Press Statement by Shri Jaswant Singh
Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

With the five tests conducted on 11 and 13 May, India has completed its planned series of underground nuclear tests. The decision to undertake this limited series of tests was taken after due consideration of all factors relevant to India's national security. These tests were not intended to threaten any country but address the security concerns of the Indian people and provide them with necessary assurance.

In undertaking these tests, India has not violated any international treaty obligations. The CTBT, to which we do not subscribe, also contains provision permitting states parties to withdraw if they consider that their supreme interests are being jeopardised.

Since independence, India has been a staunch advocate of global nuclear disarmament. We have participated actively in all such efforts, convinced that a world without nuclear weapons will enhance both national and global security. India was the first to call for a ban on nuclear testing in 1954, for a non-discriminatory treaty on non-proliferation in 1965, for a treaty on non-use of nuclear weapons in 1978, for a nuclear freeze in 1982, and for a phased programme for complete elimination in 1988. Unfortunately, many of these initiatives were not accepted by the nuclear weapon states who still consider these weapons essential for their own security, and what emerged has been a discriminatory and flawed non-proliferation regime which affects our security adversely. For many years, we have conveyed our apprehensions to other countries but this did not lead to any improvement in our security environment. As a result, we were left with no choice but to develop the capability that had been demonstrated 24 years ago.

Today, India is a nuclear weapon state. This adds to our sense of responsibility as a nation that is committed to the principles of the UN Charter and promoting regional peace and stability. Efforts for closer engagement with our neighbours will be strengthened. Our dialogues with other key partners will be intensified covering the entire range of issues which require collective consideration.

As a civilisation that has traditionally been outward looking and as an independent non-aligned country with a long demonstrated commitment to multilateralism, we remain confident that a strong and stable India will be seen as a responsible and engaged member of the international community as we move towards meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

18 May, 1988