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Tuesday, September 22, 1998
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Signing CTBT won't hit N-status: Kalam

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (PTI) — India, by signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) will not face any difficulties in its nuclear weapons programme since the country has generated the "desired data" from Pokhran-II tests, top nuclear scientist A. P. J. Abdul Kalam said today.

"With the May 1998 Pokhran tests, we have generated the desired data. Hence, India has unilaterally declared a test moratorium. We are capable of conducting underground sub-critical tests after signing the CTBT, if necessary," Dr Kalam said here.

On his "detailed discussion" on the post-nuclear test status with Atomic Energy Commission Chairman R. Chidambaram, Dr Kalam said, "From the scientific and technical angle, it is our considered view that no further nuclear tests are necessary and subscribing to the CTBT would not create difficulties for our nuclear status".

Asserting that India was a nuclear weapon state, Dr Kalam, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, ruled out any rollback of the nuclear weapons programme.

Referring to the May 11 Pokhran tests, he said the total yield generated by three simultaneous explosions comprising a hydrogen bomb, an atom bomb and a sub-kilotonne nuclear device was 60 kilotonnes.

This had been confirmed by the New Scientist, a reputed international scientific journal, after analysis of data from the Pokhran tests from 250 seismic stations the world over, he said.

Asked if India possessed a boosted fission device, the second stage in the development of a hydrogen bomb, Dr Kalam said, "We have graduated beyond that stage. We tested a thermo-nuclear device (hydrogen bomb) on May 11 with a 45-kilotonne yield".

Dr Kalam and Dr Chidambaram have already stated that India could have exploded a 200 kilotonne hydrogen bomb but such a massive blast could have endangered villages located nearly 5 km from the desert test site.

He said India was among the first countries to propose the CTBT in 1962 when it could have served as an effective nuclear arms control measure to prevent proliferation in a real sense.

However, the intensity of nuclear proliferation increased and thousands of tests were conducted by the five nuclear weapon-holding countries—the USA, Russia, the Great Britain, France and China.

Noting that the USA and the erstwhile Soviet Union had accumulated tens of thousands of nuclear warheads each, he said, "After a record 22 years of self-imposed restraint in refusing to sign the CTBT, India signalled its seriousness about the nuclear option and finally exercised it in May this year".

He said, "One must realise that France and China also would have opposed the CTBT, if somehow they were unable to conduct the additional tests they carried out recently".


Jaswant arrives in USA for talks with Talbott

WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (PTI) — Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s special emissary Jaswant Singh has arrived here to hold the fifth round of talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, aimed at narrowing down differences with the USA over the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Mr Jaswant Singh, who arrived here last night, is scheduled to meet Mr Talbott tomorrow. He will also hold discussions with influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms and other officials.

Today, Mr Jaswant Singh spent most of his time with Indian officials holding internal meetings. He is also scheduled to meet Senator Joseph Biden Because Biden.

After discussions with Mr Talbott, Mr Jaswant Singh would leave for New York where he is expected to report to Mr Vajpayee, who will be in the city to address the UN session.

His discussions are expected to focus on narrowing down differences with the CTBT and USA-imposed sanctions.

Mr Jaswant Singh had earlier said in New Delhi that differences persisted over the CTBT and efforts would be made to bridge the gap.

The Americans are also expected to raise the Kashmir issue and "encourage" India to pursue bilateral talks with Pakistan, while reiterating that Washington would offer mediation only if both parties requested them.



Fernandes rules out signing CTBT

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (PTI) — Defence Minister George Fernandes today ruled out India signing the CTBT in its present form, but said any final decision on the issue would be taken after the forthcoming talks between India and the USA.

"Our stand is very clear. We will not sign it till all discriminatory clauses are removed," he told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security at the Prime Minister’s residence and later after releasing a book.

Asked whether India would sign the treaty if it was recognised as a nuclear power, he said, "We already are a nuclear power. If somebody recognises us as that it will not be an obligation."

However, the Defence Minister said any final decision on the CTBT would be taken after the return of the Prime Minister’s special emissary Jaswant Singh from the USA where he was holding talks with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

He refused to comment on his Scientific adviser's statement that India would not face any difficulty in the nuclear weapon programme by signing the CTBT as it had already generated the "desired data" from the Pokhran tests.

Mr Fernandes also refused to rule out any further nuclear tests, saying "nothing is for all time to come... we have only said we will not conduct any more tests now."

Earlier, releasing a book "overcoming crisis in leadership — Indian Army", Mr Fernandes suggested the setting up of an alternative force to be deployed for internal security so that the Army was not used for such purposes.

Sharif expected to accept CTBT

WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (PTI) — Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to announce Islamabad’s willingness to sign the CTBT during his address to the UN General Assembly, even as India appeared nowhere close to pledge itself to the treaty, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Claiming that the likely announcement is influenced by crippling effect that international economic sanctions have had on Pakistan’s economy, the journal quoting local news reports, said the meeting between Mr Sharif and US President Bill Clinton is also expected to be dominated by the issue.

"Diplomats in Islamabad say Pakistan has indicated that it is ready to pledge, largely to end the USA-led economic sanctions that have brought the country to the brink of default on its $ 32-billion foreign debt," it said.

"Local news reports said that in his speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, Mr Sharif will announce Pakistan’s acceptance of the CTBT," it said, adding that Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf, while not confirming the reports, "did not deny them (reports) outright".

"We are not opposed to the CTBT, but the coercive atmosphere is weighing heavily on everyone’s mind here," the paper quoted Mr Altaf as saying.


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