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India rejects US demand

US had asked India to define minimum nuclear deterrent, contending that it was necessary for decreasing tensions.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2006 13:12 IST

Categorically rejecting US suggestion to define its credible minimum nuclear deterrent, India on Saturday said that it had no obligation to do so.

"What our credible minimum deterrent would be is really for India to decide," Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said in an interview to a private news channel.

He was asked about US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher's suggestion on Friday that India should "further define" its 'minimum credible deterrent' in the nuclear field, contending that it was "absolutely necessary" for decreasing tensions in Asia.

"Certainly there is no responsibility on part of India to declare what its minimum deterrent is," Saran said adding New Delhi had, on various occasions pointed out this to the US.

Saran, who met Boucher on Friday, said the US official had not raised this issue with him.

"We have a strategic dialogue with the US where we have agreed to exchange views on our respective nuclear doctrines as well as issues like missile defence," he said.

On the Bush Administration's contention that it was pushing India and Pakistan for moratorium on missile tests, he said New Delhi's position was that it would work with Washington in the conference on disarmament in Geneva on a multilateral Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).

This has been under discussion in Geneva for several years and India has been an active participant in these negotiations, Saran said, adding "we are prepared to take part in those negotiations."

He, however, made it clear that the FMCT that India is talking about is a multilateral instrument.