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Latest news Friday, 25 September, 1998, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
India indicates test ban support
 Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Moves towards test ban
The Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has followed his Pakistani counterpart and given a qualified commitment to sign the nuclear test ban treaty.

In a speech delivered to the United Nations General Assembly, Mr Vajpayee said his government was willing to sign the treaty before September next year.

He said that India was involved in discussions with all relevant parties about ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has offered to sign the treaty providing economic sanctions against Pakistan are lifted.

Economic sanctions were imposed on India and Pakistan after they carried out a series of tit-for-tat tests in May sparking fears of a South Asian nuclear arms race.

Both Pakistan and India have consistently refused to adhere to the treaty since carrying out nuclear weapons tests earlier this year.

In his speech to the UN, Mr Vajpayee said India had been observing the treaty's basic obligation by operating a voluntary moratorium after carrying its underground tests.

He said: "India, having harmonised its national imperatives and security obligations is now engaged in discussions with key interlocutors on a range of issues, including the CTBT.

"We are prepared to bring these discussions to a successful conclusion, so that the entry into force of the CTBT is not delayed beyond September 1999."

US officials have been holding discussions with India and Pakistan in a bid to obtain their adherence to the CTBT, which bans underground nuclear explosions.

The tests by India and Pakistan sharpened fears of a possible nuclear conflict between the two neighbours over their long-standing dispute over Kashmir.

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Barnaby Mason: "Reducing the nuclear risk"
See also:

24 Sep 98 | Latest news
04 Jun 98 | Analysis
25 Sep 98 | South Asia
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