Nuclear irony

Published : Nov 17, 2006 00:00 IST

It is ironical that most of the nuclear weapon stockpiles are in the hands of countries that have spoken against North Korea's nuclear tests. The international community must organise itself to make the world nuclear-free, otherwise the earth will be no more and wewill always be under the threat of wars. The nuclear apartheid must end; the peaceful use of nuclear energy must be encouraged. India must play an important role in this regard. Akhil Kumar Delhi

Nuclear Korea

LIKE any other sovereign nation, North Korea, too, has tested a nuclear device for its self-defence (Cover Story, November 3). By informing the world in advance about its intent to conduct a nuclear test and executing the plan, North Korea has dealt a blow to the U.S., which tries to do moral policing around the world. If the nuclear weapon states really want a nuclear-free world, they should set an example by eliminating their nuclear arsenals. As for the U.S.' claims to being a "responsible" state, the world has seen how responsible it was when it attacked Iraq.

S. Balakrishnan Jamshedpur

GIVEN the ever-increasing interference by the U.S. in the internal matters of sovereign countries on flimsy grounds, it is not surprising that smaller countries like North Korea take all possible measures to safeguard their interests. The bigger nations, having equipped themselves with superior nuclear warheads, have no moral authority to crack the whip against North Korea.

Arvind K. Pandey Allahabad

WITH reference to the article "Tremors in the East" (November 3) regarding the North Korean nuclear test, I would like to assert the following two classifications based on facts: First, regarding the transfer of wartime control, the article says, "Roh's calculation that such control over his own troops would ensure his credibility in the eyes of Kim Jong-il, the DPRK's supreme leader."

This is not true. The "transfer of wartime operational control" has been discussed since 1991 between the Republic of Korea and the U.S., and on this matter the government of the Republic of Korea has officially announced that it would respect the U.S. position. Moreover, if both sides agree, the transfer could be completed at best by the year 2009, well after President Roh leaves office.

Secondly, regarding the U.N. sanctions on North Korea, the article says, "As of now South Korea has made no effort to stop the flow of humanitarian supplies to North Korea." This is different from the real fact. On October 14, in the wake of the U.N. Security Council's decision to place sanctions on Korea, the government of the Republic of Korea announced its firm position to comply with the U.N. resolution in good faith.

The position of the government of the Republic of Korea is that the engagement policy towards the North needs adjustment due to the change of environment stemming from the latter's nuclear test. After the missile launches by the North, the government stopped shipments of rice and fertilizer that had been ongoing for some time. Also, the sale of the plots in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex is now on hold.

Seung-ho Kim Counsellor Information & Culture Embassy of the Republic of Korea New Delhi

PRAFUL Bidwai's article "Wake up call from Pyongyang" makes an unnecessary reference to India's nuclear programme. It cannot be compared to North Korea's programme in any way. India has had a civilian-oriented and civilian-controlled nuclear sector right from its inception. It is dedicated to nuclear power generation and to research in non-military applications of nuclear technology. It has a cyclotron (Asia's first), a synchrotron, radioisotopes for medical use, supercomputers (the Anupam series), desalination plants, irradiators, agricultural research, industrial lasers, and even a large astronomical telescope. North Korea's programme, and for that matter, the programmes of Pakistan and China, have always been military- and weapons- oriented. China, for instance, built its first nuclear power plant long after conducting nuclear tests.

Varun Shekhar Canada

NORTH Korea's test has put tremendous pressure on its neighbours - South Korea and Japan, and also probably China. A similar situation could arise in West Asia if Iran conducts a nuclear test. The world should put an end to this anti-humanitarian race.

Y.N. Murthy Hyderabad

ALFRED Nobel invented the dynamite. Doomsday prophets "predicted" the end of the world. Soon the dreaded dynamite came to be accepted as a "conventional" weapon. Then came the development of more formidable weapons, especially during and after the World Wars, and today we have a mind-boggling range of weapons, which were used in Afghanistan and Iraq, all of them thousands of times more destructive than the measly dynamite. The world has not ended, not yet!

In our collective wisdom, we have given a separate nomenclature for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons - weapons of mass destruction. This has divided nations into haves and have-nots. North Korea's maverick behaviour is a result of the mindset of the have-nots.

