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Response to press queries on references to J&K and India's nuclear tests in UNSG's Annual Report

September 9, 1998

Statement by Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesman in Response to
Press Queries on References to J&K and India's Nuclear Tests  in UNSG's Annual Report

We have seen the following reference to the J&K issue in the UN Secretary General's Annual Report on the work of the Organisation:

"The rising tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and other issues is also a major cause of concern......."

The UNSG's Report is a routine feature and is submitted every year to the General Assembly. References to the J&K issue have been included in the UNSG's Report since 1993.

2. There is no increase in tension between India and Pakistan. the two countires recently held discussions in Durban. We remain committed to carry forward the process of direct bilateral dialogue with Pakistan. An understanding on the modalities of the dialogue has been reached and the process is expected to be resumed after final instructions are given by the PMs of India and Pakistan at their meeting in New York on September 23, 1998.

3. It is worth noting that the 113 NAM countries at Durban welcomed the commitment of India and Pakistan "to exercise restraint, which contributes to regional security, to discontinue nuclear tests and not to transfer nuclear weapon related material, equipment and technology".

4. In our view, the indefinite extension of the NPT, and the manner of finalising the CTBT, highlight the flaws in the current international non-proliferation regime, which legitimises the possession of nuclear arsenals with the five NPT nuclear weapon powers in perpetuity. We are glad that the UNSG's view converges with that of the NAM Declaration at Durban which recognised that, in this situation, the nuclear tests in South Asia underline the need to work even harder to achieve nuclear disarmament, including elimination of nuclear weapons.

5. India believes that disarmament issues should be discussed in a global, non-discriminatory framework. India has proposed, and the recent NAM Summit at Durban has agreed, that an International Conference may be held, preferably in 1999, with the objective of arriving at an agreement, before the end of this millennium, on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time.