‘Morarji threatened to smash Pak for N-bomb test’

Then PM Morarji Desai had told US that if Pak tested a n-bomb, he would smash it, a US memo shows.

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010, 00:26 AM IST

Washington: Refusing to enter into any
formal agreement with Pakistan on non-use and non-development
of nuclear weapons, the then prime minister Morarji Desai had
told the US in 1979 that if Islamabad exploded a nuclear bomb,
he would act to "smash it," a declassified US memo shows.

The conversation that transpired between Desai and the
then US ambassador to India Robert F Goheen in a one-on-one
meeting in June 1979 have been made public as part of a series
of declassified documents on Tuesday.

The meeting with Desai that lasted for about 55
minutes was held at the instance of Goheen who was following
the direction of the National Security Council of White House
to meet the prime minister on an "informal, exploratory and
non-committal" basis.

Starting with the premise that Washington wanted to
work with New Delhi to "deflect" the Pakistani nuclear threat,
Goheen could get across the idea that "India is an essential
part of any solution".

Desai, however, was not interested in the idea of a
joint agreement on the non-use and non-development of weapons,
the cable said.

Arguing that he had already made a pledge to that
effect, Desai said that if Pakistan did the same "the two
pledges would be as good as a joint agreement".

He rejected Goheen`s suggestion that a formal
agreement would be more effective and dismissed altogether the
nuclear weapons free zone concept.

Responding to Goheen`s query about a prospective
Indian reaction to a Pakistani weapons test, the prime
minister was belligerent: "If he discovered that Pakistan was
ready to test a bomb or if it exploded one, he would act at
(once) `to smash it," the cable said.

Desai said he had recently assured Pakistan Foreign
Secretary Shahnawaz that India had only good intentions
towards Pakistan and wished to do nothing to cause it
difficulties, but also that "if Pakistan tries any tricks we
will smash you," the cable says.

"I gather that he went on to remind Shahnawaz of 1965
and 1971 in order to emphasise India`s readiness to react
forcibly when sufficiently provoked," Goheen wrote in his
secret cable giving details of his meeting with Morarji Desai.

Pakistan finally went nuclear in 1998 after India`s
second nuclear test in Pokharan.

Goheen wrote Desai said India will not accept the idea
of a joint non-development, non-use agreement with Pakistan.

He said he had already made a unilateral pledge, if
Pakistan did likewise the two pledges would be as good as a
joint statement.

PTI