Pakistan warns of arms race post Indo-US nuke deal

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{image-INDO---NUKE DEAL_24072008.jpg}Islamabad, Jul 24: Pakistan has warned the international community that India-US nuclear deal could accelerate a nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan.The warning was made in a letter addressed to more than 60 nations as the Indian government, having survived a no confidence vote on Tuesday, July 22, dispatched diplomats to clear the deal with international regulators.

Pakistan warned key members of the IAEA and the NSG in its letter that the safeguards agreement would impair non-proliferation efforts and "threatens to increase the chances of a nuclear arms race in the sub-continent". India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain, and have been de facto nuclear weapons states since conducting tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998. Relations have improved considerably since the start of a peace process in 2004. But progress at the talks has been slow and deep distrust remains between the two rivals, which developed their nuclear arms in secret.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group bans exports to nuclear weapons states like India and Pakistan that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and do not have full safeguard agreements allowing the IAEA to inspect their facilities.

But the Nuclear Suppliers Group is ready to consider a waiver for India, in part due to lobbying from Washington.The Bush administration has signed a deal to supply India with nuclear fuel but needs approval, first from the Nuclear Suppliers Group and then the U.S. Congress. Pakistan is vehemently opposed to the Nuclear Suppliers Group doing business with its rival and may vote against approval of the draft at the August 1 board meeting.

The IAEA board is expected to approve the deal despite criticism from detractors hat it could limit international oversight of New Delhi's civilian facilities because of ambiguous wording and help supply its arms program with fissile material.

OneIndia News

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