Disarmament Diplomacy
Issue No. 26, May 1998

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Comment by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, 28 May

"Today we have settled the score with India."

Source: Defiant Sharif prepares for fallout, United Press International, 28 May.

Statement by Nawaz Sharif, 28 May

'Text of Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif at a Press Conference on Pakistan Nuclear Tests,' Islamabad, 28 May 1998; text carried by Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), 29 May, available on the Government of Pakistan web-site

"Pakistan today successfully tested five nuclear tests. The results were as expected. There was no release of radioactivity. I congratulate all Pakistani scientists, engineers and technicians for their dedicated teamwork and expertise in mastering complex and advanced technologies. The entire nation takes justifiable pride in the accomplishments of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories and all affiliated organisations. They have demonstrated Pakistan's ability to deter aggression. Pakistan has been obliged to exercise the nuclear option due to the weaponisation of India's nuclear programme. This had led to the collapse of the 'existential deterrence' and had radically altered the strategic balance in our region.

Immediately after its nuclear tests, India has brazenly raised the demand that 'Islamabad should realise the change in the geo-strategic situation in the region' and threatened that 'India will deal firmly and strongly with Pakistan'.

Our security, and peace and stability of the entire region was thus gravely threatened. As a self-respecting nation we had no choice left to us. Our hand was forced by the present Indian leadership's reckless actions.

After due deliberations and a careful review of all options, we took the decision to restore the strategic balance. The nation would not have accepted anything less from its leadership. For the past three decades, Pakistan repeatedly drew the attention of the international community to India's incremental steps on the nuclear and ballistic ladder. Our warnings remained unheeded. Despite the continuing deterioration in Pakistan's security environment, we exercised utmost restraint. We pursued in all earnest the goal of non-proliferation in South Asia. Our initiatives to keep South Asia free of nuclear and ballistic weapon systems were spurned. The international response to the Indian nuclear tests did not factor the security situation in our region. While asking us to exercise restraint, powerful voices urged acceptance of the Indian weaponisation as a fait accompli. Pakistan's legitimate security concerns were not addressed, even after the threat of use of nuclear weapons and nuclear blackmail. We could not have ignored the magnitude of the threat.

Under no circumstances would the Pakistani nation compromise on matters pertaining to its life and existence. Our decision to exercise the nuclear option has been taken in the interest of national self defence. These weapons are to deter aggression, whether nuclear or conventional. Pakistan will continue to support the goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, especially in the Conference on Disarmament, bearing in mind the new realities. We are undertaking a re-evaluation of the applicability and relevance of the global non-proliferation regimes to nuclearized South Asia. We are ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with other countries, especially major powers, on ways and means to promoting these goals in the new circumstances. Pakistan has always acted with utmost restraint and responsibility. We would continue to do so in the future. We are prepared to resume Pakistan-India dialogue to address all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as peace and security. These should include urgent steps for mutual restraint and equitable measures for nuclear stabilisation. Pakistan has already offered a non-aggression pact to India on the basis of a just settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. I would like to reiterate this offer.

We have instituted effective command and control structures. We are fully conscious of the need to handle these weapon systems with the highest sense of responsibility. We have not and will not transfer sensitive technologies to other States or entities. At the same time, Pakistan will oppose all unjust embargoes aimed at preventing it from exercising its right to develop various technologies for self defence or peaceful purposes. I would like to again assure all countries that our nuclear weapon systems are meant only for self defence and there should be no apprehension or concern in this regard.

The Pakistani people are united in their resolve to safeguard, at all costs, Pakistan's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. I would like to congratulate the nation on the achievements of our scientists and engineers. They have made it possible for the people of Pakistan to enter the next century with confidence in themselves and faith in their destiny."

Remarks by Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed, 30 May

"After successfully conducting five nuclear tests on 28 May, 1998, Pakistan completed the current series by another test today. There was one, repeat one, conducted today...

As a responsible nation whose record of restraint and responsibility is impeccable, Pakistan today assures the international community and in particular India of our willingness to enter into immediate discussions to address all matters of peace and security, including urgent measures to prevent the dangers of nuclear conflagration. ...

The Prime Minister has also reaffirmed his Government's determination to resume Pakistan-India dialogue to address all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir as well as peace and security... We are prepared to enter into discussions with India for taking all steps that are necessary to ensure mutual restraint and nuclear stabilisation in our region..."

Source: Defiant Pakistan stages new nuclear test, Reuters, 30 May.

