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India and US working together on nuclear proliferation

Praising India's strong track record in the field of nuclear proliferation, a top US diplomat has said that India has a very important role to play in achieving the goals of US President Barack Obama in this regard.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2010 09:12 IST

Praising India's strong track record in the field of nuclear proliferation, a top US diplomat has said that India has a very important role to play in achieving the goals of US President Barack Obama in this regard.

"I think the best thing that we and India could continue to do is follow through on the agreement and then look for other opportunities to demonstrate our shared commitment to curbing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction and improving the safety and security of existing nuclear material sites," the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, William Burns, said.

"That was reflected in the proposal that Prime Minister Singh made at the Nuclear Security Summit in April, to set up a regional nuclear security training centre so that India, which has a very, very good record at preventing the proliferation of its materials and at safeguarding its own installations, can contribute to the same kind of high standards of security on the part of other countries that are attempting to build civilian nuclear installations," Burns said.

"We also work together on some of the biggest non proliferation challenges. I mentioned Iran; North Korea is certainly another one.

I think we can continue to work together in not only upholding India's unilateral moratorium on testing, but also working together with regard to the physical material cut-off treaty, which both of us have expressed support for," he said.

So there are lots of opportunities for the two countries to make very clear their continuing commitment to basic principles of nonproliferation, he noted.

Burns said building on the success of the civil nuclear agreement, India is contributing constructively to global non proliferation and nuclear security efforts.

"India has made clear its opposition to a nuclear-armed Iran, and voted again at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting last November to hold Iran accountable for its failure to live up to international obligations.

At the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April of this year, President Obama praised India's leadership in launching a regional nuclear security training centre," he said.

The State Department official said US companies are prepared to support the expansion of India's civilian nuclear infrastructure, with two reactor park sites already identified.

"As Prime Minister Singh argued publicly last week, it is deeply in India's self-interest for its Parliament to enact liability legislation consistent with international standards, so that it can attract the best foreign investors at the most competitive rates, and build the role and capacity of its own companies," he said.