News

USIS Washington 
File

14 May 1998

CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT STATES ASSAIL INDIAN NUCLEAR TESTS

(U.S. says tests raise risk of proliferation) (530)

By Wendy Lubetkin

USIA European Correspondent



Geneva -- Member states of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) reacted
angrily to India's series of nuclear tests at the first plenary
meeting of the CD's spring session May 14.


Ambassador Robert Grey, Jr., the U.S. representative to the CD,
deplored the tests carried out by India May 11 and 13, saying they
have created "a serious international security situation."


"India's nuclear weapon tests flout the international norm against
nuclear test explosions which is embodied in the CTBT (Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty), now signed by 149 countries," he said. "These tests
raised the risk of further nuclear and missile proliferation in South
Asia."


Grey also deplored the CD's failure to hold a special plenary session
May 13 to discuss India's tests on an urgent basis. "This sets a
negative precedent and further erodes the CD's ability to function
credibly as an effective multilateral disarmament forum," he said.


Grey read for the record President Clinton's May 12 statement in which
the president called on India "to announce that it will conduct no
further tests, and that it will sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
now and without conditions." In the same statement, the president also
urged India's neighbors "not to follow down the path of a dangerous
arms race."


Grey then listed the sanctions -- announced by the White House press
secretary May 13 -- that the United States will impose on India. These
include termination of foreign aid other than for food or other
agricultural commodities; termination of sales of defense articles,
services or designs; denial of any credit or other financial
assistance by any branch of the U.S. government; termination of all
foreign military financing, and U.S. opposition to loans or credits to
India by any international financial institution.


Other states addressing the CD May 14 also specified sanctions their
governments plan to impose on India in response to the tests.


India's Ambassador Savitri Kunadi read a short statement noting that
"after a voluntary restraint maintained for 24 years," India
"successfully conducted three simultaneous underground nuclear tests,"
on May 11 and two more on May 13.


"In undertaking these tests, India has not violated any international
obligations or undertakings," she said, adding that the decision to
test was based on "due consideration of our national security
requirements."


Norway, Austria, Australia, the Netherlands and other countries
addressing the CD May 14 urged other countries in the region to show
restraint in their response.


Netherlands Ambassador Frank Majoor expressed the "hope that South
Asia will not become entangled in a dangerous arms race" and called in
particular upon Pakistan to show restraint and not to follow the
Indian example.


Pakistan's Ambassador Munir Akram said the Indian tests constitute "a
direct and most serious challenge to Pakistan's security."


In a speech which did not rule out the possibility that Pakistan might
also conduct a nuclear weapons test, Akram added, "It is Pakistan
alone which will decide on and take the measures required to guarantee
our security."