Had Nehru accepted US offer, India need not have to seek NSG membership: Former Foreign Secretary

US President John F Kennedy had offered of helping the country detonate a nuclear device much before China did in 1964, according to former Foreign Secretary Maharajakrishna Rasgotra.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: June 13, 2016 9:25 pm
India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru

India need not have had to make desperate efforts now to get membership of elite NSG had Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru accepted the then US President John F Kennedy’s offer of helping the country detonate a nuclear device much before China did in 1964, according to former Foreign Secretary Maharajakrishna Rasgotra.

He also said that if Nehru had accepted the offer, not only would have India tested the nuclear device first in Asia, before China, but it also “would have deterred China from launching its war of 1962 and even imparted a note of caution to (Pakistan’s) Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s plans for war in 1965,” according to a Observer Research Foundation (ORF) release.

Rasgotra was speaking at the release of his new book “A Life in Diplomacy” at ORF. “Kennedy, who was an admirer of India’s democracy and held its leader Jawaharlal Nehru in very high esteem, felt that democratic India, not Communist China, should be the first Asian country to conduct a nuclear test,” he said.

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Kennedy’s hand-written letter was accompanied by a technical note from the chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission, setting out the assistance his organisation would provide to Indian atomic scientists to detonate an American device from atop a tower in Rajasthan desert, the release said.

In the letter, Kennedy had said he and the American establishment were aware of Nehru’s strong views against nuclear tests and nuclear weapons, but emphasised the political and security threat China’s test would spell for Nehru’s government and India’s security, it said, adding the American leader’s letter emphasised that “nothing is more important than national security”.

Had India’s first Prime Minister Nehru accepted Kennedy’s offer of helping India detonate a nuclear device much before China did in 1964, India need not have had to make desperate efforts to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) now, he said.

