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India has right to test, others have right to react: Pranab

October 03, 2008 14:00 IST

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Indo-US Nuclear Tango

India on Friday said despite the nuclear cooperation agreement with the US, the country still retains the right to conduct a nuclear test, while others have a right to react to such an incident.

"India has the right to test, others have the right to react," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said when asked to comment on India's options to conduct an atomic test after signing the Indo-US nuclear deal.

However, India had declared a voluntary moratorium on future nuclear tests after the 1998 atomic tests at Pokhran in Rajasthan, Mukherjee told CNN-IBN.

"In regard to testing, I have already stated we have voluntarily declared moratorium on the further tests and we will continue to bind ourselves by this book," he said.

However, the minister made it clear that New Delhi [Images] would not like to convert the voluntary moratorium on testing into a treaty-bound obligation.

"We would not like to convert this voluntary moratorium into a treaty-bound obligation. That position has been maintained," Mukherjee said.

The nuclear deal with the US has opened nuclear trade to those countries which are interested in having the commerce with India, he said.

Mukherjee said India's nuclear trade will depend on the type of bi-lateral, bi-party agreements, which will have to be entered into with the countries concerned.

The US Senate passed the Indo-US civil nuclear deal with an overwhelming majority and is expected to be signed by Mukherjee and his American counterpart Condoleezza Rice [Images] on Saturday.

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