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PRESS STATEMENT

Shiv S. Mukherjee
Minister (Press, Information & Culture)
Embassy of India
(202) 939-7042

Email: research@indiagov.org

May 15, 1998

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.

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