1998 N-tests gave parity to Pak: Jaswant Singh



New Delhi: Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, known for toeing a different line from that of his party on several issues, today said India's nuclear tests in 1998 during the NDA regime gave a "parity" to Pakistan that it had always sought.

"The question that troubles us is that the 1998 nuclear tests by India conferred a kind of parity to Pakistan that it had always sought," Singh said at a seminar at IIC here on Monday.

Explaining further, the former External Affairs Minister said this parity had come about as the "deterrent quotient" had been altered after the nuclear tests.

"You cannot deter the undeterable... One who is not frightened of death but welcomes death," he said.

The Pokharan-II tests, which catapulted India from a threshold nuclear power to a full-fledged one, is something that the BJP-led NDA is proud of and proclaims as one of its biggest achievements.

Singh was the External Affairs Minister at the time the tests were conducted.

In the seminar, Singh- who was expelled from the BJP for authoring a book praising Pakistan-founder M A Jinnah and holding former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel responsible for partition, said there was a need to reach out to the neighbouring country as well as the whole of North-West, including Afghanistan.

Quoting eminent academician Stephen Cohen, Singh said Indian and Pakistan have had estranged relations with each other for the last 63 years and "it requires just another 37 years to make it the second 100 year war in history".

"We don't have to make it the second 100 year war," he said.

Singh also criticised India's alleged role in training LTTE cadre who fought in Sri Lanka.

"We trained the LTTE. We created the Frankeinstein.... The Tamils in Sri Lanka today are facing problems due to this," Singh said.

Interestingly, the former union minister said the problems in India's neighbourhood were caused due to failure of the US foreign policy.

"The dilemma we face in the neighbourhood is a result of the failure of US foreign policy. US is unable to withdraw (from Afghanistan) and is unable to dominate," Singh said.

In reply to a question on why Indian legislature had not been able to play as active a role in Indo-Pakistan relations as our Executive had, Singh said, "There are no votes (at stake) while dealing with Pakistan."

PTI