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India conducts underground nuclear tests

Pakistan strongly condemns the test

May 11, 1998
Web posted at: 10:09 a.m. EDT (1409 GMT)

In this story:

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India conducted three underground nuclear tests Monday, its first such tests since 1974, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced. Vajpayee said the explosions in the desert 330 miles (530 km) southwest of New Delhi did not result in the release of radiation into the atmosphere.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan on Monday strongly condemned India's three nuclear tests.

"Pakistan strongly condemns this Indian act and the entire world should condemn it. It has sucked Pakistan into an arms race," he told Reuters.

The tests were conducted at 3:45 p.m. (1015 GMT/6:15 a.m. EDT) at a nuclear test ground in Pokhran, in the northwestern state of Rajasthan.

"The tests conducted today were with a fission device ... a low-yield device and a thermo-nuclear device," Vajpayee told reporters at his official residence.

"The measured yields are in line with expected values ... Measurements have also confirmed that there was no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere," Vajpayee said.

No advance warning

India, Pakistan and Israel are the three nations widely suspected of nuclear capability that have not joined the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which is now observed by 185 countries.

map In Vienna, a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency, David Kyd, said India gave no advance warnings of the nuclear tests. Since India is a not a member of the treaty, it is not obliged to submit their nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection.

Vajpayee's government, which came to power in March, says India needs nuclear weapons to prevent what it calls military adventurism by neighboring Pakistan.

India demonstrated its nuclear capability with a 1974 test explosion. "These were contained explosions like the experiment conducted in May 1974," he said in a brief statement. He refused to take questions.

"I warmly congratulate the scientists and engineers who have carried out these successful tests," he said.

Reuters and New Delhi Bureau Chief Anita Pratap contributed to this report.

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