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Unfortunate development: PM
Naveen Kapoor

New Delhi, October 9
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday described the nuclear tests conducted by the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) as an unfortunate development.

Speaking to reporters before embarking on a six-day visit to Britain and Finland, Manmohan Singh said: “Nuclear tests by the DPRK are unfortunate and will create a problem of stability and security in the Korean Peninsula.”

Reflecting the Prime Minister’s and the Indian Government’s concern over the development, a spokesman said: ‘‘We are deeply concerned at the reported nuclear test conducted by the DPRK. It is unfortunate that the DPRK has conducted such a test in violation of its international commitments, jeopardising peace, stability and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. The test also highlights the dangers of clandestine proliferation. We are monitoring the situation and are in close touch with several countries.”

Dr Manmohan Singh and the government were reacting to Pyongyang’s announcement earlier in the day that it had carried out a successful underground test of a nuclear weapon, in defiance of international warnings not to do so.

According to the state-run news agency, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the test has been described as an “historic event that brought happiness to our military and people. The nuclear test will contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the surrounding region.”

Dr Manmohan Singh also said that he would be participating in the seventh India-EU Summit and holding bilateral talks with British and Finnish leaders during the visit.

“I will be paying an official visit to the United Kingdom at the invitation of Prime Minister Tony Blair. My visit to Helsinki is for the 7th India-EU Summit as well as to provide me an opportunity to meet Finland’s leaders. Praising India’s improving relations with the United Kingdom, Dr Singh described Britain as ‘one of our most important dialogue partners.’

The Prime Minister said that the UK is our largest trading partner in the European Union and an important source of foreign investment.

He said that the India-EU Summit in Helsinki would provide an opportunity for New Delhi to review progress in implementation of the Joint Action Plan adopted by the last summit in New Delhi.

“The summit will also provide an opportunity to reinforce the message of India as a secure and profitable trade and investment destination. Our discussions at the summit will be reflected in a joint statement that will be issued on its conclusion,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that specific steps to enhance trade and investment ties between India and the European Union, which is not only our largest trading partner but an important source of foreign direct investment and high technology, will also be reviewed.

“I hope my visit to Finland will add further momentum to our bilateral relations,” he added.

Dr Manmohan Singh would also call on President Tarja Halonen as well as Finnish Prime Minister Vanhanen who had visited India in March this year.

Accompanying the Prime Minister are Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma, senior officials and a 70-member business delegation. — ANI

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