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Thursday, 25 November, 1999, 12:18 GMT
Pakistan nuclear test warning
Pakistan's nuclear capable Ghauri missile

Pakistan's military government has warned it will carry out further nuclear tests if India does the same.

"If India conducts another nuclear explosion before the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) enters into force, nothing in or outside the treaty can foreclose Pakistan's right to do the same - whether it has signed the treaty or not," Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar said.

In order to ensure the survivability and credibility of the deterrent, Pakistan will have to maintain, preserve and upgrade its capability
Abdus Sattar
The two countries carried out tit-for-tat nuclear explosions in May 1998, attracting international condemnation and raising concern about potential nuclear conflict in South Asia.

Mr Sattar, who was speaking at a forum of foreign policy experts in Islamabad, said Pakistan would be monitoring the Indian nuclear programme closely, adding that minimum deterrence would remain the guiding principle of Pakistan's strategy.

But he insisted Pakistan would not engage in an arms race with its neighbour.

Mr Sattar also said that Pakistan won't sign the test ban treaty unless there is a consensus in Pakistan to do so.

US pressure

Both countries have come under pressure from the United States and others to sign the treaty, which can only come into force once all 44 countries regarded as nuclear capable have signed it.

However, President Clinton's attempts to persuade them suffered a setback last month when the Republican-dominated US Senate refused to support the treaty.

In Japan, the Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh has made clear that India's decision whether or not to sign the test ban treaty will not be influenced by offers of aid.

Mr Singh said that its up to the Japanese Government to decide whether to extend aid to India or not.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the Japanese Prime Minister, Keizo Obuchi, told Mr Singh that the nuclear issue was a thorn in an otherwise friendly relationship between the two countries.

Neither India nor Pakistan has so far said when they will sign, although they have both hinted that they might do so.

The two countries have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947 - two of them over the disputed Kashmir region.

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See also:
08 Oct 99 |  South Asia
India: No change on nuclear policy
19 Aug 99 |  South Asia
Pakistan slams Indian nuclear policy
04 Jun 98 |  Analysis
The world's nuclear arsenal
14 Oct 99 |  Americas
US Senate rejects test ban treaty
12 Jun 98 |  Analysis
India and Pakistan: troubled relations
27 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Call for Indian nuclear restraint

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