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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"India quietly observes 10th anniversary of nuclear tests," AP, May 11, 2008.

NEW DELHI, May 11 (Kyodo) - India on Sunday quietly observed the 10th anniversary of its underground nuclear tests that stunned the world and served as the occasion for India to declare itself a nuclear weapons state.

No official ceremonies were held to commemorate May 11-13, 1998, when India tested five nuclear devices in near the desert village of Pokhran, in the northern state of Rajasthan, and subsequently faced years of international condemnation, sanctions and isolation.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was in power at the time, reportedly had no special observance to mark the occasion.

"Today being Sunday, it is a day of rest for him," Vajpayee's personal aide was quoted as saying by the Indo-Asian News Service. "There is no special program on the Pokhran anniversary," he added.

Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party, which led the National Democratic Alliance government in 1998, also reportedly held no celebrations -- even though its senior leader Lal Krishna Advani had earlier criticized the ruling United Progressive Alliance for not marking the 10th anniversary.

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