The US has ruled out an India like civil nuclear deal with Pakistan for the present, saying India's case "was unique in the respect of a long history of Indian behaviour".
"At the moment, I'm not aware of a contemplation of a similar such deal at this time with Pakistan," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday when asked about Islamabad's demand for such a deal.
Asked if Pakistan's call did not seem to vindicate the concern of non-proliferation advocates, he said: "Well, of course, some may ask for similar such treatment. The India case, however, we believed was unique and was unique in the respect of a long history of Indian behaviour that was there for all to see."
When asked if the Pakistanis had raised this issue recently, McCormack said: "In the most recent meeting with the Secretary (of State Condoleeza Rice), that's the only one I can personally speak to at this point. That issue did not come up."
"I know that the issue has come up periodically in public. I think I've had to answer questions about it before and our position is the same," he added.
The spokesman also ruled out a change for the present regarding US stand on a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council.
Asked if India might play a greater role in the top UN body following the civil nuclear deal, given that the US wants to further integrate India with the rest of the world, he noted: "India has previously expressed an interest in a seat on the Security Council".
"There are a lot of questions with regard to the Security Council," he said. "And those are all issues that have had a long history of discussion, and I would expect that discussion will continue out into the future as well beyond this administration."
Asked whether Rice was going to New Delhi to sign the nuclear deal, the spokesman declined to say one way or the other.
"They're obviously going to talk about the agreement and what it means for the relationship. And just her going there, at this time, is going to be a historic agreement. If there's any further ceremonies with respect to this, we'll let you know. But I don't have anything to announce at this point," McCormack said.
The spokesman acknowledged that President George W. Bush has to still sign the approval bill passed by the US Congress. There will be a number of other administrative or bureaucratic steps along the way, but these "bureaucratic things" did not indicate any obstacles, he said.
"But make no mistake about it, the action that the House and then the Senate last night took was historic. It, in our view, will mean a different kind of relationship between the United States and India for decades to come," McCormack said.
Asked why Rice was planning to meet Indian opposition leader LK Advani during her New Delhi trip, McCormack said: "It's very typical. When she takes these trips, she meets with leaders from across the political spectrum.
"Obviously, she's going to meet with government officials, but also to meet with important opposition leaders and you know, she's done it in Europe, she's done it in countries all around the world, I think, in virtually every continent she's travelled to," he said.