Scientists who claim the 1998 test of a thermonuclear device by India was a failure have urged the government to resist American pressure to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They want the government to set up a high-level, independent, broad-based panel of experts to “monitor the implementation, on a continuing basis, of an effective course of action in the realm of thermonuclear weapons.”

Pointing out that renewed pressure from U.S. President Barack Obama on India to sign the CTBT was causing the issue to be raised again, they urged the government to remain firm in its opposition.

“Mr. Obama has actually gone further than trying to secure universal adherence to the CTBT, and secured a U.N. Security Council resolution urging such adherence to the NPT also,” they noted.

“Not signing the highly discriminatory NPT has been an article of faith of all our governments — irrespective of hues — since the Treaty was drawn up in 1968. The present government, we strongly urge again, should continue that policy steadfastly, despite whatever threats and blandishments are applied to it. Even the slightest succumbing would convert our ‘voluntary moratorium’ into an involuntary, permanent, cessation of nuclear weapon testing and so forever deny us our legitimate place in the great powers’ league,” they said.

The scientists are the former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman, P.K. Iyengar, the former Scientific adviser to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Ashok Parthasarathi, the former Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Director, A.N. Prasad, and the former Atomic Energy Regulatory Board Chairman, A. Gopalakrishnan.

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