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India to be among insiders: Rice

"We are bringing India from outside to inside of non-proliferation regime with a pioneering agreement," says the US.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2006 10:50 IST

The US views the civilian nuclear deal with India as a key element of a comprehensive policy to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime in the context of North Korea's nuclear explosion.

"The goal of our diplomacy is and must be to create an international environment that presses North Korea to make better decisions than it has made and that holds it fully accountable for the decisions that it takes," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

Pyongyang's claims that US policies are hostile are simply excuses for its refusal to make constructive choices and to stick with them, she said declaring that the US has no intention of attacking or invading North Korea.

"To help elicit those constructive choices, the United States has a comprehensive policy," Rice said reflecting on America's foreign policy in Northeast Asia in her Annual BC Lee Lecture at the Heritage Foundation.

The US and its partners are joining together to preserve the continued vitality of the global regime to prevent and counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, she said outlining the strategy "to strengthen and renew this important pillar of international stability and to modernise it".

"We are bringing India from the outside to the inside of the non-proliferation regime for the first time, with a pioneering agreement between Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh and President (George W) Bush that gives India access to civil nuclear power and gives the International Atomic Energy Agency access to India's civil nuclear facilities" Rice said.

US is rallying the nations of the world behind a UN Security Council resolution that requires all countries to criminalise proliferation activities. Along with Russia, it has launched a global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism.

"We are also helping countries to acquire civil nuclear power without the need for enrichment and reprocessing facilities through the establishment. We believe, we hope, of an assured access to nuclear fuel and the development of new proliferation-resistant technologies under the president's global nuclear energy partnership," Rice said.

To be sure, the greatest challenge to the non-proliferation regime comes from countries that violate their responsibilities under the Non-proliferation Treaty, she said describing North Korea and Iran as two such cases.

Offering "some perspective" to the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear test, Rice said that as North Korea publicly froze its plutonium programme in 1994 following a bilateral agreement with US, the leaders in Pyongyang were secretly developing another programme to build more weapons.

This time they were using uranium enrichment and drawing support from the shadowy proliferation network of Pakistani scientist AQ Khan, she added.

Apart from strengthening the global non-proliferation regime, other key elements of US policy include strengthening strategic relationships in northeast Asia, isolating North Korea from the benefits of participation in the international system, expanding measures to defend against North Korea's proliferation efforts and six-party talks.

"South Korea must be part of the solution as should Japan, China and Russia. These countries all share an interest in a denuclearised Korean peninsula. They all have leverage to help bring it about and they must all accept their share of the responsibility to help."

"This is the strategic logic of the six-party talks and in this regional framework, the United States is playing a full and active role," Rice said.