For quite some time now, the US media has been propagating scary stories about Pakistan's nuclear weapons while maintaining a deathly silence about the Indian nukes,. On the one hand, the Americans strongly oppose the possession and proliferation of nukes, but on the other they possess the highest number of them. They have the dubious distinction of being the only nation in the world that has actually nuked another nation - the Japanese. Such double standards are also visible in addressing this issue at the regional levels: Indians are the 'good guys' and Pakistanis the 'bad guys'. Similarly, in the Middle East, the nuclear-armed Israelis get the carrots while the aspiring Iranians receive the sticks. A Pakistani scholar Naeem Salik has beautifully exposed this American hypocrisy for the first time in his recently published research on the nuclearisation of South Asia. The Indian Atomic Energy Commission headed by Dr Homi Bhabha was established in 1948 under the direct control of Premier Jawaharlal Nehru, generally projected as a peacenik. In the same year, Nehru told Parliament: "Of course if we are compelled as a nation to use it for other purposes, possibly no pious sentiments would stop the nation from using it that way." This was a clear hint that India could use nuclear energy as weaponry. The Indians conducted their first nuclear weapons test at Pokhran in 1974. The question arises as to when did the Americans know that the Indians were working on the nuclear bomb? Precisely, 14 years before this detonation. The US Army Major General (retd) Kenneth D Nichols, while on visit to India in 1960 to discuss plans for the constructing the first Indian atomic power reactor recounted his meeting with Nehru and Homi Bhabha in which the Indian premier enquired from Bhabha: "Can you develop an atomic bomb? Bhabha assured him that he could and in reply to Nehru's next question about time, he estimated that he would need a year to do it. I was really astounded to be hearing these questions from the one I thought to be one of the world's most peace loving leaders." Two years before General Nichols' visit, the CIA had prepared in 1958 a Scientific Intelligence Report on Indian Nuclear Energy Programme in which it had concluded: "There are no indications of Indian interest to exploit the military applications of nuclear energy. The government is pledged to devote its entire effort to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and no divergence from this pledge is anticipated." Two inferences can be drawn from the CIA's assessment: either the CIA spooks were goofs possessing faulty intelligence or they deliberately misled the US government so that no punitive action could be initiated against India's nuclear weapons ambition. It can be said so because Bhabha had made a tall claim in 1958 that he "could produce a nuclear explosive device within 18 months of the political decision to do so." Bhabha's proclamation exposed India's moral bankruptcy. Till today, the Indians propagate that their nuclear weapons programme was a reaction to the Chinese nuclear test in 1964 and the drubbing they received at the hands of China in the 1962 war. This is not true because Bhabha's 1958 assertion that India could produce the nuclear bomb within 18 months was made at least two years before France conducted its first nuclear explosion and six years ahead of the Chinese nuclear test in October 1964. Let's see how did the Americans, who are now hounding Pakistan, reacted to the Indian nuclear designs. A CIA review of the Indian Government Policy on Nuclear Weapons in October 1964 admitted that "India has all the wherewithal necessary to produce a nuclear weapon and assemble a nuclear bomb in a short time" but the very next month in November 1964, the same CIA in its Scientific Intelligence Report commented: "The Indian nuclear energy programme, which was initiated in 1954, has thus far been limited to peaceful purposes." However, after the September 1965 Indo-Pak war, the pro-bomb lobby gained strength in India and therefore, a special US national intelligence estimate entitled India's Nuclear Weapons Policy prepared in October 1965 concluded: "All things considered, we believe that within the next few years India probably will detonate a nuclear device and proceed to develop nuclear weapons." Ideally, the Americans should have seriously worked to stop the Indians from making the bomb; instead we see an element of helplessness in the US establishment. This was visible from a memorandum prepared by Acting Secretary of State George Ball for the National Security Council in 1966 in which he acknowledged: "India is almost certain to develop nuclear weapons" and "efforts to influence India's decision...are not likely to achieve more than a short term delay." Knowing that India could go nuclear, the US should have used its influence to give up the idea but it didn't. Why? Most probably because of the cold war politics in which not India but Russia and China constituted the chief strategic threat to the American interests. George Ball's memorandum revealed the precarious US position if sanctions were imposed against India: "The threat and certainly the cut off of aid, would greatly reduce American influence and enhance Soviet influence in India, and would subject India to heavy economic and political strains, which would threaten its viability as a democratic state and an Asia counterweight to China." Consequently, when India tested her bomb in 1974 at a cost of $400,000, both US and Russia despite their commitment to nuclear non-proliferation did not condemn it outright. As these two superpowers shared common hostility against China, they did not see the Indian bomb as a negative development. In fact, to them "a nuclear capable India would obviously be in a better position to pose a more effective challenge to China, to the strategic benefit of both the superpowers." In other words, the Americans gave a clear pass to the Indians. Now, look at the CIA's hypocrisy. About two months after the Indian nuclear test, the agency prepared an appraisal for its director, entitled "Postmortem Report - An examination of the intelligence community's performance before the Indian nuclear test of May 1974." This report admitted that the US intelligence failed to warn the American policymakers who, in turn, could not adopt "diplomatic or other initiatives to try to prevent this significant step in nuclear proliferation." There was no official US castigation of the Indian bomb. However, an article in the Washington Post, while realising the fallout of this detonation in the region critically observed: "India's Peaceful Nuclear Explosion Experiment is first of all the test of a bomb....There (is) no real distinction between a military and peaceful explosion....For India to call its explosion 'peaceful' and to abjure all military intent is in a word rubbish...the blast can only further aggravate Pakistan's fears of Indian domination...the Indian test will in effect license and strengthen various other building national nuclear bombs." What happened afterwards in the region is history, now. Email: