US downplays CTBT differences ahead of India talks on Monday | india | Hindustan Times
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US downplays CTBT differences ahead of India talks on Monday

Setting the stage for nuclear business with India, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to downplay differences over nuclear issues, saying the two countries can work together for a 21st century non-proliferation regime, but left it to New Delhi to decide its position on signing the CTBT.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2009 18:45 IST

Setting the stage for nuclear business with India, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday sought to downplay differences over nuclear issues, saying the two countries can work together for a 21st century non-proliferation regime, but left it to New Delhi to decide its position on signing the CTBT.

"We will work for a 21st century non-proliferation regime. The US will continue to do whatever we can to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Clinton, who arrived in New Delhi from Mumbai Sunday afternoon, told NDTV in an interview.

"But I understand long-standing concerns by the Indian government. It's a natural concern," she said.

"What I want to discuss with my Indian counterparts, the PM and others is what can we do together to act against proliferation"" she said.

"...and I have been very impressed by the comments that a number of Indian officials have made about new ways of seeking approaches that we can explore together," Clinton said.

"The Obama administration is trying to get Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) passed by our Congress. And I think that this will be an option of course for the Indian government," she said.

Clinton stressed she will be talking to External Affairs Minister SM Krishna about what the two countries can do together "to prevent the proliferation of the nuclear and other weapons to non-state actors like Al-Qaeda."

Implementing the civil nuclear deal with India and the prospects of nuclear business between the two countries that could run into billions of dollars will be an important theme of the talks on Monday.

India is likely to announce two sites for American nuclear reactors in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh after Clinton's talks with Krishna in New Delhi Monday.

In a separate interview to another news channel after landing in Mumbai on Thursday, Clinton stressed that "the civil nuclear deal stands on its own merit" when she was asked if the nuclear deal will be held hostage to India signing the CTBT.

Clinton also stressed that the US will seek India's help in preventing the proliferation of nuclear technologies to non-state actors and countries like Iran and North Korea.