WASHINGTON: Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi was quoted as saying that although he does not think Pakistan has actually made a nuclear bomb yet, “their intention is very must to make a weapon”.

At the same time, he warned that any nuclear weapon produced by Pakistan would in fact be an “Islamic Bomb which is funded by Arabs and will be made available to Arabs”.

Gandhi’s attempts at linking Pakistan’s nuclear programme to the Arabs, according to observers here, is motivated to sound alarm bells in the heavily pro-Israeli U.S. Congress which is currently considering American aid package to Pakistan.

Pakistan has categorically stated time and again that its nuclear programme is not weapon oriented) but was geared’ towards peaceful purposes.

The Prime Minister complained during the course of an interview with a group of American journalists in New Delhi that the United States was “too soft” on Pakistan’s. Potential to make nuclear weapons.

The interview was published in the “Washington Times”.

“U.S. is not really putting its weight behind nonproliferation like it should, like I think it wanted to”, the Indian leader said. “The U.S. would bear most of the blame if Pakistan developed a nuclear weapon”.

“We feel the U.S. has some Strategic interests in Pakistan and for those interests it is willing to overlook the problem of proliferation”.

He said, he did not think that Pakistan had actually made a bomb yet. “But I think they are close to it. They are close to a weapon and their intention is very must to make a weapon”.

The Prime Minister refused to say what option India, which exploded a nuclear device in 1974, was considering in responding to Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

“We will keep them (options) open at the moment”. He said, “we would like an option where we would not go nuclear. We don’t want to go nuclear. Mr. Gandhi ruled out preemptive strikes on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. He said he was disappointed at the Reagan administration’s “cool response” to India’s request to help in restraining Pakistan’s nuclear development.

“If it (the U.S.) just didn’t ask for it, didn’t ask for a waiver of the Symington amendment, that would be enough”.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan’s nuclear programme had affected India more than anything else.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 17, 1987