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Sunday, May 31, 1998 Published at 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK


India detonates two more bombs

The underground test site is in the Pokhran mountain range in Rajasthan

The Indian authorities say they have carried out two more underground nuclear tests at the Pokhran test site in Rajasthan.


BBC Defence Correspondent David Loyn on the latest Indian tests (1' 49")
Officials say that a planned programme of underground nuclear tests, which started on May 11 when three were conducted, has been completed with the latest two blasts.

The latest two sub-kiloton tests were carried out on the Pokhran range in the Rajasthan desert at 1221 Indian Standard Time (0621 GMT).


[ image: India detonated three bombs on Monday]
India detonated three bombs on Monday
According to a government statement, the tests were carried out to generate data to improve computer simulations.

The statement said that the tests were fully contained and there was no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere.

The statement added that the government of India reiterated its offer of considering to adhere to some of the undertakings in the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty under the framework of the proposals in a statement made on May 11.

The BBC Delhi correspondent says that supported by public opinion, the Indian Government is confident it can deal with the consequences.

The opposition Congress party in India has criticised the government for carrying out the series of nuclear tests.

Party spokesman, Salman Khursheed, accused the governing Bharatiya Janta Party of trying to use the tests for political ends rather than to enhance the country's national security.

Mr Khursheed said the government had failed to clearly explain why the tests were necessary.


Indian government spokesman IK Malkani: "India must become great" (3'00)
The tests have also provoked widespread international criticism.

President Clinton has signed documents imposing sanctions against India for conducting the nuclear testing programme. American officials say that full details will be announced later.

Pakistan says India 'has gone berserk'

Pakistan has bitterly condemned the latest Indian tests. The Pakistani Foreign Minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, said that the Indian leadership seemed to have gone "berserk" and was acting in a totally unrestrained way.

Japan has suspended its 3.5bn yen annual grant aid to India in protest at New Delhi's first round of testing.

The spokesman for the BJP, the dominant party in India's coalition government, IK Malkani, stood by the decision and attacked American "hypocrisy" in imposing sanctions.

He also denied that his party was making political capital out of grassroots support for the tests. "For 30 years, our party has been urging that India should go nuclear and now that we have the power and the opportunity we have gone nuclear - that's all," he told BBC World Television.

On Monday, the Indian Government moved to counter widespread international criticism it incurred after conducting its first three nuclear tests.

The Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee wrote to leaders of the world's major powers to explain the reasons for the tests.



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