Interview with Chief Weapons Scientist, 31 May

'An exclusive interview with Abdul Qadeer Khan, the head of Pakistan's nuclear programme,' The Observer newspaper (UK), 31 May

"Question: 'What did Pakistan achieve from these tests?'

Dr. Khan: 'This has been a successful nuclear explosion by all definitions. It was exactly as we had planned and the results were as good as we hoped.'

Question: 'Were they fission or fusion devices?'

Dr. Khan: 'They were all boosted fission devices using uranium 235. We have been manufacturing this at Kahuta for up to 19 years. The first enrichment was done on 4 April, 1978. The plant was made operational in 1979, and by 1981 we were producing substantial quantities of uranium. Until 1982-83 we were producing low-enriched uranium, and from 1983 weapons-grade uranium which is more than 90% enriched.'

Question: 'How does your programme compare with India's?'

Dr. Khan: 'They have used an old technology of plutonium from spent fuel, whereas we have used enriched uranium, which is a much more sophisticated and safe process.'

Question: 'What was the total yield of the tests?'

Dr. Khan: 'One was a big bomb which had a yield of 30-35 kilotonnes, twice as big as the one dropped on Hiroshima. The other four were small tactical weapons of low yield. None of these explosions was thermo-nuclear. But we can do a fusion blast if asked.'

Question: 'When were you first able to explode a nuclear device?'

Dr. Khan: 'At the end of 1984. Pakistan never wanted to make nuclear weapons. It was forced to do so. The Indian nuclear explosion in 1974 brought [about] a qualitative change. ...'"

Statement to the CD, 28 May

Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram, 28 May 1998

Editor's note: Ambassador Akram's statement was delivered a few hours before the 28 May tests.

"... I would like to read into the records of this Conference the text of a press statement which was issued in the early hours of this morning, 28 May, and I quote:

'In the wake of the Indian nuclear tests, we have been receiving information of the possibility of attacks on our nuclear installations. The purpose behind this action would be to prevent us from taking an appropriate decision in our supreme national interest. Last night we received credible information that an attack was to be mounted before dawn. We were fully prepared to meet any eventuality in our defence. Immediate messages were transmitted to Washington and other Permanent Members of the Security Council. The Indian High Commissioner was summoned to the Foreign Office at 1 a.m. Pakistan time and told clearly that any attack on our nuclear facilities would be in violation of our existing agreement against attack on such facilities. He was asked to convey to New Delhi that we expected the Indian Government to desist from any irresponsible act. Any such act would warrant a swift and massive retaliation with unforeseen circumstances. The Secretary-General of the United Nations was also immediately informed and requested to counsel restraint to New Delhi.' ...

[O]n behalf of my Government, I would like to urge the members of the Conference on Disarmament to also counsel restraint on the Government of India. We wish to caution that India's aggressive behaviour could lead to disastrous consequences. They must pull back from the brink.

... Whether or not Pakistan responds in kind to India's nuclear explosions, it should be noted that Pakistan has not claimed that it wants to become a nuclear-weapon State. We have not threatened to weaponize our nuclear capability. We have not threatened to use force, whether conventional or non-conventional. It is clear that the non-proliferation regime has been significantly eroded by the Indian actions. The NPT recognizes five nuclear-weapon States. Do the parties to the NPT, the Permanent Members of the Security Council and others accept India's proclamation of itself as a nuclear-weapon State? Until India's nuclear status is clarified and established, until this happens, Pakistan cannot be expected to negotiate or accept additional instruments for non-proliferation. Until India's nuclear status has been clarified, any proposal for the opening of FMCT negotiations, or for the signature of the CTBT by other States, will be redundant and irrelevant. If being asked to join any treaty, we must know how many nuclear-weapon States will be its parties. If India signed the CTBT or joins the FMCT, will [it] do so as a nuclear-weapon State or as a non-nuclear-weapon State? We should know whether India will have the option to join these treaties as a nuclear-weapon State, as India is claiming, or only as a non-nuclear-weapon State.

The answers to these questions...are not clear today. The answers will depend on what the international community decides in its response to India's claim to having become a nuclear-weapon State. Some voices unfortunately want to accept the fait accompli created by India's tests and declarations. Will this also be the answer of the international community? the central question - not whether or not Pakistan decides to demonstrate its nuclear capability in reaction to India's provocative nuclear testing and its aggressive behaviour. This question must be answered if progress is to be made on various nuclear items on our agenda. Until then, to raise these questions and to press these in this hall would be a waste of time. We should focus on the real problem and not on irrelevant issues."


