Washington: Stating that India was a “unique” case, the Bush administration has ruled out a similar civilian nuclear deal with any other country including ally Pakistan, and stressed that the “very high bar” of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on proliferation issue would prevent other nations from getting the same “treatment” as New Delhi.
“This is complicated enough, I can assure you, that the United States is not going to suggest a similar deal with any other country in the world. We’ve always felt of India as an exception,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said during a briefing on the Indian civilian nuclear initiative.
“We’ve made the argument that India has not proliferated its nuclear technology; that India, in effect, outside the system, has played by the rules and that the system would be strengthened by bringing it in. But we’re not anticipating, in any way, shape or form, a similar deal for any other country,” he added.
Burns said once India completes a safeguards agreement with IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, “then the action -- September, October, I hope, November -- will turn to the NSG.”
“And I think it’s important for the NSG countries to be assured that we’re all going to be make, on an international basis, an exception for India, but we’re not going to have -- it won’t be a precedent to bring other countries in under the same basis, because India is unique in its history of its civil nuclear programme, and we think that we’re going to strengthen the NSG by having the international community take the same decisions that the United States has taken in leading this initiative,” he said.
The United States has rejected the notion that the civilian nuclear deal with India is going to spur a nuclear arms race in South Asia while stressing that Washington has different but singularly important relationships with both New Delhi and Islamabad.
“No, we don’t expect that to be the case and we hope that’s not going to be the case,” US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told reporters in response to a query.
He said the United States has a singularly important relationships with both countries, but they are very different.
“The relationship with India is based on this extraordinary growth of trade and investment between our private sectors. The fact that India has the greatest number of students here, 75-80,000, and the fact that we are going to do things with India - civil nuclear trade, democracy promotion worldwide, HIV/AIDS cooperation --that are going to be unique,” he added.
Pakistan, he said, was the most indispensable country in Washington’s goal of fighting Al Qaeda.
“I testified on Pakistan the other day and said Pakistan was the most indispensable country in the entire world to the United States in our number one global priority, fighting Al Qaida, fighting the Taliban, fighting radical extremist terrorists groups.
“And so that relationship rests on that kind of cooperation which is very important to the internal stability of Pakistan and of Afghanistan,” the senior State Department official maintained.