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September 8, 2000
India will not block CTBT: PM
India has asked nuclear powers which have not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to do so without any condition and said New Delhi would not not prevent the entry into force of the treaty.
"I reiterate our position that we will not prevent the entry into force of the CTBT. At the same time all other countries which must ratify CTBT under Article XIV of the treaty, should do so without any condition," Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told the UN Millennium Summit.
Justifying the Pokhran nuclear tests, he said India was forced to acquire these weapons in 1998 because the principal nuclear weapons states refused to accept the almost universal demand for nuclear disarmament.
''Moreover, the spread of nuclear weapons in our neighbourhood made us especially vulnerable,'' he said.
''Nevertheless, our policy is based on responsibility and restraint and we continue to press for universal, verifiable nuclear disarmament with undiminished commitment, even while safeguarding our strategic space and autonomy in decision-making.''
Contending that international peace cannot be divorced from the need for equal and legitimate security for all, Vajpayee said India supported UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's proposal for an international conference to address nuclear dangers.
India, he said, continues with its voluntary moratorium on further underground nuclear test explosions and remains committed to working for the successful conclusion of its security dialogue with key interlocutors on CTBT.
New Delhi is also committed to participate in negotiations on a Treaty that will prohibit the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
''We will participate in these discussions in good faith and in order to ensure a treaty that is non-discriminatory and meets India's security imperatives.
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