News



DATE=5/20/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-232496
TITLE=VAJPAYEE NUCLEAR (L)
BYLINE=DOUGLAS BAKSHIAN
DATELINE=NEW DELHI
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  INDIAN PRIME MINISTER ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE (WEDNESDAY) 
VISITED THE SITE WHERE INDIA CONDUCTED FIVE NUCLEAR TESTS LAST 
WEEK.  NEW DELHI CORRESPONDENT DOUGLAS BAKSHIAN REPORTS THE PRIME
MINISTER DEFENDED HIS DECISION TO GO AHEAD WITH THE ACTION. 

TEXT:  PRIME MINISTER VAJPAYEE SPENT SEVERAL HOURS AT THE SITE IN
THE POKHRAN REGION OF WESTERN INDIA.  LATER, SPEAKING TO SOLDIERS
AT A MILITARY HEADQUARTERS IN THE AREA, MR. VAJPAYEE SAID INDIA 
WAS FORCED TO CONDUCT THE TESTS TO SILENCE ITS ENEMIES AND SHOW 
ITS STRENGTH.

THE PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEWS AGENCY QUOTES MR. VAJPAYEE AS 
SAYING THE COUNTRY IS PREPARED TO PAY ANY PRICE TO PRESERVE 
NATIONAL SECURITY.  HE SAYS INDIA WILL NOT USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS 
FOR AGGRESSION, BUT ONLY FOR ITS OWN SECURITY.

THE PRIME MINISTER INDICATED THIS IS NECESSARY BECAUSE OTHER 
COUNTRIES DID NOT LISTEN TO INDIA'S PLEAS TO STOP MAKING NUCLEAR 
WEAPONS.

LATER, IN THE TOWN OF POKHRAN, HE TOLD A PUBLIC RALLY CREDIT FOR 
THE SUCCESSFUL NUCLEAR TESTS COULD  NOT  BE GIVEN TO ANY SINGLE 
PERSON OR PARTY.  HE SAYS THE DEVELOPMENT IS THE RESULT OF A 
HALF-CENTURY OF WORK BY THE NATION'S SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS AND 
OTHERS. 

CRITICS HAVE ACCUSED MR. VAJPAYEE'S BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY, OR 
B-J-P, OF USING THE NUCLEAR TESTS TO BUILD UP ITS POLITICAL 
STRENGTH.  MR. VAJPAYEE HAS PREVIOUSLY DENIED THIS.

NEWS REPORTS ALSO QUOTED MR. VAJPAYEE AS SAYING HE AND HIS TEAM 
DID NOT SUFFER NOSE BLEEDS AFTER VISITING THE NUCLEAR TEST SITE. 
INDIAN NEWSPAPERS EARLIER REPORTED PEOPLE NEAR THE SITE 
COMPLAINED OF EXCESSIVE BLEEDING FROM THE NOSE AND OTHER EFFECTS 
DAYS AFTER THE TESTS.  

THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT SAYS THE FIVE UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR BLASTS 
DID NOT RELEASE RADIATION INTO THE ATMOSPHERE. 

LAST WEEK'S NUCLEAR TESTS PROMPTED MASSIVE INTERNATIONAL 
CONDEMNATION AND ECONOMIC SANCTIONS BY THE UNITED STATES AND 
OTHER COUNTRIES.   (SIGNED)

NEB/RAE

20-May-98 8:24 AM EDT (1224 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.