- Greenpeace video warns that climate change is wrecking Santa’s home
- Herman Cain profiled in ‘Political Power’ comic book
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Fire departments fear Obamacare will gut volunteer ranks
- Rep. Alan Grayson loses $18M in stock scheme
- Christmas secularists get 6-foot beer-can Festivus pole at Florida Statehouse
- George Zimmerman’s girlfriend flips on assault: Let ‘my boyfriend’ go
- Lululemon Athletica chairman quits after firestorm over his fat-thighs comment
- CBS’ beleaguered Lara Logan gets a cheerleader — Dan Rather
- Jesus tops list as most significant figure in history; Mohammed at 4th
Summer of discontent
A new book by a former diplomat at the Embassy of India deals a lot with climate change — politically speaking.
After India conducted nuclear-weapons tests in May 1998, the relationship between the Clinton administration and the government of then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee dropped into a deep freeze, T.P. Sreenivasan wrote in his book, “Words, Words, Words: Adventures in Diplomacy.”
Like a weatherman with a severe case of poetic license, Mr. Sreenivasan describes “gloomy days” and a “nuclear winter” in U.S.-India relations, a “chilling winter in the middle of summer” with relief coming only from the “great warmth” of the Indian-American community.
President Clinton was so angry with India over the series of five nuclear tests between May 11 and May 13 that he promised “ ’to come down on those guys like a ton of bricks,’ ” Mr. Sreenivasan wrote, quoting the former president and his “first flush of anger” in an Oval Office meeting with aides.
Although India first tested its nuclear-weapons program in 1974, the United States feared that the new tests would lead to another war between the South Asian rivals or a nuclear arms race in the subcontinent. Two weeks after India, Pakistan conducted six nuclear weapons tests May 28 and 30.
“High-handed action by overzealous bureaucrats shook the very foundations of civilized dealings between the two democracies,” he wrote, adding that the embassy also began receiving reports of Indian scientists dismissed from U.S. research foundations.
Members of Congress, even some on the friendly India Caucus, “turned hostile overnight,” Mr. Sreenivasan said. Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican and then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was among the harshest critics as he “spewed venom on the government of India in an unprecedented manner,” Mr. Sreenivasanwrote.
Indian Ambassador Naresh Chandra realized the embassy needed to mount a public relations counter-offensive and asked Mr. Sreenivasan to lead the fight. He developed talking points that were “firm, analytical and unrepentant.” The PR campaign resonated strongly with young Indian-Americans.
“The nuclear tests had an electrifying effect on the younger generation,” Mr. Sreenivasan said.
Soon, however, Pakistan overplayed its advantage by supporting an incursion into the India-controlled portion of the disputed Kashmir region. India responded by attacking the Pakistani positions and forcing Pakistan to withdraw.
By March 2000, Mr. Clinton had visited India and, Mr. Sreenivasan noted, “literally took [the nation] by storm.” Members of the Indian Parliament, he added, responded with a “spontaneous and indecent urge” to shake Mr. Clinton’s hand and be photographed with him.
Mr. Sreenivasan later served as ambassador to Austria, Slovenia and the United Nations before retiring in 2004.
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Oregon fails to sign up single person on health care website as states struggle
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- George Zimmermans girlfriend flips on assault: Let my boyfriend go
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow