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Indo-US nuke deal would unravel NPT: Kasuri

Kasuri said the United States should not be treating India and Pakistan differently.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 15:57 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Unhappy over the US refusal to enter into a nuclear deal with it, Pakistan has warned that the Indo-US nuclear accord would lead to the collapse of international agreements aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

It also demanded "equality of treatment" and pledged to pursue in this direction.

"The whole Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will unravel. It's only a matter of time before other countries will act in the same way," Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri said in an interview to London daily Financial Times.

"Nuclear weapons are the currency of power and many countries would like to use it. Once this goes through, the NPT will be finished. It's not just Iran and North Korea. Brazil, Argentina and Pakistan will think differently," he warned.

Kasuri said the United States should not be treating India and Pakistan differently.

"The US should be conscious of the sentiments of this country. Public opinion sees things in black and white. They compare the US to China and feel it has not been a constant friend the way China has," Kasuri said.

In another interview to CNBC, Kasuri said US President George W Bush's remarks that "India and Pakistan have different needs and different histories" did not apply to the overall relations between the two countries.

The US President had made the remarks during his visit to Pakistan earlier this month while declining Pakistan's demand for a nuclear cooperation agreement similar to the one it has reached with India.

"We demand equality of treatment and we will continue to pursue it. We have a large population and a fast-growing economy. If the Indian deal goes through, there are some things we will do," Kasuri said, without elaborating.

He said the country has proved to be mindful of its commitments to the international community in this regard and have fully cooperated with IAEA and other international organization in dismantling the proliferation structure.

On the Indo-Pak peace process and the resolution of the Kashmir issue, Kasuri said, "We have the backing of our people, rather there is a sizeable constituency in both India and Pakistan who are in favour of outdoing with all the irritants and are in favour of peaceful co-existence."

He said President Pervez Musharraf has come up with some proposals without prejudice to Pakistan's original stance, which are being trashed out at various fora.

He also expressed hope that the second round of talks with India will prove fruitful.

On the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, Kasuri said Pakistan would decide on the issue in accordance with its energy requirements and would not falter to pressure from any side in this regard.

Kasuri said Pakistan would go ahead with the IPI project, saying it is the most feasible option to meet the growing energy requirements of the country.

Regarding allegations by Afghan government and a demand to check infiltration, Kasuri said all the concerned parties should do more in this regard.

In order to address the scepticism and concern of the Afghan side about the arrangements being made to stop infiltration, Kasuri said a proposal for mining and fencing of the border with Afghanistan has been floated by the government of Pakistan.

On the possibility of getting civilian nuclear technology from China, Kasuri said, "Our relations with China are proverbial, deeper than the ocean and higher than the mountains and we are already cooperating in various fields."

Asked about any pressure on Pakistan with respect to the Iranian nuclear issue, Kasuri said Pakistan has a long and close relation with Iran and was against any violent solution to the problem.

"Diplomatic solution is going to be the only viable and lasting solution to the problem," the Minister said adding "We have already paid the price for instable Afghanistan, we do not want a similar situation emerging in Iran."

On the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the region, Kasuri said it can play a positive role in the region and Pakistan looks forward to becoming a full member of the organization.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 15:39 IST