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NPT, CTBT not linked to India's UNSC bid: US

world Updated: Dec 04, 2010 10:10 IST
Yashwant Raj

The US still wants India to the sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty but will not let its refusal come in its way to becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

"There is absolutely no contradiction between that recognition (of India’s increasing influence in world affairs) and US commitment to the NPT,” the US state department said in a statement on Friday.

State department spokesperson P J Crowley was asked over a fortnight ago whether the US still wants India to sign the NPT and the CTBT and how can it reconcile its support for India’s UNSC bid despite its refusal to sign.

India has refused to sign both the treaties calling them discrimintory. It wants to sign the NPT, which seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, as a nuclear weapon state and not as a non-nuclear weapon state.

Nuclear weapon states are allowed to build and warehouse nuclear weapons. Non-nuclear weapon state cannot, and must forake all plans of acquiring one -- North Korea is an exception of course.

India finds CTBT, which seeks to end testing of nuclear weapons, inadequate. The treaty should dovetail into disarmament. Indian hasn’t signed. The US has – with China and some other countries -- signed it but not ratified the treaty

In a speech in Prague in 2009, president Barack Obama made it the goal of his adminsitration and the country to push hard on non-proliferation and push for a world without nuclear weapons.

Crowley had “taken the question” then, meaning an answer will be given later.

The reply came on Friday.

“There has been no change in the U.S. position regarding nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament,” read the statement. “President Obama’s April 2009 speech in Prague envisioned a world without nuclear weapons.”

And the US hopes and plans to work with India towards achieving that goal, as the two countries share this vision – though not a signatory to the CTBT, Indian has not tested a weapon voluntarily after 1998.

The support for India’s candidature of the UNSC, the statement said, comes because it “plays a significant and responsible role in the world today, and the UN Security Council should reflect the realities of the changed world of the 21stCentury.”

Obama announced US support for India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UNSC in a speech to the joint session of the Parliament during his visit there in November, making it the highpoint of the visit.

India is now the second country the US is backing for a place in the UN SC – Japan is the first, having won an unequivolcal endorsement from then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice on President George W Bush’s watch.