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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 37, May 1999

Anniversary of India & Pakistan Nuclear Tests

India: 'Technology Day,' 11 May

Pakistan: 'Self-Reliance Day,' 28 May

India: 'Technology Day,' 11 May

Anniversary of underground nuclear weapon tests at the Pohkaran site in Rajastan, 11 & 13 May 1998

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, 11 May

"Pohkaran not only brought strength to our national security but also self-confidence to our national minds... It became a symbol of a resurgent India...a strong and prosperous India determined to regain her rightful place in the comity of nations. ... India's missile development programme will continue for its own security. To keep the peace, this is the only way out. If need be, we will take more steps. ... If there is equal strength, war can be avoided. Today both India and Pakistan are nuclear... [W]e now have a better atmosphere of peace and cooperation in the region than ever before. ... But Pakistan is not our only neighbour. We have been victims of aggression in the past. But nobody will dare do it again."

Source: A year later, India's leaders cheer its N-tests, Reuters, 11 May; India PM opens campaign on nuclear note, Reuters, 11 May; India PM defends nuclear program, Associated Press, 11 May.

Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, 8 May

"I am weary of being told by yesterday's imperialists or today's new imperialists that responsible international conduct is the preserve only of some... I also sense very disagreeable racial overtones in such assumptions... I have continued to reject this whole colonial, imperialist attitude - that which advocated a kind of nuclear apartheid [and insisted] that national security was the preserve only of some and not others. ... As for responsible action, I need hardly point out the kind of unrestrained aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia for the past so many weeks and the restraint with which India and Pakistan have handled their differences. ... The path from Shakti ('Power' - the codename of the test series) to Agni II ('Fire', India's nuclear-capable ballistic missile, test-fired on 11 April 1999) is a path that we charted out not in any kind of power play. We did it only so as to acquire for India that which is its legitimate due, the enhancement of its strategic space and a much greater degree of strategic autonomy. India's strategic autonomy is certainly a factor that the rest of the global community now recognises."

Source: India flays 'imperialist' nuclear qualms, Reuters, 8 May.

Pakistan: 'Self-Reliance Day,' 28 May

Anniversary of underground nuclear weapon tests in the Chagai region, southwest Baluchistan, 28 & 30 May 1998

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, 28 May "One year ago today we broke the shackles of dependence on foreign technology and conducted successful nuclear tests, a distinction enjoyed by only a handful of nations in the world. I greet my people on this occasion with our heads bowed before Allah Almighty.

The feeling of national pride is heightened by the fact that the freedom-loving and patriotic citizens of Pakistan walk today without the uncalled-for threat of war from a hostile neighbour looming over their heads. They feel confident for the first time in their history that in the eventuality of an armed attack they will be able to meet it on equal terms.

This is not a small achievement, on which [the] whole nation bows before Allah Almighty with gratefulness. If the people wish to commemorate their feeling of national honour, they do so with justification. 28 May last year was history-making in the sense that, in this troubled world, it is rare for the people of a country like Pakistan to feel safe and secure. And that, too, not by help from foreign friends but through our own technology, our own genius.

The naming of the day as Yaum-e-Takbeer [Day of Self-Reliance] is a most happy choice. ... It symbolizes at once our pride of achievement and our faith in Allah the Almighty, for without His blessings we could not have acquired this distinctive status in the comity of nations.

Celebrations apart, let us not forget that today is the first anniversary of a moment when we exhibited self-reliance in concrete terms. Let this be a guide for the future, and a constant reminder that if we want to occupy a place of respect and regard in the world we have to do it on the strength of our own ability, hard work and self-confidence. That place cannot come to us as a gift from others."

Source: Government of Pakistan website, http://www.pak.gov.pk

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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