India closely watching NSG meet on China-Pakistan n-deal

June 15th, 2010 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) India will be closely watching the meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group next week where the China-Pakistan nuclear deal may come up for consideration even as Washington reminded Beijing of its non-nuclear proliferation obligations.
While New Delhi is confident that the China-Pakistan nuclear deal will not pass muster at the 45-nation NSG due to Islamabad’s dubious proliferation record, there are apprehensions that Beijing will try to hard-sell it by using its growing global clout.

“We are not worried. Everyone knows about Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan network’s proliferation activities,” reliable sources said here.

“But it will be interesting to see what arguments are used to justify the deal,” the sources added.

China has confirmed that Chinese and Pakistani officials have signed an agreement to finance the construction of two nuclear reactors to be built by the China National Nuclear Corporation at the Chashma site in Pakistan. China earlier built two reactors for Pakistan before it joined the NSG in 2004.

The NSG forbids transfer of nuclear materials to the countries who have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The NSG, however, made one-time exception for India in September 2008 by clearing the India-US nuclear deal in view of New Delhi’s flawless non-proliferation record.

However, the US, a member of the NSG, appears set to object to a China-Pakistan civilian nuclear deal at the NSG’s meeting in New Zealand next week.

State Department spokesman Gordon DuGuid said in Washington that the US government “has reiterated to the Chinese government that the United States expects Beijing to cooperate with Pakistan in ways consistent with Chinese nonproliferation obligation”.

Pakistan has been consistently pressing the US to award it an India-like nuclear deal, but Washington has remained indifferent to these appeals. However, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted at the Pakistan-US strategic dialogue recently that Washington may consider a discussion on the subject.

China has been arguing that the deal was necessary to restore the nuclear balance in South Asia.

The deal will be without NSG concurrence and despite the many misgivings about Pakistan’s track record, its linkages to terror and radical ideologies, C. Uday Bhaskar, director of think-tank National Maritime Foundation (NMF), told a conference here Monday.

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