May 17, 1977, Forty Years Ago: PM on India’s nukeshttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/may-17-1977-forty-years-ago-pm-modi-on-indias-nukes-4659243/

May 17, 1977, Forty Years Ago: PM on India’s nukes

Prime Minister Morarji Desai stoutly defended Indira Gandhi against the former US president Richard Nixon’s charge that she had wanted to invade West Pakistan.

A look at the front page of The Indian Express, published on  May 17, 1977.

Prime Minister Morarji Desai said if it was necessary to have an explosion for furthering peaceful uses of nuclear energy, India would certainly go in for it. But he was firm that India did not need atomic weapons for its defence.

At the same time, he made it clear that India will not have an explosion in a “hide-and-seek” manner, Desai said at a news conference, his second since becoming PM, in Delhi. Discussing the country’s defence needs, he said that India was in no danger from nuclear weapons. Even in the case of a war, it was only conventional weapons that would help, apart from the courage of the people.

Desai defends Indira

Prime Minister Morarji Desai stoutly defended Indira Gandhi against the former US president Richard Nixon’s charge that she had wanted to invade West Pakistan. A correspondent referred to Nixon’s charge at Desai’s press conference and asked that since Mrs Gandhi had been discredited at the elections, whether Desai would investigate the charge. Desai said that Mrs Gandhi had not been discredited in everything. He did not subscribe to the theory that she could have thought of invading West Pakistan. This was a wrong story.

“I’d not cause that injustice to her,” he said.

JP meets reporters

Jayaprakash Narayan told Indian correspondents visiting him in Seattle that, “I feel I have got a new lease of life. I hope to live for another 10 years.” When the correspondent reminded him that according to Mahatma Gandhi, a person should live up to 120 years, JP quoted a saying in Sanskrit that it was true that according to the shastras, a person’s life span was 120 years. JP told a delegation of Indians for Democracy that only the first phase of the “total revolution” had been accomplished. “We still have a long way to go,” he said.