22 JUNE 1974, Page 4

India's bomb

Sir: There is a genuine world-wide consternation aroused by India's nuclear test. Mrs Ghandi and her Ministers are trying to assure the world community of their 'peaceful intentions' in exploding a nuclear device. But it all depends on what they mean by 'peaceful intentions,' for the phrase peaceful intentions, like the term democracy, means different things to different people. It is so because facts of one's neighbour's peaceful intentions speak to each person according to his experience. And, so far as the facts of experiencing In' dia's peaceful intentions go in the case of Pakistan, they have indisuptably left bitter and unhappy memories. In your editorial comment on India'F nuclear test (May 25) you assign t° India "the responsibility of a major, power in the Central Asian region. Now, such a responsibility, when seen in the light of India's past treatment of her small neighbours, does not seem to be dissimilar to the one claimed bY Russia when she invaded Hungary in 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968. Russia's intentions were also 'peaceful.' The fly in this ointment of power politics, which you unfortunately seem to overlook, is the indisputable fact that a major power in its real or imagined quarrel with its small and weak neighbour always acts as if it were the accoser, the policeman, the judge and the jailer.

And therefore, Pakistan would seem

to be less than prudent if it did not seek guarantees from her friends against any future nuclear blackmail by India.

A. Yasamee 49 Queen's Road, Wimbledon, SW19