I agree with Nambalat C. Menon: "Pakistan (and India) Can't Afford the Bomb" {op-ed, Aug. 12}. But his views and comments are based on an incorrect premise: India already has the bomb. It carried out a nuclear explosion in 1974 and euphemistically called it a "peaceful nuclear explosion." Any nuclear physicist will confirm that it was no different from a lethal nuclear explosion.

Mr. Menon says that since 1974 India has not carried out any nuclear test explosions, but surely he must be aware that nuclear technology has reached a point where no tests are necessary to make the bomb. And India is also feverishly developing a delivery system under the disguise of space research and satellite communications.

I wish that Mr. Menon had clarified why India has turned down the following proposals from Pakistan:

a) India and Pakistan jointly sign the nonproliferation treaty; or

b) India and Pakistan jointly declare South Asia a nuclear weapons-free zone; or

c) India and Pakistan agree to a mutual inspection of each other's nuclear facilities; or

d) simultaneous acceptance of complete International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards for all nuclear installations; or

e) a binding declaration by the states of South Asia renouncing the acquisition or manufacture of nuclear weapons.

I also wonder why India has rapidly expanded since 1974 the chain of uranium enrichment plants.

It ill becomes Mr. Menon to accuse Pakistan of begging, borrowing or stealing material, when he knows that India, in defiance of solemn assurances to the contrary, misused the heavy water supplied by the United States and the nuclear facility provided by Canada for the production of its first nuclear bomb.

Mr. Menon is wrong when he traces the origin of the 1971 war between India and Pakistan to an attack mounted by Pakistan's air force on several Indian air bases. India started the war on Nov. 23, 1971, with a brigade attack on the city of Jessore in East Pakistan. The attack on Indian air bases did not take place until Dec. 3.

India, a vast country of 800 million people possessing overwhelming superiority of conventional power as well as nuclear capability and with claims for regional predominance, shows a strange form of paranoia about much smaller and weaker Pakistan. The lack of rationality toward Pakistan is hard to understand since, apart from its own intrinsic strength, India is also protected by a defense treaty with the Soviet Union.

It is incomprehensible that when talking about Pakistan's nuclear ambitions no one bothers to look at the fact that if India had not launched its nuclear weapons program in 1974, there would be no Pakistani nuclear program today, and that no attempt is being made to curb India from going farther ahead with its present nuclear capability.

SAIRA NAIM Bethesda