Three years before Pokhran II nuclear tests in 1998, India was interested in negotiations with Pakistan on elimination of atomic weapons from the subcontinent and was receptive to US mediation in this regard, an influential American Senator claimed on Friday.
Senator Arlen Spector has claimed that the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao was interested in working out such a deal with Pakistan. The Senator said this in a letter written to the then US President Bill Clinton on August 28, 1995.
Excerpts of this letter were released to the media today, which was also read out by him on the floor of the US Senate.
Spector wrote to Clinton from Damascus on his way back from his trip to New Delhi and Islamabad during which he met Narasimha Rao and late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Spector claimed that both Rao and Bhutto were receptive to the idea of US mediation in this regard.
"From our conversations with Prime Minister Rao and Prime Minister Bhutto, it is my sense that both would be very receptive to discussions initiated and brokered by the United States as to nuclear weapons and also delivery missile systems," Spector said reading out from the letter.