K. R. Rangaswamy United States

GEORGE Bush's wrong policies are not enough justification for North Korea to go ahead with nuclear tests. The issue should have been resolved through talks.

A. Jacob Sahayam Thiruvananthapuram

THE world should view with concern Pakistan's role in North Korea's deveopment of a nuclear bomb. There is no dearth of evidence to prove that the North Korean bomb has Pakistani hallmark despite Islamabad's clarifications.

J. Akshobhya Mysore

THE imposition of sanctions against North Korea betrays the hypocrisy of the U.S. and its Western allies. Mere tests will not harm the peace and tranquillity of the region.

Brij Bhushan Vyas Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

IT is surprising that the country that has carried out more than 1,000 nuclear tests is preaching against proliferation. The U.S. list of enemies is growing. Earlier it was Cuba and Vietnam; then its was Afghanisthan and Iraq; and now it is North Korea. Before acting tough against Korea, the U.S. should do some introspection.

U. Rajesh Tenkasi, T.N.

DURING the Korean War of the 1950s, the mighty Communist China supported North Korea to the hilt against the U.S. onslaught. But now, apparently under pressure from the U.S., the `reformed' state is toeing the Bush line. The hysteria over the North Korean nuclear test reflects the height of hypocrisy.

K. P. Rajan MumbaiPoll violence

THE municipal election-related violence in Chennai is highly regrettable ("Farce in Chennai", November 3). It shows the inefficiency of the State Election Commission and the police. The violence was followed by horse-trading. The Central Election Commission should amend the laws relating local body elections and prevent recurrence of such incidents.

V. Rajendran Paramakudi, T.N.Barak row

Controversies over defence purchases surface from time to time ("Dubioius deal", November 3). The Barak missile system was shortlisted by the Indian Navy in 1994. When INS Viraat was launched, there was an urgent need for a missile defence system but the development of Trishul SAM (surface-to-air missile) was inordinately delayed. INS Ganga was the first frigate to be equipped with Barak SAM. The INS Brahmaputra frigate was supposed to be equipped with Trisul SAM but it was not yet ready. The frigate was eventually launched without being equipped without any SAM system, which is like a sitting duck. Defence systems have to be upgraded periodically and scandals and faulty procedures come in the way of this effort. Defence purchase must be organised in such a way that only professional persons have the final say.

M.M. Gurbaxani BangaloreBooker Prize

KIRAN Desai's joyous prose is proof enough that literary talent flows in her genes ("Inheritance of gain", November 3). She won in the face of a formidable challenge from literary giants. But then Kiran's "radiant, funny and moving family saga" triumphed.

A. Megha Hyderabad

KIRAN Desai portrays vividly the life of ordinary people and that is why her book has won wide acclaim.

K.P. Gopakumar ThiruvananthapuramReligious reform

I READ with interest the article "Dutch dilemmas" (November 3). Reform in any society or religion must come from within. Ayan Hirsi Ali is not a reformer but a rebel. Reformers have to be iconoclasts and their ideas and action should disturb the sentiments of some people. When Buddha denounced Vedic rites it would have disturbed the sentiments of some followers of the Vedas. A few decades back, a reformer in Tamil Nadu took a procession of Hindu idols garlanded with chappals. But it was `reform' of such nature that had restored the self-respect of the non-Brahmin castes in Tamil Nadu.

R.Venkat ChennaiChina

THIS has reference to two informative articles on China ("Dams for power", June 16; "Train to Lhasa", July 28). India has a tremendous potential to develop hydel power. The rivers origninating in Tibet flow across the plains to reach the Indian Ocean, covering a length of 2,400 km. But India has lost a lot of territory and initiative to Pakistan and China. China's hydel power achievements are owing to its leaders' expertise in the relevant areas. President Hu Jintao graduated from the Water Conservancy Engineering Department of Tsinghua University where he had majored in the study of hydropower stations. Premier Wen Jiabao is a geological engineer who majored in the study of surveying and prospecting from the Beijing Institute of Geology.

C.G. Tupnad Jalna, MaharashtraANNOUNCEMENT

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