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Nuke deal with India in US' interest: Experts

A nuclear expert has told the US Senate that it is in the interests of Washington to have nuclear cooperation with New Delhi.

india Updated: May 02, 2008 18:06 IST

Admitting that the US sanctions imposed on India in 1998 did not deter the country from continuing with its atomic programme, a nuclear expert has told the Senate that it is in the interests of the Washington to have nuclear cooperation with New Delhi.

Siegfried Hecker, the Co Director for the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, told a Senate Sub Committee on Appropriations dealing with Energy that "India does not view itself as a proliferator but as a legitimate nuclear weapons state."

"I don't think our sanctions have particularly stopped its (India) nuclear weapons programme. What our sanctions have done is slow down their nuclear energy programmes," he said.

"In turn, they have made the Indians actually significantly more capable in nuclear energy technology to where today it may actually -- and I believe be much in our benefit to have nuclear cooperation for nuclear energy with India," Hecker told the Senate.

"One has to do this tradeoff in India and make the decision as to whether the risks are worth the benefits," he said.

"Their reward for refraining from nuclear testing is that they were now caught outside of the nuclear proliferation regime. They view that as having been discriminatory from the word go. They will never then abide to it. They will never get rid of the nuclear weapons they have now until there is global disarmament," the Stanford expert said.

Hecker was asked by Panel Chairman Byron Dorgan that "Why would India and other countries not take as a lesson from this that if they just say we're not interested in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, we don't have any intention of being part of this international agreement, and if we just wait long enough, you'll come to us, there'll not only be no penalty for it, you'll be rewarded for it."