Ministry of External Affairs Statements, 28 May

Official Press Releases, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, 28 May 1998

I: "We have heard the news of Pakistan's nuclear tests. Full facts are being ascertained. Pakistan's nuclear tests have confirmed what has been known all along - that that country has been in possession of nuclear weapons. This event vindicates our assessment and our policy, as well as the measures that have been taken. We expect that those who disagreed with us will reassess their stand. The Government have taken all steps necessary for safeguarding the nation's security."

II: "Our High Commissioner in Pakistan was called in by the Pakistan Foreign Secretary at 0210 hours (IST) this morning. The Pakistan Foreign Secretary conveyed to our High Commissioner that India was preparing to attack the nuclear facilities of Pakistan. Our High Commissioner dismissed this as an utterly absurd and malicious allegation. Pakistan has also sought to spread this canard in the UN and some important world capitals. In the normal course we would not have lent dignity to this vicious propaganda, but as it could be part of a more nefarious design, we would like to make it clear that India stands committed to uphold its treaty obligations and agreements including the India-Pakistan Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities. There is no intention, on our part, to heighten tension between India and Pakistan. We see in these Pakistani efforts yet another example of their deep frustration. We are confident that all concerned will reject these crude manifestations of the traditional Pakistani mindset of hostility against India."

Ministry of External Affairs Statements, 31 May

Official Press Releases, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, 31 May 1998

I: "We are in the knowledge of Pakistan having conducted one more nuclear test today. The development was expected. Facts are being ascertained. ... As is well known, India is already observing a voluntary moratorium. Pakistan has sought to justify the nuclear tests by projecting an alleged threat from India. As [the] Prime Minister has already stated, India does not pose a threat to Pakistan. The Prime Minister reiterated the offer to hold discussions with Pakistan on a no-first-use agreement reflecting our desire to maintain peace and security in the region. ... [The] Government remains fully prepared to deal firmly and effectively with any threat to India's national security."

II: "India calls upon all the NWS and indeed the international community to join with it in opening early negotiations for an NWC [Nuclear Weapons Convention] so that these weapons can be dealt with in a global, non-discriminatory framework as the other two weapons of mass destruction have been, through the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention... The international community can rest assured that, on our part, there is no desire to heighten tension and Pakistan faces no threat from India."


United Nations

Statement by the Secretary-General, 28 May

"I deplore both the Indian and Pakistani tests. They exacerbate tension in an already difficult situation. I call on both Governments to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty... They might also sign a no-first-use pledge with each other. Finally, both nations should freeze their nuclear weapons development programme. The number of nuclear weapons should decrease, not increase.

As we approach the new century, we should be asking how best to preserve life, culture and civilization, not how to become more destructive."

Source: United Nations Press Release SG/SM/6575, 28 May.

Statement by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 30 May

"The Secretary-General has learned with profound dismay that, despite the appeals for restraint by him as well as by the Security Council and leaders of many Member States, Pakistan has conducted a sixth underground nuclear weapon test... This further dangerous and senseless escalation of tension could lead to a nuclear arms race with incalculable consequences. The international community must move to prevent a further deterioration of the situation.

The Secretary-General urgently reiterates his appeal to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan to demonstrate their leadership at this critical stage by exercising restraint and reducing the high tensions between them. Noting that India has already announced a moratorium on future tests, he calls upon Pakistan to make a parallel declaration. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release SG/SM/6577, 30 May.

Security Council Presidential Statement, 29 May

Editor's note: the statement was delivered by Council President Njuguna M. Mahugu of Kenya.

"The Security Council strongly deplores the underground nuclear tests that Pakistan conducted on 28 May 1998, despite overwhelming international concern and calls for restraint. Reaffirming its 14 May presidential statement...on the Indian nuclear tests of 11 and 13 May, the Security Council strongly urges India and Pakistan to refrain from any further tests. ...

The Security Council calls upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to take immediate steps to reduce and remove tensions between them. The Council reaffirms that the sources of tension in South Asia should be reduced and eliminated only through peaceful dialogue and not by the use of force or other military means.

The Security Council urges India and Pakistan to resume the dialogue between them on all outstanding issues, including all those that the parties have already discussed, especially matters concerning peace and security, in order to remove the tensions between them and to enhance their economic and political cooperation. The Council calls upon India and Pakistan to avoid any steps or statements that could lead to further instability or impede their bilateral dialogue. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release SC/6524, 29 May

NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council

Statement on the Nuclear Tests of Pakistan and India,' Statement issued by the NATO-Russia Joint Council, Meeting at Ministerial Level, Luxembourg, 28 May

"We...condemn the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan. We are deeply concerned and dismayed by this developing regional nuclear arms race in South Asia.