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  1. A
    Ajit Kumar
    Jun 20, 2016 at 4:36 am
    One more ber !
    Reply
    1. R
      Ranjith Vadiyala
      Jun 24, 2016 at 6:05 pm
      1. Made a mess of Kashmirlt;br/gt;2. Rejected permanent seat in UN Security counsellt;br/gt;3. Rejected US istance to test a nuclear weaponlt;br/gt;4. Weakened the army, which lead to the defeat against Chinalt;br/gt;5. Most likely responsible for the death of Subhash boselt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;How many more????
      Reply
      1. S
        Sekhar
        Jun 24, 2016 at 6:17 pm
        I would never vote for congress in my lifetime again. Before, I had been voting congress in all elections. Henceforth i will only vote BJP.
        Reply
        1. S
          Sekhar
          Jun 24, 2016 at 6:14 pm
          This is hi's ber for favoring Nehru as India's prime minister. Sardar Vallabhai Patel would have best from nationalistic point of view. Let us bury congress forever.
          Reply
          1. K
            Kay Singh
            Jun 17, 2016 at 6:43 pm
            Sometimes one wonders whether authors of such articles are truly knowledgable
            Reply
            1. U
              unni
              Jun 15, 2016 at 10:49 am
              You just think lt;br/gt;Had nehru not been the PM Many of the present problems india facing wouldnt have arisen. NSG membership is a small neglgible issue compared to the other issues
              Reply
              1. I
                Imran
                Jun 14, 2016 at 4:06 am
                If Nehru has agreed to US terms then we would have been in the state which stan is today. India has put itslef in the capable position for NSG all by itlsef and that in itself speak about the strong intellect we have in our Nation. Lets not insult our great scientists who worked hard to make this possible. It is the journey that matters not the result. I'm proud that we are getting the importance that we deserve. Keeping a hopeful wish that we be proud part of NSG
                Reply
                1. A
                  Abhimanyu
                  Jun 24, 2016 at 8:33 pm
                  What ber... if US is supporting India then USSR will oppose it.. in anyways it is not going through... what kind of analysis is this.
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    roar
                    Jun 14, 2016 at 4:03 am
                    Yes Kenedy was supportive of India but still somehow the Gilpatric committee happened and the NPT allowed China in but sanctioned India for good and eventually US-China went onto leave tibet for china and attack Soviets for US.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Every once in a while people with holy intentions end up doing something like that. Hota hai ... Chalta hai.
                    Reply
                    1. N
                      nirmalkumar
                      Jun 14, 2016 at 2:18 pm
                      We have many such stories where nehru govt did much harm to our nation by not acting and taking favourable long term decisions.Nehru totally lacked vision and only dreamt in theoretical hypothesis of panchsheel, which has a big 'zero' value today.Had sardar patel been given chance to become pm of india, india may not be in such a pitiable position for obtaining membership of NSG.
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Rita Negi
                        Jun 25, 2016 at 5:12 am
                        The Nehru hi dynastic rule has been bane for this country. Hope we have finally bid them goid bye.
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          sacchadesi
                          Jun 25, 2016 at 6:18 am
                          India wouldn't have existed today if Nehru wasn't the PM then, most likely. So you are right, not have had any problems.
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            sacchadesi
                            Jun 25, 2016 at 6:16 am
                            Nehru got country that couldn't even manufacture needles. Had millions of utterly poor people. The geniuses now wanted India to test even nuclear weapons then. Wow. I'm contrast, Modi got a top GDP country. But still failing at everything. Country in WORSE shape today then when he took over. Jumlas dont make governance. Neither does B grade movie acting talent. Should lobby for Oscars instead of NSG or FDI.
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              SSwamy
                              Jun 25, 2016 at 11:35 pm
                              Nehru was one of the worst Prime Minister's of the country. His embrace of communism, his dislike of business, his great deference to China, his totally inept handling of Kashmir put India really back.
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Siva
                                Jun 13, 2016 at 4:52 pm
                                It's slightly implausible and anti-thematic. The Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) came into force in 1963, and both the US and India are signatories. The LTBT completely prohibits atmospheric testing. It's unlikely that Kennedy would have offered to do an atmospheric test in India from a tower in the Thar desert, during the few months between the 1962 debacle and the ratification of the LTBT in August 1963. Of course, they could have rushed things and done the test before the LTBT was signed, but it would have been unnatural and anti-thematic, since both the US and India are signatories to the LTBT and would have been fully aware of the diplomatic fallout of doing an atmospheric test just before the LTBT.
                                Reply
                                1. s
                                  sri.s
                                  Jun 15, 2016 at 8:24 am
                                  If we start counting the bers Nehru did and the cost we paid and still paying it would be a new Mahabharat. And those stooges who give credit to Nehru for all the ideas of development etc don't mention where did Nehru get those ideas from. Those who want to know, just check the address of Netaji during 1938 Haripura congress.
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    Mahalingam
                                    Jun 14, 2016 at 2:54 am
                                    what was Rasgothra doing all along ..to come up with such astatement now..? Is it to please the present Govt.?
                                    Reply
                                    1. R
                                      Ram
                                      Jun 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm
                                      Nehru bashing is the flavor of the day. What is there are many unanswered questions. Like: One, the author became foreign sec in 1984. How does he so intimately know the details of what transpired in 1962 when he must have been a junior bureaucrat in GOI? Two, China detonated the bomb in 1964, which means it must have been well prepared by 1960. JFK became the president in 1961 to 1963? It is almost impossible to imagine that India could have developed the capability to detonate the bomb in two years when the prep take much longer time than that. So what if points do not add up. Bashing a dead Prime Minister is the in thing. Let us partake. He is not alive to defend himself, no?.
                                      Reply
                                      1. R
                                        Ram
                                        Jun 26, 2016 at 1:31 pm
                                        Your point two above is wrong. Google the article in 'The Hindu' on this topic. Point 4 above is debatable. Even today Chinese Army is much more stronger than India's. India was much weaker then.
                                        Reply
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