Indo-US N-dilemma
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Indo-US N-dilemma

A leading Pak daily says Bush's India visit may just not be enough to seal the Indo-US nuclear deal, writes Meenakshi Iyer.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 11:36 IST

Even before President George W Bush's visit to India, the agenda for discussion has already been set - the much discussed Indo-US nuclear deal.

While reports here have already said that it may take a while before the deal is sealed, media in Pakistan too feels that the much touted deal is unlikely to be finalised during Bush's visit.

"As things stand, India is at crossroads on the nuclear deal…it is not an easy decision. The deal has already entered choppy waters in the US Congress and it is unlikely to be finalised during Mr Bush's India visit," says a Daily Times editorial.

Among other technicalities, both sides still have to brainstorm over the critical issue of separating civilian and military nuclear facilities.

Why no deal

•India fears its N-deterrent would be compromised.

•A ‘yes’ vote in US Senate is difficult with at least three-fourths of India’s reactors needing to be safeguarded.

•With the deal not working out, both sides are working on other initiatives, including removing barriers on Indian exports.

According to

Daily Times

, the talks over the issue remain deadlocked, as India has secretly developed a weapons capability.

"The boundary between the civilian and military sides of the Indian nuclear establishment is hazy. This is expected because India has developed a weapons capability clandestinely.

The Indians have been reluctant to clearly demarcate the two sides of the nuclear establishment because they feel that some of the stipulations of an accord (July 18, 2005) could constrain India's development of its nuclear capabilities, particularly its weapon development programme," the paper explains.

India has a total of 15 nuclear reactors that are functioning at present and eight of them are under construction.

Lessons for Pakistan

Pakistan, some time back had asked US for a similar nuclear deal, which the US had declined.

"The lesson for Pakistan, which has been trying to get the US to cut a similar deal with it, is to see how the situation pans out for India and what quid pro quo the US expects to extract from New Delhi," says the Daily Times.

US had told Islamabad that the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal was only India specific and such co-operation with Pakistan was unlikely because of its track record.

"It does not make much sense for us to try to get everything that India wants. As the old cliché goes: All that glitters is not gold," concludes the paper.

First Published: Feb 15, 2006 19:32 IST