S Jaishankar recalls how A B Vajpayee handled the diplomatic situation post-1998 nuclear tests
Presiding over the third Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar lauded former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his deft diplomacy following the Pokhran nuclear tests, which were conducted in 1998.
India conducted five nuclear tests of advanced weapon designs in May 1998 at the Pokhran range in Rajasthan.
Jaishankar said that within two years of the nuclear tests, India had engaged with all the important nations of the world. Jaishankar also praised Vajpayee’s tenure as External Affairs Minister and his role in strengthening India’s ties with the US and Russia.
He said the fundamentals of mutual respect, mutual sensitivity, and mutual interest that are talked about now in terms of the modus vivendi with China are credited to Vajpayee.
“Within a space of two years after the tests, we had engaged all the major countries of the world, had actually brought them around. When you had the visit of President Bill Clinton, PM John Howard, PM Yoshiro Mori, and visit of president Jacques Chirac, it was actually post-test diplomacy, which I think anybody who is in the field of diplomacy, should look at and seek to draw lessons,” he said.
“I was at that time posted in Japan and it was a relationship that was particularly affected by the nuclear tests. But we always drew from the prime minister’s confidence that we would find a way of settling it down and indeed today when I look at that relationship, I marvel at the wisdom and the maturity with which prime minister Vajpayee got all of us to look at that particular challenge,” S Jaishankar said.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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