Special Correspondent

Highlights the dangers of `clandestine proliferation'

  • Test will not affect India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal: Pranab
  • `No threat to stability in the region'

    NEW DELHI: India was "deeply concerned" at the "reported" nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

    "We are deeply concerned at the reported nuclear test conducted by the DPRK. It is unfortunate that the DPRK has conducted such a test in violation of its international commitments, jeopardising peace, stability and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the region," it said.

    "The [North Korean nuclear] test also highlights the dangers of clandestine proliferation. We are monitoring the situation and are in close touch with several countries," the five-line statement added.

    The reference to "clandestine proliferation" is a pointer to Pakistan-North Korean collaboration both in the field of military nuclear technology as well as the proliferation of ballistic missiles.

    Terming the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as "discriminatory and flawed," Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee did not think the test would impact security in the region or affect the emerging India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal.

    Asked about the alleged link between Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan and DPRK's nuclear establishment, Mr. Mukherjee said, "We have already made it very clear that we are against proliferation. We did not sign the NPT because it was a discriminatory and flawed treaty but we do not have any quarrel with its basic objective of non-proliferation. Therefore, we are against the clandestine proliferation of nuclear technology and other technology that leads to the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction."

    He was speaking to newspersons at an Indian Air Force function.

    Mr. Mukherjee said he did not think that the test would affect the India-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement as "our credentials in respecting non-proliferation is impeccable. I don't think there is a threat to the stability of the region [South-East Asia] but let us wait and watch."

    Interestingly, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), which announced the explosion, said: "The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 per cent."

    Clearly, the statement that North Korea used "indigenous wisdom and technology" is an effort to project to the world that outside actors did not have a role to play in the test.

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