Former US President Bill Clinton was surprised when CNN and not the CIA announced that India had carried out fresh nuclear tests in 1998, claims former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.
In his recently released book - Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy and the Bomb, Talbott is quoted by the Daily Times as saying that New Delhi had succeeded in forcing Washington to pay serious and sustained attention to it with the nuclear tests.
He further revealed that about a month before Pokhran (April 1998), India's then Foreign Secretary K. Raghunath had given assurances to Washington that New Delhi would exercise nuclear restraint.
India shrugged off both international condemnation and sanctions that followed the tests, and to Washington's annoyance and dismay, France and other countries began to feel that not doing business with India wasn't practical in the long term.
The 14 rounds of "strategic dialogue" held after Pokhran between Indian and the United States, Talbott said, had led to an overall transformation in the quality of relations between the two countries. They began to collaborate in areas that had in the past been considered taboo.