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India urges North Korea to give up nuclear arms

Ahead of a visit to Tokyo, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he shared Japan's concerns about N Korea, which tested its first atom bomb on October 9.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 18:24 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and denied any parallel to his own country, an atomic power that has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In an interview published on Tuesday ahead of a visit to Tokyo, Singh said he shared Japan's concerns about North Korea, which tested its first atom bomb on October 9.

"I sincerely believe in the various parties who have been given the responsibility to persuade North Korea to desist from going nuclear and to give up its nuclear ambitions," Singh told the Yomiuri Shimbun.

"We certainly would like these efforts to succeed. We sympathise with and appreciate Japan's concerns," he said.

India maintains diplomatic relations with N Korea and also incurred international isolation after carrying out nuclear tests in 1998.

But Singh and US President George W Bush in July agreed to a landmark deal that would give India access to civilian nuclear technology.

The US Congress approved versions of the deal after intense scrutiny, with critics accusing Bush of sending the wrong message in nuclear standoffs with North Korea and Iran.

Singh rejected any parallel and urged Japan to support the civilian nuclear deal. India "has an impeccable non-proliferation record," Singh said.

"There is a strong case to be made that the international community must make a distinction between an open, democratic and responsible state like India from others who have pursued clandestine programmes and indulged in proliferation," he said.

Japan, the only nation to have suffered nuclear attack, has sent mixed signals on the US-India deal, despite its efforts to improve ties with New Delhi and its alliance with Washington.