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Wednesday, 13 May, 1998, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
E-mail vote backs India N-tests
A thousand e-mails in 24-hours
A thousand e-mails in 24-hours
More than a thousand people, the majority from South-West Asia, have so far joined the debate over India's decision to carry out underground nuclear tests by sending e-mails to BBC News online.

The BBC News Website invited comments in its 'Talking Point' section by asking the question: 'Should India have carried out nuclear tests'. As well as sending in their views, users were also asked to vote on the issue. 83% of those who responded said India was right to go ahead.

Both the US and Russia have condemned the underground tests. President Clinton has formally signed documents imposing sanctions against the Indian government. Mr Clinton had earlier urged restraint on India's neighbours. He said they should not follow the path of a dangerous arms race. Pakistan has already said it will stand by its commitment to match nuclear escalation by India.

A steady flow of messages, from the Asian community world-wide, continues to flood into the BBC's online newsroom.

Girisha B S, from India wrote that, surrounded by all hostile nations equipped with nuclear warheads, it is quite natural for any country to take care of its own security. "India has always been the ambassador of peace in the world arena; and it still is and shall ever be. But this does not mean that India should not take care of its own security."

Susheel Jalali from Canada said India's decision was in the interest of democracy. "With a dictatorship like China with its nuclear weapons enjoying freedom from sanctions, it is in the interest of democracy and in the interest of western allies to support India."

Niraj Pant from India says that every country should decide for itself. "If India felt nuclear armed China, and Pakistan, with its nuclear potential, posed a threat then it was right to take the risk."

From Pakistan warnings of a strong response to the Indian decision. Mohsin Naqvi wrote: "This will only lead to Pakistan testing a nuclear bomb too. Pakistan is left with no other choice. There is immense pressure on the government of Pakistan from all quarters to test a nuclear bomb. Pakistan will, if it has one!"

Also from Pakistan, Babar Khan wrote: "India made a grave mistake, it should be paid back in the same coins."

Sagar from India wrote: "The largest democracy in the world is justified to do so as it has been avoided and all complaints unheard by the UN & US. I & the whole of India (91 billion people) strongly cry in support of it."

Nandyala Madhu Reddy from India wrote: '"One thing I don't understand is when China and Pakistan show their armament capabilities by test firing and conducting tests behind the iron curtain, why isn't there a concern from the world?"

N Balakrishnan from Hong Kong questioned America's right to condemn the tests. "The US has the world's biggest nuclear arsenal, more guns than people and is a country where school children shoot teachers. Surely it does not have the moral right to condemn others."

Links to more india nuclear testing stories are at the foot of the page.

Links to more india nuclear testing stories