Hindu-chauvinist government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) imposes austerity measures. In early June, the government announced a 14% increase in defence spending and a 68% increase in spending on nuclear energy.

Mishra warned, “The people will suffer for this jingoistic policy of the government”. The CPI(ML) added that the May 11 and 13 blasts were part of the BJP's agenda, “which includes pursuing a chauvinist policy vis-a-vis India's neighbours, particularly Pakistan, escalating the nuclear arms race, transforming India into a Hindu Rashtra where religious minorities will be treated as second-class citizens, undermining the federal polity, unleashing brutal state repression and organising private armies of landlords to crush agrarian movements of the rural poor, militarily suppressing the ongoing movements for national self-determination and crushing all sorts of dissent in the intellectual, aesthetic and academic fields.”

The editorial of the June issue of the CPI(ML)'s journal Liberation pointed out: “Operation Shakti, as the blasts were code-named [after the Hindu goddess of power], have had the desired results for the ruling administration. Widespread disgruntlement with the government's non-performance has yielded to a frenzied wave of national chauvinism. The big bomb has silenced the BJP's pesky allies, as well as its vocal opponents. It is being projected as a symbol of national pride, the opposition also clamouring for a share of the pride cake.”

PictureThe CPI(ML) states: “Only at our peril can we afford to forget the experience of the 1970s. Indira Gandhi had emerged as a national heroine after the Bangladesh war and the 1974 nuclear explosion. Taking cover of the jingoistic craze, however ... she crippled the judiciary, dispensed with the parliamentary institutions and clamped down with a state of emergency.”

The editorial concluded that following the tests, “anti-Pakistan diatribes and China-bashing will become the cornerstone of external policy, and damning the 'unpatriotic communists' the core of internal policy ... demand[ing] a determined intervention by the forces of revolutionary democracy.”

India's two major left parties, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India, together with two smaller left parties represented in parliament, on May 16 stated, “Making nuclear bombs and weaponry at this juncture is unwarranted and contrary to the interests of the country. There is no direct threat posed by any country against India which necessitates such a step ... As a result of the reckless nuclear policy, there will be a harmful nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan with the diversion of scarce resources for a costly and futile build-up of weapons. This will not benefit the Indian people.

“The BJP has rushed into this adventurist policy with the political motive of rousing feelings of chauvinism and jingoism in order to cover up its own political difficulties of running a rickety coalition and its failure to address the serious problems facing the country. While condemning the sanctions imposed by the USA and other countries, the Left parties strongly oppose ... opening up to and wooing foreign multinationals in all sectors of the economy.

“The Left parties demand that the BJP-led government immediately stop the talk of nuclear weaponisation. It must take steps to restore the process of improvement of relations with our neighbours and rely upon the sound policy India has been pursuing of working for nuclear disarmament while safeguarding India's security interests by not signing any discriminatory treaties like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.”

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