Gandhi Used to Defend Indian Nuclear Program

Gandhi Used to Defend Indian Nuclear Program


On August 31, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh used Gandhi to justify the U.S.-Indo Nuclear Deal, also know as the “123 Agreement.”

Prime Minister Singh defended the 123 Agreement, saying:

“This will signal the end of our international isolation of the past few decades…. There is today a talk the world over of a nuclear renaissance and we cannot afford to miss the bus or lag behind these global developments.”

Later that day, while addressing the graduating class of nuclear specialists at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Training School, the prime minister invoked Gandhi in defense of India’s nuclear ambitions:

“This great national institution was built by men like Homi Bhabha, Homi Sethna, Raja Ramanna and many others who had the self-confidence to be bold in their thinking and brave in their action. They reached out to the world to learn from it. I believe they were inspired by the words of the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who said, and I quote: “‘I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.'”

Gandhi’s quote is specious. His legacy is a staunchly Hindu nation walled against all other cultures. These walls are sanctioned in India’s constitution, which calls India by the Hindu mythological name “Bharat.” Gandhi forced Hinduism on minority religions in India, claiming: “It cannot be said that Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are separate religions. All these four faiths and their offshoots are one. Hinduism is an ocean into which all the rivers run. It can absorb Islam and Christianity and all other religions and only then can it become the ocean.” Although Gandhi professed his desire for all cultures to “be blown about my house as freely as possible,” Gandhi’s India has suffocated countless minority cultures, killing an estimated 250,000 Sikhs since 1984, 200,000 Christians since 1947, and 85,000 Muslims since 1988.

The reference to Gandhi is intended to mask India’s nuclear scientists as devoted Gandhians dedicated to peace and harmony. The success of the 123 Agreement depends on India’s ability to downplay problems such as her refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and appealing to Gandhism has proven the best technique to whitewash institutionalized Indian violence.

In reality, there is nothing non-violent about the 123 Agreement. In 1974, The Indian government proved its willingness to lie in order to receive nuclear assistance. India used plutonium from the CIRUS program, supplied by the U.S. and Canada with the specification it only be used for peaceful purposes, to develop and test a nuclear weapon dubbed “Smiling Buddha.” The CIRUS program has since been used to develop the majority of India’s weaponized plutonium.

The current 123 Agreement, while stipulating that nuclear technology and materials only be used for peaceful purposes, specifically exempts all eight of India’s military nuclear reactors from international oversight. Estimates suggest India could produce enough plutonium with these reactors to create several dozen nuclear weapons per year. Additionally, experts say the deal will spark a regional nuclear arms race. Pakistan has already threatened this, recently saying: “Strategic stability in South Asia and the global non-proliferation regime would have been better served if the US had considered a package approach for Pakistan and India…with a view to preventing a nuclear arms race in the region.”

In short, the 123 Agreement does not promote peace. Yet as Indira Gandhi invoked Gandhism to justify the slaughter at the Golden Temple in 1984, so Prime Minister Singh believes that he can use that philosophy to manipulate the international perspective of Indian nuclear ambitions.

The prime minister neglected to mention two points inconsistent with the supposedly peaceful intentions of the 123 Agreement. First, the “Smiling Buddha” bomb was developed by BARC scientists led by Raja Ramanna, the man Prime Minister Singh says was inspired by Gandhi. Second, at a prayer speech on June 16, 1947, Gandhi said: “If we had the atom bomb, we would have used it against the British.”

Gandhi believed it was acceptable to advance his own causes by blowing others off their feet, even with an atom bomb.

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