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Indo-Pak nuclear weapons pops up during New START debate

world Updated: May 20, 2010 12:43 IST
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The nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan has figured during a Congressional hearings on the New START treaty between US and Russia.

For the past two days, during hearings on New START treaty held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lawmakers wanted to know from top US officials and experts, who were asked to testify before it to give their assessment of this treaty on other nuclear weapon countries like India and Pakistan and how it can motivate the two countries to reduce their nuclear stockpile.

"I wonder if you might comment on reduction in counter proliferation efforts more generally, that this agreement might have an effect on.

I think specifically of India and Pakistan, for instance. To what extent might this agreement have the positive impact on causing other nations to begin to move in this direction?" asked Senator Chris Dodd on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refrained from directly mentioning India and Pakistan in her answer, but did say that the US would soon explore the possibility of having a similar kind of dialogue with China.

"We want to explore beginning conversations with other nuclear nations, starting with China, and see what kind of opportunity for discussion could exist," Clinton said.

Senator Benjamin L Cardin said the India-Pakistan issues are also ones of major concern to all of them and noted that that Russia and the US to work together on these issues that are important for the international community, including Iran and North Korea.

Yesterday Senator Jim Risch said initially it was only between the US and Russia.

"We had the United States and we had Russia that had nuclear weapons. And we were doing the things that we did, and rightfully so, and it was important that we had the treaty," he said.

"It seems to me, where we now have other countries, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, India, and the other issues out there, it seems to me that a missile defence is more important now than it's ever been," Risch said.