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|July 10, 1998||
PM justifies keeping Opposition in the dark over tests
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today disclosed that the government wanted to take the leader of the Opposition into confidence before conducting the May 11 nuclear tests but he was not available.
Referring to the charge that it had not been consulted prior to the nuclear tests, Vajpayee told the Rajya Sabha that there was no need to take the entire Opposition into confidence and recalled that Indira Gandhi had not taken the Opposition into confidence before the 1974 Pokhran test was undertaken.
''We were in the Opposition at that time. We did not get a hint but we did not complain because it was a sensitive security matter,'' he added.
Vajpayee regretted that the Opposition had tried to draw political mileage after the nuclear tests instead of presenting a picture of national unity abroad at this juncture. However, he asserted that his government would strive for a foreign policy based on national consensus.
Vajpyee lauded former prime minister V P Singh as a ''true nationalist'' for his recent remarks in an interview that the country's scientists should be lauded for the nuclear tests. Singh, the prime minister said, had differences with the government on many issues but he was with it on the issue of national security.
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