MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
12 April 1999
Australia Regrets Indian Missile Test
Australia deeply regrets India's test of an Agni II long range ballistic missile on 11 April.
India's development of a ballistic missile capability is disturbing to the region and the world. Following its conduct of nuclear tests last year, there are fears India could arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead capable of delivering a nuclear payload to countries in its region, and beyond.
This development will have negative reverberations for the strategic environment in South Asia, and is likely to further strain bilateral relations between India and Pakistan. India's actions raise further questions about its willingness to act as a responsible member of the international community.
India's missile test is also regrettable given the recent positive advances in Indo-Pakistani relations. On 20 February Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Pakistan to meet with his Pakistani counterpart, Prime Minister Sharif, for an open dialogue on issues of mutual security concern.
I urge India and Pakistan to comply with the conditions laid down in UN Security Council Resolution 1172, adopted following the nuclear tests by both countries in May 1998. In particular, I urge both countries to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty without further delay.
Following India's missile test, there is likely to be domestic pressure on Pakistan to conduct its own missile test. I urge it not to do so. Pakistan has an opportunity to earn international goodwill and respect if it can show restraint and avoid a counter missile test.
|For further information:||
Minister - Innes Willox 02 6277 7500
Department - Tony Melville / Geoff Leach 02 6261 2912
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