Page 2: 1998: Emerging nuclear armed states
1998: India and Pakistan conduct nuclear tests cont.
Two weeks after the Indian nuclear tests, Pakistan responded by conducting two sets of nuclear tests of its own. From the early 1970s, Pakistan had sought to develop a nuclear program under Minister for Fuel, Power and Natural Resources, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who later served as president and then prime minister.
Subsequent to India’s first nuclear test explosion in 1974, Pakistan intensified its efforts to acquire the materials and knowledge to develop nuclear weapons. In 1976, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan returned to Pakistan after being trained in Germany and working in the Netherlands at the URENCO uranium enrichment plan. Dr. Khan took over the building, equipping and running of the Kahuta uranium enrichment facility, which experts in the United States believed to have produced enough weapons-grade uranium for a fission bomb by 1989-1990.
1998: International response to the nuclear tests in South Asia
The nuclear tests by India and Pakistan respectively sent shockwaves through the international non-proliferation regime. Since the adoption of the CTBT in September 1996, no country had broken the de facto moratorium on nuclear testing. The South Asian nuclear tests produced unanimous condemnation from the international community, as expressed by a United Nations Security Council Resolution calling on both India and Pakistan to join the NPT and CTBT “without delay”.
The United States imposed economic sanctions on both countries, although six months later, under the India-Pakistan Relief Act of 1998, food and agricultural products were exempted from aid restrictions. The Group of Eight (G8) countries also suspended all non-humanitarian aid to India and Pakistan.
Immediately following their nuclear tests, both India and Pakistan implemented unilateral moratoria on nuclear testing.
Immediately following the nuclear tests, both India and Pakistan implemented unilateral moratoria on nuclear testing. On 31 May 1998, India suggested a new global convention on nuclear disarmament, which would apply equally to “all nuclear states”: the five NWS as well as “the de facto nuclear capable countries (i.e., India, Pakistan and Israel).” This proposal met with little enthusiasm from the NWS and gained no traction on the international stage.
1999-2002: The United States and the CTBT