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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 14, 1974

TELEGRAM NO. 84, PERMANENT MISSION OF HUNGARY TO THE U.N. IN GENEVA TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation

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    A telegram from the Hungarian mission to the UN in Geneva stating that the Indian government had provided the Soviets advance notice of their May 1974 nuclear test and that one of the purposes of the test was to reinforce then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's flagging position.
    "Telegram No. 84, Permanent Mission of Hungary to the U.N. in Geneva to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," August 14, 1974, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Hungarian National Archives (Magyar Országos Levéltár, MOL). XIX-J-1-j India, 1974, 50. doboz, 60-406, 003434/8/1974. Obtained and translated for NPIHP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112878
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A Soviet UN official in charge of disarmament issues said that India had informed the Soviet Union in advance that it intended to explode a nuclear device. The Soviet Union applied strong pressure to prevent that.

In the spring, however, the position of Indira Gandhi had been greatly weakened. Her fall and a turn to the right became a real possibility. The execution of the nuclear explosion has reinforced Indira Gandhi's position, and attenuated her conflicts with the ultra-rightist nationalist forces.

According to the Soviet evaluation, the Indian nuclear test poses danger from the perspective of nuclear proliferation, but the fall of Indira Gandhi would have caused much more serious harm. The nuclear test does not affect the military balance in Asia, and it will not relieve the Soviet Union of the burden of facing China, not even in the long run. Its positive aspect is that it lessens, or offsets, Beijing's influence on the smaller states of the region and on the developing countries in general.

From the perspective of the Soviet Union, a further advantage is that there is a certain change in the situation and orientation of Pakistan.

– 84 – Ágoston –