MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
14 April 1999
Australia Regrets Pakistani Missile Test
Australia deeply regrets Pakistan's test of a Ghauri medium range ballistic missile on 14 April.
Pakistan's test, following closely after the ballistic missile test conducted by India on 11 April, raises the disturbing prospect of a missile arms race in South Asia and of nuclear weaponisation by India and Pakistan, further heightening tensions in this unstable region of the world.
I urge both countries to refrain from entering into a destabilising missile arms race. Through our High Commissioner in Islamabad, the Australian Government had urged the Pakistanis not to respond to India's test by conducting a test of its own.
A cycle of action and reaction will not help resolve the tense security situation in South Asia, or improve bilateral relations between India and Pakistan.
The latest actions by both India and Pakistan are particularly regrettable given the recent positive developments in Indo-Pakistani relations. These developments included the resumption of bilateral talks at Foreign Secretary level and the visit on 20 February by Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee to Lahore to meet his counterpart, Prime Minister Sharif, for an open dialogue on bilateral issues, including security concerns.
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.
Despite the latest missile tests, I hope that India and Pakistan can build on the recent positive advances they have made and work towards more constructive bilateral relations, leading to a more stable regional security environment.
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Minister - Innes Willox 02 6277 7500
Department - Tony Melville / Geoff Leach 02 6261 2912
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