Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Prime Minister of India

Sakal Times
Thursday, 16 August 2018


- Five underground nuclear tests were conducted in May 1998 in the deserts of Pokhran in Rajasthan.

- During late 1998 and early 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee initiated a diplomatic peace process with Pakistan. Aimed at resolving the decades-old Kashmir dispute and several other conflicts, the historic Delhi-Lahore bus service was inaugurated in February 1999.

- Infiltration of militants and non-uniformed soldiers of Pakistan in the Kashmir Valley and their subsequent capture of border hilltops and posts centring the town of Kargil was well-handled. Operation Vijay was launched by the Indian Army, which was successful in pushing back the Northern Light Infantry soldiers and Pakistani militants, recapturing around 70% of the territory.

- In December 1999, India faced a crisis when the Indian Airlines flight IC 814 was hijacked by five terrorists and flown to Afghanistan. They demanded release of some terrorists in return, including Maulana Masood Azhar. The government under extreme pressure had to send Jaswant Singh, the then Minister of External Affairs, with the terrorists in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan to get a safe passage for the passengers.

- The government led by Vajpayee introduced several infrastructural and economic reforms, encouraged investments from private and foreign sectors and stimulated research and development.

- The then American President Bill Clinton visited India in March 2000, which was the first visit by a US president to India in 22 years.

- In an attempt to break the ice once again, Vajpayee invited the then President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf for a joint summit in Delhi and Agra, although the peace talks failed to attain the breakthrough.

- The Parliament faced a terrorist attack on 13 December 2001, which was successfully handled by the security forces who gunned down the terrorists. The terrorists were later found out to be nationals of Pakistan.

- His government passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

- The country’s GDP grew at record levels, surpassing 6 to 7 per cent, during his tenure as the PM. The international image of the country improved with modernisation of industrial and public infrastructure; increased foreign investments; booming of IT industry; creation of new jobs; industrial expansion; and improved agricultural harvests.


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