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US-Pak dialogue should not be judged only on civil N-deal: Pak

world Updated: Mar 25, 2010 19:48 IST

Pakistan on Thursday said the success of its ongoing strategic dialogue with the US should not be judged in the context of whether it could obtain a civil nuclear deal similar to the one inked by America and India, as Islamabad failed to get a clear commitment from Washington on such a pact.

"It would be unfair to see this (strategic) dialogue process only in context of a civil nuclear cooperation...To judge the success or failure of our relations with the US or this particular dialogue in that narrow context is not appropriate," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said.

Basit told a weekly news briefing, a day after the US did not make any commitment about providing a much-sought-after civil nuclear deal to Pakistan, that the ongoing dialogue was "all-encompassing and broad-based".

Energy was only one area in which Pakistan and the US are concentrating, he said.

The spokesman was responding to a question about US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's failure to announce any initiative for civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan.

In response to another query about concerns expressed by India about a possible Pakistan-US civil nuclear deal, Basit said: "India should not have any problem with this dialogue because we do not have any issue vis-a-vis India-US relations."

He recalled that when the Indo-US civil nuclear deal was being finalised, former External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said that "all countries in the world have the right to engage in peaceful nuclear activities and they have the right to have nuclear technology for peaceful purposes".

Pakistan, just like India, had the right to strengthen its relations with the US and "no country has the right to question why (Pakistan and the US) have been developing or strengthening their relations", he added.

Responding to another question, Basit said Pakistan has "serious and strong concerns" about the Indo-US civil nuclear pact because it had "negatively impacted on security in South Asia".

Pakistan is a nuclear weapons state "whether one recognises it or not", he said in response to a question about the US formally recognising Pakistan as a nuclear power.