Political memoir sparks nuclear spy chase in India

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NEW DELHI, Aug 3, 2006 (AFP) – In India’s rough and tumble political world he was always the “gentleman politician”. But now, former foreign minister Jaswant Singh stands accused of sparking a spy chase that has gripped India in a bid to boost sales of his just-released memoirs “A Call to Honour”.

The book has launched India’s media spycatchers on a hunt for the identity of a political “mole” who was supposedly in cahoots with the Americans and leaked word to Washington that India planned to declare itself a nuclear power in the 1990s.

“The Mole Controversy — The Nuclear Nexus,” said India’s biggest-selling news magazine India Today after Singh’s book was published in July.

It is already in its fourth printing.

The mystery stems from a letter dated 1995 that Singh, who leads the main right-wing opposition party in the upper house of parliament, said was written by a US diplomat based in Delhi to a senator in Washington.

The letter said the nuclear information came from a “senior person” with “direct access” to then Congress prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

It has triggered suspicion that a top