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India Rejects Pakistan's Offer to Give Up Nuclear Weapons - 2003-05-08


India has rejected a recent suggestion by Pakistan that both countries give up their nuclear weapons. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee told lawmakers that India will not consider getting rid of its nuclear weapons.

Mr. Vajpayee was responding to a recent offer by Pakistan to scrap its nuclear arsenal, provided India did the same.

The Indian prime minister said Islamabad's nuclear program is what he called India-specific. But he says New Delhi's security concerns are not limited to Pakistan, but include other countries in the region.

India fought a brief border war with China in 1962. But relations between the two countries have improved significantly.

Mr. Vajpayee says India has adopted a nuclear doctrine saying it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons.

A military standoff between India and Pakistan last year had sparked international fears about a possible nuclear exchange in South Asia. Both countries conducted nuclear tests in 1998.