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India rejects US condition on N-testing
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17
Reiterating its commitment to a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, India today rejected the US suggestion of discontinuation of civilian nuclear co-operation if it were to detonate a nuclear explosive device.

India’s rejection came in the wake of media reports that New Delhi was about to sign a bilateral agreement which would mean agreeing to the CTBT through the backdoor.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna, while commenting on media reports about the US condition, asserted that India’s position on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was well-known and remained valid.

Elaborating, the spokesman said the US had shared with India, some week ago, a preliminary draft agreement on the Indo-US civil nuclear co-operation under Article 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act.

‘’Among the elements suggested by the US side is a reference to cooperation being discontinued were India to detonate a nuclear device,’’ the spokesman said in reply to a question.

He said in preliminary discussions on these elements India had already conveyed to the US that such a provision had no place in the proposed bilateral agreement.

It had also been conveyed that India was bound only by what was contained in the July 18 Joint Statement, ‘’that is, continuing its commitment to a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.’’

‘’India’s position on the CTBT is well-known and continues to remain valid,’’ Mr Sarna said.

Media reports yesterday said India was ‘about to sign’ an additional bilateral agreement with the US which would require New Delhi to give up the option of testing a nuclear weapon in future.

This bilateral agreement would be in-addition to Washington’s attempts in the US congress to ‘impose’ the CTBT on India through backdoor, the report said.

The agreement was part of the Article 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act.

Senior BJP leader and former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had charged the Manmohan Singh government with agreeing to sign the CTBT through the backdoor by signing the Civilian nuclear energy agreement.


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