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Gujral defends nuclear tests - The Indian Express (Pune)

Dharam Shourie ()
July 10, 1998

Title: Gujral defends nuclear tests
Author: Dharam Shourie
Publication: The Indian Express (Pune)
Date: July 10, 1998

Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral has defended the Indian
nuclear tests conducted recently saying it should be seen in the
context of the country's security environment and the fact that
it is surrounded by atomic weapons.

Addressing the Asia Society here yesterday, he said there is
complete consensus on security and foreign policy issues in India
irrespective of the government in power.

Gujral himself had said when he was the prime minister that India
could not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as it
does want to forego the nuclear option. The Vajpayee government
which came later decided to exercise the option.

Stressing that no country, big or small, could ignore its
security, he said he had posed this question to US President Bill
Clinton when he met him during his tenure as prime minister.

He said he had asked Clinton what he would do in a similar
situation if he was the prime minister in such a country.

In south of India, he told the president was Diego Garcia which,
American newspapers themselves acknowledge, has nuclear weapons
adding that in the Gulf, there are many ships with nuclear arms,
thanks to Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

"Iran, the United States itself says, is trying to acquire such
weapons and is not far away. Washington had used Pressler
Amendment against Pakistan because transfer of nuclear technology
was taking place. And them there is China which is a known
nuclear power," he said he had told the US president.

Under these circumstances, he told the audience, he had asked
Clinton, what would he do if he was the prime minister.

Unlike Pakistan whose nuclear programme depends on transfer of
technology from China, the Indian programme is completely
indigenous, he said.

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