Former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, who passed away a few days ago, has been widely mourned. The tributes cut across party lines. This is an acknowledgement of his contribution in ensuring a certain acceptability for India's going nuclear in 1998 and, more so, in using the event to b build a strategic partnership with the US.
The leak of the letter from PM Vajpayee to president Clinton saying that it was the Chinese threat that forced India to go nuclear may have been a PR disaster. However, one would imagine that this is precisely the point Mishra emphasised in private to the American side: look, we are on your side and we will help you contain China; now that we have the bomb, we can help you better. It seems to have worked.
Mishra was conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the UPA government despite the fact that he happened to be a confidante of Vajpayee, a rare instance of such honours transcending the political divide. It's a different matter that the UPA government has not been able to bring itself to confer the Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee. That may entail a political cost and, of course, it would trigger demands for a similar award for Karunanidhi, Karpoori Thakur, Kanshi Ram and others, past or present, in various political parties.