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Blair defends nuke India

india Updated: Oct 11, 2006 01:40 IST
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British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday strongly rejected any comparison between North Korea's nuclear test and the one conducted by India in 1998. He "completely agreed" with Indian concerns on the clandestine proliferation of nuclear technology that had emanated in India's neighbourhood. Blair said while India had been very strong on counter-proliferation, North Korea was going in the opposite direction.

Indian officials had on Monday called any attempt to 'lump' Delhi with Pyongyang 'ridiculous', saying India had never violated any international obligation. Blair spoke a similarly at a press conference that followed his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday.

Blair spoke repeatedly in India's favour, at times clubbing Britain and India together. He emphasised that there were basic differences between countries like North Korea and those like Britain and India. The latter two were "functioning democracies" and adhered to the rule of law and international obligations. "North Korea is doing none of these things," he said. Singh said India had supported the six-party talks which were intended to achieve the goal of de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. "We do not support the emergence of another nuclear state," he said. Singh linked North Korea's nuclear test to the danger of clandestine proliferation.

Blair said the only way to deal with North Korea's move was to revitalise the six-party talks and make sure that it came back in line with its nuclear obligations.            

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