Pakistan offers to share nuclear technology with Bangladesh

May 20th, 2008 - 2:38 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, May 20 (IANS) Pakistan has offered to help Bangladesh with the latter’s proposed first nuclear power reactor, which was conceived when they were a single country, but never took off. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alamgir Babar Monday said that his country was ready to share nuclear technology for civilian purposes to help tackle the massive energy crisis.

Babar said Pakistan’s offer was “on the table” and it was for Bangladesh to decide whether the country wanted to discuss it, the Daily Star newspaper reported Tuesday.

Foreign Adviser Iftekhar A. Chowdhury has already discussed nuclear energy cooperation with Russia and China after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently cleared Bangladesh to use nuclear power for civilian use. Russians showed willingness to help during Chowdhury’s Moscow visit last month.

“We have a programme for nuclear energy. We are going ahead with that. It is up to Bangladesh to decide what they want,” Babar told reporters.

He said discussions over the matter could take place within the parameters of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) even though Pakistan is not a part of it. Bangladesh is a signatory to NPT.

Pakistan is the latest to make such an offer that would be viewed with interest by the strategic community.

Its bid to strike a civilian nuclear technology agreement has been rejected by the US, which has worked out a deal with India for the same. Pakistan’s traditional military ally China has also not obliged, being governed by the IAEA and the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. Bangladesh too has sought help from China.

The project was conceived during the Ayub Khan era in 1961 to be located at Rooppur in northern Bangladesh’s Pabna district.

Several countries including the US, Britain, France and Canada had shown interest in the project when Bangladesh was part of Pakistan. And after its independence, India too seemed keen. But the project, however, did not materialise.

Bangladesh has revived the idea of the project it in the last two years since India and the US got into discussions over a nuclear deal, realising the need for meeting its growing energy needs.

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