May 28, 1998
India has rejected the Pakistan accusation that
New Delhi is planning to attack its nuclear installations. Talking to Press
Trust of India in Islamabad on 28 May, the Indian High Commissioner, Mr.
Satish Chandra disclosed as having told the Pakistan authorities that they
have a tendency to blame New Delhi for every thing. Mr. Satish Chandra
had been summoned to the Pakistani foreign office early this morning to
convey Islamabad's apprehension about what it said a possible Indian strike.
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry team, lead by its
secretary Shamshad Ahmed, told Mr. Chandra that they have credible information
about an Indian attack. They said, any attack on the Pakistani nuclear
installations would be in violation of the Indo-Pakistan bilateral agreement
against attack on such facilities.
The government today announced that it will pursue
a pro active policy instead of reactive in dealing with insurgency in Jammu
and Kashmir. The Home Minister, Mr. L. K. Advani announced this while replying
to a question in Rajya Sabha today. He said India is determined to defeat
the proxy war being waged by Pakistan without a war. He also denied allegations
that the Indian troops had recently crossed the border in Kashmir region.
Describing the situation in the state as serious, Mr. Advani said the militants
have now shifted their attention to five districts of Doda, Udhampur, Punch
and Rajouri to drive out Hindus from the Jammu region.
The Defence Minister has re-affirmed government's commitment
to seek resolution of all pending issues with China through mutual consultations.
Replying to a written questions in the Lok Sabha, Mr. George Fernandes
said that the talks should go beyond confidence building measures. He said,
the government remains committed to the process of building a cooperative
and constructive relationship with China.
Indian scientists have developed a new technology to use
thourium as a fuel for power generation in nuclear reactors. The Minister
of State for External Affairs, Mrs. Vasundhara Raje said this in the Rajya
Sabha today during question hour. She said, with research and development
work caried out over the years, in the research at Bhabha Atomic Research
Centre and Trombay, thourium has been successfully converted into uranium.
The Pakistan Foreign Minister, Mr. Gohar Ayub
Khan says Islamabad has decided to go in for a nuclear test. Talking to
Associated Press, Mr. Khan said, everything is in place and a test can
be carried out within 12-hours. But he said, the final decision on when
to conduct the test will be taken by the Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharief.
Mr. Gohar Ayub Khan told news agency AFP that the question is not if but
when the test will take place and this has been the Islamabad's position
The country's Finance Minister, Sartaz Aziz says
a contingency plan is being prepared to face any international sanctions
in the event of a nuclear test being conducted. He said, the nature of
sanctions will have to be seen to meet the shortfall in foreign aid. Meanwhile,
the Karachi Stock Exchange plummeted to a historic low, going down by 70
points or 6 per cent. The index dipped following a report that Pakistan
is all set to conduct a nuclear test . In another development, the Jamat-e-Islami
has warned the Nawaz Sharief Government that it will launch a country-wide
movement if the test is not carried out immediately.
The United States has said it will impose sanctions
against Pakistan if Islamabad conducts a nuclear test. The US Defence Secretary
Mr. William Cohen, who is on a tour of South America, said that Washington
is in direct contact with Islamabad and is trying to dissuade Pakistan
from going in for any nuclear tests.
Australia on its part has offered to double its
aid to Pakistan on the condition that it will not carry out nuclear tests.
British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair also talked
to Mr. Nawaz Sharief over the phone amidst speculation that Islamabad is
preparing for nuclear test.
The Prime Minister is to reply to the debate on the Pokhran nuclear
tests in the Lok Sabha this evening. Making a statement on the issue on
May 27, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee reiterated India's readiness to discuss
a `no first use' agreement with Pakistan and other countries. Categorically
stating that the objective of the tests is self-defence, Mr. Vajpayee said
India's nuclear weaponisation is not for any aggression. The Prime Minister
held that the tests became necessary in view of security perceptions. He
also said that at the global level also New Delhi saw no evidence of nuclear
weapons states taking decisive steps to move towards a nuclear weapons
free world. However, the opposition in the Lok Sabha failed to be satisfied
with the government's explanation on the provocation for the tests. Participating
in the debate, several leaders criticised the Prime Minister's contention
that China poses a threat to India. They also criticised Union Ministers
for putting forward divergent views on the sensitive issue.
The President Mr. K.R. Narayanan arrives in Kathmandu on May 28 on a
three day state visit to Nepal. He will be accompanied by the Commerce
Minister, Mr. Rama Krishna Hegde and senior officials. During his stay,
Mr. Narayanan will have discussions with King Birendra, the Prime Minister,
Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala and other political leaders.
Briefing newspersons on the eve of the visit, the Indian Ambassador
to Nepal said, New Delhi and Kathmandu are equally concerned about the
Pakistani Intelligence Agency, ISI's activities against India, carried
out from Nepal. On the nuclear tests conducted recently, he said, there
is some concern in certain quarters but Nepal recognises India's role as
a sovereign country.