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Monday, October 18, 2021

September 20, 1981, Forty Years Ago: PM on Nuclear Tests

Mrs Gandhi emphasised that India was developing nuclear capacity solely for developmental purposes. She spelt out India’s nuclear policy in an interview to a correspondent of the Age magazine in Australia.

By: Editorial |
September 20, 2021 3:25:17 am
This is the front page of Indian Express on September 20, 1981

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has said that India would carry out Pokharan type nuclear tests if necessary but would not manufacture the atomic bomb even if Pakistan did so. Mrs Gandhi emphasised that India was developing nuclear capacity solely for developmental purposes. She spelt out India’s nuclear policy in an interview to a correspondent of the Age magazine in Australia. Asked how long it would take India to change from nuclear energy for peaceful purposes to developing a bomb should the need arise, the PM said that this was a question that scientists would be able to answer. She said that India had to consider what was the real danger before it, that type of war or more convention warfare. Mrs Gandhi said India had to consider what the real danger was, “whether it would be that type of danger or a more conventional type.”

Antulay’s Fate

The fate of Maharashtra Chief Minister A R Antulay remained undecided till late on the night of September 19 despite the fact that Mrs Indira Gandhi had received the report of her emissary, External Affairs Minister P V Narasimha Rao. After her meeting with Rao, Mrs Gandhi summoned some of her ministers including Home Minister Giani Zail, Industry and Labour Minister N D Tiwari and the Petroleum Minister P C Sethi. Meanwhile, N M Tikde, Maharashtra labour minister, came to Delhi and went back to Bombay. During his brief stay, he met S B Chavan, Union Planning Minister.

Violence In Baroda

At least three people were killed in a fresh wave of violence in Baroda on September 19. They were stabbed to death in assaults at dawn near the Wadi vegetable market, Bharati High School in Buranpura and Jayratna building. District magistrate Ashok Chawla said that the situation in the city did not require calling for help from the army or requisitioning additional police force. Over 170 persons have been rounded up as a preventive measure.

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