Russian President Boris Yeltsin on June 6 used a telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to express Moscow’s alarm over the recent nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan. According to Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Yeltsin said that the nuclear competition between New Delhi and Islamabad “undermines the nuclear non-proliferation regime and sets a dangerous precedent with regard to the spread of nuclear weapons.” Yeltsin repeated Moscow’s previous exhortations that India join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaties. In the course of what was said to have been a long conversation between the two men, they reportedly discussed possible Russian involvement in establishing a dialogue between India and Pakistan. (Russian agencies, June 6)
Yeltsin and Vajpayee also reportedly spoke in detail about the June 4 meeting in Geneva of the five established nuclear powers. Following those talks, Russia, the United States, France, Great Britain and China urged India and Pakistan to neither build or deploy nuclear weapons nor test or deploy missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. (See the Monitor, June 5) On June 5, New Delhi hit back at the five, accusing them of inadequately enforcing the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by ignoring violations by China. The charge relates to allegations that Beijing has transferred nuclear technology to Pakistan. India also criticized the five nuclear powers for urging Pakistan and India to discuss the issues that have contributed to tensions between them–“including Kashmir.” The Indian statement rejected any “outside involvement” in such affairs. (Reuter, June 5; The Washington Post, June 6) Pakistan, in contrast, favors international mediation of the conflict over Kashmir.
RED CROSS READY TO RETURN TO CHECHNYA.