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Pakistan warns against U S-India nuclear deal

Written by: Staff
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SINGAPORE, Mar 17: Pakistan has said a civilian nuclear energy deal between India and the United States would wreck international agreements to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, the Financial Times reported today (Mar 17, 2006).

The daily quoted Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri as saying that the U S decision to give nuclear technology to India - which like Pakistan has a military nuclear programme - would encourage other nations to follow suit.

''The whole Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will unravel. It's only a matter of time before other countries will act in the same way,'' Kasuri told the Financial Times in an interview.

''Nuclear weapons are the currency of power and many countries would like to use it. Once this goes through, the NPT will be finished. It's not just Iran and North Korea. Brazil, Argentina and Pakistan will think differently,'' he said.

Washington has refused to extend the same cooperation to Pakistan, with Bush saying the two countries have ''different needs and different histories.'' The United States has been concerned about weapons proliferation by Pakistan after its top scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted in 2004 to selling nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

But analysts say that the growing U S-India strategic ties could encourage Pakistan to seek a similar relationship with traditional ally China.

''The U S should be conscious of the sentiments of this country.

Public opinion sees things in black and white. They compare the U.S. to China and feel it has not been a constant friend the way China has,'' Kasuri said.

Both India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in 1998 and have long refused to sign the NPT, the centrepiece of the global disarmament effort.

Kasuri said the United States should not be treating the two countries differently.

''We demand equality of treatment and we will continue to pursue it. We have a large population and a fast-growing economy. If the Indian deal goes through, there are some things we will do,'' he said, without elaborating.

REUTERS

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