Kennedy’s nuke option was idle talk: Experts

New Delhi, August 26:

The disclosure that the US debated a nuclear strike against China in 1963 if it attacked India again was today described as “idle talk” by a strategic expert here. Brahma Chellaney said it was fanciful that the US wanted to help India against a possible second Chinese aggression when it did nothing to help during the 1962 war.

“When India asked the US for help, no help was forthcoming. India was humiliated and crushed after the 1962 attack. Besides, there was no fear of a second attack,” Chellaney said.

South Asia expert SD Muni also found the possibility of a second attack by China against India contrived. “There was no possibility of a second attack. What it shows is the American anxiety over expansionist designs in South Asia,” he said. “The issue has to be seen in the context of American politics in the region in those days. This was part of the US design to build pressure on India to resolve the (Jammu and) Kashmir issue with Pakistan,” Muni said.

The Boston-based John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday released tapes from 1963 that show that policy makers in Washington advised President John F Kennedy to use nuclear weapons if China attacked India again.

The declassified tapes are recordings of a National Security Council meeting on May 9, 1963.

The focus of the meeting was how to defend India against a possible attack by China. During this debate, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Maxwell Taylor urged the president to look beyond India and undertake a broader view of how to deal with any substantial Chinese aggression over the next decade.