US-Pak nuke deal will further complicate South Asian security, says Chinese expert

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New Delhi, Mar 23 (ANI): The security situation in South Asia could get further complicated if the US agrees to have a civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan, according to experts.

Pakistan and the US are set to hold their first high-level strategic dialogue this week in Washington, co-chaired by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Pakistan wants a nuclear deal with the US on the lines of Indo-US civil nuke deal, the China Daily reports.

The dialogue, however, is unlikely to result in any substantive progress on the nuclear deal between the two sides, and the deal would only undermine relations between the US and India, pushing India to seek more cooperation from Russia, said Hu Shisheng, a scholar of South Asia studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Hu said there were still two key hurdles in the nuclear cooperation between the US and India, the US has refused to transfer nuclear technology to India and has not given India the right to reprocess nuclear waste.

"If the US makes another exception for Pakistan, India will be irritated, and that will likely derail the US-India relationship. India then is likely to turn to Russia for more (assistance), which the US doesn't want to see (happen)," the China Daily quoted Hu, as saying.

If a civil nuclear pact is reached between Pakistan and the US, China would face a little less pressure in responding to Pakistan's requests for nuclear cooperation, he said.

Yet, there will be more problems as far as the security situation in South Asia is concerned, he said.

China-Pakistan ties have been a big concern for India. "Where will China-India relations go if China cooperates with Pakistan in civil nuclear deals?" Hu queried.

"The situation is already complicated in South Asia. The US-Pakistan (likely) pact will only introduce more complexities," Hu concluded. (ANI)

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