We urge Pakistan and India to refrain from further tests and the deployment of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles, in order to prevent the escalation of tensions and a nuclear arms race. It is increasingly urgent that both India and Pakistan adhere unconditionally [to the NPT and CTBT]...and enter into negotiations on a global treaty to stop the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. We further urge India and Pakistan to engage in a dialogue which addresses the root causes of the tension between them, and try to build confidence, rather than seek confrontation.

The relations of India and Pakistan with each of us have been affected negatively by these developments. We are making this clear to both Governments in our own direct exchanges and dealings with them, and we call upon other States similarly concerned about these developments and their impact on regional and worldwide security and stability to make their concerns known also to the two Governments. ..."


'Statement by Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency,' IAEA Press Release PR 98/5, 29 May

"The Director General deeply regrets the recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan. Such tests could lead to a dangerous nuclear arms race and call into question the basic principles of non-proliferation - developed over the last three decades and reflected in the Non-Proliferation Treaty... - namely to freeze the number of weapon States and move towards nuclear disarmament.

The Director General expresses the hope that both States will exercise the utmost restraint and commit themselves to the course of action supported by the international community: no nuclear tests; no additional weapon States; and a concrete programme to reduce and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons...

The Director General firmly believes that global and regional accommodation and détente rather than the acquisition of nuclear weapons is the way to attain and enhance peace and security. ..."

47-State CD Statement

Statement read by Ambassador Clive Pearson, New Zealand, Special Session of the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 2 June 1998

Full text

"I am taking the floor at this Special Session to read into the record a statement from the following Member States and Observers of the Conference on Disarmament:

Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Finland, Austria, Canada, Ukraine, Greece, Slovakia, Sweden, Hungary, Norway, Belarus, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Philippines, Denmark, Italy, Romania, Croatia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Japan, Malta, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, France, China, Turkey, Spain, Chile, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, Venezuela, Portugal, Slovenia, Ecuador and Belgium

Mr President, they are alarmed and deeply concerned at nuclear testing by India and Pakistan.

They condemn all nuclear testing and consider such acts to be contrary to the international consensus which bans the testing of nuclear weapons and other explosive devices.

The tests undertaken by India and Pakistan's decision to respond with its own tests blatantly undermine the international regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The actions of India and Pakistan threaten and undermine the process of disarmament and the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons altogether.

The testing of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan is totally irreconcilable with claims by both countries that they are committed to nuclear disarmament.

International security will not be enhanced by provocative and dangerous acts. Nor will regional or global security be improved or maintained by indulging in competitive manoeuvres to further develop nuclear capability and delivery systems. The approach that India and Pakistan seem determined to pursue belongs to a bye-gone age.

Peace in the Asia region is a global concern. Tensions will only be resolved permanently through constructive dialogue and negotiation.

It is now crucial that India and Pakistan announce immediately a cessation to all further testing of these weapons, renounce their nuclear weapons programmes and sign and ratify, unconditionally, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. This is a matter of urgency and essential for generating the confidence necessary for security differences to be resolved through dialogue and negotiation.

We also call on India and Pakistan to accede, without delay, to the Non-Proliferation treaty, to join all States in ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and to engage in negotiations to conclude a ban on the production of fissile material. These are further essential steps that should be taken in the process of working collectively and constructively towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

This is a moment for all countries to exercise calm and maximum restraint. We call on India and Pakistan to abandon immediately the course of action they are pursuing and to settle their security concerns and differences through political engagement. Such an approach will have the full support of the international community which is striving towards nuclear disarmament."


Statement by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, 29 May "Pakistan's action is a flagrant defiance of international non-proliferation norms and has serious implications for global and regional security. It is sad and deeply disappointing that Pakistan has turned its back on the direct pleas of Australia and others to exercise restraint. Instead Pakistan has decided to join India in isolation from the rest of the international community."

Source: Foreign Ministry Media Release FA68, 30 May.

Statement by Alexander Downer, 30 May

"I am profoundly disappointed that Pakistan has seen fit to add to the folly of its tests on 28 May. It is deeply regrettable that the Pakistani Government has shown absolute disregard for the many, direct appeals to exercise restraint, and has wilfully turned its back on the sincere efforts of the international community to encourage reason to prevail. This action defies the hopes of people everywhere for a world free of nuclear testing."

Source: Foreign Ministry Media Release FA68, 29 May.


Statement by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, 28 May

"Canada is deeply disappointed that the Pakistani Government did not heed the international call for restraint, but chose to act in a manner contrary norms... In my telephone call last week with Pakistan's Prime Minister, I urged him to consider that such a test, coming so soon after India's recent round, could only have grave implications for the security of South Asia, as well as for non-proliferation internationally."

