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Latest news Thursday, 24 September, 1998, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
India and Pakistan N-Test ban blow
Indian Prime Minister A B Vaypayee
Vaypayee: Demanding concessions
India and Pakistan have both moved to underline their determination not to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Tests Ban Treaty unless they can guarantee their security.

Despite continuing economic sanctions and diplomatic efforts by the United States, politicians in both states signalled their intention to hold out.

The blow for test ban talks came as US scientists said that they believed that both India and Pakistan had exaggerated the size and number of nuclear tests they carried out in May.

Speaking in Madras, the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, said his government would not sign the treaty in its present form.

He demanded concessions from the US over restrictions on the transfer of technology to India. The government is also thought to want a deal which would allow it to maintain some form of nuclear deterrent.

At the same time, the Indian President, K R Narayanan, currently visiting Turkey, warned the internationally recognised nuclear powers that their monopoly over nuclear weapons was not in the interests of peace.

But he added: "(India is) willing to join any agreement or arrangement that would ensure the non-use of these weapons and their phased elimination on a non-discriminatory basis".

Pakistan politicians fail to agree

In Pakistan, the parliament ended a four-day debate without taking a decision on whether to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

A joint sitting of both houses was boycotted by opposition parties which, although they support the treaty, accused the government of failing to keep them informed of negotiations with the United States.

Pakistan's economy has suffered from economic sanctions imposed after the tit-for-tat nuclear tests in May.

But the US government is refusing to agree to a transfer of an International Monetary Fund rescue package until the country signs the test ban treaty.

The Foreign Minister, Sartaj Aziz, closed the debate with a promise that Pakistan would do nothing to compromise its security interests.

Tests 'exaggerated'

Meanwhile, scientists from the Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory said their independent examination of data suggested that tests by both countries had been smaller than claimed.

A newspaper in India reports on the nuclear tests
Public pressure: Both countries took pride in tests
Terry Wallace of the Observatory, said that the biggest Indian test on 11 May 1998 fell short of the usual definition of a full thermonuclear weapon.

Both countries overstated the size of the explosions by a factor of between three and six, he said in the specialist journal, Seismological Research Letters.

Further analysis had failed to find evidence of multiple tests by India, the report added.

Examination of data from the 28 May Pakistan tests showed a yield of between nine and 12 kilotonnes, compared to official statistics measuring 40 to 45 kilotonnes.

Mr Wallace said: "The May nuclear tests are not the first time that seismological results have been at odds with government statements.

"However, it is the first time that seismologists have said that yields are smaller than announced."

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