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Government of India's response to the US-China "Joint Statement on South Asia"

June 27, 1998 

Government of India's response to the US-China "Joint Statement on South Asia"

We have seen the US-China "Joint Statement on South Asia". India categorically rejects the notion of these two countries arrogating to themselves, joint or individual responsibility for "the maintenance of peace, stability and security in the region". This approach reflects the  hegemonistic mentality of a bygone era in international relations and is completely unacceptable and out of place in the present day world. 

The statement contains a number of references to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. It is most ironical that two countries that have directly and indirectly contributed to the unabated proliferation of nuclear weapons and delivery systems in our neighbourhood, are now presuming to prescribe norms for non-proliferation. India's own consistent commitment to nuclear disarmament has been made amply clear in the constructive ideas that we have put forward over the years in international fora. In particular, the proposals we have made in recent weeks provide a meaningful framework for discussions which will enable forward movement towards a comprehensive, universal and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament  regime. We would also like to make it clear that India cannot consider the suggestions contained in the statement for curtailing our nuclear weapon or missile development programmes. India will continue to take decisions in this regard on the basis of its own national security requirements. 

India's desire to develop friendly and peaceful relations and a stable structure of cooperation with Pakistan does not require reiteration. The way of achieving these objectives is through direct bilateral dialogue. We look forward to the resumption of this process in which there is no place for any kind of third-party involvement whatsoever. Our Prime Minister will be meeting the Prime Minister of Pakistan at the SAARC Summit in Colombo next month. The two Prime Ministers will hold bilateral talks on all issues of mutual interest.