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Indian Prime Minister Rejects Joining NPT

The Hindu newspaper reported on Friday that, “The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said today that the circumstances were ‘not ripe’ for India to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) ‘right now’. Dr. Singh, however, said that India was voluntarily fulfilling the commitments that went along with being a responsible nuclear power acting with ‘due restraint'”. Answering a question at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Dr. Singh said, “We are a nuclear power…. We have a no-first use doctrine in place.”

He continued, “Also, we have an impeccable record of export controls so that any unauthorised use of sensitive nuclear materials can be effectively prevented.” As the Hindu said, India has consistently taken the position that the NPT is unequal and discriminatory and that it will not sign the treaty. The pressure on New Delhi to sign it mounted after the May 1998 nuclear tests, but there has been no change in India’s position on the issue.

The Prime Minister made it clear that India was interested in working with like-minded countries in strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation system. Without referring to Pakistan or the A.Q. Khan network by name, he said that India had seen the clandestine export of nuclear materials in “our” region.

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