Jeffrey LewisNatwar’s N-speak and other craziness from the Subcontinent

A wild hair up his ass, as well as his nose, that day.

No one is exactly sure, but India’s External Affairs Minister seems to have indicated regret over India’s decision to go nuclear.

The whole thing started when the Korea Times quoted K. Natwar Singh, in an interview with The Korea Times, as having said:

“Even though we are ourselves a nuclear power, we support complete nuclear disarmament for Korea.”

“We hadn’t crossed the threshold for 50 years. And the Congress Party didn’t, it was the other party.”

“But regret would be futile. You can’t put it back in the tube. It’s out.”

The Indian press flipped. The Indian Express headlined a story “Natwar’s N-speak baffles New Delhi,” claiming that Singh had “virtually expressed regret over India’s current nuclear status.”

The Prime Minister and EA Spokesperson tried clarifying Singh’s comments:

Their take was that Natwar Singh had been misquoted.

“The minister acknowledged that the decision to cross the nuclear threshold was taken by the previous NDA Government in 1998,” said Foreign Office Spokesperson Navtej Singh Sarna.

“He merely stated the facts and not whether he was in agreement or disagreement with the decision,” Sarna added.

Then the Indian Embassay in Korea suggested that Singh had been misquoted by the Indian press, not the Korean one.

Please note, by the way, the total lack of interest the Bush Administration has in signing India up to the CTBT—something the now-ruling Congress party might be open to given the right sticks and carrots.