VIENNA: Austria's foreign minister on Thursday slammed India and Pakistan's recent missile tests, insisting states' continued pursuit of nuclear weapons was "flat out irresponsible".
"The tests of an Indian long-range missile a week ago and of an intermediate-range missile by Pakistan on Wednesday are unsettling and suggest an intensifying arms race on the subcontinent," Michael Spindelegger said in a statement.
This "would not only be a threat to stability in Asia, but would also present a threat to global peace."
India last Thursday tried out a new missile with a range of over 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles), and Pakistan followed on Wednesday by test-firing an intermediate-range ballistic missile of its own.
Both have the capability of carrying a nuclear weapon.
"It is flat out irresponsible that the Sword of Damocles that is nuclear destruction still hangs above humanity," Spindelegger said in unusually harsh tones.
"The international community should be able, in the 21st century, to regulate international relations without permanent mutual threats to each other's existence," he added, urging India and Pakistan to take steps towards nuclear disarmament.
Spindelegger's comments come ahead of a conference in Vienna next week on the nuclear non-proliferation regime and as observers fear North Korea is preparing to conduct a new nuclear test.
"North Korea should stop playing with fire and return to the negotiating table," the minister saidd.
Austria, a strong opponent of nuclear power even for energy purposes, has long campaigned for nuclear disarmament.
Austria warns of nuclear race after India, Pakistan tests - The Economic Times