Vivid News 24: Then-External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar claimed on Monday that Atal Bihari Vajpayee handled the diplomatic situation after the nuclear tests in 1998 with skill and that India had engaged all of the major nations of the world within two years.
S. Jaishankar, who presided over the third Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture and introduced former Singaporean diplomat Bilahari Kausikan, complimented Vajpayee’s tenure as external affairs minister and his contribution to improving India’s relations with the US and Russia.
The external affairs minister claimed that Vajpayee deserves a lot of the credit for the core principles of mutual respect, shared sensitivity, and mutual interest that are currently discussed in terms of the modus vivendi with China.
S. Jaishankar applauded Vajpayee’s realism in using all of the resources at his disposal to truly try to build a foundation of partnerships in this region that would very openly abjure terrorism, asserting that Vajpayee was never “impervious” to the dangers of terrorism. The external affairs minister advised people to consider the diplomacy that followed the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests in addition to the testing themselves.
“After the tests, we had all the major nations involved within two years and had successfully won them over. When President (Bill) Clinton, Prime Minister (John) Howard, Prime Minister (Yoshiro) Mori, and president (Jacques) Chirac visited you. It was the post-test diplomacy, which I believe everybody working in the field of diplomacy should examine and try to learn from, “added he.
“It was a relationship that was severely impacted by the nuclear tests while I was stationed in Japan at the time. But we always relied on the prime minister’s assurance that we would find a way to resolve it, and today, as I reflect on that connection, I am amazed at the maturity and wisdom with which Prime Minister Vajpayee convinced us all to approach that specific difficulty “said S Jaishankar.
In May 1998, India tested five nuclear weapons using cutting-edge technology at the Pokhran range in Rajasthan. Vajpayee, according to S. Jaishankar, changed relations with the US in the post-Cold War era. He claimed that Vajpayee also brought stability and continuity to our relations with Russia.
Vajpayee held the position of prime minister three times: from 1996 for 13 days, from 1998 to 1999 for 13 months, and from 1999 to 2004 for a full term. Former Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Kausikan gave the speech. At the National University of Singapore, Kausikan is the chairman of the Middle East Institute.