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We have noted with regret that the Security Council has adopted a Presidential Statement on May 14, 1998 on the underground nuclear tests which we have conducted. We are surprised by this, because the Council has never thought it necessary even to take cognizance of the many hundreds of nuclear tests carried out over the last 50 years, including in 1995 and 1996, when the de facto moratorium on testing, which the Council recalls, was already in place.

2. The tests which our scientists carried out are not directed against any country. Tests by themselves, and the reconfirmation of a capacity which had been demonstrated in 1974, do not jeopardise peace and stability. Nuclear weapons do, and the refusal of the nuclear weapons states to consider the elimination of nuclear weapons in a multilateral and time-bound framework, despite the end of the Cold War, continues to be the single biggest threat to international peace and stability.

3. It is because of the continuing threat posed to India by the deployment, overtly and covertly, of nuclear weapons in the lands and seas adjoining us that we have been forced to carry out these tests, so that we can retain a credible option to develop these weapons, should they be needed for the security of India's people, who constitute one-fifth of the world's population.

4. There is a strong national consensus supporting the Government's decision to authorise these tests to protect India's security. Internationally, there is a growing realisation that it is disingenuous of the nuclsear weapons states to insist that the retention of nuclear weapons is essential for their security but that the security of all other states depends on their abjuring these weapons. In this context, it is essential to recall that India has been subjected to aggression by one nuclear weapon state and to the threat of use of nuclear weapons by another. Our security concerns, therefore, go well beyond South Asia.

5. The Statement adopted by the Security Council, therefore, is to be viewed in this light and is completely unacceptable to us. India is a responsible member of the international community, and has consistently supported the United Nations. We were among the first to propose, and continue to promote, the goal of general and complete disarmament, and the elimination of all nuclear weapons. To this end, we have made a series of concrete proposals for the consideration of the international community, and the nuclear weapon states in particular. Every one of these has been thwarted and distorted for their own purposes by the nuclear weapons states. The CTBT, which we proposed in 1954 as a means of capping and eventually eliminating nuclear testing and refining by the nuclear weapons states of their weapons, and cooperation between them for this purpose. The NPT, which also India proposed, became a completely discriminatory treaty, legitimizing the possession in eternity of nuclear weapons by the five nuclear weapons states. At the end of the Cold War, when the world expected the nuclear weapons powers to move towards nuclear disarmament, since the stated reasons for their retention of nuclear arsenals had been removed, they have started to alter their nuclear doctrines to justify the possible use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states. The nuclear weapon states have completely set their face against the overwhelming wish of the international community, and increasingly significant sections of their own domestic strategic and military opinion, for meaningful progress towards nuclear disarmament. The nuclear weapons states have adopted every ploy possible to deflect attention from their policies, which constitute the single biggest threat to international peace and security. The Statement adopted by the Council is in this unhappy tradition.

6. We would like to take this occasion to express our appreciation to the members of the international community, who have shown understanding to India's concerns and actions.

New Delhi