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US, India Complete Nuclear Talks

January 31, 1999

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Indian and American negotiators ended their eighth round of talks Sunday aimed at persuading India to join a nuclear weapons treaty. No breakthroughs were announced.

The two sides promised to meet again before the middle of the year.

``We have had a very fruitful, productive and constructive three days of discussion,″ Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh told journalists in New Delhi after talks with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

The talks began after India set off underground nuclear tests in the deserts of Rajasthan state in May. Neighbor Pakistan then conducted its own tests.

The United States and other countries imposed economic and military sanctions on both nations and opened talks to persuade India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

India refuses to sign the treaty, which bans all nuclear tests, saying it needs a defense against the threat it sees from China and Pakistan.

A joint statement issued at the end of the talks said both sides were ``satisfied″ with the talks, during which they examined ``proposals for harmonizing″ their views on security.

Both sides agreed to consult each other frequently on the status of negotiations on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty and the possibility of other multilateral agreements.

Washington wants India and Pakistan to issue a formal moratorium on the production of fissile material used to make nuclear weapons and adopt restraints on nuclear-capable missiles and aircraft.

Talbott said that he shared Singh’s ``sense of satisfaction″ over the latest round of talks.

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