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United Nations: India Rejects Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Geneva, 20 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- India today rejected a draft nuclear test ban treaty that negotiators in Geneva had hoped to send to the United Nations for signature.

The Indian Ambassador to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Arundhati Ghose, said the treaty draft was unbalanced and violated India's sovereignty. She said India would veto the consensus vote necessary for the Conference to transmit the draft to the UN General Assembly for signing next month.

The United States today criticized India as "insincere." U.S. disarmament ambassador Stephen Ledogar said India opposes the test ban just to maintain its nuclear option.

India's refusal to sign the treaty draft means supporters of the treaty must now send the United Nations a report on the conference's results instead of a treaty for signing. Negotiators had been working on the draft test ban treaty more than two years.

Correspondents say the draft treaty's supporters, including all five declared nuclear powers, may now try to propose it in the General Assembly as a resolution.

India is one of three "threshold" countries regarded as having the capability for a nuclear arsenal. The other two countries are Pakistan and Israel.