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May 12, 2000
Nuke tests made India stronger: PM
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has said that two years after conducting nuclear tests at Pokhran in May 1998, India is recognised, both externally as well as internally, as a much stronger nation.
Addressing leaders and members of Parliament of the National Democratic Alliance parties at a meeting to mark the second anniversary of Operation Shakti, he said, ''When we conducted nuclear tests at Pokhran in May 1998, there was much criticism of our action from some global players. But the situation has changed dramatically in two years. Today, almost the entire world has a better appreciation of our action.''
''We conducted nuclear tests at Pokhran solely to strengthen our national security. Before Pokhran II, a lot of preparation had been made by previous governments to continue on the path that was inaugurated at Pokhran in 1974. However, they lacked courage and did not take any further step,'' he said.
Reiterating that India's nuclear programme was purely defensive in nature, Vajpayee said, ''We implemented Operation Shakti based on our own assessment of India's national security needs. Also, we had full knowledge that had India not conducted nuclear tests, our neighbour would have certainly done so.''
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