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The following is a transcript of an interview between 
Good Morning America Anchor Lisa McRee and 
India’s Ambassador to the United States, Naresh Chandra

N E W   Y O R K, May 14 — 
 

Lisa McRee: We continue now with more on India’s underground nuclear tests which were conducted yesterday and Monday. And the question remains, why did India risk international outrage and economic sanctions? And how will its actions affect strained relations with Pakistan and China who may decide to retaliate?  Joining us now from Washington is the Indian ambassador to the U.S., Naresh Chandra. 
 
Lisa McRee: Good morning, Mr. Ambassador. Thanks for being with us. 

Ambassador Naresh Chandra: Good morning. 
 
Lisa McRee: The first question is why? 
 
Ambassador Naresh Chandra: It’s become a national security imperative. We analyze the security scenario in our neighborhood and came to the conclusion that our nuclear option which had been getting eroded in terms of  effectiveness and credibility needed to be demonstrated again with the updated technology that we had. 

Lisa McRee: What did China or Pakistan do that made you feel threatened? 

Ambassador Naresh Chandra: Well, you see, we had evidence of growing military relationship which was nuclear weapons technology and also missile development. And this was creating a situation where we felt that we were being  treated as a power of no military consequence. 

Lisa McRee: President Clinton actually said that you conducted the tests because India feels it is “underappreciated in the world as a great power.” What’s  your response to that comment? 
 
Ambassador Naresh Chandra: Well, it’s partially true. The fact remains that in the arrangements which are contemplated for this year, the role that India can play for peace and tranquillity is not fully appreciated. We thought if  the present asymmetry was allowed to persist and widen, it  would not be good for the peace and stability. Apparently it  has boosted the self-esteem and patriotism of the Indian  people who have given overwhelming support. They’re even celebrating in the streets this latest round of nuclear tests. 
 
Lisa McRee: Well, the Indians may react differently when the sanctions take effect. This could cost you millions and millions of dollars. Do you think your people are going to be less supportive of the testing program when they start to feel it on their dinner tables and in their pocketbooks? 
 
Ambassador Naresh Chandra: Well, I think as the Indian people have demonstrated that any strong-armed measures just don’t work. We have, of course, had unnecessary pain. We hope to that turn into dialogue and see whether  implementation of the sanctions can be refined or eventually lifted. 
 
Lisa McRee: You’re going to try to get out of the sanctions? 
 
Ambassador Naresh Chandra: Well, I suppose that’s the natural thing to do because we will convince and we are sure  that we will convince that what we have done is in the security interest and ultimately it will enhance U.S. interests in  that area as well. 
 
Lisa McRee: The president says you’ve created dangerous new instability in the region. Do you acknowledge  that you might have started or at least fueled an arms race in  your area? 
 
Ambassador Naresh Chandra: Well, we have brought about a change. Whether it is leading to instability or not, events will show. Our firm conviction is that if it is strong and secure, India is a factor for peace. If we leave a substantial gap in our defense preparedness, that is a cause of instability. 
 
Lisa McRee: Ambassador, last question, will you test again and when? 
 
Ambassador Naresh Chandra: Well, my government has announced that this series of tests is complete and that we would like to enter into dialogue to join and assume the undertaking of the Test Ban Treaty. 
 
Lisa McRee: Ambassador Chandra say India may enter into the Test Ban Treaty talks. They refused to sign them in 1996. They wanted to catch up before they signed.