14 May 1998


The Government has now decided upon further Australian actions in response to the outrageous acts perpetrated by India in conducting no less that five nuclear tests this week. This followed consultations today with Australia's High Commissioner to India, Mr Rob Laurie, and reflects the Government's condemnation of the wilful disregard for international opinion in proceeding with a second round of nuclear tests yesterday.

The Government considers that India's actions could have the most damaging consequences for security in South Asia and globally. It risks a regional arms race and is in flagrant defiance of the international community's strong support for nuclear non-proliferation, as evidenced by 186 countries signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and 149 countries signing the Comprehensive (Nuclear) Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). India must immediately sign the CTBT, join the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and forswear forever the use of nuclear weapons.

The international community cannot let India's actions pass without a strong and substantive response.

Australia has and will continue with vigour to use regional and international forums to make clear Australia's opposition to Indian nuclear testing and has made direct representations here in Australia and to the Indian Government in New Delhi to leave India in no doubt about the strength of our condemnation of its decision to conduct nuclear tests. In addition, I recalled Australia's High Commissioner to India for consultations.

But in light of the ill-judged actions of India the Government has concluded that further action is required, both to register our concern to the Indian Government and to send a message to other nations that might be considering the testing or development of nuclear weapons about the consequences of any such action.

In this regard the Government has decided to implement the following actions, effective immediately:

suspension of bilateral defence relations with India, including the withdrawal of Australia's Defence Adviser stationed in New Delhi, the cancellation of ship and aircraft visits, officer exchanges and other defence-related visits. Australian Defence Force personnel currently training in India will be withdrawn . Australia will request the immediate departure of three Indian defence personnel currently at defence colleges in Australia;

suspension of non-humanitarian aid;

suspension of Ministerial and Senior Official visits.

In addition, the Government will take every appropriate opportunity to register Australia's strong opposition to India's nuclear testing program and will continue to encourage and support the efforts of others to put an end to all nuclear weapons testing.

We continue to urge India's neighbours to exercise the utmost restraint in the face of this provocation.

Further information: Innes Willox

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:37:57 EST

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