Bush rejects Pak's demand for N-deal
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Bush rejects Pak's demand for N-deal

There appeared to have been some hard talks between the two presidents. The body language said it all. Pics

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 22:36 IST

In a blunt rejection of Pakistan's demand for a civilian nuclear deal on the lines he clinched with India, US President George W Bush on Saturday said the two countries had different needs and different histories.

After discussions with President Pervez Musharraf here, the US leader was asked by reporters whether Washington would have with energy-deficient Pakistan a nuclear deal similar to the one he had reached with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi two days ago.

With Musharraf standing by his side, Bush stated in unambiguous terms that "Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories".

Bush's South Asia sojourn

March 1: In Afghanistan

Surprise visit

On Osama

March 1: In India

Red carpet welcome

March 2

Ceremonial reception

Visit to Rajghat

Nuclear deal

Kalam's banquet

March 3

In Hyderabad

Delhi's Purana Qila

March 4: In Pakistan

The K-word

On Al-Qaeda

Pak's democracy

The US President's reference to "different histories" was an obvious reference to the track record of India and Pakistan in the nuclear field.

Washington has maintained that India is a responsible nuclear power in contrast to Pakistan's clandestine help in this sphere to some countries highlighted by the actions of its top scientist AQ Khan, now under house arrest.

On Musharraf seeking US involvement in facilitating the resolution of Kashmir and other issues, Bush refused to be drawn into it saying the "best way" for doing so was for leaders of the two countries to "step up and lead".

Bush refuses to mediate on Kashmir issue

"The best way for Kashmir to be resolved is for the leaders of both countries to step up and lead, and that's exactly what President Musharraf has done and that's what Prime Minister Singh has assured me he wants to do," he said.

He made it clear that the role of the US was to continue to encourage the parties concerned to come together to resolve the contentious issue.

"The atmosphere is changing," he said noting that the confidence-building measures taken by the two countries have begun to bear fruit. He also referred to India's prompt help to earthquake victims in Pakistan.

Condemning Thursday's suicide attack in Karachi in which an American diplomat was killed, Bush said, "we have to fight the war on terror together."

Addressing the joint press conference, Musharraf said "I referred to Kashmir and requested him to remain involved for facilitating resolution of all issues including Kashmir to bring peace in the region."

On strategic relationship with Pak

Musharraf said Pakistan and the US have decided to institutionalise their strategic relationship. "We laid the foundations of a strong, sustainable, broadbased long-term relationship. This includes, first of all, commencing commencing the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue in an institionalised manner," he said.

The dialogue will include defence relations, cooperation against the fight against terrorism and resolution of all disputes in the region including Kashmir, he said.

Bush said the role of US was to continue to encourage the parties to come together to resolve the Kashmir issue.

The best way for Kashmir to be resolved is for leaders of both the countries to step up and lead, he said adding the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) taken by the two countries have begun to bear fruit.

"The atmosphere is changing," Bush said noting that there were increased trade and people-to-people contacts now. He also recalled how India helped Pakistan during last year's earthquake.

On terrorism

On terrorism, the US leader said that the two countries were working to strengthen the lasting partnership to fight terror especially lauding Pakistan's role after the 9/11 attack.

First Published: Mar 04, 2006 10:16 IST