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|October 14, 1998||
Arundhati Ghose says India should opt out of CTBT
Arundhati Ghose, former Indian ambassador to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, has favoured India staying out of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and work for nuclear disarmament.
Releasing the book India's Nuclear Deterrent: Pokhran II and Beyond in New Delhi today, Ghose said the ideal situation was that no country, including India, possessed nuclear weapons but in the present situation it would be better for the country to stay out of the CTBT as none could compel anyone to be part of that treaty. However, working for nuclear disarmament was in the best interests of the country, she said.
The former ambassador said that she did not think possession of nuclear weapons would make the country great though it gave a sense of security to its people. India did not have the kind of money needed to be invested in catching up with the nuclear technology and has pressing needs like providing food, clothing and shelter to it the people.
Ghose said it was a delicate situation for India to be part of the CTBT as the world could not accept India as a nuclear weapon state and India, having conducted two tests in 1974 and 1998, could not enter the treaty as a non-nuclear state.
On the coming official level talks with Pakistan, she said India should not fall prey to the provocative statements from the Pakistani side which was a result of 50 years of animosity. India, on the other hand, could offer a bilateral nuclear safety pact as suggested by one of the authors in the book since it would be better for India to have a stable Pakistan rather than an unstable neighbouring state.
Ghose, who successfully negotiated for India at the UN Conference on Disarmament, said political parties should take a national view on this issue as the country had a right to be part of the new world order. Having conducted the tests, there was no need for India to explain it to everybody what were the national interests that prompted the country to conduct tests.
She said the book, edited by Amitabh Mattoo, was a starting point of rigorous meaningful participatory debate on this vital issue as the decision should be arrived on the basis of public opinion arrived after public debate.
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