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Pak warns Indo-US nuke deal will unravel NPT

Pak Foreign Minister said his country wanted equal treatment and it would pursue its own options for N-power.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 09:57 IST

The main international treaty aimed at stopping the spread of atomic weapons will fall apart in the wake of the US civil nuclear deal with India, Pakistan warned on Friday.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri also said his country wanted equal treatment.

Kasuri made it clear that it would pursue its own options for nuclear power.

"The whole Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will unravel," Kasuri said.

"Nuclear weapons are the currency of power and many countries would like to use it. Once this goes through, the NPT will be finished," he said.

US President George W Bush has agreed to give India access to nuclear technology in exchange for separating its civil and military atomic programmes and placing a majority of its reactors under international inspection.

The United States has not indicated it is willing to offer the same treatment to Pakistan.

AQ Khan, the former top nuclear scientist, admitted in 2004 to trading nuclear technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea.

But the Pakistani foreign minister said, "We demand equality of treatment and we'll continue to pursue it."

The Financial Times cited foreign ministry officials saying that the most likely supplier of nuclear reactors would be China.

"The US should be conscious of the sentiments of this country," Kasuri said.

"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."

The US deal with India still must be ratified by the US Congress and the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group, which controls trade in atomic fuel.

Such fuel has been denied to India because it conducted nuclear tests but has refused to join the NPT.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 09:57 IST