Monday, Oct 03, 2022
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controversy: '95 throwback

Phantoms Of The N-Opera

Jaswant Singh self-explodes on a Rao-era spy revelation. Was there ever a case?

Phantoms Of The N-Opera
Phantoms Of The N-Opera
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The document in question is purportedly a confidential note written by Thomas W. Graham to Harry Barnes, ambassador to India in the early to mid-'80s. Graham is a well-known Track 2 figure working on non-proliferation and disarmament issues, then at the Rockefeller Foundation. Barnes was at the Carter Center, working on conflict resolution issues. The note does not have a date of origin. It can be inferred from the contents, assuming that the note is authentic, that it was written shortly before Thanksgiving weekend in '95 (Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November; it's usually a four-day weekend), the time when Narasimha Rao was nearing the final stages of a decision-making process on the nuclear test.

The note mentions the head of a Chinese NGO visiting IDSA for a seminar "three weeks ago". There was indeed an IDSA colloquium with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in end-October 1995, although the note says ("China institute of international affairs, if my memory is correct.") The note-writer builds up a case that India is moving relentlessly towards testing and wonders how best to reach this information to the Clinton Administration. This was with a view to activating preventive diplomacy initiated through Barnes' proximity to ex-president Jimmy Carter, if things did come to such a pass.

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