CHENNAI: Religious fundamentalism fanned by the “extreme right” in India and Pakistan is primarily responsible for the nuclear programmes of both the countries and the nuclear weapons race, said J Sriraman of the Journalists Against Nuclear Weapons (JANW) here on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters at a meeting to observe the 12th anniversary of Pokhran II that marked “the loss of the high moral ground” against nuclear weapons, Sriraman, convenor of JANW, said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates had always been clamouring for nuclear tests in India.
“In fact, the Jan Sangh was the first political party to seek nuclear weapons and they have been doing this since the 1950s. After China’s nuclear test, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to the extent of saying that only an atom bomb could be an answer to another bomb,” Sriraman said.
Claiming to quote from interviews of former RSS chief Sudarshan, Sriraman said the Sangh Parivar boss had “voiced support” for even nuclear war between India and Pakistan to annihilate the “demons.” The Right wing had been eulogising the bomb and had worked to swing the public opinion in its favour.
Similarly, the jihadists in Pakistan along with the intelligence and the army played a key role in moulding public opinion in favour of nuclear tests and weapons programme there, especially after India’s Pokhran-II. “For the army in Pakistan, India must always be portrayed as an enemy and jihadists turned out to be helpful allies,” he added.