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Pakistan for N-parity

By hinting that it may look forward to China for energy needs, Pakistan has raked up the N-issue again, writes Meenakshi Iyer.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2006 18:51 IST

By hinting that it may look forward to China for energy needs, Pakistan all of a sudden has raked up the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal again.

The Indo-US nuclear deal was formalised last month during US President George W Bush's visit to South Asia.

President Musharraf then had put to rest all issues of nuclear parity by saying that Pakistan should not be "India-centric".

Now on one hand, as the Bush administration struggles with the deal in Congress, Pakistan on the other hand, has gone on the record saying the deal has upset balance of power in South Asia.

Why has Pakistan suddenly woken up as regards the Indo-US deal?

As Pakistan's leading paper Daily Times answers, "It seems that Pakistan did not initially fathom the full import of the deal…It is also possible that it did not think the deal could survive the rigours of the American legislative process on the Hill".

US had told Islamabad that the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal was only India specific and such co-operation with Pakistan was unlikely because of its track record.

India, according to US, has a clean non-proliferation record, even though the country has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

It is this issue, which bothers Pakistan.

As the paper puts it: "The deal the US has given it is significant not so much because it would give India energy, but because it accepts India as an NWS (Nuclear Weapons State) without any reference to the NPT".

The NPT acknowledges that five states -- Britain, China, France, the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia -- had conducted nuclear weapon tests by January 1, 1967.

This defined them as nuclear weapon states, with particular obligations under Article I not to transfer nuclear weapons or assist others to acquire them and under Article VI to pursue nuclear disarmament.

"What the US has done instead is to give India special treatment and leave Pakistan out in the cold," the Daily Times says.

After Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz raised the issue at Columbia University, the US agreed to take note of Pakistan's growing energy needs via the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan.

Presenting Pakistan's state at present moment, the paper says, "either Pakistan gets the same deal…or it does everything it can to ensure that the Bush administration's deal with India does not go through, or is at least amended by Congress in such a manner that India refuses to accept it".

And from what it looks like, the efforts have already begun.