U.N. calls on Pakistan to halt nuclear tests
Another underground test conducted SaturdayMay 30, 1998
Web posted at: 7:45 p.m. EDT (2345 GMT)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council Saturday called on Pakistan to declare a moratorium on any further nuclear weapons tests or experiments on weapons-delivery systems.
The U.N. action, taken in a rare Saturday emergency session called by Japan, came after Pakistan announced it had detonated one nuclear device in an underground test Saturday.
"The council expressed its increased concern at the risk of a nuclear arms race escalating in South Asia and urged India and Pakistan to accede to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty without conditions," said Council President Njuguna Moses Mahugu of Kenya.
"The council also called on the government of Pakistan to issue a public declaration announcing a moratorium on future tests and experimentation on delivery systems," he said.
The Islamabad government claims that Saturday's nuclear test was the sixth it conducted this week, coming after five tests on Thursday. However, U.S. analysts who have studied seismic data generated by the testing doubt that Pakistan actually detonated that many nuclear devices earlier in the week.
Announcing Saturday's test in a televised address, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed Khan said the purpose of the tests was to create "credible deterrence" to counter what the Pakistanis see as a threat from India.
"The fact of our existence as the neighbor of an expansionist and a hegemonistic power taught us the inevitable lesson that we must search for security," he said.
Pakistani ambassador says test series finished
In an interview with CNN Saturday, Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations, Ahmad Kamal, said his country had finished its current series of nuclear tests but he would not go as far as renouncing future tests.
"Pakistan will be watching exactly what India does. The key lies in Indian actions. If they continue in any direction which threatens the security of Pakistan, Pakistan will have to take action to safeguard it," he said.
Kamal also said his country has no plans to deploy a nuclear device on a ballistic missile, a move which many analysts fear could seriously escalate tensions between Pakistan and India.
"We have no such intention, but we will be watching exactly what is done by India, what is the nature of their aggressive designs against Pakistan," Kamal said.
"And if the type of provocations that they done in the past -- threats of nuclear blackmail, threats of action against Pakistan in Kashmir, ... plans for a preemptive attack against Pakistan -- if any such actions are taken, then it will be the duty of Pakistan to safeguard its national security by all possible means," he said.
Kashmir is a disputed region that is split between India and Pakistan.
Indian ambassador: No intention to start arms race
In an interview with CNN, Naresh Chandra, India's ambassador to the United States, said his country will continue to abide by a moratorium on future nuclear tests that it announced after testing five devices earlier in May. He also said that India has no current plans to put nuclear devices on missiles.
Chandra also said that the testing of weapons by both sides doesn't necessarily signal the beginning of an arms race in South Asia.
"I don't think our government has any intention to enter into an arms race with Pakistan because our defense arrangements and plans are not centered on Pakistan," he said. "Our essential philosophy consists of engaging all our neighbors in dialogue and to promote economic development and cooperation."
"I think [if] the series of tests are now concluded and nobody carries it on any further, the situation should settle down quite soon," he said, adding that his government would be willing to engage in talks with Pakistan.
But Chandra said Pakistan's nuclear tests this week are a vindication of India's decision to press ahead with its own nuclear program.
"We are living in a tough neighborhood, and we couldn't live with this kind of uncertainty which prevailed. And we were sensing a deterioration in the security scenario in the neighborhood, and that is why we had to take that precautionary step of demonstrating our ... technology," he said.
Pakistanis begin economic cutbacks
In the wake of Saturday's test, which drew international condemnation, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed documents cutting off about $83 million in aid to Pakistan. The United States will also oppose international loans to Pakistan through agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Pakistani officials, worried about the effect economic sanctions will have on their nation, have already begun to crack down on expenditures.
On Saturday, one official dinner was canceled in order to save money.
Another reception, organized to celebrate the nuclear tests, was to be held in Punjab province, in the hometown of the nation's prime minister.
A day earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he would work out of his official residence in Islamabad rather than use his spacious office in the stately Prime Minister's Secretariat.
"Your government will end all luxuries and ostentatious style.... I have decided to leave the grand building," Sharif said at a news conference.
In contrast to Pakistan's mood after the tests were conducted Thursday, the streets of Islamabad were quiet Saturday. There were no crowds, no cheering and no jubilation. A state of emergency has been in effect since the first tests were conducted.
Some of the few Pakistanis in the streets of Islamabad Saturday told CNN they were proud that their government has matched, and now surpassed, the might displayed earlier this month by India.
"We want that India should get word of this and should come to know that we are also something. And we are having this power and we can protect our borders. No one can harm our country," one man in Islamabad told CNN.
"If they go to 100 blasts, we go to 100 blasts. It's that simple. Because we think India is our enemy number one," said another.
Muted reaction in India
In India, a government spokesman said India had anticipated further tests by Pakistan and that they posed no new threat for India.
The government also said its voluntary moratorium on further nuclear testing will continue and that both India and Pakistan should agree to a "no-first-strike" nuclear policy.
Earlier Saturday, before Pakistan's announcement, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said his country wants peaceful existence with its neighbor and that they should hold peace talks.
"India's culture is not one of aggression or violence. It is based on peace and sacrifice.... We want to live in peace with our neighbors and respect their culture," Vajpayee said.
He added "the two countries can now use the shade of their nuclear umbrellas to sit down and talk on issues that have nothing to do with kilotons, but are damaging nonetheless."
India has said it is ready to adhere to substantive parts of the multilateral Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which India and Pakistan refused to sign in 1996.
The two nations have fought three wars since they won independence from Great Britain in 1947.
Saturday's test near Iranian border
Saturday's tests were conducted near the Iranian border, in the remote hills of the southwestern province of Baluchistan, about 700 miles (1,120 kilometers) southwest of Islamabad.
There were conflicting reports as to the strength of the detonation. Sources at Pakistan's Kahuta Research Laboratories described the test to CNN as relatively small. Other reports said it was an 18 kiloton explosion -- which would make it larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, near the end of World War II.
In Washington, the Pentagon said Saturday that U.S. monitoring stations detected a seismic event in Pakistan consistent with a nuclear test.
U.S. officials say the blast registered about 4.6 on the Richter scale, roughly equivalent to Thursday's blast.
U.S. analysts remain skeptical of Pakistan's claim to have detonated five separate nuclear devices in that initial test. Preliminary analysis of the data suggests a yield in Thursday's test of six kilotons, consistent with a test of one or two devices, the U.S. analysts said.
Correspondents Tom Mintier, Anita Pratap, Jamie McIntyre and John King and Reuters contributed to this report.
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