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No Nuclear Arms Race in South Asia!

May 22, 1998
INESAP Statement On India's Nuclear Tests
The International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation unequivocally condemns India's recent series of nuclear weapons tests. Regardless of the reasons put forward by the Indian Government and others, it is important to note that, through these tests, the Indian government has demonstrated its ability to threaten people in the neighbouring countries with nuclear destruction. By publicly declaring itself to be a nuclear weapon state, the Indian government joins the current set of five states that have long made it clear that they are prepared to use this ability. We unequivocally oppose the use or the threat of use of weapons of mass destruction anywhere. This is immoral and unacceptable.

INESAP has consistently opposed and will continue to oppose any and all nuclear weapons related tests, including those that are presently not covered by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. There can be no justification for any state to engage in activities that allow it to design, develop, test and maintain nuclear weapons since these are fundamentally weapons of terror and mass destruction. These weapons are repugnant to civilized society.

The five Indian nuclear explosions are a strong escalating step in a nuclear arms race in South Asia. We believe that by its actions, the government of India has knowingly and willfully incited its neighboring state of Pakistan, with whom it has fought three wars and has hostile relations, to consider carrying out its own nuclear tests. If the government of Pakistan succumbs to the impulses to test this will further increase the possibility that nuclear threats may be made, and nuclear weapons deployed and used in South Asia. In a region that is home to one fifth of humanity, this would be a catastrophe so great that it can barely be imagined and must be prevented.

The nuclear explosions in India clearly demonstrate the weakness of the current non-proliferation regime which rests on the continued existence of declared nuclear weapon states and does not sufficiently undermine incentives to acquire nuclear weapons. Therefore, the resolution of the UN Security Council against India is self-contradictory because the signatories keep up their own nuclear arsenals and have not entered a process leading to their elimination. On the other hand, we reject the claim by the government of India that its nuclear weapon tests were justified because of the existence of a "nuclear environment" in its neighborhood. This refers to China and Pakistan, as well as to other nuclear weapons states some of which deploy nuclear weapons in the international waters close to India. In the same way that murder does not justify more murder, seeking a capability to carry out mass destruction cannot be justified by saying that others already have it.

We believe this argument applies with equal force to the government of Pakistan. What India has done will not justify a nuclear test by Pakistan. The only acceptable solution to the threats posed by existing nuclear weapons is not more nuclear weapons but the abolition of all such weapons.

We believe the world as a whole must respond to this grave crisis and that five responses are required:

   1. We urge all people and the international community of nations to demonstrate their rejection of nuclear weapons testing in South Asia and the reasons offered for them.

   2. We call on the government of India to give binding commitments that it will not further test, develop or deploy nuclear weapons.

   3. We call on the government of Pakistan to restrain from nuclear testing. as well as from developing or deploying nuclear weapons.

   4. We call on the nuclear weapons states to immediately and publicly declare that they will uphold their binding commitments under Article VI of the NPT and initiate negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention to ban and eliminate all nuclear weapons, involving India and Pakistan.

   5. We call on all other nations and concerned citizens everywhere to hold the nuclear weapon states to the norms accepted by the vast majority of nations against the acquisition or possession of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

May 22, 1998

INESAP Coordinating Committee: Anatoli Diakov (Russia), Martin Kalinowski (Germany), George Lewis (USA), Zia Mian (Pakistan), Dingli Shen (China) Fernando de Souza Barros (Brazil), Johan Swahn (Sweden).

Other signatories: Praful Bidwai (India), Pervez Hoodbhoy (Pakistan), Wolfgang Liebert (Germany), M.V. Ramana (India), Juergen Scheffran (Germany).

INESAP-related background information

P. Bidwai, A. Vanaik, Testing Times - The Global Stake in a Nuclear Test Ban, Report published by the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, Uppsala 1996.

P. Hoodbhoy, M.B. Kalinowski, The Tritium Solution, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 52, July/August 1996, pp 41-44.

O. Ischebeck, G. Neuneck (eds.), Cooperative Policies for Preventing and Controlling the Spread of Missiles and Nuclear Weapons - Policies and Perspectives in Southern Asia, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1996 (various contribution on nuclear weapons and missiles in Southern Asia by J. Behrmann, S. Ganguly, G. Neuneck, O. Ischebeck, S. Mazaari, R. Rajagopalan, J. Scheffran, D. Shen, J. Singh).

M. Kalinowski (ed.), Challenges and Opportunities for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free-World, Proceedings of 1997 INESAP Conference in Shanghai, China, September 8 - 10, 1997.

Z. Mian (ed.), Pakistan's Atomic Bomb and the Search for Security, Gautam Publishers, Lahore 1995.

Contributions in the INESAP Information Bulletin with regard to Southern Asia (authors and issue no.): P. Bidwai (5,8,10), P. Hoodhoy (3,7), , X. Liping (14), Liu Huaqiu (15), Z. Mian (3,7,9,11), V. Nair (11), A.H. Nayyar (3,7), G. Neuneck (5), S.V. Ramana (13), T. Ravuri (11), J. Singh (5), D. Shen (3,9,12), A. Vanaik (8,10), Xia Liping (14), Wu Jun (14)

Model Nuclear Weapons Convention, LCNP/INESAP, April 1997.

Note: This document is a supplement to INESAP Bulletin No.15 which was finished end of April 1998. Mailing was postponed after the Indian testing of May 11 and 13 to include this statement. The main topic of this Bulletin deals with the risks of nuclear weapons. With the nuclear crisis in Southern Asia these risks become much more imminent. It became clear that so-called "nuclear security" of the nuclear weapon states is highly unstable: nuclear threats induce more nuclear threats. This security dilemma can only be removed by the abolition of nuclear weapons.