Source: Canada puts relations with Pakistan on hold, Reuters, 28 May.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release, 28 May

"China expresses its 'deep regret' over Pakistan's nuclear tests on 28 May, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao in Beijing. He said that China has always advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and is opposed to any form of nuclear weapon proliferation.

The Chinese Government is deeply worried about the present nuclear race in South Asia, he said.

'We hereby call on countries concerned in South Asia to exercise the utmost restraint and to immediately abandon all nuclear weapon programmes to avoid a further worsening of the situation so as to maintain peace and stability in the South Asian region,' he said."

Source: Chinese Embassy in Washington, web-site Foreign Ministry statement, 30 May

"We express deep regret that Pakistan has conducted nuclear tests once again and are deeply worried and disturbed by the current nuclear arms race in South Asia... We solemnly appeal to Pakistan and India to exercise maximum restraint, immediately renounce their nuclear weapons development programmes, and prevent the situation from worsening..."

Source: China expresses 'deep regret' over Pakistan blasts, Reuters, 30 May.


Remarks by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, 29 May

"The tests performed yesterday by Pakistan were condemned by France, the European Union, the Ministers who met yesterday in Luxembourg in the NATO/Russia [Joint Council]... Today, a declaration from the Presidency of the Security Council should be adopted in New York. In other words, this constitutes an unanimous condemnation on the part of the international community."

Source: Foreign Ministry Daily Press Briefing, 29 May.


Statement by Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, 28 May

"The Federal Government condemns today's Pakistani nuclear tests. ... Peace and stability in southern Asia can only be achieved through dialogue, not a nuclear arms race."

Source: World decries Pakistan nuke tests, United Press International, 28 May.


Statement by Kanezo Muraoka, Chief Cabinet Secretary, 30 May

"...Japan regards most seriously the fact that Pakistan conducted these [second round of] tests despite the strong criticism from Japan and other members of the international community of its nuclear tests on 28 May, and strongly protests against the Government of Pakistan. The repeated nuclear testing by Pakistan is a most dangerous step which heightens tensions in the region and risks fundamentally destabilising the non-proliferation regime. By no means can Japan condone this action. Japan strongly demands that Pakistan earnestly heed the voice of the international community which calls upon it to discontinue nuclear testing and the development of nuclear weapons..."

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release, 30 May.


Remarks by Valery Nesterushkin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, 29 May

"By dialogue we can achieve better results than by isolation and economic sanctions against these two States... We still believe international activity...can bring about a constructive reaction from both sides and [that] they will understand the necessity of political negotiations on all the problems they are having in their bilateral relations. ... Naturally the close and constructive cooperation...between Moscow and Washington has serious significance for India and Pakistan..."

Source: Russia condemns Pakistani nuclear tests, Reuters, 1 June.

United Kingdom

Statement by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, Luxembourg, 28 May

"We are dismayed by the nuclear test which have been carried out by Pakistan. ... [This] accentuates our grave concern about the increased risk of nuclear and missile proliferation in South Asia... As [holders of the] EU Presidency, we will urgently consult our European and other international partners on these disturbing developments. ..."

Source: Text - Britain's Cook condemns Pakistan nuclear tests, United States Information Service, 28 May.

United States

Remarks by President Clinton, 28 May

"By failing to exercise restraint and responding to the Indian test, Pakistan lost a truly priceless opportunity to strengthen its own security, to improve its political standing in the eyes of the world. And although Pakistan was not the first to test, two wrongs don't make a right. I have made it clear to Pakistan that we have no choice but to impose sanctions... I cannot believe that we are about to start the 21st Century by having the Indian subcontinent repeat the worst mistakes of the 20th Century, when we know it is not necessary to peace, to security, to prosperity, to national greatness or personal fulfilment. And I hope that the determined efforts of the United States and our allies will be successful in helping the parties who must themselves decide how to define their future to defuse tensions and avoid further errors."

Source: Excerpt - Clinton remarks on Pakistan's nuclear tests, United States Information Service, 28 May.

Statement by President Clinton, 30 May

"The United States condemns today's second round of tests by Pakistan. These tests can only serve to increase tensions in an already volatile region. With their recent tests, Pakistan and India are contributing to a self-defeating cycle of escalation that does not add to the security of either country. Both India and Pakistan need to renounce further nuclear and missile testing immediately and take decisive steps to reverse this dangerous arms race. ..."

Source: Statement by the President, The White House, 30 May.