US won't persuade 'very special friends' India, Pak to sign NPT

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Washington, Apr.22 (ANI): Bracketing both India and Pakistan as its 'very special friends', the United States has said that it would not pressurise these countries to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

Interacting with media persons during a press briefing here, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher said the Obama Administration is in direct touch with both India and Pakistan over such issues and holds daily conversations with them.

"The countries that you mentioned are very special friends of the United States. We have conversations with them every day about many different things," Tauscher said while responding to a question that whether the US would persuade New Delhi and Islamabad to sign the NPT.

She, however, added: "We would like all countries to sign onto the NPT. We have a universality commitment, yes."

The top US official also warned that the world was facing more danger than it was during the Cold War era, as more and more countries are competing to acquire nuke know-how.

"We have terrorist groups and organised crime and other bad actors that are looking to acquire nuclear technology, nuclear know-how and nuclear material. And secondarily, we have more states looking to acquire nuclear weapons than we have had in the last 15 years," The Dawn quoted Tauscher, as saying.

When asked that if the White House feels that both India and Pakistan must cut down their nuclear arms race and reduce the stockpile of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Tauscher opted for a more diplomatic reply and said her views as a lawmaker were very different from her views as a senior US official.

"Congresswoman Tauscher and Under Secretary Tauscher occupy the same body but not in the same time. What I did in the Congress was one thing, and I get quite used to accepting when things pass and letting them go on," Tauscher, who had strongly opposed the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, said.

She also acknowledged that Washington shares a significant relationship with New Delhi, and that being the under-secretary it was now her duty to implement the India-US nuclear accord.

"I'm very honoured to have been in India late last year, we have a very vibrant and very significant relationship with India," Tauscher said. (ANI)

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